If a DC resident were to ask me for the name of a casual restaurant to take out-of-town friends, Matchbox would be one of the suggestions. It’s a sure thing: moderate prices (by downtown DC standards, anyway), an appealing decor and vibe that says hip but not too hip, pleasantly buzzing ambience (but not deafening), nice drink list, non-threatening menu that will please both the gastronome and the less adventurous eater, and all around good food, including rock solid pizza. (And if your friend doesn’t like pizza, that right there is grounds to end the friendship).
My first visit to Matchbox was with friends after a museum afternoon. We shared the mini burgers and onion straws (which reminded me so much of the thin-sliced onion rings my family used to get from Philbrick’s at Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach. The only thing missing were the waves.)
And we shared a pizza — half veggie and half Q special (chicken, roasted red peppers and portobellos).
Big, chunky vegetables with herbs and loads of garlic, on a crisp, chewy, smoky crust. Can’t go wrong with that.
On the second visit, I met my friend Diandra, in town from NY. I thought Matchbox would be the perfect place for drinks and a bite.
This time, I had the large and filling crab cake sandwich.
And Diandra had a pizza with arugula.
There’s pressure when a friend visits — the last thing you want to do is present a poor impression of your city with a lousy dining experience. I’m happy to say Matchbox came through with flying colors.
713 H St. NW