Duke’s Grocery, which its owners describe as “A taste of East London in East Dupont,” makes the best sandwiches in Washington. The chef who creates these sandwiches—or “sarnies,” to use the British terminology—is a genius who deserves a Beard Foundation award, if not a MacArthur fellowship.
I love this place.
Duke’s is a casual, friendly neighborhood restaurant, but remember that the neighborhood in question is Dupont Circle, which means that a lot of the patrons are plugged into government offices, law firms, lobby shops, and non-profits, at all levels from intern to very senior staff. Just today, I read that Dan Pfeiffer, former White House Communications Director and Senior Advisor to President Obama, celebrated his departure from government w/a group of friends at Duke’s last Friday night. And today at lunch, the people at the next table had a long and indiscreet conversation about campaign strategy.
The menu changes daily, and is usually posted on Facebook, if somebody remembers to do it. You can enbiggen the image to get an idea of the range of sarnies available. While Duke’s vibe is British, the models for today’s offerings came from Germany, Peru, Viet Nam, and elsewhere.
When the weather is good, as it was this afternoon, I like to sit outside at one of the six or seven big picnic tables on Seventeenth Street.
Lunch was half of a Munchen Brötchen, which translates to “Munich Roll.” The sarnie, like all the sandwiches at Duke’s, was huge. I saved half of it for later. A Munchen Brötchen is composed of chicken schnitzel, emmenthal, garlic-dill pickles, spicy sauerkraut, Applewood smoked bacon, and Warsteiner mustard, on a torta roll.
It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.