It was a brisk but gorgeous sunny day in October. Our newest D.C. Associate Editor, Dannah, and I were due for some serious bonding, so we headed down to Alexandria to visit Hank’s Pasta Bar in Old Town. Brunch was kindly on the house today.
Hank’s is a five minute car ride or fifteen minute walk from the hustle and bustle of King Street. It could easily be missed–but it’s worth the trip. We loved being removed from the tourists and overpriced seafood of King Street. The space was gorgeous–think Italian farmhouse that’s cozy yet refined. We were very comfortable at our table for two in the well thought out space.
We started off with some beverages. Dannah ordered a Negroni, a pear and gin cocktail heavily spiced with vanilla, orange, and vermouth. Meanwhile, I ordered the Everything I Know I Owe to Spaghetti–a vodka, pear, basil, and lemon drink. Dannah’s was bitter and well mixed. Mine was ice cold and quote refreshing, but I didn’t taste much basil. We would love to see a couple of mimosa options or more breakfast friendly boozy beverages on this drink list.
It went without saying that we were ordering the Burrata. This dish was gorgeous. The cheese tasted very fresh and creamy. There was quite a lot of arugula–and it was supposed to come with Balsamic dressing. Neither of us could taste any, but our lovely waiter brought us a side of dressing promptly. We think this dish could be amazing, but it was lack luster upon our visit. The arugula needed to be properly dressed or at least tossed with oil, salt, and pepper.
For our entrees, Dannah ordered the polenta and eggs while I ordered the pasta carbonara. My pasta was out of this world. It was buttery, cheesy, and piping hot. The prosciutto was salty and plentiful. The portion size was also perfect, not too much and not too little. I definitely took my leftovers home and ate it for breakfast the next day (yes, breakfast not lunch). I loved everything about this dish.
Dannah ordered the polenta and poached eggs with tomato ragu because she’s had enough Benedicts to last a lifetime as of late. The polenta was creamy and salty, but nothing too heavy and was a nice alternative to the classic eggs Benny.
We also ordered a side of the mac and cheese on a hunch that it was tasty–we were right. This dish had a thick layer of crispy bread crumbs and plenty of flavorful cheese. My biggest pet peeve is when mac and cheese looks cheesy, but then there’s no flavor–this one did not disappoint. This would be a great dish to share.
As if we hadn’t ordered enough carbs, we ordered the focaccia Nutella French toast for dessert. Dannah being a newly appointed focaccia expert, had high hopes for this particular dish. Neither of us have ever had focaccia French toast before–it was very interesting and different. I thought it tasted somewhat savory as well as sweet. The toast was perfectly fried and battered. There was a light layer of Nutella between the bricks of bread–it wasn’t too sweet. You really can’t go wrong with this many carbs and Nutella–can you?
The Bitches say: B+. We loved the space, vibes, and Italian fare. The pasta went above and beyond–they definitely know their carbs. We would recommend Hank’s for a leisurely lunch away from the chaos of the District with girlfriends, significant others, and out-of-towners. Go for the carbs, stay for the atmosphere.
Hank’s Pasta Bar serves brunch Fridays 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.