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Preview: Alfie’s

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“You’re going to really like this place,” I told my skeptical guys, who love coffee and hate all things pretentious. I spend all my work and off-duty time—i.e. when I’m not brunching, traveling, or out-and-about—with a certain duo. Only one of them is my boyfriend but they’re both really good lookin’.

They work hard and play rarely, but will begrudgingly oblige my Bitchy interests from time to time. They love divey Chinese food and South Park—and prefer their restaurants to be under-the-radar hole-in-the-walls with good food at a good price.

“No, trust me, this is our kind of spot,” I said as we drove up to Petworth to the Alfie’s pop-up, which was opened by acquaintances of mine, Chef Alex McCoy and Hunter Campbell, co-owner of several rowdy Georgetown bars.

“OK, this is cool,” they acquiesced as we walked into Alfie’s, which is a tropical dive bar that serves epic Thai food and out-of-this-world cocktails. Decorated with multicolored string lights and not much else, Alfie’s is just the right kind of casual for my guys. But with its tropical vibes, mismatched vintage China, and Bob Marley tunes, Alfie’s has just enough flair to make it quirky enough for me.

The friendly hostess sat us at a table for four in the packed restaurant. A temporary pop-up, the restaurant had been open less than a week and was full on this weeknight. Turns out Chef Alex McCoy, formerly of Duke’s Grocery, has a quite the local following.

I proceeded to Snapchat as we perused the totally wild cocktail menu. The cocktail menu offers unique liquors and creative concoctions with clever names. We were told they go through quite a lot of Thai whiskey, which also isn’t a whiskey at all. Apparently, Thai whiskey is all the rage right now and Alfie’s is just a step ahead of the curve.

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I had half a mind to order the “Brunch is Not My Religion,” with Wild Turkey, Aperol, lime, egg white, Peychaud’s, and an orange twist, but was advised to order the “Teachings of the Mekong,” instead. Made with the Mekong Thai Whiskey, Aperol, coconut milk, lime cordial, Bar Keep Chinese bitters, Regan orange bitters, and holy basil, this cocktail was heaven. It was slightly sweet and milky concoction, without being too saccharine. I normally don’t drink booze and I downed two, which made me a lot of fun that night.

Our lady date ordered the “People of Petworth Place,” with vodka, St. Germain, Chacho Jalapeño Aguardiente, gum syrup, lemon twist, and—most importantly—a tropical paper umbrella.

The boys ordered the “Farangs Sazarac,” with Crown Royal North Harvest Rye, Arbellot VS Cognac, Copper & Kings Absinthe Bitter, Truth Creole Bitters, and Copper & Kings Absinthe.

Then the food started to arrive, with little rhyme or reason—but I was dying over the blue-and-white mismatched china. I was even more amused when I discovered that the all-male staff (chef, bartender, and co-owner) had been collecting it piece-by-piece over the past few years.

We began with my favorite Thai appetizer: the traditional spicy cucumber salad, served with cherry tomatoes and topped with peanuts. It was sweet—and very spicy. I’ve eaten this salad at Thai restaurants all over and this was certainly one of the better variations. 

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It was hard to differentiate between the delicious, enormous plates of Thai food as we inhaled this incredible cuisine. I’m sincerely ashamed by how quickly I ate—because the food was so good it deserved more detailed attention. The whole thing was a blur of big bites of satisfying savors and new flavor profiles I’ve never had before. The experience was borderline euphoric—so much so that I found myself proclaiming my undying love to the chef, Alex McCoy, as I sat next to my good-looking, wonderful boyfriend. Fortunately, he was too busy eating to notice.

Think I’m overdoing it? Go to Alfie’s, then come back and try to call my bluff.

Our favorite dish by far was the Khao Muu Palo, a pork belly braised in five-spice broth served with jasmine rice, Chinese broccoli, chilis, and coriander. The sweet-and-slightly spicy roasted pork, served with rice, topped with pickled eggs and sauteed bok choy, and cilantro.

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We tried several dishes. Another memorable one was the Khao Soi, a coconut curry soup from Chiang Mai topped with house-made egg noodles.

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I didn’t think the meal could get any better, but then I was informed that Alfie’s offered dessert. That didn’t really pique my interest just yet, as I don’t love Asian desserts (never enough chocolate!). But, my ears perked up immediately when I heard the words “key lime pie.”

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Alfie’s is open for dinner Tuesday- Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Alfie’s
3301 Georgia Avenue
Washington, D.C.

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