Old Ebbitt Grill has been in continuous operation since 1856 and is one of the oldest restaurants in the the United States. On a recent trip to Our Nation’s Capitol, I decided to stop in for dinner. It’s moved several times in it’s 150 year history, most recently in 1983, so I didn’t expect much from the interior. But upon my arrival in the dining room, I was charmed: the interior had the luxury of a late-19th century restaurant and featured taxidermied animals (always a plus in my opinion) and real gas lighting. The flickering gas light chandeliers gave the dining room a wonderful ambiance and a real feel for what dining in the 19th century would have been like.
In an establishment like Old Ebbitt, I should have gorged myself on oysters and beefsteaks, then finished out the event with a glass of port and cigar. That would have been the period appropriate thing to do. But my budget was lacking and my stomach protested, so instead I had an arugula salad with toasted hazelnuts, blackberries and sherry dressing. Not very 19th century, but it was very, very good.