Don Draper introduced me to bourbon. The introduction involved a co-conspirator, too: Derek Brown of The Columbia Room. After I met bouron I then met the Old Fashioned and with that a whole new adventure in cocktails and the places where they are served. Increasingly, American bars are fine tuning their focus, moving away from the dreadful era of Long Island Iced Tea and icky sweet shots and toward a revival of refined and elegant drinking - with a modern twist. The modern twist is knowledge and craft.
And that's what got me to the new Jack Rose Dining Saloon last evening. I joined friends for drinks and dinner. We had a terrific booth (big enough for six), with a great view of the gorgeous dark-wood and romantically lit room. It's a library, really, but instead of books the walls are lined with stacks of bottles. As with a library, the bartenders climb rolling ladders to pull down something special and rare. There's a thick "Whisky Book" detailing all the brown liquors available in one or two ounce portions, and a whisky sommelier. Why not?
I had an excellent Old Fashioned made with rye and also my first Manhattan, also made with rye. Were I half my age I would have sampled more, but there are limits. Our server was Aaron and he was helpful but not obtrusive.
We also ate well. The menu offers something for those who want to sip and eat lite or sip and eat hearty. We had cheddar ham biscuits, pickled shrimp (wonderful mustard), delicate smoked salmon dusted with diced onion, accompanied by dark bread; lightly fried frogs legs, roasted potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms and bread pudding. They offer some tempting big entrees, such as Muscovy Duck, Steak Diane (so Mad Men), Rack of Lamb, Grilled Chop of Venison, Grilled Diver Scallops (all would go well with a glass of bourbon). There's a beer list and also a nice wine list, but if strictly a wine drinker I would go with an open mind to at least explore some bourbons first. The sweet scent of tobacco is from an adjacent cigar bar. They go together.
The website is JackRoseDiningSaloon.com. They owners also own Bourbon in Glover Park.