Eating in DC: Maxwell Park

Maxwell Park Outside

Maxwell Park opened in June, and to say I was excited to try it out, was a bit of an understatement. Here's why:

Excellent wine? Check. 

Expertly controlled refrigeration for every wine? Check. 

Sommeliers behind the bar? Check. 

Small bites from a rotating assortment of guest chefs? Check.

And to top it all off…a monthly theme, which for July was Italian whites? Check check check.

THE ATMOSPHERE

I brought my friend Amy to Maxwell Park on a recent Saturday evening, and arrived just after 5pm. When we arrived, we had our choice of seats, so we saddled up to the bar, and immediately were presented with a special aperitif drink. Nice touch.

Maxwell Park bar

As the sommelier Daniel got to know us, he wrote our names on the blackboard-topped bar. Double nice touch.

THE DRINKS

This month, the menu was centered around the theme of Italian white wines, and all the staff members were wearing shirts that said ABPG, which stood for: Anything But Pinot Grigio. Not meaning any ill-feelings toward the omnipresent white wine, it was instead a simple way to introduce the visitor to some different Italian whites. The menu was set up from light and fruity to more full-bodied. With such a wide array of wines to choose from, including many that I hadn’t heard of before, my eyes glazed over and my mouth began to salivate.

Maxwell Park wine menu

Daniel returned to us to take our order…I asked for some direction and he doubled down by asking what types of wine I generally like to drink. Gruner veltliner has been my summer go-to white, and as a result, he poured me a taste of a 2015 wine out of Piedmont. That’s the thing about this place…you get a taste of any wine before they’ll agree to serve you any size pour, which only further proves their commitment to ensuring you get the wine you like. With the first sip, I decided this wine was okay…Daniel wasn’t satisfied with that response, asked me a few follow-up questions, and quickly returned with another wine which was spot on for me. I committed to a half glass (which was still a pretty generous pour), and enjoyed it immensely.

THE FOOD

I next got into a Chianti Classico and knew that it would only be better with food. I opted for the charcuterie plate, which was a true work of art. When I spotted someone else down the bar eating it, I thought the plate was decorated with flowers…when the plate was placed in front of me, I realized the “flowers” were actually shavings of duck prosciutto beautifully arranged to emulate a flora-like masterpiece. I began sampling the other flavors on the plate and was blown away by how good they were together. Gooseberries, slices of hot pepper, manchego cheese, all with a drizzle of honey over the top. I mean, I didn’t even know what gooseberries were until that fateful day…(truth be told, I may STILL not know what gooseberries are), but I now know that I love them. 

Maxwell Park charcuterie plate

By the time I had polished off my second glass, I looked around and realized just how busy the place was. It had filled up to the point of people standing around, waiting for seats to open up. So we took that as a cue to allow the next wave of thirsty people to enjoy everything that Maxwell Park has to offer. And their way of delivering the check only further emphasized their passion for wine. 

Maxwell Park check

OVERALL RATING

4.5 out of 5 stars

I can’t wait to return to Maxwell Park. I’ve got my eye on a September return, when the monthly theme revolves around new world versus old world wines. August will be bubbles, which isn’t always my favorite, but the good thing to note is that there is always a secondary menu that has more options that diverge from the monthly theme. It’s a good way to explore all the expert picks that the team at Maxwell Park has on hand.

It lived up to the hype and I’m excited to return!