The Diner is one of Adams Morgan's finest establishments, right up there with Jumbo Slice. Think of that diner where Seinfeld and his friends hung out. Did you ever want to hang out in a place like that in the morning? (No, IHOP and Denny's don't count.) Anyway, the Diner fits every mood you're in. Want pancakes at 4 in the morning? Go to The Diner. Want some glazed swordfish or maybe you're craving a steak? Go to The Diner. Hung over and just need something to eat? The Diner is your friend.
The Diner is situated next to Tryst, another popular Adams Morgan coffeehouse/bar/lounge (they're owned by the same people). Go there if you want a good non-Starbucks coffee and if you're not afraid of yuppies tinkering on their PowerBooks. (Oh, and for you intarweb junkies, the wireless at Tryst is free.) The Diner is relatively small so it may not fare well with groups over six, but groups of 3 or 4 will be seated comfortably. Seating-wise, there are booths, tables, and seats at the counter, like any other diner. The environment ranges from a medium buzz to a cafeteria din. Usually it is louder later at night, so I hope you and your dining companions aren't going to have philosophical conversations over hot wings and meatloaf.
Getting a seat really depends on your timing. A wait can be 20 minutes to an hour. I've been pretty lucky and have only waited about 20 minutes for seating for two people. Service here ranges from attentive to spotty--they'll take down your order, bring you food, and maybe check up on you, but they mostly leave you alone. Sometimes they mysteriously disappear when you need to request the check.
I've only been to this place a couple of times, so my reviews are going to consist of a few dishes:
It was cold outside. Hot chocolate was nothing exceptional (was probably instant powdered mix) but it hit the spot.
Roasted Rosemary Chicken with mashed potatoes & haricots verts
A huge plate. With a lot of chicken. Might have been half or a quarter, but my 120lb self devoured it all. Crisp skin, succulent meat, juicy, light and herby. Mashed potatoes were homemade with lumps. Haricot verts are French green beans, and these were steamed. They look and taste like regular sring beans to me.
French Toast: Thick-sliced, topped with powdered sugar
My boyfriend had this. His reaction was the same as the last review re: hot and sour soup from Mr Chen's. He likes French Toast and this was good.
Overall, this meal set us back about $22 excluding tax and tip. My chicken cost about $12.99 and my boyfriend's French toast was either $7.99 or $8.99. He may have had something extra with his meal but since we ate here around late October of last year, so our memories are a little fuzzy.
And here are some other items I've tried since my first visit:
Big Fries (lots)
They really do mean "lots" of fries. These are the yummy steak-cut kind. No big secret recipe, just fries.
Just your average tenders. Not bad but not out of this world, either.
Grilled Center-Cut Pork Chop
Mine was slightly overcooked and hard to slice and chew. However, the bourbon-apple glaze was great, as are the mashed potatoes and string beans.
Overall, I'm glad that a place like the Diner exisits. It's so frustrating to find a place to sit down and have a meal in a town that pretty much closes down at 10 pm (when it comes to restaurants, at least). We'll be back to ear here again, I'm sure.