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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/17/2010

First impressions of P.J. Clarke's

By Anne Kenderdine

P.J. Clarke's, the popular New York saloon, opened its K Street location to the public Friday and we were there to check it out. We found the red table cloths set, the famous urinals in place and overall, an admirable debut. But there are still a few nits it seems fair to pick.

At 5 p.m. on opening night, the bar was already crowded with people fresh from the office eager to try the oysters, craft beers and classic cocktails.

Though there's plenty of seating along the long wooden bar, the layout makes the crowds harder to navigate than they should be. There are also bar stools along a half-wall that separates the bar area from the restaurant, so when people sit on both sides and face each other, their legs block traffic along the bar. This is mostly a problem because when you enter the bar from the restaurant, you're near the rubber-matted service station, so you often have to get out of the way of the servers, too.

Dinner uncovered a few rough edges that will be smoothed out with a bit of time, such as confusion about when plates should be brought to the table and miscommunication between the servers and the bar.

While there were small problems in front of the bar, our cocktails revealed no issues behind it. More big things going for PJ Clarke's: the fries were crisp and the restaurant's burgers were worth the hype.

--Justin Rude

By Anne Kenderdine  | October 17, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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