January 10, 2013 | by Jonathan Howard
Comfort food hub
Satellite Lounge, dining, Washington Blade, gay news

Satellite Lounge (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The last few weeks have been a foodie’s nightmare, at least for me. I’m busy at work, my dining partners are all away and worst of all, I’ve had a long lasting head cold that had made everything I eat taste the same.

So, when I finally started to feel a bit better, I found myself craving the comforts of diner food and with The Diner on 18th Street seeming like it was a bit too far away, I decided it was finally time to try out the Satellite Room (2047 9th Street NW). The Satellite Room opened Oct. 9 and is located right behind the 9:30 Club.

As one would expect, the space is super cool and trendy and an awesome white neon “Satellite” sign behind the bar dominates the main room. The Hilton Brothers who already own and operate American Ice Company and Brixton in the 9th and U area are the men behind this ‘60s-inspired diner. This location serves up food inspired by traditional diners like the meatloaf and fried chicken but they also offer a few twists with items like the tilapia tacos and the Chile rellenos. Patrons also have the option to build their own burger where you pick your patty, bun, toppers and sauce — a great feature I’m looking forward to trying on my next visit. However, what sealed the deal on my decision to give Satellite Room a try were the “adult milkshakes.”

All the “boozy shakes,” $10 each, are named after famous television characters like Lucy Ricardo (chocolate with Johnny Walker Black), Archie Leach (strawberry with Tanqueray London dry gin); or the A.C. Slater (avocado with Jose Cuervo). Nobody will even judge you if you admit that as a kid you like “Saved by the Bell” when ordering this shake. I tried the Patsy Stone, which was pineapple, coconut, orange and nutmeg, with Captain Morgan spiced rum. This milkshake was gone in moments and tasted like a richer and more decadent pina colada. My dining partner chose the Linus Van Pelt which was peanut butter and No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey. It was another rich but delightful option, the boozy milkshakes alone make Satellite Room worth visiting, but don’t just fill up on them because the food is also quite good and comforting.

An excellent example of a delicious and comforting dish is the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Sure, it’s a basic dish, but a basic dish that can go terribly wrong in many establishments. We have all had the rock hard hockey puck piece of meat that needs to be doused in ketchup or hot sauce to even be edible. The meatloaf at Satellite Room was nothing like those culinary disasters — the meat was moist and fluffy and had the right amount of flavor and spices; no sauces were necessary.

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The mashed potatoes were obviously the perfect complement to this traditional meat and potatoes dish. Another standout was the macaroni and cheese. My dining partner admitted that on a previous visit he almost ordered a third portion. I don’t blame him. This little dish of goodness contains a rich and creamy multi-cheese sauce that coats the pasta perfectly and evenly and the baked topping adds the delightful bit of warm crunchiness. While my head cold prevented me from venturing too far away from the comfort foods I craved, I am looking forward to returning soon and seeing what other dishes live up to the meatloaf and mac and cheese.

There are a few desserts on the menu, like the apple cobbler and churros and Mexican hot chocolate and I love ending a meal with some sweets, but when I was tempted with possibly having another “adult milkshake” I decided that would be the better option. It’s an after dinner drink and dessert all in one. Overall, Satellite Room is a great place to grab a drink with friends, have a quick relaxing bite or hang out before or after a concert.

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