While the exact beginnings of corned beef and cabbage may be lost to history, several restaurants in the D.C. area have turned this salt-cured beef dish into a modern culinary art form. Corned beef’s name comes from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt, and not from corn grain. Due to the ubiquity of salting beef for preservation in many cultures, corned beef is a prominent ingredient in many cuisines, including the Jewish, Irish American, and Caribbean cuisines. This St. Patrick’s Day, there are a number of places to satisfy your corned beef and cabbage craving and imbibe in a dish that’s sure to carry with it the luck of the Irish.
Fado’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Fri – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sat – Opening depends on sports to 3 a.m., Sun – Opening depends on sports to 2 a.m.
Fado’s creates several corned beef and cabbage combinations. The restaurant serves up a tasty corned beef roll, which is corned beef and mustard sauce inside a traditional boxty roll; a corned beef sandwich with horseradish mayo and apple and onion relish; and a corned beef and cabbage platter topped with a creamy white wine-mustard sauce and served with red potatoes and buttered cabbage. With this many corned beef options, Fado’s provides the perfect environment for a St. Paddy’s celebration.
Deli City Restaurant
2200 Bladensburg Rd., NE
Washington, DC 20018
Hours: Mon to Fri – 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat to Sun – Closed
Deli City used to be a gas station, but what you really want to know about are the sandwiches. Anything with pastrami or corned beef is a specialty here. You can even design your own sandwich if you’re bold enough. Call ahead if you’re doing a lunchtime pickup because Deli City gets orders from all over the District.
4855 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016
Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wagshal’s is practically an institution in D.C. Most people who live in the Wagshal’s neighborhood (Spring Valley) say they go there almost on a daily basis. The customer service is very neighborhood-based and warm and the corned beef will give you an equally warm feeling. Oftentimes you’ll find students from the nearby American University and its law school sitting in the few patio tables provided outside. Expect to pay more than $10 if you get a sandwich and a drink, but it’ll be a tasty buy.
2453 18th St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
You can’t beat the cheap, delicious, greasy, 24-hour diner food at this DC establishment. The Diner’s corned beef is wonderful and keeps many locals returning. This is the closest that you will find in D.C. to a good diner experience, but don’t expect anything artsy or fancy. One visit there, and you’ll think you’ve hit your hometown diner.
1102 17th St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Weekends 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
This spot is the perfect place for a good corned beef reuben sandwich. There is limited seating inside, but if the weather is nice, the Sunrise Cafe will open up its outdoor seating. Those short on cash will be happy to find that the cafe’s menu is surprisingly budget-friendly, and the cozy atmosphere and friendly service only further compliments the tasty offerings.
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Reginald Johnson is a dedicated writer in the Washington, D.C. metro area. When he’s not writing you can find him reading about historical events, playing soccer or tennis, checking out a museum or cultural event, socializing at some interesting local spots, and enjoying all D.C. has to offer. His work can be found on Examiner.com.