Monday, November 10, 2014

Re-Opening: Embassy Suites Friendship Heights & Willie's Bar

By Lauren Rosalanko

Last Tuesday the Embassy Suites in Friendship Heights hosted its grand reopening after extensive renovations. With the new hotel, they also opened a full-service bar on the 3rd floor in the open a trio space of the hotel. The open space offers an inviting atmosphere, filled with many comfortable seating options, including high communal tables with plenty of outlets for diners' to charge their devices. The bar also has a TV, making it a perfect place to sit back and watch your favorite sports game. The bar is named in honor of Wilfredo Benavides, who passed recently after a battle with ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. 1% of all proceeds from the bar will be donated in his memory to the ALS Association.

The cocktail menu offers a wide variety of different beverages and there is also an array of wine and beer. At the event the wine was offered with a wide array of breads and cheeses to complement. 

Their food menu includes small plates and a few desserts. I started by trying the beet salad, served with both yellow and red roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese, wheat berries a lovely white balsamic dressing to top it all off! This salad was delicious, while being great as a light starter. The dressing was slightly tangy and a nice touch to finish off the sweeter salad. Willie's also offers a Wedge Salad with tomatoes, bacon and blue cheese crumbles & dressing.

I was able to try the Kale & Artichoke Dip, which was served warm with tortilla chips. With four cheese mixed together this made for a rich and overwhelming dish that I couldn't help but go back for a second serving of chips and dip. While typically calamari is fried and served with a side of red sauce, Willie's puts a unique twist on this dish. Their calamari isn't fried, but sauteed and served with chili peppers and a chili garlic sauce. This dish had the slightest spice that created a strong flavor. I love that this dish is not something that you can typically find in any restaurant.

My favorite of the night was most definitely the fish tacos. It was most certainly a popular dish and people were consuming them as quickly as the chefs were finishing preparing them! The fish taco was served on a flour tortilla, with an aioli sauce and house slaw. The sauteed tilapia was the perfect light fish to complement the strong flavors from the sauce and slaw. If you visit Willie's and love seafood, I would not hesitate to order this dish.

The dessert options were a mix of small truffles, mini cakes, cake pops and trifles. They all included a lot of dark chocolate which is always my favorite form of dessert so I couldn't help but try a few, and luckily they were bite-sized so I didn't have to feel guilty about sampling so many desserts.

Willie's serves a wide array of small plates that cater to any taste. I highly recommend stopping by, especially since even though it is a hotel restaurant the small plates are inexpensive and range between $7-9, allowing you get a great deal on top-quality dishes and have the opportunity to try more than one! After a long day of shopping or walking around Friendship Heights Willie's would be a great place to sit back and relax with some delicious food and drink sure to please any type of food craving you might have!

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