First Bite: Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company


I had an opportunity recently to stop in at the new Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company, located in the digs (a Quonset hut) formerly occupied by midtown’s Hangar 17. Opened by the folks who own K Street’s Golden Bear, Hook & Ladder is an intriguing new spot you’ll want to check out as much for its ambiance as its eclectic menu. Soft, drapy fabric ceilings and dim lighting give it the feeling of a cave or harem, and a quirky assemblage of décor (some of the furniture pieces look like they came directly from East Sac’s antique mall) add an entertaining element to the dining experience. Try one of the restaurant’s fabulous signature quaffs (I relished the “Boatswain Cocktail,” prepared with two different rums, lime juice, almond syrup and fresh mint); and make sure to set aside enough time to read the menu carefully. Inspiring dishes on that first visit included a delectable pancetta and poached duck egg salad; and the rustic, flavorful house-made sausages (3 to an order) served up with mustard and a chunky-sweet chutney.