I had been talking about scheduling a happy hour with a few of my high school classmates/ friends who live in the area for a number of years now. It seems like the longer I live here, the more people move here. So, I finally got my stuff together to schedule one. My criteria for choosing a place was that it needed to be centrally located, easy to get to, and have decent happy hour specials. Ping Pong Dim Sum in Dupont Circle fit the bill perfectly. It was also a place I had been meaning to check out for a number of years. So, why not check off two Get On That Already tasks on my Life List at once? I’ve never done dim sum and the only dumplings I’ve ever had have been cheap Chinese delivery. The happy hour cocktail menu also looked promising.
I have this issue where I am chronically terribly early for everything all the time. I hopped the Circulator over from Georgetown to Dupont. Planning for rush hour traffic and hating to be late, I gave myself plenty of time. It ended up being totally unnecessary and I was over 30 minutes early. It’s a blessing and a curse. Undeterred, I headed into the totally empty bar and sat down anyway. I’m sure I looked super silly saving 3 other seats at the empty bar, but you can never be too careful! Since I had perused the menu beforehand, I knew immediately what I wanted from the happy hour menu. I started with the Vanilla, Lemon, and Vodka. It was a combination of all those things, topped with soda, and it was huge. The bartender also brought over a dish of wasabi peas for me to munch on while I waited. They were a nice balance to the sweetness of the cocktail (which was very sweet). My friends arrived, and I eventually went for the honeysuckle margarita. It was also fairly sweet. It had tiny slivers of honeydew and a honeysuckle-flavored (that exists?) lollypop in the glass. Some people may be turned off by chunks of fruit in their drink, but I liked it. Nice bursts of refreshing flavor to offset some of the sweetness. We ordered food and I went for the steamed shrimp and chive dumplings. I had already eaten sort of a silly amount of wasabi peas, so these 3 dumplings were a nice little snack. They were served with chili sauce on the side. I vote they should increase the chives to give them a little more of tangy flavor, but not bad. My last drink was one that everyone else got to before me, the Ping Pong. The bartender promised it was strong, but my companions weren’t so sure. The least descriptive name of the bunch, it has martini bianco, white wine, lychee juice, and Asian basil seeds. Following suit, it was also fairly sweet, but tasty. And fun, with the gelatinous seeds floating in it, it reminded me a little bit of bubble tea.
I wish their beer selection had been a little bit better. After the 2nd cocktail, I was ready for something not-so-sweet, but alas. Overall, a fun night with old friends. I’ll be back to try more of the food eventually.
- Most interesting thing I want to try next time: I definitely want to try more of their dumplings. I didn’t even look at the regular menu. It would be fun to sit down at a table with a few people and order and try a lot of different things. That’s the point of dim sum, right?
- What makes this place stand out: The bar was nice and not too terribly loud for our small group. They also have a HUGE outdoor seating area that would have been really nice to enjoy had it not been 30 degrees below seasonable temperatures with ridiculous wind on this particular day.
- How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): In a couple of months. Next time I was craving dumplings. Or a super sweet drink.
- Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Take your pick. If the happy hour food options aren’t enough, you could grab quick and easy dinner SweetGreen, BGR, or ShopHouse on Connecticut Ave. If you’re looking for a second bar, Big Hunt is a good place for a beer.