If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I have a slight obsession with Adams Morgan. The food is amazing, the colors are bright, there is art everywhere, and the neighborhood is always bustling. Songbyrd Record Café is a fairly new addition to the AdMo scene, and it fits right in. Actually, I personally think it makes the scene better…
Songbyrd is such a cool space. By day, it’s a hip café offering coffee, delicious sandwiches, WiFi, and, most importantly, a plethora of records and listening stations. By night, the room next door serves as a more formal dining room, and local bands are provided with a platform for hip musicians and cultured folk to come hear their music. I visited the Café during lunchtime, because I heard they use gluten-free bread from Rise Bakery down the street to make all of their sandwiches and I had to check it out.
I did things a bit in reverse with this meal because I saw the gluten-free cookies from Bjorn’s Bakes in the pastry cabinet and needed to take a bite out of them immediately. I wish I could say eating dessert before the main meal is uncharacteristic for me, but it definitely is not. Whoops. Anyways, I chose the salted chocolate chip flavor, and it was fantastic. The chocolate was rich, and the consistency was definitely impressive for a gluten-free cookie. Better yet, those cookies were made locally in D.C.
After my pre-lunch dessert, I got a bit more sensible and settled on a soup and sandwich combo. The soup that day was a tomato and chickpea number and it was delicious. Plus, it was naturally gluten- and dairy-free without sacrificing any of its flavor.
The sandwich was easily the high point of the meal. First, I should mention that all of the sandwiches are named after music-related things like, “Sgt. Pepper” and “Little Richard.” I opted for the “Byrd in Hand,” which was chock full of sage roasted turkey, creole mayo, sprouts and a cranberry relish. It was served on Rise Bakery’s multi-grain bread and it was fantastic. The bread was thick and added more flavor to the sandwich than normal bread does. That’s the thing about freshly baked gluten-free bread – I feel like it contributes much more to the party than simply being a vessel for the rest of the goods. Speaking of, the turkey was also incredible. It was no store-bought lunchmeat. It was delicious, thickly sliced meat destined for a sandwich. This beauty was served alongside a fresh salad, topped with tomatoes, red onions and thinly sliced pickles, all dressed with a light vinaigrette.
Lastly, I had to check out the Platinum Smash Potato– a smashed baked potato with bacon bits, braised pork, rokraut and cheddar, all smothered in gravy. Since I can’t do dairy I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the experience, but I could attest to the fact that the devilish concoction smelled incredible.
Other highlights of my meal definitely included my almond milk latte, made with Swings, another small, local business. Its emphasis on community and locality is one of the things I appreciated most about Songbyrd, but then again I’m a sucker for any establishment that is dedicated to preserving local businesses.
If you find yourself in Adams Morgan, which you totally should, definitely stop by Songbyrd for a little working lunch. Then after that, come back for dinner and a show. Gotta love a place where you can do both.