Patrons may come for the cocktails, but Planter’s House presents a respectable food menu divided into three sections: “Nosh,” “Satiate” and “Indulge.” “Nosh” takes bar munchies to the next level. The poutine is smashed, and fried fingerling potatoes are drenched in rich and chunky red-wine pork gravy, and topped with smoky Gouda. I could have drank the gravy straight from a pint glass. The rarebit is another small dish that pairs perfectly with a night of imbibing. The creamy cheddar and Parmesan dip is infused with Civil Life ESB, giving it a malty, bitter bite. It’s served with housemade pretzels sprinkled with coarse salt and fennel seed.
Finally, master mixologist Ted Kilgore gets a house of his own with Planter’s House. This Lafayette Square temple to mixology is a showroom for Kilgore and company’s (wife, Jamie, and business partner, Ted Charak) inspired cocktail artistry. Drinks run the gamut from the approachable “Planter’s House Punch” to the esoteric wormwood-laden “Unusual Suspect.” The joint is, first and foremost, a cocktail room, but it features an inspired food menu. The poutine is magnificent -- thick, red-wine pork gravy covers a platter of fried and smashed fingerling potatoes. Or try the duck burger, a mammoth mix of ground duck, pork and bacon is served open-face on a pumpernickel bun with Gouda and a fried duck egg. It’s quite possibly the perfect way to soak up all of that booze.