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There are two places to soothe yourself with hot and gooey raclette cheese on H Street NE. The first is obvious. This year, the increasingly diverse dining neighborhood gained a Swiss restaurant called Stable. There, you can try a “raclette dinner experience” for $35 per person that includes the melted cheese, boiled new potatoes, pickles, and green salad. Reservations are required and you need to herd at least four people into participating.
But what if you fail to plan in advance and want a generous portion of potatoes swimming in funky cheese on the fly? Or when dining solo? Enter the H Street Lounge at the new Whole Foods at 600 H St. NE.
With the nickname “Whole Paycheck,” the organic-obsessed markets are nary known for a deal, but you can order raclette with roasted potatoes for $8 or a raclette sandwich with prosciutto, apricot spread, and whole grain mustard on ciabatta with pickles for $10.
Sure, your bum will be on a barstool instead of a bench upholstered with Swiss army blankets, but the grocery store pub perched above the food and drink aisles has a laid back atmosphere, flat screens showing local sports, and a stellar draft beer list.
Sixteen different suds are available for immediate consumption in 4-oz., 8-oz., and 16-oz. pours, plus you can fill 32-oz. and 64-oz. growlers to bring home. Selections include Flying Dog’s Honey Paloma Ale Fruit, Right Proper’s Songlines Saison, and Ballast Point’s Longfin Helles Lager. Eight wines by the glass range from $7-$10.
Order the raclette and potatoes and be prepared to wait about ten minutes because your bartender will need to melt a portion of a giant wheel of cheese behind the bar using what looks like a medieval torture device.
You know the cheese is ready to serve when the bros at the bar wearing Babybjörns start sniffing the air, heads tilted up, like dogs on a car ride through the countryside. The cheese really announces itself.
The dish is comforting and well worth its $8 price tag. Visit anytime from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with weekday happy hour specials from 4-6 p.m.
Whole Foods’ H Street Lounge, 600 H St. NE; (202) 469-7410; wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/hstreet