Noodles in the Hood

Pasta and happy hour on Holman Road.

ACORN EATERY AND BAR 9401 Holman Road N.W. , 297-0700 4 p.m.-midnight Sun.-Thurs.; 4 p.m.-1a.m. Fri.-Sat.

ACROSS FROM A giant-sized McDonald’s, just down the road from Dick’s, is a Crown Hill neighborhood spot in an area where neighborhood is hard to spot. But one must be there , amidst the busy traffic and ubiquitous chains, for the Acorn Eatery is steadily busy with both quick drinkers headed home and lingering couples slurping up marvelous noodles.

It’s no surprise that the pasta’s good—chef Clay Blake comes lately from Serafina and knows his way around a pile of noodles. The fettuccine con bisi ($12.95), with a plethora of peas and parma ham, was lightly peppered and creamy without heaviness; the sort of comfortingly rich dish that makes you feel that, somehow, it simply must be good for you. The generous plate luckily served two, as the other food simply didn’t measure up. The Caesar ($5.75) swam with anchovies; the pork chop ($16.95) was overdone. Happily, the chop’s side dish of white beans and tomatoes had fresh herb flavor to spare, and the fruity olive oil drizzled on top offered a true sensory feast. Stick with serious Italian options, and you’ll be well rewarded.

The bar and kitchen are centrally located, and the bustle can be fun if bustle’s what you’re seeking. After 10 p.m. the place changes from nonsmoking restaurant to smoky bar; as with comedy, timing is everything. Whatever time you choose, eat some noodles, and ponder what other gorgeous surprises this hood might be hiding.