The Greene Turtle, the sports bar and grill chain that launched in Maryland and has since spread across the Washington, D.C. area and into Delaware, opened its latest restaurant last month in the Ballston area of Arlington, situated in the bottom level of a Virginia Tech research building there. While the namesake turtle might not be an animal known for its athleticism, the restaurant is decidedly sports-focused, and it is clear in the décor. Images of pro athletes – all-stars, as well as some local favorites – line the walls, and hanging banners with team logos show off some hometown pride. Several televisions fill the space – a score, an update, or a key play on replay on every surface, all set to the tune of sports fans cheering and jeering the goings-on.
Each booth is outfitted with a small television screen for those dining together to gather around and watch their preferred match-up, but TVs elsewhere in the restaurant come in two sizes, big-screen and even-bigger-screen, making sure no one misses the action.
As one might expect of a sports bar, the fare has all the favorites that diners crave when watching the big game. Chicken wings, both boneless and traditional, come in an assortment of different treatments like barbecue and the standard Buffalo style, each in varying heat levels. The “Kinda Hot” Buffalo wing sauce has a good amount of heat and a nice taste, and a thin coating of the stuff imparts the flavor while maintaining a nicely crispy wing texture. Sliders, too – Angus beef mini-burgers flavored simply with caramelized onion, pickle, and cheese toppings – make the menu, and expected deep-fried delights like mozzarella sticks and cheese fries have their place. Even pretzel sticks, a popular stadium pick, join the game-watching experience, the long, fluffy, salted sticks served warm with the house cheese dip. Wings, pretzels, sliders, and mozzarella sticks come in a combo platter that makes sure all cravings are satisfied.
While the restaurant hits all of the bar-food classics, they don’t shy away from more upscale menu items – like the Ultimate Ahi dish, which plates slices of flavorful, rare tuna, crusted in a potent seasoning blend and seared, atop a shredded cabbage blend with a drizzle of cucumber-wasabi sauce.
Greene Turtle entrees strike the same balance, serving up the burgers and sandwiches expected of a bar and grill, but upping the ante by cooking up 12-ounce strip steaks and jumbo lump crab cakes as entrees.
The burgers, like the sliders made with certified Angus beef, get inventive with adaptations like Chipotle (slathered in the house chipotle sauce and topped with a corn salsa and pepper jack cheese), but The Straight-Up Burger gives diners all the basics – a helping of meat, a sturdy bun, and some lettuce and tomato – to create their ideal taste by customizing with cheese and bacon, or just savoring the flavor through simplicity.
Burgers and sandwiches come with house kettle chips and a pickle spear – though fries, regular and sweet potato, can be selected in place of the chips for an additional charge. Those with heartier appetites can look to the entrees, with their more ample side dishes and hefty meat or seafood components. Whatever the meal selection, the food-and-sports combination makes for an enjoyable evening out – but more enjoyable for those cheering for the winning team.