Thursday, July 13, 2017

There are a lot of smaller local chains that are around these days. Restauranteurs are getting much better with getting a concept up and running and having the process worked out much more quickly in the past. This allows them to try and stay around with economies of scale and to return some of the money to investor much more quickly. Matchbox American kitchen fits into that mold. With not more than a handful of locations, they are prevalent enough to be accessible, yet somewhat special. At least that's the goal.

Matchbox fits right into the mold of too many new restaurants. Exposed steel, reclaimed wood, very hipster chic. I get why, it looks clean and nice, and is less expensive than other designs. However, at this point, it's not a really good way to separate yourself visually from the swaths of other restaurants selling new age 'pub fare' or bar food. This particular location located in Rockville, MD was fine, but it didn't seem too inviting overall. For comparison, I would look to Iron Rooster which is very similar but has more down home colors that bring it some warmth as opposed to the red of Matchbox.

Outside of the decor, the menu is standard fare and my wife started with cream of crab soup. The soup was nice in it's flavor and the amount of crab. No complaints. However it did come out lukewarm, for her that's fine but if I had ordered it I would want it to be actually a hot bowl. I ordered a double pepperoni brick oven pizza. My wife ordered a burger which came with a ridiculous mountain of onion straws. The onions were good though, nice flavor and texture but in my mind the presentation was crazy overdone. I don't need that many onion straws, it seems like it could be very wasteful. They also put a little bit too much arugula on the burger itself. My pizza was somewhat disappointing. The pepperoni was very good. It definitely was the star of the show because the sauce was boring and the crust was bland as well. Regarding the preparation, the crust wasn't as crispy as I would like it to be in the middle.

Matchbox might have had an off day in terms of preparation. That happens. However I don't know if the food itself warrants giving them a second chance. While it wasn't bad, it wasn't groundbreaking either. For my pizza I would prefer to go to Blaze or somewhere like that which is less expensive but tastes better to me. The soup was good, but lukewarm and the burger, while presented nice, and decent flavor, doesn't do enough to warrant a repeated visit. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and other just is. This was one of those times. The one thing that does still interest me, is the opportunity to try their short ribs....I am there for that.

Rating: 3/5

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