One of my favorite restaurants in Adams Morgan, I enjoyed the opportunity to both hang out and work at Roxanne and the Peyote Cafe.
It's rooftop bar and dining area "On The Rox", seemed the most popular space in this three level townhouse converted in to a restaurant/bar, with its tile and stucco southwest theme decor punctuated by the occasional neon sign. Smoking was permitted on the rooftop terrace and this, along with the vinyl lounge chairs and the views of Adams Morgan and the city below, seemed to be the main attractions.
The midlevel dining room with its toney "lizard/Gila Monster" sculpture affixed to the wall, afforded a more formal dining experience with its table covers and carpeting. The bar which stretched the expanse of the entire rear wall boasted an impressive tequila selection and those hand lettered chalkboard signs suspended from the ceiling, conveying prices and specials for the day.
The Peyote Cafe in the basement seemed more of a bar/grill
with blasting music and Karaoke on certain evenings, and sported the same southwest theme decor and graphic cut-outs mounted on the walls.
And then there was the food. Roxanne had THE best Tex-Mex
I have ever encountered, and everything was made from scratch in a kitchen overseen by a certain Chef Phil McDermott.
Roast shrimp and pan seared scallops arranged around a mound of purple basil pesto angel hair, toped with a trellis work of aioli.Roasted peppers, peanut dipping sauce, Asian wings. This guy was great, and wrote the menu's for both Peppers over on 17th street and TomTom as well...
Jake Tapper, then writer for The Washington City Paper but now Chief Washington Correspondent and anchor of the CNN weekday television news show The Lead used to drop by on the occasion and mentioned both Roxanne and Monica Lewinsky in a piece he published in the City Paper..
Not to forget the cumulative force behind behind these ventures,
it was Tom Wallach who owned Roxanne and Peyote Cafe, and who was in the process of opening this now storied Adams Morgan watering hole Tom Tom when I came on during my brief tenure at Roxanne.
As for myself, while I may have been possessed of the external appearances of a twenty-five year old I was in fact pushing forty, and the incessant ascending and descending of stairs, as the kitchen was situated mid level in the restaurant (and this was my second job), proved to be too much and I ended up having to bail. But it was a good experience...