I'm all about the happy hour menu. It forces me to leave the office at a respectable hour and still be home in time for dinner. For a restaurant that's on my walk home from the office I'm ashamed it's taken me over two months to check out. Rural Society in the Loews Madison Hotel at 15th and M is one of the latest streak house additions to hit DC. I've experienced Jose Garces' cooking before on past trips to Philly, notably JG Domestic, and always found it to be impressive, which Rural Society was too.
The happy hour at Rural Society offers a paired down appetizer menu along with the $5 wines we're accustomed to seeing on happy hour menus across town. With dishes including Chorizo Con Queso - a pork sausage stuffed with chimichurri, Empanada Tucumana - braised wagyu beef belly, and my personal favorite the Fugazza - a street food style doughy pizza filled with onions, mozzarella and oregano, which all manage to come together in one perfect melted bite. All three items were excellent, the empanadas especially so, packed with meat wrapped in a golden flaky crust - definitely worth the $5.
My experience wasn't without its hiccups. The first order of fugazza (there were three of us, we ordered two it was that good) is what you see above, however this is not the happy hour serving which we ordered, this is the standard appetizer at $11. The $5 serving is roughly half this size. Our server rang this more expensive one through despite us ordering off the happy hour menu, and charged us the full price. Additionally, we ordered one serving of the empanadas but our server rang in two, we were told as there were three of us it was thought we'd want one each. We weren't asked, and again we were charged for both. It was a nice gesture but assumptions shouldn't be made. Be sure you know what you're ordering and inspect your check.
Despite the server mishap this is a cheap eats menu I'll be frequenting often, the food is excellent and the space a vast improvement on its former occupant.
The happy hour runs daily from 4-6:30pm, with $5 wines and beers, and $7 cocktails.
Rural Society, 1177 15th Street NW, Washington, DC (closest metro: Farragut North/McPherson Sq.)