We won't be going back. The food was great--don't get me wrong--but we ended up standing outside for nearly an hour--despite using their "call ahead seating" system. It's not called a reservations system because it's not a reservation--instead they tell you when they think a table will be available and if they guess wrong then you end up standing, And standing. And standing. Which pretty much takes the fun out of a dining experience.
The interior is drop-dead gorgeous, the wait staff is incredibly knowledgeable, and the menu is inventive and extensive. We sampled several choices, including the house-specialty 3-6-9 sliders, the cream of crab soup, the scallops entree and one of their house-specialty pizzas. The pizzas and scallops were *very* good, the sliders were OK, and the cream of crab soup was ... well, let's just say that they're not known for their cream of crab soup.
The prices really surprised me. I guess I can't blame Matchbox--they're popular, there's a line out the door, there's clearly a trendy-chic-we-moved-out-to-the-suburbs-for-you vibe going on. So the high prices fit with trendy downtown DC. I guess I'm not the glow-in-the-dark-margaritas demographic.
Service was great for taking our order. And the minute we finished a beer, the waiter was right there to ask if we needed another. But the rest of the time, service just wasn't very good. Our waiter was nowhere to be found (well, except when the beer glass was empty), and although we were doing that neck-craning thing nobody else came to our rescue. Definitely not a team-service concept--they went and tracked our waiter down when we stopped someone to ask.
And I suppose the call-ahead-seating process needs to be counted as part of the overall service. It was incredibly frustrating to be told to be there at one time, and then when you show up you get told it'll be a half-hour after that, and then discover that the half-hour surprise wait has turned into a full hour surprise wait--especially as you see other people getting seated before you.
So what we got was the trendy DC vibe at every turn--great food, high prices, long wait, and not-my-table service. I would *love* to go back for the food. But standing for an hour? When they told us to be there at a particular time? Again, not my demographic.
Hints? I notice that the web site now says they take reservations. But when I click on it, nothing happens. When we went, they were pretty emphatic about the no reservations policy, so the web site matches that policy. But who knows--maybe if you call 'em on the phone they'll take reservations now. If you don't have a reservation, and you see a line of people at the door--turn around. There are a zillion other great places to eat in that Mosaic walking neighborhood.
Hope this helps.
If you own or manage Matchbox, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.