I met a friend last night at Bar Pilar, a cozy spot just off 14th Street in the U Street neighborhood. The ambiance is somewhat relaxed when it isn't crazy crowded, and the bar is long and made of dark wood and there is a kitschy, nautical theme throughout the venue. Owned by the folks who own Cafe Saint Ex down the street, the menu features a variety of small plates featuring fresh, local ingredients and not too much in the way of sauces and spreads. Examples include Sauteed Arugula with anchovy, lemon, red onion, Beet Carpaccio with goat cheese, mint, pine nuts, Fava Beans with pecorino and mint, Seared King Salmon with basil puree and Smoked Pouisson Breast with fennel and orange zest. I enjoy the Tempranillo they offer and started with a glass of that. We decided to share a cheese plate which comes on a wooden board with the cheese and crostini as well as a very sweet and smooth apple sauce and a thick slice of quince. You can choose 3 or 5 cheeses. We did 5 - a blue, a goat (which was super creamy), a Porter cheddar, a goat/sheep/cow's milk combo and a creamy cow's milk cheese with a grape leaf running through it. My favorite was the creamy goat, which tasted lovely with a dab of the apple sauce on the thin, toasted crostini. My friend enjoyed all of the cheeses but favored the blue. At $17 I thought the amount of cheese could have been a little more, but it was a really nice selection and went very well with the Spanish Tempranillo on offering. I think next time I go back I will pair it with the Sauteed Mushrooms or perhaps one of the grilled fish options and make a meal out of it.