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  1. Recently, I had a very bad experience with a professional group dinner at Ristorante La Perla of Washington. Despite repeated attempts to address the issues during dinner, there was poor to simply inadequate service. We had pre-set menus. In theory, everything should have been seamless. However, it was miserable! Some people received salads; some people didn't. A bread basket was placed on only one side of a very large table when there should have been one bread basket on each side of a round table. Servers were surly at best and seemed as though our party was an after thought despite the fact that our dinner had been planned months in advance. Oh, and the worst of all, a guest at one of our tables was a mindful eater. Rather than ask if the guest was finished with their plate, the server picked up the guest's plate - still half full of food - and promptly placed another plate on top mashing the food down. This act prevented the guest from asking for a 'doggie bag'. The first time my organization had a group dinner at Ristorante La Perla of Washington, all aspects of the dinner from service to food were outstanding. Therefore, we made plans to return a few months later. Needless to say, we will not be booking a group dinner at Ristorante La Perla again and will definitely advise others not to think of dining there. Does anyone know if there is a problem between the FOH and the Chef/Owner? It seems as though there are signs of a major calamity in progress. The decline in service, in less than 6 months time, is stunning. There are many other options, but we like to develop a rapport with restaurants and become regular customers. The location of La Perla is very convenient, but we will travel to experience good service and food. Washington has plenty of Italian restaurants to choose from and we are giving up on this old guard restaurant. Does anyone have recommendations for Italian restaurants in DC where group dining is a wonderful experience? Thanks for all recommendations.
  2. I was a bit surprised to see that there were no posts on this restaurant, as Fabio has historically been a figure that has sparked conversation on DR. My wife and I went last night to a mostly full restaurant that is styled very similarly to Fiola Mare, although this space is much larger than Fabio's place on the Georgetown waterfront. Our first observation is that there are a lot of people working on the floor at Del Mar. Including the 2 women working at the host stand, we interacted with 6 different people in our first 2 minutes after being seated. Some people find this style of service attentive; my wife and I feel smothered. My feeling is that if I haven't even opened my menu, any question other than the type of water that I would like is premature. Especially questions about wine from the sommelier before I have been given a wine list, but I digress. After the service staff dispersed, I delved into the menu, which was organized by rather short sections of 3-5 dishes by different types of raw and cold dishes, hot dishes/appetizers, mains, and plates to be shared. We kicked things off with 6 oysters from New Jersey that were described as "briny and succulent", which is right up my alley. Unfortunately, while the oysters were succulent, I would definitely not describe them as briny, as they were a bit flat and not woken up by the Escabeche Vinaigrette. Another sauce was also delivered with the oysters, described as an "aioli", which was interesting as I have never heard of anyone having a mayo-like dip with oysters. This sounded awful to me, but my curiosity was piqued, so I tried it to make sure I wasn't missing anything with one of my oysters, and it was just as poorly paired and bad as it sounds. I'm assuming the inclusion was a mistake, as I can't imagine anyone liking what I tried last night. Shame on me for not using my better judgment, I guess. From there we went to hot appetizers, where we chose the Sopa de Castana y Cangrejo and the Scallops, Sea Urchin, and Black Truffles. The soup was far and away the best dish of the night, exactly what we were looking for on a cold night. It felt vintage-Trabocchi, very rich and flavorful, extracting flavors from ingredients and appropriate spicing to deliver a rich, well-balanced dish. We wanted seconds. The scallops were also nice, well paired with the vibrant sea urchin, but this would have been a better warm weather dish as it was very cold and very light. For our main, we got the Arroz Negro de Calamares en su Tinta. I should note here that we have had paella and arroz negro many times on trips to Spain and at restaurants in the US. We have had a couple versions that we really liked, but we often feel underwhelmed by these types of dishes. Maybe we don't love paella (or Spanish food in general)? I'm not sure, but I figure that I would point this out before saying that we were massively disappointed in this dish. It came out and was plated well by our waiter into large portions along with a side of lemon and, yet again, aioli. I asked the waiter about the aioli, to see if there was a particular way to eat the arroz with it as I have never seen it presented this way. He said that it was how "everybody" ate the dish, which confused me because I have had paella in Mallorca and Barcelona and have never seen it come with any sort of mayo substance. Is this normal? Again, I took the bait and put a dab of it on the side of my plate, dipping a bit of calamari and black rice in to take a taste. No. I can't believe that "everybody" eats this dish this way, as it became gooey and added nothing to the flavor palate. I ignored it for the rest of the meal, but again I must not be getting it, because I found the arroz to be bland and rather uninteresting, even with a copious amount of lemon squirted on top. Also, the calamari was somehow grilled and very chewy on the outside, but slimy and wet on the inside, combining both ways that I don't like my calamari cooked into one bite somehow. We were starving, but both of us still left a lot on our plates, as this just did not work for us on so many levels. We were a bit disheartened after the arroz negro, so we decided to pass on dessert and get the bill. For 2 glasses of Cava Brut, a middle of the road bottle of Ribeiro ($65), and the food listed above, the bill came to $232 after tax. I had to look twice, as this was more money than we had spent on any meal since our last visit to Komi, and far from extravagant or particularly satisfying food. At this price point, I can't possibly see us coming back here, but again maybe we just don't like this style of cuisine or we could have ordered better (cold crudo on a 40 degree night, yes that's my bad). I'll be interested to see how this place does over the years, as it really is huge, very expensive, and in the hot new high-rent district of DC.
  3. So I'm sitting at Teatro Goldoni the other evening, watching someone eat the largest cheeseburger I've ever seen, and in walk couple-about-town Fellato Riminovich and Putana Harlotski. They ordered some bruschetta, wolfed it down hungrily, blew some air kisses, and then disappeared into the night. And I thought about a conversation I once had. "You're too much of a foodie," my friend once told me, shortly before heading to her shift at Cafe Milano. "I am not," I protested. "I just don't like things that suck." "Cafe Milano doesn't suck." "It does suck." "You need to understand: bars and restaurants aren't always about food." "How can a restaurant not be about food?" "It's no Tosca, but people enjoy it." "People enjoy Cheesecake Factory too." <glare> "Look: the customers at Cafe Milano might not know anything about food, but they know what they like." And I sat there, blinking. Then I came back into the moment, my thoughts turning toward the pizza in front of me at Teatro Goldoni, the uneaten pizza, the undercooked piece of dough with harsh dried herbs sprayed on top of it, seemingly from a firehose, and wondering to myself if I should just try and enjoy the pizza for what it was. And then I left and went to Palena.
  4. The return of Eric Ziebold The short version - two dining rooms. Kinship will be a more casual mix and match menu concept with four different menus focusing on four different concept - ingredients, craft, history and decadence. 80 seats. The yet unnamed second space will be in the basement. A "jewel box" salon for fine dining $150 (or so) tasting menu format. 36 seats, dinner only. Parker House Rolls? A chef's gotta have some secrets. No doubt a lot more will be forthcoming in the months to come. 1015 Seventh St. NW
  5. The new name of the new fine dining restaurant from Aaron Silverman will be Pineapple and Pearls: "Rose's Luxury's Sister Restaurant Has a Name: 'Pineapple and Pearls'" by Jessica Sidman on washingtoncitypaper.com Café/coffee/sandwich shop in the mornings and fine dining (with reservations accepted!) in the evenings. They're only going to be open 4 nights a week and no weekends. A very bare bones website is up too: PineappleAndPearls.com
  6. Anyone been yet? I know they are only open for lunch so far, but the initial buzz seems quite good. I was never in doubt of course, but I think this could be something really special. We have ressies for the middle of next month for dinner, so I will be sure to report back but just curious to see if anyone has been there yet. Also....thoughts on parking? Mirabelle
  7. My husband and I were recently in Houston and made our second trip to Da Marco with his parents. This is exceptional non-traditional Italian. I started with the artichoke alla giudia, a whole roasted artichoke. I was a little surprised because basically its presented whole, with a sweet sauce (maybe pineapple? its been a while). I think I would have preferred a more savory sauce. My husband had the very tasty mozzarella di bufala with roasted cherry tomatoes, drizzled with a wonderful extra virgin olive oil. My father-in-law had the oyster special, basically a plate of three oysters, which he said he wasn't the best he's ever had, since it was kind of late in year for Houston. We also split an order of corn ravioli served with bits of lobster on the side. The ravioli was good, but quite frankly, I think I would have preferred a lobster-stuffed ravioli. For our entrees, my mother-in-law chose the garganelli mmmmmm. I can't remember what it was, unfortunately, but she enjoyed it very much. My husband and his dad split the 48 oz porterhouse, which they loved (I think they actually got this a previous time). I got the chianti-braised short ribs with gremolata. At the first bite, I swooned. And I finished it all, without sharing. Well, maybe my husband stole a few bites, but I didn't really offer any. We also had a side of polenta for the table. Very rich and creamy. We were too full to have dessert, but they looked delicious. Da Marco only serves wine, no hard alcohol or even beer as far I could discern. We split two bottles of wine, both in the $50 range. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone visiting Houston.
  8. RW Update: Last night had a great dinner at 1789 -- scallop ceviche "margarita," mussels, softshells, and more scallops for the lady as an entree. I told the waiter it was her birthday (which it was -- thank you, RW gods!), and her dessert (warm choco cake with the mintiest mint choco chip ice cream you'll ever have the fortune to come across) arrived with a candle and a birthday card from the staff. Lunch at Oceanaire yesterday -- Surprise! The RW menu is dinner only (damn you, RW gods!). I just don't get the appeal of this place, unless you like feeling like you're on a loud, overcrowded ship -- if I need seafood again and can't make it to O'Learys in Annapolis, I'm heading to Kinkead's. Strike one: the oyster po' boy looked like a package of van de camps fish nuggets dumped onto two giant pieces of puffy bread. Strike two: the following conversation -- Me: "Where do you get your crab meat from?" Waiter: [eyes dart side to side, shuffles a bit...] "They're a Chesapeake Bay Style crab cake, one of our most popular choices." Lady: "They're huge! And full of meat." Me: "Yes, but where do you get the crabs?" Waiter: "We get them from Philips; they provide most of the crabmeat in the region." Me: "Which is from Indonesia." Waiter: "Yes, but it's a very large crabcake." (Fortunately, the waiter went back to the kitchen to check and that day for some reason they had Marlyand blue crab.) Strike three: I still didn't like the crabcake. Too much breadcrumbs and parsley edging out the crab. With such a fat stomach and thin wallet, I decided to cancel my lunch at Vidalia tomorrow and go back to Breadline for the heirloom tomato salad and some chocolate + marscapone cookies, at half the price of a RW lunch (and no tips!).
  9. I went for lunch today (Sushi Day!). The yellowtail was flavorful and buttery. The temaki was amazing, it seemed to surpass the regular rolls. The rice on the nigiri was great and held together very well. I don't know if it was a result of the other people in my party being regulars, but the cuts were on the thicker side. The salmon and the toro were solid. I've had better spider roll elsewhere.
  10. I guess you could call it hallowed ground, that space at 239 West Broadway, where some 30 years ago Drew Nieporent, along with a youthful (weren't we all?) David Bouley, opened Montrachet, their ode to fine French cuisine and, of course, fine wine. At the time, I was living in the San Francisco Bay area, toiling away in Silicon Valley, barbecuing and grilling in my backyard, and heading to Jeremiah Tower's Stars and Berkeley's gourmet ghetto whenever I got the chance. Montrachet had a fine run, followed in the same space by Corton, with its esteemed chef Paul Liebrandt. When PL left (after 5 years) to open The Elm in Williamsburg last summer, Nieporent was cagey about what would happen next with this space that has been a destination for 30 years. Fast forward to May, 2014 and now we know; happily, Significant Eater and I got a taste of it this past weekend. Along with co-conspirators John Winterman (late of Daniel) and Chef Markus Glocker (late of Gordon Ramsey at The London), Drew and the rest of his team appear to have another winner on their hands. My wet Plymouth Martini was well made and served in a beautiful (though unchilled) glass - I hope the $17 tariff will cover breakage, and Sig Eater's Aviation was just right. Menus are offered in 2, 3 or 4 courses... And surprise, surprise...this kitchen can actually figure out how to parse your order, unlike (too) many places that open these days, where the dishes come out of the kitchen when they're ready, not you. You want 3 savory courses? No problem. One of you wants to order 3 courses and one wants 4? They can do that - I know because that's what we did; they handled it well, but then again these guys are pros. Sig Eater's first course was the English pea soup... Simple, right? And just about perfect; the creamy texture of the soup makes those crispy, organ-y sweetbreads even better. Tiny pea tendrils and a salsify crumble add bite and crunch. Lobster and asparagus make a fine combo, no? Indeed, here they do, with the chunks of delicate lobster accompanied by stuffed zucchini blossoms and an expertly fried quail egg. The kitchen was kind enough (and once again, pro enough) to split my second savory onto two plates, so we didn't have to battle each other for that last spoonful of the insanely rich Parmesan risotto. Beware - if you order and eat a whole portion of this, your appetite will wane, even with the nettles, ramps and sunchokes doing their best to help ward off the gout. Sig Eater decided to have beef for her main course... The tender strip was fine, but the braised cheek really brought the beef. Served with a cauliflower puree, baumkuchen (go ahead, look it up), and Romanesco, this ought to satisfy one's cow craving for a while. And my main? Rabbit, "Flavors of Bouillabaisse," of course. I had already heard about how good the rabbit was, but I still was knocked out by the tenderness of the bunny. And the fabulous saffron ravioli didn't hurt either. Take a look at the little ribs served along with the chunks of rabbit... Just a fabulous dish. Dessert, or rather cheese, beckoned, and we shared our order of Époisses, because eating a whole order would have been, well, decadent. And then, since the kitchen was out of the Key Lime pie, we were comped the Black Forest, which satisfied Sig Eater's chocolate craving (for the night, at least). I ordered the poached stone fruits, which was fine to counter my guilt for eating like a pig, though you'd really have to convince me to order lemon thyme ice cream if any other flavors are available. And what to drink with all this food? Well, I'm a wine neophyte, but the by the glass list seems to go along with a broad swath of the menu... A pet peeve? Sure. When I asked which wine might go nicely with the lobster, I was poured the most expensive glass of white, and then again with my rabbit. And when Sig Eater asked the same question about her beef, you got it - the most expensive red got poured. And then the 2nd most expensive red for a second glass. So be aware - our wine bill was $111, and the 2 cocktails added another $31. It's not a complaint, just a pet peeve - and a caveat emptor - because I could've just as easily ordered a glass by name. I did that with the risotto course, and enjoyed my choice of the New York Riesling with the rich rice. As I've mentioned in some previous blog posts, Sig Eater and I are celebrating some big-deal birthdays this year, and we're treating ourselves well. But even if it wasn't a big birthday year, we'll happily return to Bátard. For a one-week old restaurant, and a first visit, the food and service were fine indeed. Bátard 239 West Broadway, NYC (212) 219-2777
  11. Tapas are also very good at Taberna del Alabardero. I was there a few nights ago again. The tapas still stand strong, although they aren't much better than Jaleo's and cost slightly more per plate (unless you get there for half price tapas between 3 and 5 p.m. weekdays, I think). The wine by the glass and the sangria were outstanding values (and not many over $10 a glass).
  12. A'ight kids, put yer reading caps on Friday was our 7th wedding anniversary. That means its been 7 years since some generous friends took us to a meal at the Inn at Little Washington as a wedding present. Our gustatory urges had been slowly awakening over the previous year, driven in part by our release from the penury of graduate school into gainful employment, and we had wined and dined ourselves at Obelisk, Cashions and DC Coast to name but a few. Fine restaurants all. But "The Inn" was the big kahuna. Remember that in DC in 1998, there was no Maestro, no Laboratorio, no CityZen, no Eve, a reminder of how spoiled we are for fine dining options now (I think Citronelle was there but for some inexplicable reason we have yet to dine there). The passage of time, the loss of brain cells and a couple of years of sleep deprivation have taken their toll, and memories of the meal are hazy, but we remember literally being *blown away* by the whole experience. The setting, the service, and most importantly the food were all superlative - we had never experienced anything like it - I remember a sublime molten Valrhona chocolate cake before it had become a tired cliche. Two years later we returned, flush with the proceeds of a Harry Potter arbitrage scheme on eBay, and left wondering whether The Inn had changed or had we changed. Were our expectations too high after our first visit? Had we become more discerning as diners? Or was The Inn standing in place, content to serve a menu eerily similar to two years beforehand to those willing (and there were still many of them) to make the two hour trek from metropolitan DC, or even further afield? Some of the dishes were very good, but lacked the wow factor of our previous visit, and the service seemed a little detached and rote. As we left, the prevailing sense was that for $120+ per person BEFORE wine, tax or tip was it just wasn't good enough. Based on the comments on several other food sites it seemed as if we were not alone in this opinion. Time passed and we concentrated our fine dining adventures closer to DC, enjoying spectacular meals at Maestro, Laboratorio, and Eve, or overseas (Arzak, McNean Bistro). Last Christmas, my sister, remembering our raves from our first visit generously gave us a gift certificate for The Inn. While grateful for the gift, we honestly were not that jazzed about going back to The Inn and sat on the gift cert for a while (and in the "We do it because we can" category, shame on The Inn for voiding gift certs after ONE year). We finally decided to go in late-September and turn it into an anniversary celebration both for us, and my parents who would be visiting. My mother has a garlic allergy which can make dining out a difficult process so I mentioned it as I made reservations, and was assured it would not be a problem. Then the day of the meal, our babysitting fell through and I called The Inn to find out if it would be ok to add a 4-year old to our reservation. Again, they said it was not a problem (to be honest I was surprised at this, as an ultra high-end restauranteur, adding a 4 year old into a dining room full of boomers spending $200+ per person seems to have lots of downside). We arrived just in time for our 6.30 reservation and were shown to a circular table overlooking the courtyard (the same table as our first time there, maybe a coincidence, maybe not). Our amuse bouche arrived quickly, with about 8 for the non-garlic allergites (is that a word?) on one place and 3 or 4 on a separate plate for my mother which I thought was a nice touch. The amuse bouche included a mini-BLT (still on the menu after all these years) a red wine risotto filled ball, parmesan crisps, a rabbit turnover, a mini-ham sandwich and one or two others which I have forgotten. In general the amuse were good but not earth shattering. In ordering for the rest of our meal, our waiter took scrupulous care in accommodating the garlic allergy, to the extend of tweaking the making and presentation of dishes to ensure there would be no garlic but that my mother could still order just about whatever she wanted. I was very impressed. After the amuse came a complimentary cup of chilled watermelon soup with a hint of tequila. The soup was excellent - creamy, yet light, tasting of summer, and with the tequila giving its just the slightest kick. They even brought a cup of the soup (minus the tequila!) for our daughter, which she loved. For the first course proper, me and my mother had Prawns and Charred Onions with Mango Mint Salsa, while my wife and dad had Maryland Crabcakes Sandwiched between Fried Green Tomatoes with Silver Queen Corn Salsa. In general both dishes were excellent, but I think the prawns shaded it. Three large, succulent prawns paired nicely with the sweetness of the charred onion and the salsa. In another nice touch, they brought our daughter some macaroni (penne pasta to be precise) and cheese between our first and second courses so we could concentrate on feeding her and still be able to eat ourselves. This was seriously tasty and I'm guessing they used several different cheeses in its preparation. For the second course, I had A Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Homemad Quince Preserves, my mom had a Morel Dusted Diver Scallop on a Cauliflower Puree, my wife had A Fricassee of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts, and my dad had A Warm Salad of Stone Church Farms Seared Duck Breast with Baby Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan. In general, I adore foie gras and ordered this dish mainly for the seared foie with aged balsamic and it did not disappoint, but was pleasantly surprised at the "Cold" part of the dish, which was a delicious pate served with a small piece of toasted bread. For our main course, myself and my dad Medallions of Rabbit Loin Wrapped in House Cured Pancetta Surrounding a Lilliputian (!!) Rabbit Rib Roast Resting on a Pillow of Pea Puree, my mom had Prime Angus Tenderloin of Beef on Silver Queen Corn Saute with Wilted Baby Spinach, and my wife had Sesame-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Silver Queen Corn Succotash. I don't think I'd really eaten rabbit before and it was excellent. The pancetta added a good deal of flavor and it was surprisingly tender. The sea bass was also good, and the corn succotash was very flavorful. For dessert I had cheese, my wife had a trio of chocolate desserts (Black Forest Mousee Bombe, Chocolate Creme Brulee, and Bitter Chocolate Souffle), my father had the "Seven Deadly Sins", and my mother had a trio of peach desserts (Peach Melba, Peach-Champagne Sorbet and Peach Cobbler). In general I thought the desserts were good but not outstanding, although I think I was more in the mood for savory than sweet that night. Our daughter had a scoop of mint ice cream (that was as good as 2 Amy's and that's saying something) with chocolate ribbons. At The Inn, the cheese is served from the back of "Faira", a wheeled cow that must be (somewhat arkwardly) manouevered around the dining room - its cute, kind-of, but let me tell you when you're a 4-year old nearing the end of a 3 hour meal and its an hour after your normal bedtime, it's the coolest thing in the world! I had a nice back and forth with the cheese guy (earning a "you know your cheese" by the end of it all), and ended up picking a Montenbro, a crumbly blue from the Asturias region of Spain, a wonderfully ripe Tallegio, an even more wonderfully ripe Epoisses, a pungent cheese from Switzerland whose name escapes me and an award-winning American cheese that, much to my chagrin, I had never heard of. Now we were really starting to wind down, and Reinhardt Lynch came by and asked if we wanted the doors opening out onto the courtyard to be opened. Again, a great idea for a rapidly tiring 4-year old, and while we enjoyed coffee, tea and cookies, we took turns peering into the courtyards coy-filled ponds with her - several other tables were enjoying their desserts outside. After dinner, we had a quick tour of the kitchen and observed those willing to pony up the addition $300 ($450 on weekends) for the chef's table, exchanged pleasantries with Chef O'Connell (always easy when you have a cute kid), and made our way into the night air for the drive back to DC. Total bill for 4 people, a nice but inexpensive bottle Pinot, and a "kids meal" plus tax and tip was $775. The regular menu is $128 per person, our wine was $60, and our daughters meal was $28 (note that the tasting menu is $168 and the tasting menu with wine pairings is $243!!). We tipped 20% on the total bill including tax because the service was exemplary. Neil is a true professional, always there when we needed him, sensitive to the particular demands of our table, friendly, and good with our daughter. So, was it worth it? I would have to say yes. Its not the kind of place where you should go all the time, and it may not even be the place where you go for groundbreaking cuisine, but for a special occasion, the combination of ambience, service and food is hard to beat. I think they deserve credit for regaining their focus and maintaining a general level of excellence as they enter their 28th year in business. A final note on our superstar daughter. Yes, she's used to being taken out to restaurants, but she excelled herself this time around. By the end of the night, complete strangers were coming up to talk to her, clearly awed but her ability not to ruin their evenings! A final, FINAL note on the one teeny-tiny sour note for the evening. A young female member of staff loudly chastised my wife for reading one of Patrick O'Connells cookbooks that had apparently been already purchased by someone else but left on a table in the common area directly outside the kitchen. Honey, she wasn't trying to steal it, she didn't know it belonged to someone else, and your tone was not appreciated.
  13. Just wanted to get myself going. And what better way, than to sing the praises of my favorite spot. Thanks to Tom and his crew for a mgnificent evening of food and drink for our Rocks roast. That mushroom and crab(?) soup just added to my assertion that Chef Tom has the magic touch when it comes to that course. The steak was out of this world good. Someone mentioned elsewhere that it was in the same league as Ray's, and I agree. Spring rolls, Kit Kat bars and ice cream -- all excellent. But of course the piece de resistance was the company.
  14. Stable, corporate environment - $70K range - write me if you're interested. Rocks
  15. I had the great pleasure of dining at Cyrus last week. Based on my experience, I'd say this is a well-deserved recognition, as is Chef Keane's place on Food and Wine's 2006 Best New Chef's list. (will post details about the meal and others in the Napa, or maybe a new Russian River Valley, thread soon.)
  16. I did not see a thread for Craft (itself). Wow. I wonder why?!! Been twice and loved both times. Really good food, really good service both times. Great space. I will have to try to dig up photos (I think I have some from both times).
  17. The best-kept secret in town, but not for long - unconfirmed opening date is August 25th, with a soft opening before that. I'll let others fill in the details, but this sounds like a fairly ambitious effort. At the Jefferson Hotel on 16th and M Streets: Plume. Here is a press release from March. Cheers, Rocks.
  18. My wife and I live in the Washington DC area, but her family lives in Philadelphia. We were visiting over the Passover/Easter weekend and because we were staying in Chestnut Hill, decided to try Mica, a small BYOB restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. We are used to fine dining and to be honest, found that Mica could hold its own with some of the best here in DC Chef driven, the restaurant only has about 32 seats. The services was superb, and the food outstanding. We started with a smoked trout salad with marinated fennel that was described as "a taste", but actually a small appetizer. Next came Albacore Tuna Tartar with smoked jalapeno and carrots and a house salad. We shared all three. My wife ordered the arctic char and declared that it melted in her mouth. The vegs that came with it were perfectly cooked and were so flavorful that she wondered if she could order just a dish of them next time. I had the roasted sirloin of beef with smoked potatoes. Cooked perfectly (rare side of medium rare) and the potatoes were so good that I asked how they were done. (Boiled, smoked, fried, then dried) Dessert was a chocolate mousse with caramel and sea salt and a sour cream pana cotta. I brought a 2013 Radio Coteau Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir with me and it went perfectly with the meal. And the glassware was perfect (not the cheap jellyglass stuff many BYOs give you) We enjoyed our meal so much that I have already made a reservation for when we are back in Phila next week to visit her parents.
  19. I had a wonderful dinner yesterday evening with a couple of other Rockweilers at Marcel's. I don't know whether to begin with the food or the service or the ambiance. All were impeccable. We dined in the bar area so I can't comment on what the regular dining room is like. The bar area is light and airy with high ceilings and a glass front that looks out onto Penn. Ave. The decor is traditional yet modern. The package puts you at ease as you either sit at the bar or one of the tables in the bar area. The service was unobtrusive, professional and efficient, not a single mistake that I noticed. When it became apparent that the 3 of us sitting at the bar intended to dine, they asked us if we would like a table. When we gave an affirmative response, we were escorted to a nearby table and our drinks transported without the bat or roll of an eye. One of our party brought a couple bottles of wine and they were promptly taken away for chilling. The efficient food and wine service were so unobtrusive and efficient as to be almost invisible. I give the service an "A." I only perused the wines by the glass list and we had wine that one of our party brought so I can't comment on the wine list. I had a white burgundy and it was exactly as it should be. The food also was excellent. I started off with the boudin blanc, which apparently is their "signature" dish. The sausage came out with a perfectly browned skin, the crispiness of which contrasted nicely with the almost flan-like texture of the inside which had a light, delicate flavor. It sat atop a pool of what this morning I recall to be polenta. The whole thing was drizzled with some really good sauce. "A" For the entrée, I had the fillet of black sea bass with ratatouille. Damn, was this good. I ordered it primarily because of the ratatouille and because the others had already ordered what I thought was all the good stuff. The fish came out perfectly cooked and atop some pommes mouselline with the ratatouille around the sides of the plate. The mildness of the fish was offset by the tanginess of the ratatouille. "A" For dessert, I had the cheese course. The only thing I can recall was this one cheese that had so much flavor that I think my taste buds were out of commission for about 10 minutes. One bite of it was all I could handle. It was a real stinker. I give the cheese course a "B." The others had "regular"dessert which I now believe are the way to go. They have a soufflé dessert that takes about 20 minutes; if you are interested, put in your order when your entrée arrives (their failure to tell us about this might constitute a "mistake" by the service). Between the entrées and the desserts the "habitué" came over and sat down and chatted with us for a while. Altogether, an "A+" evening. This restaurant belongs on what has been described as the "short list," along with places such as Eve, Palena, Corduroy, Ray's and Firefly. I don't think it would be possible to have a mediocre dining experience at this establishment.
  20. Métier will be the higher-end tasting menu format restaurant. 30 seats, $150-ish. Parker House rolls TBD. The Ziebolds are shooting for a December opening for both of their restaurants, which will be in the same building...but you know how that goes. "Métier is the Name of Eric Ziebold's New Luxury Dining Room" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com
  21. Congratulations to Chef Corey Lee for winning the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef - West.
  22. i searched and to no avail, much to my chagrinning consternation. or perhaps my grasp of operating machinery lacks something, a certain finesse, predictedly ending in, how the french say, a certain cul de sac. enough of this tomfoolery. if for no other reason, go to tosca and order the tomato marmelade tart with ricotta basil gelato and basil syrup. the disc of pastry, baked to a golden hue recalling the skin tones of the snug decaying descendents of aristocrats who play their life away beneath the long dead still mediterreanean sun in nice and monaco, crackles at the slightest pressure, as your fork oozes through the tranquil carmine pond of tomato marmelade, marmelade whose very flavor completely obfuscates the taste buds: it is sweet, yes, but not sugar sweet, but still not raw sliced tomate sweet and anything but acidic; the verdant quenelle of gelato haunts with ricotta's fresh whey-ness yet tempers the aggressive and volatile source of this faintly sweet soft emerald gem, the basil. it is like no dessert and yet, it is the apotheosis of simple desserts: seasonal fruit tart, with an appropiate accoutrementing creaminess. ive not had my fix this year and this changes. this changes tonight. you owe it to yourself to have this dessert. really you do.
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