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  1. Had to start a thread on the wonderful world of Komi! ------------------------------------------------------------------ A group of us went out for the tasting menu last night along with the wine pairing. While things started off a little slowly for some of the hungrier in the group it finished (many hours later) with a bang! Sebastian was a wonderful host, introducing each wine course with a description of the wine and why he chose it. He made some interesting and delicious choices, like a sweet moscato with the carpaccio of tuna and a hefeweizen with the charcuterie plate. I think Sebastain said we went through 7 bottles of wine, but we were certainly not counting! Highlights for me included the crackers that so many have talked about. The marinated fluke, an amuse, that was a refreshing bite served on a spoon. The housemade charcuterie (who knew head cheese could taste so good!). This came with a fennel flavored housemade mustard that was a wonderful combination. The milk poached veal tenderloin, which was served with a piece of their homemade pancetta that was absolutely amazing (Jacques Gastreaux was actaully moved when he tried it). Clearly Chef Monis is having a great time in the kitchen and it shows in his work. Here is the full menu: BARRON POINT OYSTER caviar, Greek yogurt, pomegranate vinegar MARINATED FLUKE capers, lemon, first pressed Petrinas olive oil DIVER SCALLOP fennel, olive, dates PASTRAMI OF WILD KING SALMON pinenut, red wine mustard, quail egg CELERY ROOT & MARCONA ALMOND SOUP 25 year balsamic CARPACCIO OF BLUEFIN TUNA & FOIE GRAS chive, sea salt, quince citronette HOUSEMADE CHARCUTERIE porchetta, salumi, headcheese, pate, housemade mustard SPECK WRAPPED WHITE TUNA farro, sweet-sour squash, truffled beet tzatziki CHIAN CHESTNUT PASTA braised lamb's tongue, teleggio MILK POACHED VEAL TENDERLOIN housemade pancetta, brussel sprout, apple, vincotto SELECTION OF CHEESE a selection of 10 cheeses that I wish I wrote down. FLIGHT OF DESSERTS skewer of pineapple and puff pastry, donut with chocolate marscapone cream, and devils food cake with ancho (?) chile cream COOKIES & CONFECTIONS lemon coriander, passion fruit gelee, amaretti, corn bread cookie with pomegranate cream LOLLIPOP ice tea and lemon
  2. 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
  3. I will be taking the Executive Chef role at Barrel and Crow in Bethesda. We plan to offer regional American food mostly in the the $18 to $24 range for dinner, along with a couple items in the $30 range. We are looking to be a great neighborhood restaurant for people to come to and enjoy some great comforting food and drink, at a decent price point. We are hoping to open in about 4 weeks with a little luck. I have attached a sample of the opening dinner menu, still haven't tested everything yet so there could be some small changes. Barrel and Crow Opening Dinner Menu.pdf
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. I went to Jackie's in Silver Spring for the first time for dinner and enjoyed it quite a bit. There hasn't been too much written about it for a long time on other boards so I wasn't sure what to expect, or to order. We had the soft shell crab to start, which was on the papery side of soft, and kind of puny, but tasty; and the Mini Elvis Burgers, also tasty, especially the pimento cheese spread on top, but cooked all the way through to a uniform brown. The pan fried chicken with potato salad that was the special was fabulous (and a real bargain at $12). I'm not sure whether our very friendly waiter was slow because he was so busy or because he knew we wanted time to catch up with old friends who somehow managed to have two kids, change careers and move twice while I wasn't paying attention. In any event, slow worked great for us. The rhubarb pie could have used more fruit, but a great dollop of fresh cream made up for it. I also enjoyed the Flying Dog- Doggy Style Pale Ale on tap - perfect with the fried chicken. I think it would be a great place for a MoCo-style happy hour.
  7. Ramp custard, trout roe, pickled mushroom Beef tartare, pine nuts, capers, pickled mushrooms Txakoli, Txomin Etxaniz, 2012, Spain Fluke tartare, salmon roe, radish Smoked trout, cipollini purée, pickled onions Halibut, spinach, ramps, shiitake mushrooms, mushroom broth Roasted Jerusalem artichokes, baby bok choy, cauliflower purée, almond Roasted carrots, cumin seed, pistachio Gnocchi, sweet potato chips, creamed spinach Spaghetti, squid, peas, ramps Duck breast, wheat berries, turnips Seared chicken breast, radicchio, potato purée Pinot Noir, 2011 Belle Pente, Yamhill County, Williamette Valley, Oregon Pear sorbet, pear cake, linden flower custard, caramel sauce, brown sugar meringue Blood orange panna cotta, Cara Cara orange granita, tapioca Assorted pastries Clockwise from top left: coconut white chocolate pound cake, mint chocolate "Oreo" cookie, dark chocolate cake with powdered sugar, milk with straw, chocolate chip cookie, raspberry jam cookie, gingersnap shortbread, fig rugelach. Mignardises You might say that it was a night to remember. Gramercy Tavern - Website 42 East 20th Street (Park Avenue South) Gramercy Park
  8. A colleague of mine, who is dating someone who works there, just informed me that Convivial is opening to the public tonight and their Facebook page seems to confirm this by stating that they are open at 5:30 this evening. The soft opening was this past Sunday and tonight they're ready for the public.
  9. So it seems Bonaroti might be getting something other than a Potbelly within skipping distance of it. I noticed this place taking over what used to be the storefront/restaurant of Wolftrap Catering, and it seems to have a nice concept in mind - even if the location might be lethal: Clarity Vienna Facebook Page @clarityvienna on Twitter The pedigree is certainly something to raise an eyebrow at, being owned by Jonathan Krinn, formerly of the 2941 Restaurant, and Jason Maddens, formerly of the Central Michel Richard in DC. Just from looks alone this appears to be something different from a simple Maple Ave. Restaurant clone, but there's no information on the menu or cuisine past guessing what a 'freestyle American bistro' would serve. Also, no one's posted about it yet from what I can see, so I figured I'd get the ball rolling.
  10. One Block West - A wonderful dining experience. While the service had some hiccups and the wine pairing pours were barely enough to scrape through the course, I would absolutely return and do the tasting menu again. It was $65 plus $45 for the pairings. First: salmon three ways - tartar, smoked and roe. A little over olive oily. I do not eat sushi but ate the tartar and smoked pieces nonetheless. Quite tasty. Second: drum over crisp razor thin bean slices with a sweet potato puree. OMG this was phenomenal. The whole combo just worked wonderfully. Third: Rabbit wrapped in prosciutto with feta and spinach over squash puree. Not a big feta fan, thought it was a bit overwhelming, but this was also very good. Fourth: Sausage with a sauerkraut eggroll. It really wasn't an eggroll, but it was wrapped in cabbage. (My wonderful german mother who fed us pork and saurkraut every new years day as what I thought was punishment for coming home drunk the night before would flip if she heard me say this) The saurkraut was amazing! It was not vinegary, which is how I grew up hating, I mean eating, it, but very sweet. Went tremendously well with the sausage. (edited to add this correct description of the dish) Fifth: Bourbon sorbet. Yum, yum, yum. Sixth: Lamb. Tender, flavorful, delicious. Seventh: Dessert. I didn't write it down, so I don't remember. I do remember eating the whole thing and being pissed b/c it was so good but I was full but I couldn't stop eating it. (edited again - clearly should have looked at the website before I wrote this. This was f-ing awesome. This place is absolutely worth the trip from DC. We stayed at the Wyndham right there in town. 2 blocks from the walking district, very convenient and only about 120 bucks. (although based on the aforementioned pairing pour sizes, I certainly would not have been nervous about driving back if it was required). I read great things about One Block West and am happy to report that the food was incredibly good. Oh, they had a person playing accoustic guitar in the dining room during dinner, which was quite nice. I wish this place was closer to home. We also walked around and stopped into the pub (Union something I think). Friendly people and staff, excellent beer selection and wines by the glass.
  11. To get this topic started: Kyirisan is at 1924 8th St. NW (between T and U). We enjoyed our first meal tonight. It is a pretty and hip space, all very stylish including decor, plates, people, etc. The menu is not huge but everything we had was good. They say it's "Chinese-French" and I guess I can see that. As you can see online, the menu is divided into three categories: basically, vegetables (though NOT all vegetarian), meat/fowl, and seafood - in each category there are smaller plates and bigger plates. "All meant for sharing," ok whatever. A shot of good rum and a shot of pickle juice - trendy and good. Fried tofu cubes in a spicy oyster sauce - yum. "Red Curry | Japanese Eggplant | Apple | Butternut Squash | Potato | Peanuts | Pea Puree" gives you a sense of the way that you are not definitely in a traditional "Asian restaurant in USA" environment - it is not a bowl of coconut milk curry but is instead an artistic composed plate of not quite enough food but beautiful and tasty. And so on. If you are a drinker and a pig like me, think in terms of $50 or so per person. Service was friendly and nice, atmosphere was friendly and nice, food was good but just realize that you are going for stylish and artistically-presented food that tastes very good, not for anything authentic to any culture other than Shaw in 2016. I like Shaw in 2016 and therefore will happily go back.
  12. We had a wonderful dinner at a new place in Winchester, eM Restaurant, which is a block off the Pedestrian Mall. It's very small, under 40 seats, with a 5 stool bar area and reminds me of the chic noveau Old Town Alexandria restaurants both in style and quality. We went on a Friday evening with an early reservation and by the time we left at 7:30 it was packed. The wait staff was attentive but not intrusive. We started with drinks...my wife had a cocktail named "Sitting by the Campfire" which was a mix of Godiva liqueur and marshmellow vodka, an incredible chocolate grahamcracker dust on the rim, and finished with flaming marshmellow that was so good she had another during dinner, a rare event. I started with an Anchor Steam beer and moved to a Samuel Smith chocolate stout for the meal...two favorite brewers of mine that I was shocked they carried. Normally we'd have wine with dinner and reviewing the list, it is a small, but smart, selection of wines designed to complement the food. The menu changes daily. We started with a cheese, sprigs, and sun dried tomato flatbread that was delicious. My wife had the vegetarian eggplant cannelloni with assorted vegetables and ricotta cheese that was a taste treat. I had the Angus filet, which was a beautiful piece of meat seared to perfection with a touch of salt and spice, then covered with a delicious reduction that enhanced the flavors. We ended the meal with a maple creme brulee that was out of this world. I tasted it the entire 40 minute trip back home. Chef Will Mason has created a masterpiece in Winchester. There aren't many places in the Valley, apart from the Inn at Little Washington, I know I'm going back to. This is one of them.
  13. 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
  14. Wanted to try someplace new on a recent trip to NYC, so this was one of the places we picked. Dovetail. There are so many places to consider trying in NYC. I am often overwhelmed with choosing so my wife usually narrows it down to 5-10 places and together we winnow it down to the place we finally choose - their menu spoke to me. We had a fun day at Die Neue Gallerie (and had had a fine, fine lunch at the restaurant there on the premises), and we were glad we had a later reservation to ease in to. I'd like to punch the taxi drive we used in the head, but that is another story. Great space. It felt very refined and elegant, without feeling too stuffy. I'm a nice jeans and nice Hawaiian shirt guy at heart, and I did not feel (completely) out of place. Nice hum to the room without being noisy. Easy to carry on a conversation. They have some prix fix options (3-4 courses), a tasting menu, and things like pre-theater and a la carte dining at the bar. We went for the 4-course option where we could pick and choose. After a small flurry of amuses (oysters, then some fried things (tine risotto balls? and I think tiny...what, almost like micro egg rolls but so much better), we dipped in to their fluke crudo (fluke crudo, morels, dill cream, fava beans) and white asparagus (white asparagus, prosciutto di parma, sage, orange oil), both wonderful but the fluke was the standout. Then we had primarily vegetable/salad courses next. Warmed avocado, summer truffles, rye, rocket arugula, was stunning. And the Spring green ravioli, asparagus, black trumpet mushrooms, nutmeg was wonderful. Very hard to choose a winner between these two. You'd be right to order both. Entrees were quite good as well. Beef tenderloin, green garbanzos, chanterelle mushrooms, pickled ramps is what they have listed on their menu now, but the preparation I had involved no ramps, but wilted/seared greens and I think morels. My wife had the Halibut confit, english peas, shishito peppers, clam nage though I also think it was slightly varied as I do not remember the peppers in her dish (and I forgot to take a photo of it!). Both were great, but a minor step down from the prior course. For dessert, we had these two - Macerated strawberries, vanilla panna cotta, lemon sorbet, crystallized violet and Rhubarb pavlova, hibiscus cream, pink peppercorns - the first being particularly inventive in its preparation and plating. The crystalized violet was essentially the thinnest meringue you could ever make shaped in to a cup/dome that was then dropped on top of the strawberries and other gooieds - hiding everything inside until you cracked in to it. So good, and not too sweet at all. Perfection. The Rhubarb pavlova was quite fine as I recall (missed the phot again!), but was a notch down from the other dessert. We ultimately also got more petit fours to take back to the hotel with us. Good wine list, good service, great space, great pacing and a good time. I'd absolutely go back. I'll append photos when I have time to upload them and link to them here from there. Now, what is really funny is this - despite it being an excellent meal and being largely sated, there was a Shake Shack literally right around the corner from Dovetail. We were just going to hail a cab back to the hotel, but we'd talked over dinner about how much my wife raved about the chicken sandwich she'd had at the DC outpost of Shake Shack. We popped in to split one of those so I could wee what the fuss was about. SO GOOD! Get one! And yes, that kind of put me over the top. OOOOOOFA. Pictures
  15. My sister-in-law, a denizen of Cleveland Park, asked me if I had heard anything about a new place called Ripple in the old Aroma space in Cleveland Park. She said the posted menu looks interesting. Metrocurean has the scoop. A bit surprised that this seems to have gone unnoticed on dr.com given the pedigrees of the team behind it. Anybody go on a scouting trip this past weekend? [ETA: oops--looks like the tag line got cut off in the title of the thread; should be "from our back yard." I assume Don will change the title of the thread anyway. ]
  16. Strolling through town on the way to Jaleo last night I came across this place called Proof. The text on the papered-up windows stated that it is a wine-centric restaurant. Anyone have any information on this place?
  17. I find it hard to believe that this topic hadn't already been created, so if so please move this. I looked and couldn't find anything. We had dinner last night at Hazel and absolutely loved it. We arrived around 7 pm and were able to grab seats at the bar. The bartender provided fantastic service, and was extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu, cocktails, wine and food. The cocktail, wine and beer lists all show a great deal of care, with very interesting choices available. Both my wife and I enjoyed our cocktails very much. I went with the Power Play, which featured a barrel aged gin, montenegro amaro, paw paw vinegar and lime juice. Delicious and interesting. We initially ordered the Barbecue Carrots (fennel kraut, hazelnuts, buttermilk); the Hamachi Crudo (crispy rice, black lime, radish, hibuscus, smoked yogurt); the Octopus a la Plancha (roof top basil, shaved carrot & fennel salad, nuoc cham); and the Gnocchi Bokki (pork kimchi ragu, sesame seeds, smoked pecorino). Our bartender suggested that we probably needed one additional dish, and at his suggestion we ordered the Steak Tartare (tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, carmelized onion dip). He was 100% correct, and this was the exact right amount of food. First off, we loved everything, and will absolutely return. It's location directly across the street from the 930 Club immediately makes this our pre-show destination for the foreseeable future. Our two favorites, by far, were the Barbecued Carrots and the Gnocchi Bokki. The carrots were incredible. They cold smoke them, and then roast them with cumin, smoked paprika and a bunch of other spices I can't remember. The hazelnuts provide a great textural element, and the fennel kraut gives it some fantastic acidity. It was wonderful. And the gnocchi was just delicious. We will be back.
  18. I have a kind offer from my future mother-in-law for dinner anywhere in DC for my birthday. She keeps pushing for Nora, but I haven't heard much buzz about it recently. I was hoping to finally get to Kaz or Sushi-Ko, but perhaps I'd be missing out by not trying one of her favorites. I may also be missing out on the political points I'd score by letting her have her way. Has anyone been recently? How was it?
  19. Vermilion hosts a wine dinner each month - typically the first Monday of the month - however August will be a bit different. The restaurant is serving up a five course dinner paired with various beers from Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. Cost is reasonable at $60 inclusive of tax and tip. Menu Passed Appetizers and Tasting Crab Cigars, Curry Russian Dressing Goat Cheese Profiterole with Basil and Mint Grilled Bison Hanging Tenderloin Crostini, Horseradish Cream Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale First Course Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Gorgonzola, Microgreens Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale Second Course Arugula and Brie Cheese Salad, Dried Apricots, Pumpkin Seeds, Celery Root and Champagne Vinaigrette Dogfish Head Aprihop Third Course Baked Maryland Rockfish, Fingerling Potatoes, Wild Mushrooms, Green Beans, Rosemary Cream Sauce Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Fourth Course Grilled Bistro Filet Marinated in Chicory Stout, Orange and Soy, Grilled Summer Squash, Shitake Mushroom Glaze Dogfish Head Chicory Stout Final Course Assorted Truffles and Chocolates Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 703.684.9669. These events typically fill up pretty quickly, so get in early! Cheers!
  20. Since moving to Houston, I've been on a mission to find my new place. I'm the kind of creature of habit that needs a local, a home base. In New York, the dearly departed Redhead, and (also dearly departed) Northern Spy filled that role, and in DC, Boundary Road did the heavy lifting. While it may be a tad premature to say after only one visit, Nobie's is looking the part here in Clutch City. Nobie's is named for the chef's grandmother, and radiates a warm, familiar feel from the very beginning. I think the comforting confines of the former Au Petit Paris help, as do the beautiful vintage speakers displayed throughout, playing an eclectic mix of music off of a stash of vinyl records. It also helped that we immediately ran into an acquaintance at the bar as we walked in...a welcome occurrence when you're new to a city. The bar itself is relatively small, with a few stools, and from the looks of it, the full menu is available there. Cristina and I have a long-documented love of dining at the bar wherever we are, so I imagine we'll end up parked on those stools fairly often. We started with 2 of the 3 cocktail specials of the moment, the lightly effervescent gin-based Snow on the Pines, and the rye-based Baby it's Cold Outside (served warm, which would've been even better if it weren't 70 degrees in Houston right now). Both were excellent, and I imagine it would be tough to go wrong ordering whatever the daily cocktails happen to be. The rest of the drink list is equally well-edited and curated, with 3 interesting draft beer options, and a number of bottles and cans (big ups for Lone Pint Yellow Rose on tap). I took note of the Schlitz tallboy for $3 and $5 shot of Four Roses Yellow Label for another time/context. I miss my occasional late nights at Boundary Road with a friend or 2, winding down with a slightly superfluous Natty Boh and shot of Old Overholt. We started with a couple small plates. The Texas Tartare is a finely chopped steak tartare adapted to our lovely State's tastes with smoked jalapeño and topped with a layer of deviled egg yolk. Served with nicely toasted bread, this was a hit. The "Texas" bits were noticeable but played with a measured hand such that they didn't overtake the basic flavor profile of my beloved steak tartare. This is the kind of thing that can get super gimmicky real fast, and the skill shown with this dish is a real "tell" as to what you can expect from the kitchen here. The beer battered sweet potato tots came hot from the fryer in a bowl ringed with a whipped goat cheese. Crispy, soft, salty, cheesy. So get those. It was tough to pass up some of the other snacks on offer...the dukkah Chex mix and cool ranch chickpeas sounded great. Next time. Our salad of local citrus and fennel was the perfect foil for the richness of the tartare. Segments of grapefruit and orange mingled with paper-thin slices of fennel, bits of mint, red chili, and black sesame seeds. This is a simple salad whose execution elevated it beyond my expectations. There are a few salads on the menu, and if they all receive the care this one did, they shouldn't be missed. Moving along, we shared the Ricotta-stuffed raviolo with crispy duck confit, and the Aleppo prawns with burnt orange. The pasta is a rather robust single raviolo filled with house-made herbed ricotta and an egg yolk that covers everything beautifully once you cut into the shell. This was surrounded with irregularly sized pieces of crisped duck confit. This was a hearty dish whose richness would have been better appreciated in colder weather, but was still greedily devoured. The ricotta was light and lemony, and a nice counterpoint to the richness surrounding it. The prawns were served head-on and simply, seasoned with citrus and Aleppo pepper. These were well-cooked and delicious, though without any accompaniment on the plate, they felt a bit spare. We unfortunately skipped dessert to make it to a movie, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Nobie's hit all the right notes, from the unfussy, comfortable decor, to the friendly, unpretentious staff (none of that "Are you familiar with chef's concept crap), to the soulful, straightforward, ingredient-driven cooking. There's something for everyone here, from bar snacks and well-chosen wines by the glass, to large-format dishes like a grilled octopus and "Fred Flintstone" ribeye. My favorite joints always have that flexibility. Nobie's is a welcome and important addition to the Houston scene. Keep my seat warm guys, I'll be back soon.
  21. Had the chance to eat at The Bird recently. What a cool space -- the entire restaurant is decorated by local artists. There are four distinct parts of the restaurant themed after each of the seasons, complete with a "summer" patio outdoor space on the second floor. We both started with the Charlie Parker cocktail ($13) (rye, apple brandy, madeira, peach, pomegranate, bitters). It was fantastic and a boozy sipper. My wife and I elected to try some small plates to share, so we didn't order any of the main courses, despite being very tempted by the spicy fried chicken ($17). The triple fried Korean-style wings ($10) were topped with a soy-garlic style glaze and were fantastic. My only complaint about them is that there was so much sauce that the dish was a bit overwhelming and intense. The duck meatballs in spicy tomato curry ($9) were fantastic, and the spicy tomato curry made for a bit of a break from all the heavy fried-style food. The curry was spiced well and in a very balanced way. These came with a creamy yogurt to cool the dish down. The Hudson Valley foie gras torchon ($14) was spectacular, especially for the price. It came with walnuts, berries, and toasted bread. It's hard to go wrong with foie and fruit on toasted bread for me, and this is no exception. The flight of the egg ($9) consisted of three eggs: an organic chicken egg-pickled in tamari with gold rice, a deviled duck egg with duck fat mayo, duck pastrami, and toasted caraway, and finally a quail “scotch” egg soft poached, encased in sausage, breaded & fried. My wife's favorite was the chicken egg with gold rice - simple with a tang from the pickling; mine was the duck egg - decadent deviled eggs with some truly flavorful duck pastrami. The quail "scotch" egg was very good as well, though it's more of "fried sausage" than an egg, given the sizes of both components. We also had a side of Brussels sprouts ($7), which were a good diversion from the heaviness of the poultry dishes. Like at The Pig, their Brussels sprouts are cooked perfectly in a way I never seem to be able to at home. We finished sharing a miso caramel gelato ($3). This was just sublime. Imagine the best salted caramel ice cream or gelato you've ever had and make it a little bit more umami. The quality-to-price ratio is out of this world here. We expected this would be just enough food for us due to the plates being small, given the prices. This was not the case - this was SO MUCH FOOD. You get at least 50% more foie than you expect for $14. You wouldn't expect 6 large duck meatballs for $9. You certainly wouldn't expect a huge scoop of gelato for $3. The customer service here is truly impeccable. We arrived not terribly long before they closed, and asked if the kitchen was still open, fully expecting to leave and get some pizza or something. Our waitress checked with the manager and ushered us to a seat. We ordered quickly out of courtesy to the kitchen staff, but were told we could take as long as we like. We were so concentrated on the food that we had neglected our cocktails a bit, and our waitress asked if we didn't like them, offering to take them off the bill or have something else made. I'll definitely be returning -- very very impressed.
  22. I went to a get-together with a large group at Homestead last night (my first time eating in Petworth). We were on the top floor of 3, where there was a bar and some tables, and they handled us well (large group of various people showing up anywhere between 6 and 9 p.m.). I like the space and the host was friendly and welcoming. I only had a small taste of the menu, but it was excellent. The things I ordered aren't on the online menu at http://homesteaddc.com/starters/ because their menu changes daily, although a number of items on the online menu were on the menu last night (quail, raclette, catfish, buttermilk hot chicken, half roasted chicken, Homestead burger). A salad of berries (blueberries and strawberries), goat cheese, hazelnuts and greens was great - very fresh, interesting greens that weren't the typical "mixed greens," though I can't tell you what they were. Good goat cheese and fresh, tasty berries. Large serving, too. Grilled squid was tiny tiny whole squid (baby squid, but much smaller than baby squid I've had before, about the size of a thumbnail), with drizzles of a delicious yellow sauce that tasted of Spain (I don't recall what was in it, maybe saffron?), and bits of diced fruit (pineapple? don't recall), on top of salad greens. Not what I expected, but very good. There was a saffron soup on the menu and I was very curious but didn't end up getting it. My husband got the half roasted chicken with vegetables and he was happy with it; someone else got the burger, and I snagged a few fries, which were good. Someone else was very happy with her tuna tartare over avocado, which looked appealing. There were many interesting cocktails on the menu (drinks menu isn't online). No mocktails, but I got a nonalcoholic version of a drink that had blackberries (or maybe blueberries, can't recall), cardamom syrup, and lemon. Very nice. Followed it with a ginger beer. There's outdoor seating on the second level (maybe 8 tables) and lots of space throughout the building. I'd definitely go back.
  23. I like DC Coast (not sure why it doesn't get more coverage... maybe because of the lobbyist/expense account scene that seems to go on there). If for lunch, have the shrimp and grits. If dinner, they generally do good things with scallops, or there's the signature wok smoked lobster.
  24. Is Kevin Sbraga going to be opening an outpost of Sbraga in Washington, DC? Source: Eater Philly Eater DC is reporting that Philly Top Chef champ Kevin Sbraga is opening an outpost of Sbraga in the nation's capital. Apparently Sbraga & Co. are looking at sites in D.C. proper for the restaurant, with the hope of getting something signed before 2013 closes out. In the meantime, Sbraga is finishing up work on The Fat Ham, his ode to Southern cuisine in UCity. Read full article >>
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