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  1. Garrison has been open for just over a week now. It's a handsome restaurant with a pleasant patio space in front. The menu is vegetable-centric and apparently emphasizes seasonal produce. Mr. P and I nibbled our way through a number of vegetable side dishes/appetizers and a pasta course. Poppy seed gougères were excellent: very small and took awhile to come out, suggesting they were made to order. Gougères are as much about texture as flavor, and these were spot-on. Heirloom tomato salad was nicely composed, with a piece of burrata and mint rather than basil (a nice change of pace), and slivers of almond. Fennel gratin was straightforward but intense, the flavor punched up with a splash of Pernod. Squash blossoms with smoked provolone and Romesco sauce were outstanding, perfectly fried and not too much cheese, so the flavor of the blossoms wasn't overwhelmed. Mr. P also had the roasted cauliflower; he liked it but said it was his least-favorite dish. As I don't care for cauliflower I can't usefully describe the dish. Sweet corn tortellini was a nice summery pasta dish, buttery but not overwhelmingly so. The pasta was a tad overcooked but I'm so accustomed to that now it doesn't bother me. We also ordered two of the three desserts, a chocolate terrine and buttermilk panna cotta, which were pleasant but unremarkable. A nice way to end a meal, not too sweet, not too large, and blessedly not precious, either. Coffee was adequate. Would have liked to have half-and-half or cream with it rather than cold milk, but nope, not an option. Service was genuinely friendly and polite but somewhat lacking in a few ways that aren't worth going into, because for a place open just over a week it was impressively good.
  2. 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. ]
  3. Chef Ryan Ratino (Ripple, Masa 14, L'Auberge Provencale) has announced Bresca, opening Fall 2017 in the former first floor of Policy: Jul 12, 2017 - "Major Update about the Plans for the 1st Floor of Policy. Chef from Recently Closed Ripple To Open Bresca" on popville.com
  4. 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
  5. Since opening five years ago, Chris Shepherd's Underbelly has been a self-appointed beacon for the evolution of Houston food. The menu has a half-page thesis on why Houston is the most interesting culinary city in the country, there are dozens of celebratory links to *other* Houston restaurants on their main webpage, and Bun B is quoted on the wine list. From afar I've found the chest-beating a little too much, but I can appreciate a chef who wants to represent his city -- especially in a time where many owners are happy to replicate restaurants from other cities. And being such a vocal proponent certainly helped Shepherd win the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. But hey, what about the food? Head-on Gulf shrimp with buttermilk dill panna cotta, pickled beans ($24). Plump and sweet, this was a great showing for Gulf seafood. The panna cotta was a nice compliment. Hand-torn cornbread pieces and pickled beans were both sort of throwaways. Seared soft-shell with eggplant curry ($24). Shepherd recently made a big PR announcement about getting away from beef and pork, which meant a larger focus on seafood. Soft-shells are among my personal favorite foods, and this was a very good one. The eggplant curry was nicely done with a touch of heat; Shepherd is a fan of moderate-to-significant spice (if you're not, be aware, as it permeates the entire menu). Vinegar pie with salt brittle ($9). Previous savory dishes were not coursed (nor labeled as appetizers or entrees; guess by price) so I was rather full after two. Still curious enough to try this dessert, which I believe has been on the menu since 2012. It's not scary at all; more key lime in flavor than sour or acidic. Overall, a quality showing by Shepherd and his team. I didn't fall in love with Underbelly, but it's worth visiting for anyone who appreciates loud flavors with global influences -- basically the "Houston creole" cuisine that the restaurants trumpets.
  6. Petworth Citizen is now open! Makoto Hamamura (x-Cityzen) is the chef. Kristy Green (x-Firefly) is the bar manager. Nick Pimentel (Room 11) did the design. 829 Upshur Street NW (Same Block as Domku) Open 7 days: 5pm-2am/3am
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Tom wrote a first bite about this in the Post in early March. Esquire featured an article entitled, "Found: the incredible restaurant in the middle of nowhere that nobody knows about." Despite the distance this is a serious restaurant that Washingtonians should be considering for a destination. Simply, it is Rose's Luxury with seven tables and a total of one person in the kitchen: the gifted Ian Boden. I would actually suggest in the weeks to come this will be the most difficult table in America to find a seat at. An excellent video: My little essay about it: The early 19th century insane asylum, Western State Hospital, in downtown Staunton, is now a condo called the Villages. For its last 15 or so years it was a penitentiary. The small one hundred + year old graveyard with individual crosses on the graves of inmates is outside a building's window. Condos. The guard towers still stand. Across the street is Wright's Dairy Maid, a small town '50's hamburger and frozen custard stand that is still popular with families and teenagers camped out by their cars and sitting at picnic tables. A hundred or so yards from the guard towers which no longer need to be staffed. Whatever contrast the image of an American Graffitiish drive in across the street from a former institution for the criminally insane conjures actually doesn't approach the reality of sitting in the primitive, spartan Shack that James Beard semi finalist Ian Boden now holds forth in a few blocks away. He opened this three or four months ago after moving back to Staunton from his stay at Charlottesville's Glass Haus Kitchen which was built for him. This is, literally a shack. An outpost in a small town of character presenting itself as an affordable Charlottesville. But with a dinner destination that would be worthy of Barracks Row or anywhere in D. C. Or New York-where Chef Boden was trained. Open four nights week, wednesday through saturday, with a $55 four course prix fixe menu on weekend nights this is as extraordinary of a dining experience as I've had in America considering the setting. Rose's Luxury in a small, literal wood framed hundred year old shack. A total of three staff including the chef who stands alone in the closet sized kitchen. You are literally having dinner in his "house" even if it is a shack. And no reservations. First come first serve. They open at five. This is an individual expression of a man's passion who happens to be a world class chef. I would write about what we had but the menu changes every night and there is no telling what you'll find on it if you visit. I will say this: one of my wife's dishes included the hamburger mentioned in the above linked video. I took several bites. Perhaps the best explosively juicy first bite of a hamburger I have ever had. But that was only the start of an extraordinary small town adventure: flavorful textured ramen noodles with razor clams, rabbit gnocchi and three or four other dishes that I never expected to find in Staunton. If I had had them in D. C. I would still react the same: they were creative and delicious. Depending on traffic Staunton may not be any longer of a drive from Reston than downtown Washington. Even if it is, the Shack is certainly worth the effort. It may take a few years for panelists to make the pilgramage but he'll win a Beard award, holding court in his shack in Staunton. Chef Boden's twitter site: His tweets can build an appetite.
  10. The parade of mediocrity continues that consists of restaurants that exist in the Castro. B and I have date night once a week. We usually alternate between a cheap/moderate place and an expensive place. Last night, we went to Starbelly and I was reminded why we hadn't gone there since 2015. Grilled fig and cress salad with blue cheese, panna cotta, honey and balsamic. The panna cotta was tasteless and added nothing. And there were literally three figs on that plate; technically, one and a half figs since the fruit was halved. For this, we were charged $9. It could have been dessert. Also, horrible plating. Try (!) to have some effort. Bavette steak, salt-crusted potatoes, grilled cebollita, mojo verde. Steak was slightly chewy and the potatoes served as "filler". Note the amount of potatoes in B's dish. I thought to myself: 'The farmers' markets in this city have amazing produce that makes the rest of the country weep for joy when they first taste what's on offer, and THIS is the best you can do for this plate? That's insulting. Really and truly.' I object to potatoes used as filler. At least they were prepared well. Halibut, grilled Little Gem lettuce, butter bean purée, chermoula and olive salsa. The halibut was overcooked and dry, and the purée an afterthought. Bill came out to $95 (with tax and 20% tip) for barely average food. We went there so you don't have to. Starbelly 3583 16th Street (Market Street) The Castro Afterwards, we went to the Castro Street branch of The Ice Cream Bar for some dessert. Brownie sundae with buttermilk ice cream and mint chip ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce
  11. We had dinner at Addie's last night, and while it's still cute and one of the few non-chain, non-ethnic restaurants in Montgomery County, it has slipped, and slipped a lot, since were there last year. Addie's is a sentimental destination for us; we ate there the night before our daughter was born and as a parent it's hard to forget your last carefree, kid-free meal, before high chairs or babysitters become part of your life. There is an informal, cozy feel to the reataurant (located in a converted house), which is charming when the cooking rises to the level of the prices they are charging (apps $8-13, entrees $21-28), and the service is warm and polished as it has been in the past. When the food is pedestrian and the service unpolished, as it was last night, you are left to puzzle over what exactly was worth $80 a person. Addie's strength has been its appetizers, so it was shocking to look over the menu and not see a single appetizer or salad that appealed to me. I ended up ordering the field greens with Maytag Blue, walnuts, pears, and a slightly-too-sweet champagne vinaigrette. It was competently executed but almost every restaurant nowadays has this same salad on their menu. The soup was black bean with creme fraiche, which sounded perfect for lunch entree but too heavy for a dinner app. One of our friends had the mussels with tomato, shallots, and garlic. The mussels were very high quality, as I would expect from a Black restaurant but were overwhelmed by the amount of garlic in the sauce. Scott had a special, duck confit salad, which must have been good since he cleaned his plate. My entree was the "Black Pearl" salmon with Spanish chorizo rice, grilled rapini, apricot chutney, and Romesco sauce. The salmon was by far the best thing about the dish, lovely fresh and sweet and served medium. It went downhill from there. The rice tasted like it had been made hours before; it was dry and the slices of chorizo had been cooked until devoid of all juiciness and cut too small to impart much spice. The "grilled" rapini had never seen the grill, it was merely cooked until not quite done so that it was bitter and tough. The apricot chutney, of julienned dried apricot, pieces of kalamata (or a similar tasting) olive, and sliced toasted almonds, sounded intriguing and was what made me pick that particular entree, so it was disappointing that it never came together. It might have been better if the individual elements had been cut smaller and allowed to mingle maybe with some olive oil. As it was, one bite was sweet with just apricot, another salty with olive, but it was hard to get a bite that combined the flavors. The Romesco sauce combined better with the fish. I didn't taste anyone else's entree so can't comment on those. We drank a Malbec that was pleasant, fruit forward, not too heavy, and served much too warm. It worked with the fish but it would have been improved by a few minutes of chilling. The dessert menu offered cinnamon-chocolate ice cream, raspberry sorbet, apple crisp, some kind of chocolate mousse thing, and a carrot cake with creme anglais and caramel sauce. We opted for the carrot cake and it was tasty and suprisingly light, but needed more spice (cardamom would have been lovely in it), a little more frosting and a brighter sauce, maybe with lemon, to set off the richness. Little things would have improved the service. Letting us open the wine list before asking for our drink order. Replacing silver that had been taken away. Asking if we were done before clearing appetizers. Reciting the specials slowly, so that we could understand and not have to ask her repeat things. Bringing forks with our desserts. Asking "Are you finished?" rather than "Are you still working on that?" We had a pleasant evening with good friends that we hadn't seen in a long time, but expected more from Addie's. Not sure if we would go back.
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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
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