DonRocks

Buck's Fishing and Camping, Upper Conn. Ave. NW - Chef James Rexroad Replaces Vickie Reh

149 posts in this topic

[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Buck's is an interesting, pleasant space that should do quite well in this location. The atmosphere is welcoming and warm, and the bar is a comfortable place to spend an evening. There's a canoe up in the rafters, if that hints at the motif, and there are no bottles on the wall behind the bar which makes it feel more homey, less like a business.

The staff seemed competent and cool. James, one of the co-owners, is quite intelligent, a fine conversationalist, and apparently business-savvy (so why did he approve the name!?), Jamie behind the bar is low-key while at the same time being friendly, attentive and welcoming, and Carole Greenwood herself, about whom many vignettes fly, came across at utterly affable and charming to me. The receptionist was also quite cordial.

The wine list is a brainchild of James, who is quite the oenophile, and it's esoteric, affordable, and a wine geek's dream considering it's relatively small size. There's no way a restaurant is going to feature wines such as this unless someone really knows what they're doing. But ultimately, I wonder if the list is more thoughtful than it is good (do I really want a Greek rosé as the only one on the list?) Still, it gets a solid B+ given its price-point, and given the knowledge of James, should quickly get even better.

The mussels in a rosemary broth are truly great, as good as mussels get, and I think I went through about two baskets of bread (very good bread) sopping up the broth. I can't imagine liking mussels much more than this. Obligatoire. It's a mistake to go and not get these.

Grilled quail with venison sausage needs to be rethought. The quail didn't sing, and it was served with a pear chutney which was overwhelming, the whole thing being in a teriyaki-like sauce. The two pieces of venison sausage in the dish were terrific, but lost in the saucing. By the way, the menu reads "Grilled quail and venison sausage," and I was expecting grilled sausage made of quail-and-venison.

The steak is a price anomaly at $29.50 (I don't think any other entrée goes higher than the mid-teens). And it's worth it, too, dry-aged and prime. Meat-wise, it's as good as it gets. As good as Charlie Palmer. Where does she get this stuff? This was a remarkable steak. It comes with excellent sweet-potato fries that you might think are in need of sea-salt, but one bite of the steak will change your mind: the coating/saucing is seeringly salty, and unfortunately I think it detracts from the otherwise mind-bendingly good steak. Let me repeat: this is a world-class steak, but given the aggressive seasoning, the sweet-potato fries are rendered as impotent as taro chips. A bit of tweaking with the peripherals, and you have the best steak dish in the city.

Jamie admirably kept his composure when I ordered the chocolate icebox cake ... and asked for a glass of milk. I haven't ordered a glass of milk in twenty years, but it just seemed so right at the moment (they didn't have any). What I was hoping for was something cakey, but what came instead was more of a ganache, and I don't think that seems appropriate for this restaurant. It was good, perfectly honest and well-executed, but probably not worth the calories for me.

So in my mind, there were dazzling highs (steak, mussels, service, atmosphere, esoteric wine), troublesome lows (quail, sauces) and not much in the middle (the icebox cake).

In summary, Buck's is a wonderful and formidable addition to the DC dining scene, and does certain things as well as anyone. I'm happily going back there soon.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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I had a really fantastic meal at Buck's last night. Great food, unobtrusive service and the same cozy atmosphere I had enjoyed during my one previous visit.

Even though it was a Friday night just after 8, my date and I were able to get a table for two without a wait. That's not to say Buck's is hurting for business - the bar area was pretty full and there were plenty of diners - but when we arrived, the communal table was only about 1/4 full and they happened to have two two-tops, one of which we took.

Buck's menu, refreshed daily, is concise and to the point. A salad option or two, four or so appetizer options and maybe five entrees. From what I have seen, the choices will be the epitome of seasonal each time.

I was in the mood for a glass of sauvignon blanc; in the absence of one being available by the glass, our very pleasant server steered me toward a Spanish white (sorry, but I can't recall what it was) that was crisp and enjoyable. My date had a Sierra Nevada.

We started with the day's variation on homemade mozzarella, this time served with fresh red and yellow cherry tomatoes. the restaurant's signature pesto (with finely chopped beets among other things) and olive oil. My date had the lobster roll. I tried some and it was delicious! Just enough mayo plus some fresh corn (I can't recall what else was in there).

For our entrees, I had what Buck's is calling the "Camp Plate": pork barbecue and corn pudding. OH MY. I loved this dish so much. It was essentially just a pile of pulled pork - great vinegary flavor with only a hint of sweetness and not at all sticky - next to soft lump of corn pudding. The pork had great texture (as well as the wonderful flavor I mentioned), containing a mix of tender meat and a few crispy burnt ends. I cleaned my plate, making noises of appreciation throughout (fortunately this was not a first date).

My only complaint: the corn pudding would have been even better had it been warmer. When it arrived, it was somewhere between room temperature and cool. Still, I ate every last kernel.

My date had the steaks which was also on the menu during my last visit. It is a little shocking in its size - insert your favorite Flinstone's joke here. They probably cooked it a little less than his requested medium, but he was still very happy with it. Better under than over. His steak was accompanied by a portion of bread salad which disappeared too quickly for me to taste.

[in the interest of telling you more about the menu, last night's menu offered soft shell crabs. One of our neighbors ordered this dish and it camp out looking perfect. Other options included a gigantic whole lobster, and a gigantic grilled whole fish.]

For dessert, we had coffee and shared chocolate cake (described as icebox chocolate cake IIRC), topped with fresh whipped cream. Rich and delicious.

Seating is a little tight up front where we sat. During the meal, we ended up having brief friendly exchanges with diners on each side of our table. We're comfortable with that, but as some folks are fond of saying "your mileage may vary."

The damage for this really great meal was somewhere just north of $110 before tip.

Last night's meal reminded me that I really need to get to Buck's more often.

Edited by JLK

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we had a nice meal at Bucks last night

4 of us arrived at 7.30, and the place was, to put it mildly slammed - but we did manage to get a table in about 20 minutes

service was good, but a little overwhelmed - we were seated about 7.50, had our apps by about 8.10 and didn't get our entrees until about 9.05 - its nice not to feel rushed but we were STARVING by the time the entrees came out

we ordered the house rose which was good

for apps, two of us had the tomato and sweetcorn gazpacho topped with some lobster - a wonderful dish bursting with flavor - it also had great texture and a satisfying crunch as it was not liquidized/pureed with lots of tomato, corn and then some juices in the bottom of the bowl

my wife had the mozzarella w/ heiloom tomatoes and pesto - this is one of our standby dishes at bucks and it was good, particularly the tomatoes, and generosuly portioned as well - however the mozzarella did not appear to be quite as tasty as previous visits - 4th app was the iceberg wedge w/ blue cheese

for mains, two ordered lobster topped w/ a corn souffle and two ordered steak - both expensive at $34 and $33 respectively - the corn souffle was sublime, and the lobster was pronounced as 'good' by our dining companions - but at the price I don't know that they'd order it again

steak was excellent - I ordered mine medium and it came out perfectly done - nicely charred and very very tasty - its also big, filling the whole plate and served with a very small tomato and bread salad

by now it was almost 10 so we skipped dessert and sashayed off into the blessedly cool night air

bill excl tip was $211 - not cheap but with 4 entrees in the 30s thats gonna happen

they are clearly doing a roaring trade which is good to see - I also inquired about the new pizza place and was told that staff are sworn to secrecy but that it should be open by Oct/Nov and will be serving "Neo-Neapolitan" pizza

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Growing up on Cape Cod has left me a penchant for this sublime snack. I say snack, because I usually finish eating a normal roll in 4 or 5 bites as my wife stares agog calculating the ludicrous price-per-bite figure of the endeavour smile.gif .

There are two schools of thought regarding the lobster roll:

1) The "unspoilt" school. I would say as you travel up the coast of New England, this preperation kicks into full gear at Red's Eats (a shack in Wiscasset that's become a media darling). Here, a generous portion of lobster is served on the traditional "New England Style" hot-dog roll (the sides of the roll are not crust - for easy grilling*) with a side of butter. There is no dressing for the lobster, this is a purist's dream.

2) The "salad" school. Essentially, most establishments prepare lobster rolls in this fashion. A mayo-based dressing is applied to the lobster and it is often mixed with various fillers (celery etc). I've never seen a roll south of New England that doesn't fall into this category.

My preference falls somewhere between the two. Filler is sin, but a roll can be dressed in a manner that compliments - not overwhelms - the taste of the lobster.

I've sampled three rolls at three restaurants in this town: Legal Seafood, Kinkead's, and Hank's Oyster Bar. My favorite thus far is Legal's. I feel like the other two had dressing that overwhelmed the lobster: Kinkead's by seasoning, and Hank's by consistency (too thick). Legal also serves their roll with a generous portion of fries, however I've found the rolls can be inconsistent. My roll at Tyson's II was much better prepared than it's cousin in Crystal City.

So,

Where can a down-easter get his fix around here? smile.gif

* Can anybody tell me where I can purchase these buns around here???

Buck's has had a lobster roll (salad style) frequently this summer. Call ahead though because the menu changes daily.

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I think I've put on about five pounds in the last two weeks thanks to three nights of dining out with my foodie in-laws (the DR picnic probably contributed too). Two of those nights were spent at Buck's. I pursuaded them to go there because I had never been. They were so pleased with it, we went back a few nights later.

I got a kick out of the service at Buck's. It was like having one of your more amusing old college buddies wait on you-- they pull your leg, bust your chops, and seem to have a good time doing it. If you want to have a bit of a party with your meal, this is the place to do it.

The food was consistently well prepared and delicious. The iceburg wedge, which I normally can't get very excited about, gets your attention with applewood bacon and a perfect horseradish dressing. I'll get in trouble for saying it, but that steak is right up there with Ray's. The Bronzino had crisped skin and luxuriously moist meat. Many of their dishes, like the grilled shrimp on cheese grits, are cooked on a wood-fired grill and just the right amount of smoke comes through.

I'll be back after a few trips to the gym.

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I'll get in trouble for saying it, but that steak is right up there with Ray's.

you won't get in trouble with me for saying that - luurve Bucks steak, and unlike Rays its 2 blocks from mi casa

:lol:

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6 of us went to Buck's last night and had a fantastic time. James was awesome in a list minute pinch, and set us up at the communal table down at the end. My chopped liver app. was as better than my Grandfather makes and trust me that's saying something. The BBQ duck was spectacular and the mac & cheese as rich as it get's. There were raves around the table about the grilled shrimp and the steak, as well as the pork chop. I will definetly be back.

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Shhh! Stop telling people Buck's is great. I like being able to get a table in this wonderful spot in my 'hood. :lol:

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Right sorry. I promise I won't tell anyone else that Buck's is really good and makes one hell of a Makers Mark Manhattan. :lol:

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we don't live in the neighborhood like we used to, but the steak ($35 these days) keeps us coming back. it's my wife's favorite, and it really is up there, although i have seen diners hassling servers because they can't eat about a quarter of the giant slab that has been left untrimmed. as everyone knows, this is a prime spot for customers who are bruising for an argument, but that seems to have settled down some. for example, in the my way or the highway days, you couldn't order less than a french press pot of coffee (and it was usually so good that you wouldn't have wanted to after your first sip). today, you are allowed to end your meal with just a cup.

the farmer's salad on sunday night was a perfect expression of what's available in between seasons: a few large arugula leaves, bits of walnut and local feta, a small handful of yellow wax beans and jewel-colored tomatoes (i hesitate to call them cherry, though they were) that were perfectly round, some as small as the size of shooters, and best of all pure tomato flavor, in a dressing that was so flavorful i took some bread to it. i could have used some more. portion control is not a strong point here, but in my experience over the years i have found it works both ways: a bit less when the kitchen is afraid of running out and sometimes a whole lot more when business is winding down and there are too many leftovers.

my companion almost always goes for the iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dresssing. it does taste good, but i'm not totally in favor of indulging in just about the blandest, though crunchiest of vegetables, just because it's loaded up with cholesterol.

my entree was whole fish with california green sauce -- always a moist and fleshy branzino -- that was so welcoming i ate it down to its head and eyeballs.

for dessert i was able to order something i hadn't had before from a menu that holds on to its standard fare rather tightly and moves slowly, season by season, through the year. a double-tiered fig cake, thick cream in the center and glazed with lemon on top, a few thirds of the fruit in perfect form, providing creaminess themselves, grades of sweetness throughout, a note of salt, the texture nailed -- this is one dessert that is worth tracking down. desserts are one of the strengths at this restaurant.

service, unfortunately, was not on par with the food. the staff is friendly and the vibes are laid back despite the rumors that there is an artistic temperament at the stove, but at the outset we found ourselves in a race for the money and we weren't able to slow it down before heading into the half-way point of the dinner. i believe this was an encounter with a new server who didn't really know what he was doing because no one had bothered to adequately fill him in and there was no one to watch over his shoulder. that's my explanation for ordering, being served drinks, appetizers and entrees well within the 15-minute mark. the food itself was carried by a regular who didn't really make the best of a bad situation by delivering entrees "ready or not" style before the previous course was entirely consumed. all three courses were served "who get's what style." the server was great at repleneshing water, while dropping the ball on most other things. i didn't really mind going to the bar to request glasses of wine and they were brought to the table quickly.

i know it helped turn things around when too many tables were going empty, but i have never been sold on this fishing and camping thing. this is a beautiful room, incandescent and glowing with dangling art glass fixtures and huge, brooding blown up photographs, dark walls and corners, a communal table that's out of a movie, and the fishing lures and other crap that were thrown in to bring in the crowds feel extraneous, to say the least. prices were rolled back considerably at the outset of this reconception and have since crept back to where they were, or even higher. if you order full meals, including the steak, you probably won't get out of buck's for less than $160-170. i'm willing to pay the price, but why do i have to get sent to camp. all that comes to mind is poison ivy.

i have read that there are plans for pingpong as a concept when they take over the thai room space at the corner. bring it on, i guess.

Edited by giant shrimp

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If I could change one thing - well, two - about Buck's, the two things would be:

1. Take the prices down a notch. I like the food, atmosphere and location so much, but meals at Buck's are a few, uh, bucks beyond "moderate" for my present budget to the extent that it keeps me from going more often.

2. [and this is my real point] I wish they had more appetizers. I would love to be able to stop by for a drink and a snack at the bar more often, but knowing that options will be limited, I don't often suggest it for a post-work meeting point.

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After work last Friday, we were thinking about hitting Politics & Prose for a reading and then heading over to Buck's... then we decided to skip the reading and go straight to the food. No wait, 8-ish on a Friday. Plenty of people around, dining and drinking, but we snagged a table and were glad of it.

Great service, very enjoyable. The warm red of the walls and soft light from the low-hanging fixtures make the place very inviting and it was a lovely meal.

When the food is on, it's ON. My shrimp and grits with sausage, for the most part, were delicious and tender and creamy and ahhh. The few bites I got of my companion's (immense) steak were also delicious. And the best taste of all -- fresh-made mozzarella with beets and pistachio/sun-dried tomato pesto. Ahhhhhh, wonderful.

Less successful: the iceberg wedge with creamy dressing and bacon. Seems very popular, as I know I saw at least 12 of them come out of the kitchen while we were there. But at our table, we thought there was too much sameness -- the whole quarter-head of iceberg is soaked in the rich dressing, which, although it has a nice tang of horseradish to it, loses its snap after a few bites, so every bite tastes the same. The fries that came with the steak were tastless, and back to those shrimp -- mostly delicious, but at least three bites were fishy-flavored, and when you only get three shrimp in a $22 entree, you want every bite perfect.

So, all told, a nice meal with some excellent food, but it won't be getting a regular spot on the rotation. If I still lived in the neighborhood, though, I'd probably stop by regularly for that mozzarella salad. It's the bee's knees.

Jael

Edited by jm chen

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Three of us went to Buck's on Sat. night. There was a 30 minute wait, which the host was very apologetic about. No problem-- we were in fact seated within that time frame at a nice four-top, which didn't have the "too close to your neighbor" feeling of the two-tops in the front. The dark red decor and the dim lighting created a very cozy, intimate ambiance, which we really liked.

Starters: we shared the chopped chicken liver and the mozzerella salad. Both were very good. The chicken liver was "strong," though I didn't mind that at all. There was a nice pesto accompanying the mozzerella salad, which our server gave us more bread to mop up.

Mains: Two of us had the BBQ duck with mashed sweet potato ($17). I had the fried oysters with fried green tomatoes and basil mayonaise ($20). All of us thought the food was excellent, but the portions were on the small side. My husband (who is not a big eater) thought he could have eaten two of the duck entrees, and I thought that I definitely could have done better getting the Oyster Po'boy at Hanks (which more fried oysters in the roll, at $13).

Dessert: we shared the devils food cake and my friend had poached pear with a chocolate sauce. All were excellent, without being too sweet and rich. They were out of an apple tart that my husband had been dying to try when he first saw it on the menu.

When were were done paying the bill, the manager came over and asked us very apologetically and politely if we would mind having a drink on the house at the bar because another party was about to murder him if they were not seated. We had no problem with that...and I had a very nice glass of port at the bar. I second JLK's wish for more "bar food" because the bar really is quite cozy and the bartenders fun. As I noted in the Indique thread, we sat next to Chef Vinod, who made our day by telling us that they were opening another branch in Friendship Heights-- a neighborhood sorely lacking in decent dining options that aren't too pricey (e.g. Buck's, Dahila's).

My final verdict: Great place that hit the high notes in almost everything I find important about dining out-- excellent service, food, ambiance. The only downside, as others have noted, is value. The portions are definitely a bit too small at that price point. (My husband had a bowl of cereal when he got home.)

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When I was growing up in Washington State, my parents and I would go on hikes around Mt. Rainier or in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula. Afterwards we would have lunch or dinner in one of the many rustic places that dot the roads in the area. They always had bare wood floors, exposed timbers, and the warm and comforting atmosphere so welcome after a day of hiking or chanterelle hunting. But the food sucked.

So last night I find myself in a place right in the middle of one of the more unattractive segments of Connecticut Avenue that takes me right back to those places of my childhood: Long wood tables, exposed beams, camping paraphernalia here and there, and wait staff with beards and mustaches, wearing plaid shirts and jeans.

But the food definitely did not suck. Buck's let me take a trip down memory lane while avoiding the culinary disasters of its rustic prototypes. I sat at the bar and thought, "I love this place." What I love is the witty and creative take on basic comfort-food staples. The Iceberg wedge with Maytag Blue and applewood-smoked bacon is just plain ingenious. A humble, almost trailer-park ingredient is ennobled by the chef’s creativity and her insistence on top-of-the line ingredients. The dry-aged prime sirloin was a deeply charred slab of pornographic proportions with a (somewhat too) salty crust surrounding a perfectly tender medium-rare center, topped with nothing more than a few nicely cooked fries. This has to be one of the best steaks in town.

A look at the relatively extensive and varied wine list reveals another striking difference with the hearty burgundy/mountain chablis outposts of my childhood. And of course the prices are not quite the same, either.

Jamie behind the bar was in good form and fun to talk to. Although we shared stories about living on Capitol Hill, he reminded me of my brother, who has camped just about everywhere in the Northwest and has been up and down Mt. Rainier several times. In fact, next time my brother visits me in DC, I now know just where I'll take him for a great dinner. It'll be just like home, except the food won't suck.

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I posted something today on my web site that I think you'll all be interested in. I received a cease and desist letter in an email for pictures I took with my camera phone while eating at Buck's.

Read more here.

The fact is, no one told me I couldn't take pictures there. I was only told that I needed permission to use them by Carole, AFTER I'd already taken them.

Thoughts? Can a restaurant tell you that you can't take pictures of food that you've paid for? It's an interesting discussion I think.

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[blatant attempt to return the Buck's discussion to food-related matters :) ]

I like Buck’s (a lot). Does it make me rule-oriented? A meek conformist? I don’t think so, and either way, I don't care - I just like Buck's. In spite of being a somewhat picky eater (there are real signs of improvement in that area, I have to say!), I have gotten past the small menu and the rule against menu substitutions and have simply come to love the place. You read that right - love.

I love the atmosphere, the dim lighting broken by lantern-like lighting fixtures and candles in large jars. I love the communal table (it beats the way-too-squished two-tops up front by a mile). I love the rustic and homey notes on the menu. I even love the service which, in my experience, has always been a great balance between professional and warm. Then again, I never tried to make a substitution.

My boyfriend and I were struggling to think of a place for dinner last night. It was just after 7 and we had no plan. We were toying with the idea of a 9 pm-ish movie at the Avalon near Chevy Chase Circle, but were also teetering on the brink of a night out at the bars. Almost simultaneously we said "Buck's!" which he hadn't dined at since his little brother visited in the summer. Off we went...

Business was brisk. Those of you who have sworn off the place based on the Chef's prickly and persnickety personality haven't seemingly made a dent in Buck's traffic. That is most decidedly NOT a dig; I am just glad to see a place I happen to like a lot flourish. The neighborhood needs Buck’s, as well as what is supposed to be its sister spot two doors down.

With our appetizers, we each had a glass of the available verdejo (~$7.50 each, I think). My +1 had half a dozen oysters on the half shell. Buck’s lost a few points by offering only East Coast variety, and our very pleasant server didn’t know exactly what kind they were, but he liked them just the same. Although he offered me one, I stuck with my own delicious appetizer. The present variation on Buck’s homemade mozzarella comes with the always-good pesto (beets everywhere!) plus carrots and chick peas. The humble garbanzo added a lot to this appetizer, in my opinion, and as has become my habit, I sopped up the leftover pesto with what was left of our bread basket. Yum.

For entrees, he had the spicy BBQ duck which came with fried leeks (I think) and mashed sweet potatoes. He had really, really wanted the cheese grits that came with another entrée, but knew better than to ask for a substitution. For some reason, he wouldn’t just order a damn side dish either (his loss, I tried). The duck was great, even though I couldn’t taste much spice to it. My own entrée, meatloaf with mac & cheese and simmered greens, was the winner. He took one taste and said “I like the duck, but yours is so much better.” And I agreed. The meatloaf, consisting of beef, pork and veal, I think, was tender and tangy. There was good onion flavor, but also a lightly sweet note I couldn’t place. No matter, I was just happy to eat. The macaroni and cheese was pleasantly gooey with a crispy crust. I didn’t get many of the greens – they were quickly stolen from my plate.

In order to make the movie, we asked for a piece of the pineapple upside down cake to go. We opened it at home post-flick and it was the lone disappointment of the meal. I partly blame the to-go factor, but even so, I feel like my own recipe is better. The cake tasted lardy, not buttery, and there was whipped cream on it which I found odd. At the price (which I think was a staggering $9, but don’t hold me to that), it tasted even worse. Sorry Chef.

Still, this is a great spot for me, a place I look forward to visiting. It’s not a perfect restaurant, but I’m very glad to have it nearby.

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After major Saturday night indecision, +1 and I headed to Buck's for dinner. It was later than I've ever been there (~9:30, 9:45) and I suppose we suffered a little for that fact.

We started at the bar where we had a quick chat with the affable Jamie and his colleague whose name I didn't catch. By the time we were taking our first sips of wine, the host stopped by to tell us that our table was ready.

I ordered pretty much the meal I had last visit (see above), but sadly, they were out of the pesto that accompanies the mozzarella. :lol: I decided to skip straight to the glazed meatloaf with mac & cheese and greens. +1 kept to his appetizer from last time, half a dozen oysters on the half shell, and also ordered the delicious meatloaf.

Unfortunately his oysters came out sort of warm, not served atop the usual crushed ice. He ate a few, but couldn't finish the six. Our server, picking up that something was amiss, asked about them and upon hearing his answer, removed them from the bill with zero fuss. Our meatloaf plates arrived, looking a little...well, sloppy. The greens were plopped atop the meatloaf, and overall, the portion size of each component was smaller than previously experienced. Oh well. No biggie. That meatloaf sure tastes good--the glaze is perceptible, but not overwhelming or cloying in its sweetness.

After getting burned somewhat by the $9 pineapple upside down cake last time and generally feeling just full enough, we passed on dessert.

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After getting burned somewhat by the $9 pineapple upside down cake last time and generally feeling just full enough, we passed on dessert.

we beat you by an hour or two on saturday night following an appearance next door by julian barnes. (he said his hotel room came with a goldfish and a card by the bowl that said, "hello, my name is (fill in the blank) dave," and he wondered if the name got changed for each guest.) my serving of meatloaf was fortifying, to say the least. and portions of pinepaple upside down cake and coconut cake were beyond generous. the former is not exactly the traditional recipe and may disappoint those who have grown accustomed to the version at colorado kitchen (which is superior). but the coconut cake demonstrates that this is one of the best cake-baking kitchens in the city hands down, perfect in texture with an adept use of salt. (when it comes to chocolate, the flour version here, to my taste, is superior to the flour-less, unless you are drawn to the gooey, as many are.) and they are not afraid to lather on the whipped cream. don't be surprised to encounter small mounds of it. anyway, despite our capacious, pickwickian appetites, we retired from our desserts leaving behind enough crumbs to feed a long line of honey ants. outside, a weird unseasonal warmth lingered along connecticut avenue as we stumbled past, before coming to a corner, the almost imperceptibly maddening racket of ping pong balls from a darkened doorway where the future wobbled in and out of focus and the street lighting clung to our faces no matter how we turned.

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Our meatloaf plates arrived, looking a little...well, sloppy.  The greens were plopped atop the meatloaf, and overall, the portion size of each component was smaller than previously experienced.  Oh well.  No biggie.  That meatloaf sure tastes good--the glaze is perceptible, but not overwhelming or cloying in its sweetness.

It almost seems like they pan-fry it in bacon fat after they cut it. It's a great meatloaf - I had it a couple weeks ago.

Also, the fried oysters (a $21 entree) were the best fried oysters I've ever had in my life, anywhere. It was one of the best single dishes I've had in months.

I'm usually recognized at Buck's these days - my portion of meatloaf was quite large, and the number of fried oysters was, erm, generous - but I tipped accordingly, and portion sizes aside, I've had fabulous food on three out of my last four visits, some of the best cooking in town.

Cheers,

Rocks

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and portion sizes aside, I've had fabulous food on three out of my last four visits, some of the best cooking in town.

Where are the pictures, Rocks? We need visuals! :lol:

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It always stuns me when people say how great this place is, because I probably had my worst meal of all time in Washington at this place. Now granted, I've only been once, but it was so bad, top to bottom, that I couldn't imagine going back for another try. The service was some of the worst I've ever had. The prices were outrageous...something like $8 for 2 deviled eggs, and about the same for half a head of lettuce and blue cheese!?!? Both my father and father-in-law got the steak, paid around $30-40 for it, and both thought it was terrible. In fact, it was a terrible cut, mostly gristle, and not cooked according to their wishes. The shrimp dish, which was in the mid-to-upper 20s had 4 shrimp, not jumbo, and was average at best. Everything was overpriced and underwhelming. It's become a runing joke in my family that when we speak of a terrible meal, we refer to Buck's.

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The prices were outrageous...something like $8 for 2 deviled eggs

You got it right-- it was $8 for 2 deviled eggs. I ordered them to see if they'd do something interesting with them, but it was plain deviled eggs (can't have a photo of that getting out :lol: ).

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Still, like you said, one visit really isn't enough to judge a restaurant by. If so, I never would have returned to Palena which is now a favorite. Nobody is saying that the prices aren't on the high side, but much of what comes out of the kitchen is excellent.

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Still, like you said, one visit really isn't enough to judge a restaurant by.  If so, I never would have returned to Palena which is now a favorite.  Nobody is saying that the prices aren't on the high side, but much of what comes out of the kitchen is excellent.

I think one visit may not be enough to judge a well-reviewed restaurant by, but a mixed bag like Buck's, I'm just not willing to drop the dough...

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I refuse to go to a Carole Greenwood restaurant!!

Edited by mhberk

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