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2941, Chef Bertrand Chemel in West Falls Church - Restaurant Moves Toward a More Casual Experience

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#101 jparrott

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 05:59 AM

A 1985 Coron Echezeaux for $2,000.

It is a magnum, mind you. Still, that's a heck of a magnum premium.

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#102 SVT

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 09:05 AM

We had a congratulatory meal here last night, and it was a great experience. This was the first time we had been to 2941, and we came away so impressed by the menu, the design of the dishes, and the execution.

We did the prix fixe menu, starting with a mildly spiced beef tartare--very creamy, perfectly fresh, utterly delicious. The second course was a corn ravioli that brought to mind for us another of our favorite dishes in VA--the corn chowder at Tuskies. We then both had the lamb saddle--again perfectly executed, with a blanket of herb paste on top, and a creamy and rich polenta underneath. We finished with a few desserts--all great.

The wine list is impressive to someone like me who has limited knowledge but is more than willing to drink. The sommelier was very knowledgeable but not pedantic (in our experience, few sommeliers in this area are, I would say--we've generally had great interactions with sommeliers in the DC area). Our server was really, really excellent--professional, friendly, knew the menu and the preparation of the dishes like the back of her hand.

We live in MD, and don't venture out to Falls Church that often. Strangely, perhaps, we've had such great experiences at Pizzeria Orso that we thought it was worth trying 2941. After our meal there last night, we pretty firmly believe that its reputation as one of the best restaurants in the area is very well-deserved.

#103 dcs

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 09:15 AM

We enjoyed a trio of appetizers at the bar last night: local beet salad, dungeness crab roll, and green asparagus with shrimp tempura. Despite the tasty morsels, we could not keep our hands off the free popcorn seasoned with truffle oil and salt. It is very addictive. The bar staff was attentive and very engaging, and served one hell of a Vesper. An altogether pleasant pre-concert stop before catching the Annadale Jazz Ambassadors and the Krasnador Big Band. The Krasnador Big Band heads back to Russia on Wednesday, but I understand that they will be playing two sets at Bohemian Caverns on Monday. They are quite good, if big band is your bag. Here they are at Georgetown last weekend.

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#104 risuttons

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 07:12 PM

Wife and I stopped by for an early dinner (5:30) with no reservation. From the website I determined that there was a bar and we figured we could eat there.

Although we ended up eating at the bar, it worked out very nicely. Presumably because noone just drops by 2941 for a drink or dinner, the bar is fairly quiet. We sat in comfortable chairs in the farthest corner of the bar and enjoyed one of the more private meals we've had in recent memory.

The decor requires some comment. It is a really lovely place to sit and eat a meal. The dining room is large and well-structured. Although the view out the large windows is somewhat composed/contrived, it is also soothing. In addition to not making a reservation, I ended up parking in the wrong place. No worries, we got the chance to walk the grounds a bit. It is a nice place to walk.

Food:
Black truffle popcorn: Eh. It had received so much butter/truffle oil that it felt chewy/soggy. IMO, popcorn should be fresh, airy and salty. The butter should be a flavor, not a texture.

First course:
Me: Lobster roll. This was an asian-themed dish: a spring roll (rice paper) with chucks of lobster meat, fresh basil leaves, perhaps a dolop of plum sauce (or something similar) and a second fruit puree with a subtle heat on the plate. There were 4-5 slices of roll, just right. I was left craving more. (I am not a big fish eater).

Wife: Local beet salad. Goat cheese, cherry vinagrette. it worked well. I am just not a huge fan of beets. Wife loved them.

Advantage: Me.

Second course:
Me: Burrata ravioli. Flavor of Burrata cheese (inside ravioli) and fontina (both/sauce) complemented each other well. The ravioli were served in what was a small bowl with seemed like a mushroomy broth containing both fontina and morels. The excess liquid in the bowl detracted from the structure and texture of the ravioli. Although I ended up requesting additional bread to sop up the cheese/mushroom mix, it detracted from the texture of the pasta, causing them to fall apart.

Wife: Ginger sea bass. This was complex, balanced and lovely. Cardamom and ginger worked well together. The hunk of sea bass was ginormous. It's size reminded me of an eight ounce filet mignon. Huge! This dish was served in a large bowl with various asian-ish vegetables and a healthy serving of broth. In this case the broth worked very well. I believe there was some rice, although I did not get a taste.

Advantage: Wife.

Dessert:
Me: Polenta cake with berry jelly, phyllo, pistachio ice cream. Delicious. This was a round ramekin sized polenta cake with with seemed like a slightly smaller circle of jelly on top. The dish was rich and delicious. Although most bites were well-balanced, at times the jelly circle felt a little too thick and took control of the dessert.

Advantage: Wife. She shared in my dessert.

Beverages
I had two glasses of Gruner and a Malbec by the glass. Wife had a Chinon Rose that seemed right on target for the summer. Bartender waiting on us was eager to please and knew the wines by the glass well enough to be helpful.

Service was attentive and helpful.

Verdict: We will return with friends and a reservation.

Cost: $200 with tax and tip.

#105 peasoup

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

Had dinner here for the first time Saturday. Their $50 vegetable tasting menu is the best food deal in the DC area that I can recall. Very happy with the food and the wine list's '01 Vina Gravonia. I hope to return.

#106 youngfood

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 02:36 PM

Making my first trip here for a celebratory meal soon. Any advice on what to eat, drink, or otherwise? Hope the paucity of recent postings isn't a sign we waited too long to finally try this place.

#107 astrid

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 09:26 PM

Somewhat old news, but not reported here previously. Changes are afoot: http://www.2941.com/...ressRelease.pdf

The first paragraph from the PDF: "2941, the much-lauded fine dining French/American restaurant, will take a brief hiatus beginning January 1, 2012 to convert the restaurant into an upscale, yet less formal dining destination. The restaurant will reopen in mid-January offering guests a modern American menu with Mediterranean influences."

No mention of a change in chef, but they are also making some changes to the space as part of the re-launch, such as "replacing the entire cooking suite including adding a grill for steaks and seafood, and a dedicated pasta station."

#108 DonRocks

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 11:11 PM

Somewhat old news, but not reported here previously. Changes are afoot: http://www.2941.com/...ressRelease.pdf

The first paragraph from the PDF: "2941, the much-lauded fine dining French/American restaurant, will take a brief hiatus beginning January 1, 2012 to convert the restaurant into an upscale, yet less formal dining destination. The restaurant will reopen in mid-January offering guests a modern American menu with Mediterranean influences."

No mention of a change in chef, but they are also making some changes to the space as part of the re-launch, such as "replacing the entire cooking suite including adding a grill for steaks and seafood, and a dedicated pasta station."

This literally comes across as pathetic which is defined as "having the capability to move one into compassionate pity."

Just as the infamous, unannounced, tweet-review fiasco of Adour heralded the beginning of the recession and the general decline in restaurant journalism, this seems like the other extreme: a beautiful restaurant, grabbing the bull by the horns, and compromising their principles via questionable PR in order to pander to the press and unsuspecting dining public by dumbing themselves down, and shackling the talents of a chef such as Bertrand Chemel, perhaps hoping that nobody will notice the difference.

I'm sorry this is going to happen to you folks over at 2941. Since I haven't seen your financial books or business plan, I can't say it's a "huge mistake," but I'm pretty sure we can, at least for the time being, kiss Bertrand Chemel goodbye in terms of being a world-class chef. I hope I'm wrong, but I see nothing that would lead me to believe otherwise. If this is what's happening, I pray that our economy rebounds well enough so that restaurants such as the great 2941 (and make no mistake, it was great) regain their footing.

As it stands, we've lost many great restaurants over the past several years through marketing, false criticism, and attrition from the recession; gained only a tiny handful; and worse still, have witnessed upscale restaurants slide down the scale, not to rock bottom, but to an exit such as this. Is Chemel really motivated enough to take his French-influenced cooking, and dumb things down into plates which are "modern American with Mediterranean influences?" Does everyone hear how boring that sounds?

I hate that fine dining, though not dead, seems to be on the downswing, and the spiritual leader of this pathetic movement is the most destructive restaurant critic this area has ever known - not because he can't write, but simply because he doesn't understand "dining" as opposed to "eating." He doesn't get it, and he never will - so this era has fostered the ascension of blue-collar cuisine, for better or for worse, and in some cases, what's passed off as "Modern American" - in this instance, with Mediterranean influences; in other cases with regional American, Asian, or other influences. For him, these mixed-up, dress-down parties have been the best of times; for the experienced diner, they have been the worst of times.

Here's to a brighter future, for the great 2941, for the Washington, DC area as a whole, and certainly for the battered art of fine dining.

Cheers, and best of luck to Chef Chemel and 2941,
Rocks

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#109 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 11:29 PM

What Don said, because (sob) one of our biggest reasons for picking 2941 for our wedding was because we were hoping it would endure in its present form for anniversaries and other big "life" occasions and this seems worse, for our purposes, than closing down entirely :( Good luck, all.

#110 Ilaine

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 12:37 AM

I have read many sad words in my time but surely "pasta station" has a very sad and perhaps unique place of its own.

I'm just here for the chow.


#111 Al the Pal

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:45 PM

What Don said, because (sob) one of our biggest reasons for picking 2941 for our wedding was because we were hoping it would endure in its present form for anniversaries and other big "life" occasions and this seems worse, for our purposes, than closing down entirely :( Good luck, all.

Same with us!!! While our wedding was very nice (but small) the guests loved the food and the space. We loved that we could celebrate our anniversary there as well. It doesn't sound like the new incarnation will be such a great anniversary destination. However, I will wait and see.

#112 jparrott

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:31 PM

My worry is, how are you going to get folks to wend their way back into Fairview Park for a casual restaurant? Is there going to be a parking lot, or will it still be 100% valet? A casual place thrives on folks dropping by to the bar, coming by "just 'cos it's Tuesday," etc.

I worry that their fixed (or required per-patron) costs are too high to support a casual place unless they get a monopoly on catering to the office buildings surrounding.

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#113 Waitman

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 08:33 AM

This literally comes across as pathetic which is defined as "having the capability to move one into compassionate pity."

Just as the infamous, unannounced, tweet-review fiasco of Adour heralded the beginning of the recession and the general decline in restaurant journalism, this seems like the other extreme: a beautiful restaurant, grabbing the bull by the horns, and compromising their principles via questionable PR in order to pander to the press and unsuspecting dining public by dumbing themselves down, and shackling the talents of a chef such as Bertrand Chemel, perhaps hoping that nobody will notice the difference....

I hate that fine dining, though not dead, seems to be on the downswing, and the spiritual leader of this pathetic movement is the most destructive restaurant critic this area has ever known - not because he can't write, but simply because he doesn't understand "dining" as opposed to "eating." He doesn't get it, and he never will - so this era has fostered the ascension of blue-collar cuisine, for better or for worse, and in some cases, what's passed off as "Modern American" - in this instance, with Mediterranean influences; in other cases with regional American, Asian, or other influences. For him, these mixed-up, dress-down parties have been the best of times; for the experienced diner, they have been the worst of times.

Here's to a brighter future, for the great 2941, for the Washington, DC area as a whole, and certainly for the battered art of fine dining.

Cheers, and best of luck to Chef Chemel and 2941,
Rocks

I'm curious to see your supporting data.

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#114 ktmoomau

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:48 PM

We weren't there often because it already felt as if the Chef's wings had been slightly clipped. If I want find dining, I want creativity and to let the chef really do his thing. This just sounds like less of a reason to go. Very disappointing.

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#115 Keithstg

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:52 AM

This literally comes across as pathetic which is defined as "having the capability to move one into compassionate pity."

As it stands, we've lost many great restaurants over the past several years through marketing, false criticism, and attrition from the recession; gained only a tiny handful; and worse still, have witnessed upscale restaurants slide down the scale, not to rock bottom, but to an exit such as this. Is Chemel really motivated enough to take his French-influenced cooking, and dumb things down into plates which are "modern American with Mediterranean influences?" Does everyone hear how boring that sounds?

I hate that fine dining, though not dead, seems to be on the downswing, and the spiritual leader of this pathetic movement is the most destructive restaurant critic this area has ever known - not because he can't write, but simply because he doesn't understand "dining" as opposed to "eating." He doesn't get it, and he never will - so this era has fostered the ascension of blue-collar cuisine, for better or for worse, and in some cases, what's passed off as "Modern American" - in this instance, with Mediterranean influences; in other cases with regional American, Asian, or other influences. For him, these mixed-up, dress-down parties have been the best of times; for the experienced diner, they have been the worst of times.

Here's to a brighter future, for the great 2941, for the Washington, DC area as a whole, and certainly for the battered art of fine dining.

Cheers, and best of luck to Chef Chemel and 2941,
Rocks


No argument here, except to note that some of this "dumbing down" may be due to 2941's unfortunate location. Take the restaurant out of the surburban office park and put it in Penn Quarter or somewhere else in DC and I think a different outcome is possible. How many "fine dining" places have tried to make a go of it in the greater Tyson's area and couldn't for one reason or another? Inox is a prime example of this (and was a fantastic restaurant).

While not as many as in prior periods, there are several enterants into the higher end dining scene in DC since 2008/9, despite the economy. Plume, Fiola, Rogue 24, soon to be Elisir - etc. Fine Dining, however defined, is still out here (DC), just not so much out there (MD and NOVA 'burbs). Interestingly, the exurbs seem to have more going on fine dining-wise than Tysons does now.

All this said, I've enjoyed my meals at 2941 in the past, and we have our firm's holiday party there this year - ahead of the "dumbing down".

#116 puristdc

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:20 PM

This literally comes across as pathetic which is defined as "having the capability to move one into compassionate pity."

Just as the infamous, unannounced, tweet-review fiasco of Adour heralded the beginning of the recession and the general decline in restaurant journalism, this seems like the other extreme: a beautiful restaurant, grabbing the bull by the horns, and compromising their principles via questionable PR in order to pander to the press and unsuspecting dining public by dumbing themselves down, and shackling the talents of a chef such as Bertrand Chemel, perhaps hoping that nobody will notice the difference.

I'm sorry this is going to happen to you folks over at 2941. Since I haven't seen your financial books or business plan, I can't say it's a "huge mistake," but I'm pretty sure we can, at least for the time being, kiss Bertrand Chemel goodbye in terms of being a world-class chef. I hope I'm wrong, but I see nothing that would lead me to believe otherwise. If this is what's happening, I pray that our economy rebounds well enough so that restaurants such as the great 2941 (and make no mistake, it was great) regain their footing.

As it stands, we've lost many great restaurants over the past several years through marketing, false criticism, and attrition from the recession; gained only a tiny handful; and worse still, have witnessed upscale restaurants slide down the scale, not to rock bottom, but to an exit such as this. Is Chemel really motivated enough to take his French-influenced cooking, and dumb things down into plates which are "modern American with Mediterranean influences?" Does everyone hear how boring that sounds?

I hate that fine dining, though not dead, seems to be on the downswing, and the spiritual leader of this pathetic movement is the most destructive restaurant critic this area has ever known - not because he can't write, but simply because he doesn't understand "dining" as opposed to "eating." He doesn't get it, and he never will - so this era has fostered the ascension of blue-collar cuisine, for better or for worse, and in some cases, what's passed off as "Modern American" - in this instance, with Mediterranean influences; in other cases with regional American, Asian, or other influences. For him, these mixed-up, dress-down parties have been the best of times; for the experienced diner, they have been the worst of times.

Here's to a brighter future, for the great 2941, for the Washington, DC area as a whole, and certainly for the battered art of fine dining.

Cheers, and best of luck to Chef Chemel and 2941,
Rocks


Hi everyone,

Reading Don's response to the news about 2941's "re-invention" inspired me to register for an account so I could add to the discussion.

My meals at 2941, in its first years of operation, were a core part of my introduction to fine dining. Each lunch and dinner taught me something new about ingredients and techniques, and the corresponding enjoyment that they delivered. I also learned to appreciate the little details that made the whole experience an occasion: the wonderful bread program, the whimsical cotton candy at the end of the meal.

Like others who've posted here, my wife and I easily made the decision to hold our wedding reception at 2941. We wanted to make sure that the food and the setting would be memorable, and it was almost a foregone conclusion that we would pick this venue.

The progression culminated in my surprise 30th birthday dinner at the Chef's Table, with Jonathan Krinn sending out a tasting of flawless dishes. I did not know it then, but that would be his final month in the 2941 kitchen. I feel honored to have watched him work up-close, at his best and doing what he loved.

Since then, our meals there have been underwhelming. The menu has changed (perhaps, necessarily) to focus less on luxury and more on affordability. The service has slipped, and there's far less sense of occasion. At the same time, I have more actively pursued my love for great cooking and hospitality (a journey begun at 2941), having enjoyed incredible feasts at The French Laundry, Le Bernardin, Joel Robuchon, and others. Those more recent experiences remind me that great cuisine can be revelatory; that a single bite can transform one's view of food.

2941's "dumbing down" doesn't depress me only because of my fond memories for the restaurant. The transition seems symptomatic of the trend in the DC dining industry towards mainstream, inoffensive food. There is a pervasive belief that our palates don't like to be challenged and that unfamiliar dishes will not sell here. Last week, we dined at Adour for the first time. The space is beautiful, the service was polished, and the wine program is great. But the food actually made me angry. There were some mistakes in execution: under-seasoning, over-cooking. The real crime was the menu: everything looked and tasted "safe". The NYC Adour gets uni pasta, and we get braised shortribs.

I also lament the momentum away from fine dining. I feel like the luxury and the theater of a great restaurant performing at its peak is why we go out to celebrate special occasions, why we anticipate meals planned far in advance at destination eateries. "Democratizing" food across the board risks killing what was once special. But I understand that white tablecloths and crystal are expensive and that economic realities may drive restaurateurs to compromise their vision. So, my main frustration is still about the cooking.

Two of my favorite recent meals were at vegetarian restaurants with no tablecloths, informal service, and tasting menu prices below $100. Yet, Ubuntu in Napa and Kajitsu in NYC delivered innovative, tasty, and challenging food that had me considering each bite and thinking about the meals long after we'd returned home. It pains me to acknowledge that neither restaurant could ever exist in our local restaurant market. Why, in a metropolis of affluent, world-traveled citizens, is there so little culinary risk-taking?

I'm a newb on this forum, and I don't want to offend those of you who have presumably already considered this topic, and are far more familiar with the industry than I am. I also don't want to diminish the hard work of the people who do run terrific restaurants here (I have many favorites in the mid-range and low-end, my complaint is largely with the void at the top-end). I just want to believe that it's possible to have a world class restaurant in my town. That such a place would become a destination for others. If Bluestem can succeed in Kansas City, and Husk can make headlines from Charleston, why is the idea of culinary travel to DC so improbable?

Again, please correct me if you think that I'm uninformed or overly-pessimistic. There are many restaurants vying for the top reputation in the city that I haven't yet tried (including Komi). CityZen remains my favorite local fine dining restaurant (in fact, I'm strongly considering blowing our December dining budget with a meal there to help me forget my disappointment with Adour). They consistently deliver on the experience that their reputation promises. But I still get the sense that Eric Ziebold has to cook what he thinks his customer base wants. I would absolutely love to see him cook unfettered, like some of his fellow TFL alums: Grant Achatz, Rene Redzepi, etc. On that note, it saddens me to see Bertrand Chemel talking about value menus when Gavin Kaysen has made such a name for himself at Cafe Boulud.

Best of luck to everyone at 2941, past, present, and future!

#117 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 06:02 PM

We went for their last night of regular service with their "old" concept on 12/30/11 and the tasting menu was magnificent. There was some clever workings with mushrooms, ducks, and ribeye that were woodsy and sophisticated and wonderful. I think they were cleaning out the inventory of some of the more expensive kitchen ingredients (whole lobes of foie as a garnish) and I know they were doing so for the alcohol (there were winky explanations of the wine pairings for the group next to us that made us sad we weren't drinking). They were getting rid of the glass octopus chandelier thing but nothing can change those ceilings and the view. The folks we talked to were cheerful and upbeat about the new concept, but did say, upon questioning, that the chef would likely be willing to do tasting menus via special requests in the future, once the new concept had settled in. So that's something to keep in mind, as I believe most of the key kitchen staff were intending to stay in place.

#118 porcupine

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:40 AM

Mr P and I went for lunch recently, and I don't think anyone need fear that the menu has been dumbed down or the space turned more casual. Yes, the tables are bare, but the service is still fine-dining style, precise and thoughtful if not exactly formal. And the menu is a little more lighthearted, perhaps, but the food we tried was every bit as well-executed as we've come to expect from 2941. They were offering a 12% discount (food only) while they "work through the new menu", as we were told.

Mr P started with black truffle macaroni and cheese croquettes. Yeah, okay, that does sound a little bistro-ish or something, but the perfectly fried little cylinders tasted a lot more upscale. My first course was a salad of endive, pear, blue cheese marshmallow, and candied pecan. Yeah, okay, marshmallow sounds a little silly, but they did not look, feel, or taste like marshmallow; they were little buttons of lightened cheese encrusted with something. This salad was delicious, but for one thing: two paper thin slices of pear on that big pile of endive. Like, 1/32nd of a pear. That came across more as fine dining than casual (in a bistro or cafe I'd expect a heartier portion, say half a pear). [note: that was me being snarky. I really don't care for fine dining anymore, and this is a good example why. Give me good food over refined food any day.]

As an aside, I have never understood why some menus don't describe the dressing on a salad. Especially in a place like this, the dressing isn't an afterthought. It's an integral part of the dish. In this case, I'm glad I asked, because the dressing was a mustard-walnut oil vinaigrette. My walnut allergy isn't going to kill me, but it's unpleasant. The word "pecan" put me on alert so I asked if it was definitely pecan and not walnut*, and only then did the waitress describe the dressing, and offer an alternative.

Allergy issues aside, don't you think a mustard-walnut oil vinaigrette would significantly affect a salad's flavor? So put that info on the menu.

We each had a half portion of pasta next. Mine was whole wheat spaghetti with smoked mushrooms and pancetta in a butter sauce; his was pappardelle (I think) with mushrooms and a parsnip puree. Again, every bit as good as anything we've had before at 2941. Doesn't sound formal but didn't taste casual.

Coconut cake for dessert. Once again, sounds like bistro fare, but it was a European-style pastry: genoise (maybe spongecake) soaked in passion fruit nectar, a thin layer of cream cheese icing, and coconut. Delicious, satisfying, not overpowering. I didn't try Mr P's carrot cake.

It's still an expensive restaurant: all the above, plus an iced tea and a coffee, came to seventy something dollars before tip. And those were small portions.

2941 was never a favorite of mine (though it was for Mr P), but I'm really looking forward to going back.

ps: still complimentary valet parking, too
--------
*lesson learned the hard way at another restaurant: ordered the salad, described as having pecans; it came out with walnuts; when I asked the waitress said something like "oh, the chef changes things around like that and doesn't tell us."

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#119 porcupine

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:59 AM

As it stands, we've lost many great restaurants over the past several years through marketing, false criticism


And I wonder if we've lost any to crazy speculation, like the kind that's in this thread? How many people do you think read this discussion, from post #108 to #116, and just gave up on the place, since just about every post has the phrase "dumbing down"? What a shame if that has happened. Don, I think you, especially, owe it to both 2941 and your readers to go there and report back to us.

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#120 DonRocks

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

And I wonder if we've lost any to crazy speculation, like the kind that's in this thread? How many people do you think read this discussion, from post #108 to #116, and just gave up on the place, since just about every post has the phrase "dumbing down"? What a shame if that has happened. Don, I think you, especially, owe it to both 2941 and your readers to go there and report back to us.


It's on my list after Chalin's. ;)

No, you're right. I suppose I started a bit of a speculative pile-on (taken in context of Orso, however, which (please note) I seem to be the only torch-bearer left for, ironically).

However, I should add that I believe 2941's spectacular opening Maitre d', Rachid Lakroune, appears to have left the restaurant last April. Justin Abad (GM of Cashion's) recently mused aloud on Facebook about Maitre d's, asking who the best were - I quickly thought of three: Adnane Kebaier of Marcel's, Jean-Jacques Retourné of Citronelle (sorry, Tom! ;)), and Rachid, only to find in dismay that he's apparently no longer there. This may or may not have anything to do with any potential "dumbing down" of things, but Rachid was wonderful, at least from the customer's point of view (really, the kind of comforting dining-room presence who made your eyes light up every time you saw him), and I will really miss him if he is indeed gone. Combine this with the removal of linens and the apricot yo-yos, and maybe you'll see why I'm at least "concerned" about cost-cutting measures. It isn't as if Bertrand Chemel suddenly forgot how to run a kitchen, so I'm not worried about his talents in the least.

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#121 porcupine

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:55 PM

Combine this with the removal of linens and the apricot yo-yos, and maybe you'll see why I'm at least "concerned" about cost-cutting measures.


OK, I don't know about the yo-yos, but didn't 2941 used to bring cotton candy at the end of your meal? Not sure there's anything sillier than that.

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#122 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

The cotton candy was a looong time ago, back in the Krinn days, when you also got a to-go baguette on our way out. We've been noting their progress and while I HATE the cutesy course names: Nosh - Next - Noodles - Need - Naughty, we are planning to try it out once the dust settles. As Don noted, Chef is still in the kitchen, so we have high hopes with this recent report!

#123 PappyVanWise

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

For what it's worth, the blue cheese marshmallow salad was on the menu in October 2011. It sounded silly then, too.

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#124 DonRocks

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:22 PM

OK, I don't know about the yo-yos, but didn't 2941 used to bring cotton candy at the end of your meal? Not sure there's anything sillier than that.


"'Apricot Yo-Yos' were my (affectionate) name for their large, orange, mobiles which I believe were properly titled "Jellyfish." They were very expensive pieces of art.

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#125 bmcdonal6674

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 11:57 AM

Tried the new menu last night with friends.

Started with some drinks at the bar and I enjoyed the Corpse Reviver No. 2 which was very refreshing. Someone else had the The Misfit Toy and liked it. The truffle oil popcorn seemed was stale.

At the table the group started with the Mac and Cheese and the Tuna Tartare both were good.

Next we split a pasta special of short rib ravioli with shrimp in a tomato coulis. This was the highlight of the evening.

Entrees were the Grilled Tuna Loin, Colorado Lamb Loin, veal chop special and Meat & Potatoes. The off the menu veal chop was the best of the group. I order the meat and potatoe and the steak while cooked correctly to med-rare lacked flavor.

We order a dessert to share - Chocolate Layer Cake - this was too dry and was not finished. The server asked why and replaced it with the Pineapple-Caramel Éclair which was outstanding.

They have not dumbed down the wine list which I feel is overpriced and hard to find value.

Before I return I'll call to see if they have the short rib pasta special. That alone is worth a return trip and provides hope that the seasonal menu will work at 2941.

#126 ol_ironstomach

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 12:44 PM

2941's duck burger, "The Daffy", may well be the finest burger I've ever eaten. It's almost too tidy, perfectly aligned on a flawless bun, but it's a flavor powerhouse. I don't know what I was expecting but it tasted downright burger-y, and not at all like ground up roast duck. The kitchen recommends medium-rare. Your choice of fries or salad on the side; both are excellent, although one might quibble that the salad is slightly heavily dressed.

As much as I appreciate excellent burgers with gusto (cf Wabeck ex Firefly, Landrum), the Daffy is a masterpiece of refinement and multiple lipids. The size is just right. At nearly $20 it's an expensive burger, but I'd put it up against the celebrated (and larger and twice-as-expensive) Daniel Boulud burger any day.

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#127 NovaLawyer

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:57 AM

It's on my list after Chalin's. ;)

No, you're right. I suppose I started a bit of a speculative pile-on (taken in context of Orso, however, which (please note) I seem to be the only torch-bearer left for, ironically).

However, I should add that I believe 2941's spectacular opening Maitre d', Rachid Lakroune, appears to have left the restaurant last April. Justin Abad (GM of Cashion's) recently mused aloud on Facebook about Maitre d's, asking who the best were - I quickly thought of three: Adnane Kebaier of Marcel's, Jean-Jacques Retourné of Citronelle (sorry, Tom! ;)), and Rachid, only to find in dismay that he's apparently no longer there. This may or may not have anything to do with any potential "dumbing down" of things, but Rachid was wonderful, at least from the customer's point of view (really, the kind of comforting dining-room presence who made your eyes light up every time you saw him), and I will really miss him if he is indeed gone. Combine this with the removal of linens and the apricot yo-yos, and maybe you'll see why I'm at least "concerned" about cost-cutting measures. It isn't as if Bertrand Chemel suddenly forgot how to run a kitchen, so I'm not worried about his talents in the least.


Don, 2941 was one of my favorite restaurants, and I was equally dubious with respect to the makeover. But earlier this week I managed to convince a beautiful woman to join me there for dinner (she's blind) and was pleasantly surprised by the result. No, it is not the same as it was, but the location is still marvelous, the food is still excellent, and the service, at least for us during a weekday evening, was both knowledgeable and attentive. No more linens, but also no more $400 tabs for a couple. Four a la carte courses paired with a glass of wine apiece (eggplant was the star of the appetizers, gnochetti of the pastas, duck breast of the entrees, and lemon-olive oil cake) filled us to the brim in a way the old 2941 never did, and for about half the price.

In the late winter Sietsema hated it, foolish me, I KNOW my inner voice tells me to discount half of what that guy writes. Problem was, I paid attention in this case and waited half a year to head back. Sorry I waited. 2941 is still excellent.

#128 astrid

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

In the late winter Sietsema hated it, foolish me, I KNOW my inner voice tells me to discount half of what that guy writes. Problem was, I paid attention in this case and waited half a year to head back. Sorry I waited. 2941 is still excellent.


It's on Savored, which makes it an even better deal.

#129 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:54 PM

It's on Savored, which makes it an even better deal.


SWEET! We've been meaning to get back and the last 2 posts are huge inspiration. Thanks!

I noticed on the online menu, at least, they took down the hideously cutesy N-names for the different courses. So much good news!

#130 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 11:08 AM

No, it is not the same as it was, but the location is still marvelous, the food is still excellent, and the service, at least for us during a weekday evening, was both knowledgeable and attentive. No more linens, but also no more $400 tabs for a couple. Four a la carte courses paired with a glass of wine apiece (eggplant was the star of the appetizers, gnochetti of the pastas, duck breast of the entrees, and lemon-olive oil cake) filled us to the brim in a way the old 2941 never did, and for about half the price.


And if you make a reservation through Savored, it is a steal, pretty much literally. Our greatest concern about the makeover was the food, since there isn't much you can do to hurt the beauty of the surroundings. If anything, the removal of the table linens and booths makes the dining room slightly livelier, which is probably as intended. FOH and service staff included a lot of familiar faces and we had a waiter we've had before; it's just the outfits that have changed. Chef is still in the kitchen (and even wandering around in the dining room, talking to people) and there is a tasting menu available again (apparently as of a couple weeks ago).

Pastas are still very strong. The roasted corn ravioli course from the tasting menu is the summer version of the woodsy, mushroom-y ravioli that had me drooling on the last night of the "old" restaurant's service, and I hear that it could be coming to the regular menu with the next change (the menu is set to change quarterly, with the next change to occur in the next week or so). I also had the gnochetti, which were pan seared and creamy and wonderful, dressed with peas, favas, asparagus, and mint. Our meats, the veal tenderloin and the rib eye, were also very good - some technical flaws, like letting the food cool and allowing a skin to develop on the sauces (we were the last table of the night, but still...), but the taste, texture, and presentation were excellent, and just as if no change had occurred. Bread is now just ordinary, and the butter, while served soft, is still completely unsalted. But that too, is evidence that things haven't changed! ;) Most importantly, the citrus beginets are back!! I'm not sure if they are quite the same recipe as before (they seem larger and fluffier, though it's been a long time since I've had them), but they are a welcome end to the night. We were stuffed and thrilled and will definitely be back before we leave town. We'd be happy to travel back to this restaurant for anniversaries 5, 10, and beyond.

#131 B.A.R.

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:36 PM

Neglected to post, but my wife and I had a lovely meal at the bar in early April. Can't remember everything we had, but the Gnocchetti, Papardelle, Beef Duo and Taylor Bay Scallops spring to mind. Very solid cooking - not a clunker in the bunch. Truffled popcorn at the bar and more drinks than I care to admit and we left full, satisfied, and a bit tipsy for about $75 pp (before tip).

Was it the old 2941? Nope, and it wasn't significantly worse either. But it was significantly cheaper, which makes me :) . The wine list is smaller and still outrageously expensive, but the by the glass selection was excellent and fairly priced, and the gin, jalepeno, cilantro and lime drink was spectacular. It'll be in our regular rotation, as soon as we find a regular babysitter!

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#132 porcupine

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:04 AM

A few nights ago I had one of the best meals of the year at 2941, almost good enough to restore my faith in fine dining. American wagyu beef tartare with peanut vinaigrette was delicious, butternut squash soup was just sublime, and chestnut raviolini with mascarpone, preserved lemon, arbequina olives, and pancetta was extraordinary, a brilliant combination of flavors perfectly executed. A very rich dish, though; I couldn't have eaten more than a half-order. Well, okay, I could have... I allowed myself a glass of wine with this meal; the waiter recommended a glass of Pinot Gris, which complemented both the soup and the pasta very well.

MrP had the tuna tartare and a special of scallops (Nantucket bay, I think).

I'm still giving the stink eye to precious desserts, though. The chocolate napoleon (not actually a pastry) with Manjari panna cotta, coffee gelato, and a huckleberry sauce was... different, though I'll admit each element was excellent; I just didn't like the combination.

Over the years I've gone hot and cold on 2941, but this meal was truly outstanding.

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#133 jiveturk21

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:16 AM

I think that sometimes we all jump to conclusions a bit too quickly. With all of the hubbub about the changes at 2941 over the past year, I was a bit leery about going there for the first time in several years, but it was as good as ever on Saturday night.

The space is exceptional, no doubt about it. The service was good without being stuffy. They had a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle at the bar and a very interesting, and mostly reasonable, wine list. The only miss that we ordered was one of the desserts - some kind of sorbet in a hollowed out orange - but every thing else was nearly perfect. Steak tartare and pork belly were good, contrasting starters. Half orders of the mushroom risotto (maybe a tad it undercooked) and butternut squash agnolotti were great and very generous portions. The duck three ways was a solid entree to split, and a hazelnut/chocolate candy bar for dessert was the best of the bunch.

In the end, there is no reason to stay away from 2941 at this point, it simply is one of the best restaurants in Northern Virginia right now.

#134 John William G

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

...With all of the hubbub about the changes at 2941 over the past year, I was a bit leery about going there for the first time in several years, but it was as good as ever on Saturday night...


My experience earlier this week was a little different. They forgot to bring us water and bread until we asked for them. The butternut squash soup was excellent, and according to my wife the chicken dish she had was very good. My sea bass with basmati-Champagne sauce was only so-so. It didn't have much taste. It wasn't a bad meal but it wasn't up to the levels of previous meals we've had there.

#135 B.A.R.

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

My experience earlier this week was a little different. .


I have to say, this is one of the things that make restaurants, and opinions about restaurants, so interesting - and I am not saying John William G is wrong. My wife and I had dinner with another couple a few weeks back. I thought the meal was very solid, with no flaws and several wow dishes (we shared a bit of everything). Service was informed and restrained, no mishaps. We split the check, and walked out. I was thinking to myself, "I've overlooked this place for too long, that was an excellent meal." My dining companion said, as we walked down the walk, "Well, that was a very expensive disappointment. Wont be going back there!" :D

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#136 gwaldron

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:01 PM

After a couple years of steering clear, my wife and I decided to head back over the 2941 and check out the "new direction." I was optimistic and hopeful especially sine this place is *really* close to our house -- a bonus when one is still hiring babysitters and doesn't want to spend too much time in the getting there and back.

 

The new decor is an improvement. They took this grand space and made it more inviting - there aren't as many booths (a good thing) and the layout is not quite as broken up as I remember from the past.

 

I will tell you right off the bat -- the food is still (mostly) good. But our outing was marred by bad service. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw; our server was not good. Maybe this is the new "casual" approach? He immediately dropped off menus, rattled off some specials, and we didn't see him again for quite a while. He never asked if we'd like something from the bar (which we did) and when he finally returned I said so. By then we knew what we wanted eat so we put that order in as well. My mistake? I guess so, since our appetizers arrives 30 seconds after our cocktails. :/

 

Moving on. My wife had a butternut squash soup - excellent. I tried the cripsy pork belly, also very good. We then split an order of a pasta dish - lobster fettucini. It's well documented in this thread that the move to a broad Mediterranean-esque menu and a decided "pasta station" was quastionable...rightfully so I would say: this dish was awful. Limp, flavorless pasta and a vapid sauce that tasted of saffron but was otherwise underseasoned and underdeveloped.

 

The entrees were a split. My veal+lobster on a bed of risotto was excellent. Really well-balanced flavors. Cindy's venison loin was a bit salty and a bit dry (even though the meat was cooked rare/mrare. Not enough finesse to it).

 

I left with mixed feelings. Honestly I don't remember the price point at the "old" 2941 but it was a very expensive meal for what (I feel) we got. I suspect a huge part of that was the bad service. In my book that is really what you're spending the big bucks on. A couple missteps in the food doesn't sour an evening, but bad service does, at least for me. I want to go back and try again - the food was good - but it will be hard to get past that. You can't really mix fine-dining prices with "casual" service.


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#137 darkstar965

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:55 PM

After a couple years of steering clear, my wife and I decided to head back over the 2941 and check out the "new direction." I was optimistic and hopeful especially sine this place is *really* close to our house -- a bonus when one is still hiring babysitters and doesn't want to spend too much time in the getting there and back.

 

The new decor is an improvement. They took this grand space and made it more inviting - there aren't as many booths (a good thing) and the layout is not quite as broken up as I remember from the past.

 

I will tell you right off the bat -- the food is still (mostly) good. But our outing was marred by bad service. Maybe it was just the luck of the draw; our server was not good. Maybe this is the new "casual" approach? He immediately dropped off menus, rattled off some specials, and we didn't see him again for quite a while. He never asked if we'd like something from the bar (which we did) and when he finally returned I said so. By then we knew what we wanted eat so we put that order in as well. My mistake? I guess so, since our appetizers arrives 30 seconds after our cocktails. :/

 

Moving on. My wife had a butternut squash soup - excellent. I tried the cripsy pork belly, also very good. We then split an order of a pasta dish - lobster fettucini. It's well documented in this thread that the move to a broad Mediterranean-esque menu and a decided "pasta station" was quastionable...rightfully so I would say: this dish was awful. Limp, flavorless pasta and a vapid sauce that tasted of saffron but was otherwise underseasoned and underdeveloped.

 

The entrees were a split. My veal+lobster on a bed of risotto was excellent. Really well-balanced flavors. Cindy's venison loin was a bit salty and a bit dry (even though the meat was cooked rare/mrare. Not enough finesse to it).

 

I left with mixed feelings. Honestly I don't remember the price point at the "old" 2941 but it was a very expensive meal for what (I feel) we got. I suspect a huge part of that was the bad service. In my book that is really what you're spending the big bucks on. A couple missteps in the food doesn't sour an evening, but bad service does, at least for me. I want to go back and try again - the food was good - but it will be hard to get past that. You can't really mix fine-dining prices with "casual" service.

 

Hey there-welcome to dr.com!  Great to have you and thanks for the detailed writeup.  Very useful for folks like us. Though we get out a lot, have never been here.



#138 plarkins

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

insightful interview with Chemel a year into their new format



#139 astrid

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

It's always interesting and refreshing to see how much experiences and opinions can differ, even at the same table!  I've always been particularly impressed with 2941's fresh made pasta offerings, which I find to be amongst the best in DC.  They seem to be using a yolk only recipe, which makes the pasta particularly silky and rich.  So it's interesting to see it highlighted a pasta dish as being particularly poor.

 

Even more funny how the experience even extend to pricing!  Probably due to the fact that we generally book here with Savored, we're actually always surprised by how low our tab ends up being, even after a generous tip!  We do tend to steer clear of entrees in favor of small plates, so that may have shifted the cost equation somewhat in our favor.  The tapas size starters here almost qualifies as steals in my book.







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