MelGold

Evening Star Cafe and Majestic Lounge, Del Ray - Chef Jim Jeffords Replaces Will Artley

79 posts in this topic

WARNING: Shameless plug for Evening Star Cafe & The Wild Grape (JParrot)...

This Monday, April 24th, the Evening Star Cafe is hosting Richard Weiss of The Wild Grape at our monthly wine dinner. If you like small production wines from South Africa, this is most definitely a not-to-be-missed dinner. Chef Matt Cordes and his staff are pairing their creations with seven wines from The Wild Grape.

Menu

Vischysoisse with Parsley Froth
paired with a 2005 Louisvale Unwooded Chardonnay (Western Cape)

Seared Scallops with Farmer Greens, Fennel & Articoke and a Lavender Vinaigrette
paired with a 2005 Monteroso de Franchi Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc

Pan-Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast with Savory Sour Cherry Bread Pudding, Minted Duck Jus and Micro Greens
paired with a 2003 Avondale "Amira" Syrah (Coastal Region) and a 2003 Hartenberg "Ecurie" Cab, Shiraz, Pinotage, Merlot Blend (Stellenbosch)

Caraway & Herb Crusted Lamb Round with Red Onion, Parsley & Black Pepper Creme
paired with a 2003 Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Blend and a 2001 Vergenoegd Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)

Raisin Tart with Port & Muscat Drizzle
paired with a 2005 Vriesenhof Melelo Muscat d'Alexandrie, Tinta Touriga (Stellenbosch)

Price is $85 per person (includes tax & gratuity). RSVP by calling Planet Wine at 703.549.3444.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinner on the Danube Wine Dinner
Evening Star Cafe (2000 Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray)
Tuesday, June 20th
7:15 PM
$85

Together Romanian wine importer Flavius Cucu of Suprex International and Hungarian wine representatives from International Wine Cellars share great values and hidden gems from this ancient winemaking center. This evening is dedicated to the culinary revival that is gaining momentum in many central and eastern European regions. For the first time, new and experienced U.S. wine drinkers are opening their minds, and discovering the premium quality and value of these wines. Tonight's wines from Austria, Hungary, and Romania are paired with inspired courses prepared by Chef Matt Cordes and Sous Chef William Artley of Evening Star Cafe.
 

MENU

First Course
Artichoke Soup with Hazelnut and Ricotta Fritter
2003 Weingut Tegernseerhof Grí¼ner Veltliner Bergdistel (Wachau, Austria)

Second Course
Almond-Crusted Halibut
Root Vegetable Puree, Bluefoot & Fava Bean Ragout, Corn Sabayon

2004 Nyakas Irsai Olivier (Buda Region, Hungary)
2003 Murfatlar Winery "Legacy" Late Harvest Pinot Noir (Romania)

Third Course
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Baby Brioche, Mí¡che Salad, Pomegranate Sauce

2000 Domaine Tohani Feteasca Neagra (Romania)
2002 Murfatlar Winery "Legacy" Cabernet Sauvignon (Romania)

Fourth Course
Roasted Squab
Chestnut Spaetzle, Dried Fruit Compote, Sherry Emulsion

2003 Taklar Winery Noir Gold Kekfrankos (Szekszardi, Hungary)

Fifth Course
Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
1999 Tokaj-Hetszolo Winery Aszu 6 Puttonyos (Tokaji, Hungary)
2002 Tamaioasa Romaneasca de Pietroasele (Romania)

RSVP by calling Planet Wine at 703.549.3444

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Australian Wine DinnerMonday, February 26, 2007 at 7:15 PM

Special Guest: John Amo of Grateful Palate

$85 inclusive tax & gratuity

This month's wine dinner at Evening Star Cafe focuses on February's featured wine region of Australia. Australian Wine Importer John Amo from the Grateful Palate will be walking us through this five-course dinner prepared by Chef Matt Cordes and his staff. An amuse & aperitif will be served downstairs in the wine shop, so check in there before heading up to the No. 9 for dinner!

Reserve your seats by calling Planet Wine at 703.549.3444

Amuse & Aperitif

Pork Cheek Rillette with Pappadam Chip & BBQ Apple Chutney

NV Trevor Jones Sparkling Red Wine (South Australia)

1st Course

Horseradish-Crusted Scottish Salmon

Herb Salad, Pickled Quail Egg, Fingerling Potato Ragout, Chive Foam

2005 Clos Clare Riesling (Clare Valley)

2nd Course

Roasted Australian Prawn

Fennel & Endive Salad, Caramel-Basil Sauce

2005 Trevor Jones "Virgin" Chardonnay (South Australia)

3rd Course

Roasted Duck Breast

Vanilla Whipped Parsnip Puree, Braised Mustard Greens, Blood Orange Duck Jus

2005 Marquis Philips Shiraz (Southeast Australia) & 2003 Brothers in Arms No.6 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon (Langhorne Creek)

4th Course

Roasted Rack of Lamb

Mushroom, Sage and Pancetta Bread Pudding with Juniper Berry Beurre Rouge

2004 Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale) & 2004 Rusden Driftsand GMS (Barossa Valley)

5th Course

Spiced Ricotta Curd Crèpes with Passion Fruit Anglaise

2005 Lilly Pilly Noble Blend

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I never realized I was the only poster on this thread. It's a shame really, too.

Matt Cordes has moved on to other adventures (just got married - congrats - and hasn't landed anywhere I know of yet), but his sous chef, Will Artley, took over the kitchen about 6 months ago with great results. If you haven't been to the Star lately, go. This is from someone who has no ties to this restaurant other than friendships & a happy stomach. Will has continued the spirit of what the Evening Star was created to be - a solid neighborhood restaurant putting out amazingly elegant, but comfortable food. Working out in Herndon (and the diet) has prevented me from dropping in on my old haunts - and it's kind of unfortunate to be honest.

Tonight was the annual sparkling wine tasting in the No. 9 Lounge sponsored by Planet Wine, so I thought I'd treat my co-worker April to her first taste of Champagne as a thank you for all the good work she's done this year. We left work a bit early, and decided to have a bite to eat before tasting out 25 glasses of bubbly. We started with the appetizer of steak tartare which looked like a small portion on the plate but was rich & perfectly spicy thanks to the horseradish sauce that accompanied it. I thought about ordering two more and calling it a night, but Will took over from there. He presented us with a beautiful salad of golden beets, arugula & mint with pistachio crusted goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette. That was followed by roasted butternut squash ravioli with wild mushroom ragout, swiss chard & an apple-shallot sauce. We finished with a shared bite of Will's braised bacon & scallop with cowboy beans paired with a tasting of Panacea Cabernet Sauvignon. While it wasn't the catfish tacos we originally thought we'd have for a pre-debauchery meal, it was amazing. I can't wait to check the calendar for a night when I can go back & do it all again.

There's a reason Will is cooking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next month...catch this Star on his ascent. The Evening Star is worth the trip these days!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. MV and I recently had dinner at Evening Star in Del Ray. I have to let y'all know-if you're in the mood for a total comfort food meal of baked chicken, greens and mac and cheese, this is the best way to get it for $20. The greens were rainbow chard, which was nice and earthy, sitting under a nice piece of skin on chicken breast. The jalepeno mac and cheese is creamy and just a bit spicy rotelli.

Mr. MV had a fish which came over grits with blue cheese and tasso ham. He couldn't stop saying how good it was.

I could see Chef Atley working in the kitchen while I ate.

This neighborhood place is a gem, which left me thinking "why the hell don't we come here more often?!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Met up with some long-lost friends for drinks last night upstairs at No. 9 Lounge. The place was surprisingly empty at 6pm, but refreshingly cool :lol: We enjoyed a few glasses of wine. I stuck with Austrian selections a nice rose and a gruner veltliner.

We also shared several of the small plates/sides. As monavano said, the mac and cheese is creamy and has just a bit of a kick from the jalapenos. Hummus was thick and had a nice flavor - wouldn't have minded a few more pieces of celery and carrots on the plate (and if they could get the same bread that comes with the olives at Vermilion...). Flatbread of the day was chicken with a spicy honey mustard, diced red bell peppers, and cheddar cheese. Nothing special, but for $6 a decent snack.

We were intrigued by the grilled watermelon napoleon. Unfortunately, it didn't quite hit the mark - a layered presentation (as you would expect from a napoleon) of grilled watermelon rounds, goat cheese, baby tatsoi, and a pine nut pepper brittle, with a 'schmear?' of balsamic on the plate. My vegetarian friend thought the watermelon tasted like hamburger (maybe/probably grilled on the same grill). The brittle was a very interesting sweet/spicy and crunchy element. Too bad it was in one big chunk that scooted out of the stack when it was cut into. I think a composed presentation with the brittle crumbled over top might work better. All the elements were good, but didn't come together as well as they might.

The space filled up quickly after 7:00 and I was sorry to have to leave before the live music got started. Been a while since I was there, but I'll be back sooner rather than later!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Evening Star is on our short list as it is always tasty, always consistent and the service is top notch. Mussels were very good, maybe a bit too much roquefort but that really isn't a problem is it? The duck spring rolls had tremendous flavor. The jambalaya on the bar menu has a great kick. The presentation of it is somewhat lacking (lumped in a too small dish) but it makes up for it in flavor. White truffle ravioli - one word - yum. The wine and beer choices add that much more to the food and ambiance. Just an overall great time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Will has made a vast improvement to the food at Evening Star. We've had two delightful dinners there over the last couple of weeks and the changes in the food are amazing. Evening Star now has a place in our rotation of weekend dining spots. The only thing that keeps it from becoming a destination restaurant is the noise level which can get a bit high but the food helps to overcome that obstacle. Kudos to Will (and just where does NRG keep finding all these great chefs anyway?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chef Will was on My Fox 5 this am and made an Heirloom Tomato and Nomi Creek Crab Salad that looks awesome. He advocated buying a variety of tomatoes from local markets, in particular, Dupont, Del Ray and Alexandria. He noted that the farmers markets guide his food. He will be having a farm market dinner on Sept. 14th, for 14.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chef Will was on My Fox 5 this am and made an Heirloom Tomato and Nomi Creek Crab Salad that looks awesome. He advocated buying a variety of tomatoes from local markets, in particular, Dupont, Del Ray and Alexandria. He noted that the farmers markets guide his food. He will be having a farm market dinner on Sept. 14th, for 14.
Don't get this one confused with the one he's having on the 7th for 14 lucky Rockwellians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chef Will was on My Fox 5 this am and made an Heirloom Tomato and Nomi Creek Crab Salad that looks awesome. He advocated buying a variety of tomatoes from local markets, in particular, Dupont, Del Ray and Alexandria. He noted that the farmers markets guide his food. He will be having a farm market dinner on Sept. 14th, for 14.

well I'm happy to clarify the dates. on september 10th i will be working with freshfarm and a few delray farmermarket farmers on a farm to fork dinner. The dinner for the donrockwellers is for just 14 ppl. on the 7th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
well I'm happy to clarify the dates. on september 10th i will be working with freshfarm and a few delray farmermarket farmers on a farm to fork dinner. The dinner for the donrockwellers is for just 14 ppl. on the 7th.

thanks for clarifying...I've been hopped up on too many drugs this week!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had brunch here today while watching the Del Ray Halloween parade -- what a great afternoon :lol: Tripewriter had the beef brisked with poached eggs and toast and a bloody mary, all of which he heartily enjoyed, and I had a fabulous breakfast sandwich: fried eggs, fried toast, bacon, and cheese. Not for the healthy diner, but for anyone who wants a hearty, delicious, and amazingly satisfying meal :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years ago, I was asked about the best neighborhood restaurants in the Washington, DC area, and I named three: Ray's The Steaks, 2 Amys, and Colorado Kitchen.

Last night I had a fantastic dinner at Evening Star Cafe, which became very crowded after the Halloween trick-or-treating ended at around 8 PM. In a recent post, I mentioned how I tend to avoid items such as Mixed Grill ($11), because the cooking times for the various items are different, and something invariably arrives cold, overcooked, heat-lamped, or what have you. But Evening Star's was remarkable, with the best scallop I've had in quite awhile alongside a perfectly seared piece of pork belly, both resting on some creamed corn which was tasted like it was right off the cob. I initially balked at the fourth item on the plate - avocado puree - which seemed like it had no place in the dish, but which actually knit together very well with the other three items.

The first bite of Duck Spring Rolls ($8) seemed like they could have used hotter oil, but they curiously became crispier the longer they sat out. Stuffed with house-cured and braised, shredded duck, they were served in an interesting little pool of caramel garlic basil sauce. The duck in these spring rolls was a superb confit, and these appetizers batted two-for-two.

And the highlights continue with the Forever Braised Shortribs ($23), a big, luscious rectangle of falling-apart shortrib meat sitting atop a misnamed butternut squash and boursin "risotto," which was really just a firm rice dish. With the braising juice on the bottom of the plate, and some bread to swab up every last microgram of food on the plate, this is a dish I'll quite possibly order the next time I come.

The only minor quibble is with the Grilled Pork Chop ($23), and that's only because it came out medium instead of medium-rare, although some intriguing sear made up for the slightly monolithic center portion. Pumpkin and andouille sausage hash was a perfect Halloween side, and the apple cider gastrique lent both some sweetness and additional acidity.

Dessert was the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Tart ($8) from Buzz Bakery. I hesitate to use an amateurish word such as "scrumptious," but that's exactly what this was - it isn't often I order a heavy dessert after a heavy meal, but this is just what I wanted.

From Planet Wine's world-class, 1,000-bottle wine list, I ordered a 2004 René Monnier Maranges 1er Cru "Clos de la Fussière," a monopole vineyard from Burgundy, for only $38. I liked the wine so much that I asked the server to purchase two more botles to take home, and he ran next door to Planet Wine and brought them back in a paper bag (they're only $28 a bottle when purchased for retail).

Just yesterday, someone wrote me who's going to be writing an article for a widely read publication, asking me for my opinion on "neighborhood gems - the comfortable little restaurants that serve great food but never seem to get any recognition. You know.. the kind you'd spend your own money at?" I'm going to be replying to her letter today, and sending her a link to this post about Evening Star Cafe - perhaps the greatest neighborhood gem in the entire Washington, DC area.

And now, my friends, I'm going out for a bike ride.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. A note to Evening Star management: Dust the bowler's butt!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From Planet Wine's world-class, 1,000-bottle wine list

My experience with Evening Star's wine program a few years back has led me to a couple of caveats:

1. If you want a white or rose from the regular list, be very vigilant about getting it chilled. Evening Star is a popular place, your waitron will want you to order relatively quickly, and your wine may not be cold enough to drink before your food is up.

2. Order something that you reasonably expect hasn't been in the shop that long. Planet Wine is often kept quite warm, and I have had some tired/slightly cooked bottles.

Granted, this experience is from a few years back, but I can't imagine that Evening Star hasn't gotten much less popular/crowded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just yesterday, someone wrote me who's going to be writing an article for a widely read publication, asking me for my opinion on "neighborhood gems - the comfortable little restaurants that serve great food but never seem to get any recognition. You know.. the kind you'd spend your own money at?" I'm going to be replying to her letter today, and sending her a link to this post about Evening Star Cafe - perhaps the greatest neighborhood gem in the entire Washington, DC area.

You now understand why the Farmer's Table dinner for 14 was such a success. Chef Will Artley does a great job with the menu at Evening Star. His food seems to get only better and better. Six of us (four adults and two children) are headed there tonight for dinner and have asked Will to just bring us what he'd eat. We're all really looking forward to dinner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I concur with Escoffier and want to publicly thank him for reintroducing us to the Evening Star & for letting us meet Chef Will. We have, as noted, been back several times and eagerly anticipate many return visits. I'll tell you, being in Del Ray last weekend made me put this neighborhood at the top of the list of neighborhood I'd want to live in if I were buying a house (and tired of having free housing in Arlington...).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having heard of the passing of a much beloved high school teacher this morning, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and in need of a pick me up so I drove over to Evening Star Cafe. Every time I've returned since leaving the team at the Star almost three years ago (!?!), I leave feeling a little bit happier having caught up with friends, eaten some amazing food and soaked up the ambiance of a good little neighborhood spot. Tonight was no different. I stuffed myself into a tiny table in the corner of the dining room and started with the Wild Mushroom Knodel. This appetizer is rich, decadent and large enough to be the centerpiece of a "light" meal if paired with a small salad (of course, I didn't stop there). I then had the opportunity to play guinea pig to a few experimental dishes Chef is working on for a new menu he's rolling out this week or next, and can't wait to see how he improves some of them. In short, stellar! Two of the highlights came from the supporting cast: a flash-fried shrimp tamale which was served with pan-seared cod, and what Will lovingly called "fantasy potatoes" which was a mixture of flash-fried potatoes, shrimp, truffle cream, bacon and some other yummy goodness (think there was some beef on the plate but those potatoes were wicked good). I'd like to think I skipped dessert because of my willpower, but alas I was just too damn full to eat another bite. As is the norm when visiting family you don't get around to visiting very often, I was punished for my absence...believe me, it won't happen again. THANK YOU!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stuffed myself into a tiny table in the corner of the dining room

Sorry for your loss.

My wife and I were in the booth by the kitchen earlier tonight, and really enjoyed our meal. I started with the duck spring rolls mentioned by Don. These were quite good, but there was a flavor that took me to a special place, unfortunately I doubt it is a flavor memory anyone else has, but I would still whole heartedly recommend it. My wife's fried brie was a portion large enough for two people, and was a crispy, but also had a sweet crust that balanced out nicely with the fattiness of the cheese.

I went wanting to have a steak and mashed potatoes, but since that was my wife's choice as well, I decided to go with the short ribs. The tenderloin was not just well cooked, but was nicely seasoned, but what I really loved were the hearty yet not heavy mashed potatoes. The short rib itself was tender and flavorful, but it was a bit dry something that was easily solved with a little of the jus that was around the plate. I wish that I could rave about the butternut and borsin risotto, but it was overcooked, and lacked any flavor of the cheese.

Desserts were a real star, and I would love to have an entire pan of the blondie that comes with hot brownie sundae. The only weak part of this dish was the weak pistachio flavor of the accompanying ice cream. My wife's peanut butter tart was spectacular, that was made even better with a side glass of milk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry for your loss.

Desserts were a real star...

Thanks! He was one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of teachers that everyone remembers warmly...it's been bittersweet to hear the great stories on Facebook today. I'm a bit sad about missing dessert - that peanut butter tart looked AWESOME!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm a bit sad about missing dessert - that peanut butter tart looked AWESOME!
The glass of cold milk really made the dish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to post that I ate heard a couple of weeks ago while I was in the Delray area.

Loved the Duck Spring Rolls similar to Sthitch [well, maybe not a special place, but quite enjoyed lol]. Haven't had the Brined Roasted Chicken in ages, still a winner although the accompanying Jalepeno Mac & Cheese were just ok imo. Nice service, but it was fairly empty when I dined [only 5 tables filled, this is really a shame]. Good place to support.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had lunch at Evening Star today. The Mediterranean salad was very good with a well balanced dressing and baby arugula, and the veggie sandwich was excellent. Sprigs of thyme were tucked in along with the mushrooms, melted mozzarella, and fried veggie/tofu/herbed patty. Somehow that last bit doesn't sound very appetizing, but it was really good. When the sandwich came, the fries tasted like they had been sitting for a while, but as soon as we pointed this out to the server, we got a plate of fresh ones. Crispy and nicely spiced with Cajun seasoning. A good option for lunch in Del Ray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been back to Evening Star several times since the first Farm to Table dinner I posted about earlier, and each time we have left happy, satisfied, and vowing to return more often. I can't tell you the number of people I've recommended their breakfast sandwich to! Not to mention their jalapeno biscuits and BLT salad. Our latest trip, however, was a special one:

As some of you know, Tripewriter and I have been sick since December -- December 16, to be precise. We've had to cancel all sorts of special dinner reservations and a party of own own that we've been planning since last summer; we've missed Christmas, New Year's, and our 7th anniversary. When Chef Will Artley at Evening Star found out about how poorly we were feeling, he sent us a message saying, in essence, sorry you're not feeling well -- can I make you some soup? Give me a call. Well, how could we turn down such an offer? Tripewriter called, and Chef Will invited us down to Del Ray that evening. When we were there, he served us some amazing gnocchi (they're new on the menu -- go try them!) and two enormous bowls of Magic Soup. He then comped the entire meal and sent us home with a container holding the rest of the soup.

In short, this chef, on hearing that some vaguely regular customers weren't feeling well, took the time during dinner service to make a separate pot of soup for them and to comp the meal and send them home with the leftovers.

Just thought I'd share our experience with the Evening Star -- excellent food, friendly service, and a chef with a heart bigger than anyone I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now