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

Alexandria Del Ray American Wines Neighborhood Restaurant Group

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#1 MelGold

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 10:55 AM

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.



#2 MelGold

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 09:42 AM

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 Grüner 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, Máche 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



#3 MelGold

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:51 AM

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 Crêpes with Passion Fruit Anglaise
2005 Lilly Pilly Noble Blend

#4 MelGold

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 10:09 PM

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!

#5 monavano

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 04:26 PM

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?!"

#6 goldenticket

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:46 AM

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!

Jackie B.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Wonka/Dahl/O'Shaughnessy


#7 lggl

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 08:05 PM

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.

#8 Escoffier

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 08:29 PM

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?)

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#9 monavano

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:11 AM

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.

#10 Escoffier

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 12:41 PM

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.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#11 Will Artley

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 01:16 PM

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.

#12 monavano

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 01:24 PM

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!

#13 Walrus

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 05:28 PM

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 :)

#14 DonRocks

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 02:55 PM

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!

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#15 jparrott

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 04:50 PM

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.

Jake Parrott
Haus Alpenz
Importers to the trade, serving the adventurous palate
Follow me on twitter: @jakehparrott
Anyway, I need f (4, 2) resolved to an integer value....


#16 Escoffier

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 05:03 PM

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.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#17 Walrus

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 10:09 PM

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...).

#18 MelGold

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

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!

#19 Sthitch

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:01 PM

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.

#20 MelGold

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:07 PM

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!

#21 Sthitch

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:27 PM

I'm a bit sad about missing dessert - that peanut butter tart looked AWESOME!

The glass of cold milk really made the dish.

#22 collije

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 11:58 AM

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.

#23 lperry

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 03:00 PM

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.

#24 Walrus

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:46 PM

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.

#25 aaronsinger

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:49 PM

Anyone go to their oyster roast this past weekend? Wanted to, but was busy with sister in town.

#26 Escoffier

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 04:33 AM

Anyone go to their oyster roast this past weekend? Wanted to, but was busy with sister in town.

You missed out on a great time. Not only oysters but Nathan's great hot dogs. I can't wait until he opens his butcher shop (how come meat shop sounds so strange?). There were a lot of people there but everyone seemed happy and well-fed. The oysters were plentiful, there was wine and beer and a large heated tent to sit in and indulge.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#27 StephenB

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:20 AM

Yes, me. And that chair.
--What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
--Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest.
--Nay, then I will not; you shall have the mustard,
Or else you get no beef of Grumio.
--Why then the mustard without the beef.
_________________Taming of the Shrew

Conscience freed from every clog,
Mahometans eat up the hog.
________________ William Cowper, 1779

#28 Walrus

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 10:52 PM

Had an amazing dinner at Evening Star Cafe tonight. So full -- almost 5 hours later -- that I can barely move, but sooooooo happy!

#29 Walrus

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 10:50 AM

I was surprised when I searched for this thread that I was the last one to comment on Evening Star -- are DR.com-mers really not going? Or just not posting? Because I'll tell you, Chef Will Artley is doing awesome things and just seems to get better and better. We took our guests here for our first meal out with them (the first night we had pizza and subs from the Italian Store...mmm...), and we all left exceedingly full and exceedingly happy. Chef sent out some amuses to tickle our palates, two of which were real stand-outs. The first was a perfectly seared scallop in a "gazpacho" of yellow tomato and sherry vinegar. It was tart and tangy and utterly delightful. One of our guests suffers from childhood trauma stemming from frozen scallops, but she said that scallops like the one we had here could convert her. Not even the diablo scallops at Ray's did that! So you know it was good. The other amuse was insane -- a perfectly -- perfectly! -- fried oyster on a mini chive biscuit. These are apparently going on the menu next week. We will be eating them. It was unbelievably good. My mouth is watering right now just thinking of it. For mains, I had a burger, which was divine, as did one of our guests. The other guest had the barramundi, and Tripewriter had the roasted chicken (with the mac and cheese...which he let me finish -- ah, love! :rolleyes:). It was a wonderful experience and a great meal. What an awesome way to start the week!

#30 u-bet!

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:16 PM

I went to Evening Star on Tuesday evening, thinking the back bar would be a good place to watch game 7 while dining on food of decidedly higher quality than that at Cap City, Champps, Crystal City, or any of the other Shirlington-Pentagon-Del Ray area sports bars which came to mind. I grabbed a seat at a small table just behind the bar, near the corner with the big screen TV. There was only one bartender, and I didn't see anyone getting table service, so I ordered my first beer at the bar, paid for it, and brought it back to the table. The bartender noticed when I had finished it, and asked me from behind the bar if I would like another one. It was poured and left for me to come pick up at the bar. So, I figured this meant that there would be no table service; if I wanted anything, I would have to walk up to the bar and get it myself and then bring it back to the table.

I dillied and dallied over the menu, having a hard time deciding what to order, and waiting for a good time to look away from the game. I eventually ordered the onion soup, and wondered if I would end up having to carry the hot bowl of soup from the bar to my table. To my relief, the soup was served directly to my table. The two pieces of French bread served on the side were crusty and fresh, but strangely lacking in flavor - nice texture, but they really didn't taste like much of anything to me. The two large croutons floating in the soup were understandably more flavorful, having picked up the flavors from the soup. The soup itself did not have the standard cheese cap; in fact, there was very little discernable cheese, but the broth presented a very interesting combination of flavors, so I'm not sure that a load of gooey cheese would have added much. I thought I might order something else, but ended up deciding to leave during the second intermission to get home in time to catch the third period. When I picked up my check at the bar, the bartender apologized for "taking too long" with the soup, and said he had comped it. I hadn't complained about it (or anything else) and I didn't notice that it had taken very long, since I spent so much time perusing the menu trying to decide what to order.

So this ends up being a pretty long-winded review of a good bowl of onion soup, but the small gesture from the bartender indicated to me that he felt that he had not lived up to his own standards of service, even though I had not complained or felt as if I had received bad service. It really left an impression on me, and I thought I would pass it along.

#31 Walrus

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 10:55 AM

Eagerly anticipating brunch here on Sunday -- if you haven't had the egg breakfast sandwich yet, you don't know what you're missing! Eggs, bacon, cheese, in a grilled sandwich. Nothing will banish the dreary day better!

#32 damstenger

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 08:09 PM

we gathered a group of 13 (#14 bailed) at the Farm Table at Planet Wine and had a good meal.

Everyone was happy with gathering at our Del Ray home, warming up with some cocktails and appetizers before a short walk to the wine shop.

Service was good, and the group was happy with the food. we agreed to limit the amount spent per bottle of wine (as not all love wine as much as my husband & I..) which worked out fine.

My only complaint was the restaurant charging tax on the pre-determined tip as well as the meal, and we also tipped on the entire wine bill. And the wine store called part of the percentage a "booking fee", and then called the remainder the gratuity. I don't know what caused the "party of 6+ (or you pick a number) to be charged a set tip in the restaurant universe, and I don't get it.

Planet Wine Farm Table dinner was good -- not great, but nice experience.

#33 Escoffier

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 02:58 AM

we gathered a group of 13 (#14 bailed) at the Farm Table at Planet Wine and had a good meal. Planet Wine Farm Table dinner was good -- not great, but nice experience.

We've had two Farmer's Table dinners at Evening Star, both which have been extremely successful and well received. It helps if you make all the food arrangements with the Chef first and set a fixed price per person. Do a search for Evening Star and read about the previous two dinners and perhaps the next one won't be a disappointment. (Welcome to DR)

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#34 MelGold

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 09:37 AM

My only complaint was the restaurant charging tax on the pre-determined tip as well as the meal, and we also tipped on the entire wine bill. And the wine store called part of the percentage a "booking fee", and then called the remainder the gratuity. I don't know what caused the "party of 6+ (or you pick a number) to be charged a set tip in the restaurant universe, and I don't get it.

I've worked in and with restaurants, and am friends with quite a few servers/managers/bartenders, so take the following for what you will...my observation is that the automatic tip for large parties is there to protect the server. The large majority of us on this board tip and tip well, but the vast population of diners out there don't. When there's a large party seated - especially in a special section of a restaurant that usually doesn't get seated like Planet Wine or a private dining room - that server is typically on duty that night to just take care of that table (which also takes considerably longer than a regular 4-top would). If they get stiffed because the diners can't do the math correctly or they're really cheap, that server worked a full shift for pennies. Unfortunately, it has become a necessary evil...much like putting down a credit card to reserve tables at popular restaurants on Hallmark holidays.

#35 Walrus

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:01 PM

(psssst...hey, you...wanna burger? go to evening star and get the speakeasy burger -- burger with a sweet tea glaze and truffle butter, on a waffle for a bun, topped with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg...no joke! -- just ask for the aardvark...you can thank me later!)

#36 collije

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 01:19 PM

(psssst...hey, you...wanna burger? go to evening star and get the speakeasy burger -- burger with a sweet tea glaze and truffle butter, on a waffle for a bun, topped with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg...no joke! -- just ask for the aardvark...you can thank me later!)

Must ... make ... effort ... to ... try ... this [sorry for all the extra spacing Rocks :D ]

#37 DonRocks

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:01 PM

I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to be able to walk into Planet Wine, leisurely walk around and select a bottle of wine, then head next door to Evening Star Cafe and order it with your dinner (for only a $10 surcharge, they'll run next door and grab it for you).

The other evening, I was in the mood for fresh, healthy food in a convivial atmosphere, so I found myself at The Majestic Lounge (the downstairs bar attached to Evening Star Cafe), unfortunately watching Boston beat up on the Nats.

Chipotle Pepper Caesar Salad ($7) is a lovingly dressed salad made with high-quality leaves, and topped with a few boquerones. The chipotle is subtle, and only kicks in as an aftertaste, giving the salad a nuanced complexity that sets it apart from a typical Caesar.

Shrimp and Corn Spring Rolls ($8) were diagonally sliced columns of beautifully fried rolls, standing on concentric circles of white, then green, sauces made with Vidalia Onion, lemon, and chives. This is another finesse dish that allows the diner to actually taste and think about the individual kernels of corn, if he or she is enough of a loser to actually do so.

I suspect I'm in a minority for not loving the Fish Tacos ($8 on the lounge menu), made with fried tilapia that looked like deep, golden cylinders of plantains, good coriander slaw, and house-cut fries. I often find fried tilapia-based fish tacos to lack integration (not sure why), and for me, these were more about the individual components (fish, slaw, tortillas) than the dish as a whole. Still, this was a pretty ample plate of food for eight dollars, and I'm pretty sure I'm over-analyzing this.

My affection for Evening Star Cafe continues, and if I lived in Del Ray, I'd be here all the time. Note also that this was only $23 for a substantial three-course meal.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#38 Escoffier

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:52 PM

The other evening, I was in the mood for fresh, healthy food in a convivial atmosphere, so I found myself at The Majestic Lounge (the downstairs bar attached to Evening Star Cafe), unfortunately watching Boston beat up on the Nats.

You should have come to the dining room side of the house. You could have joined us for a tasting menu of the following:

Beef Carpaccio with Grilled Watermelon, Chives, Basil and Blue Cheese: The red cubes in this appetizer aren't the beef, they're watermelon. What an interesting idea and what a great taste. The watermelon sweetness, the tartness of the blue cheese and the bite of the chives made a great combination all combined with great Beef. This was paired with Chateau la Bellevue Rose.

Soft shell Crabs with Mustard Sauce, Tasso Ham and Cheese Grits: Some of the largest soft shells I've seen and definitely some of the tastiest. Half a soft shell breaded and quickly fried. These were perfectly cooked. Both Grover and I cleaned our plates and wanted more. The wine was a Verdejo; Castillo di Medina

Smoked Eggplant Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper: I'm not a vegetarian, but a dish like this could make me one. The eggplant (which I'm not usually a big fan of) was a really nice smoky accompaniment to the red peppers. The wine was a San Jose Villa di Ontur.

Veal with homemade Date Salad and Tagliatelle Au Jus: Shredded Veal, Dates, Mushrooms! A dish we sampled more than ate as we were getting dangerously close to food overload. The Veal was very good. There are times when having more then one stomach would be welcomed. This was one of those times. We continued with the San Jose Villa di Ontur for this.

And last but certainly not least:

Pork Tenderloin, Polenta and Mushroom Gravy: If you want to taste excellent Pork, ask Chef Artley for some of his Pork Tenderloin. This was moist, flavorful and the polenta and mushroom gravy made it feel like I was at home again. The wine was a Malbec but, things were starting to get a bit hazy so I'm not sure which one. For some reason, we didn't want (or ask for) dessert. We finished with coffee and left satiated. Even with tasting menu sized portions, this was a lot of food. I'm still not hungry.

All of these dishes are on the new menu. You should join us next time.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#39 aaronsinger

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 11:25 PM

I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to be able to walk into Planet Wine, leisurely walk around and select a bottle of wine, then head next door to Evening Star Cafe and order it with your dinner (for only a $10 surcharge, they'll run next door and grab it for you).

The other evening, I was in the mood for fresh, healthy food in a convivial atmosphere, so I found myself at The Majestic Lounge (the downstairs bar attached to Evening Star Cafe), unfortunately watching Boston beat up on the Nats.

Chipotle Pepper Caesar Salad ($7) is a lovingly dressed salad made with high-quality leaves, and topped with a few boquerones. The chipotle is subtle, and only kicks in as an aftertaste, giving the salad a nuanced complexity that sets it apart from a typical Caesar.

Shrimp and Corn Spring Rolls ($8) were diagonally sliced columns of beautifully fried rolls, standing on concentric circles of white, then green, sauces made with Vidalia Onion, lemon, and chives. This is another finesse dish that allows the diner to actually taste and think about the individual kernels of corn, if he or she is enough of a loser to actually do so.

I suspect I'm in a minority for not loving the Fish Tacos ($8 on the lounge menu), made with fried tilapia that looked like deep, golden cylinders of plantains, good coriander slaw, and house-cut fries. I often find fried tilapia-based fish tacos to lack integration (not sure why), and for me, these were more about the individual components (fish, slaw, tortillas) than the dish as a whole. Still, this was a pretty ample plate of food for eight dollars, and I'm pretty sure I'm over-analyzing this.

My affection for Evening Star Cafe continues, and if I lived in Del Ray, I'd be here all the time. Note also that this was only $23 for a substantial three-course meal.

Cheers,
Rocks.

I had a great brunch here a couple weeks ago. I had a 'grits casserole' [it sounded strange, but worked out well] and my friend had chicken and waffles. Both were excellent.

I should go the lounge once or twice before moving back to Chicago in three weeks.

#40 monavano

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:46 AM

Mr. MV and I went on Sat. night and enjoyed the beef carpacio, pork and soft shell crab as Escoffier described so eloquently above. I had tried the carpacio at the Dupont market the previous Sunday, when Chef Will was Chef at market, and was delighted to taste it again. I believe that Planet Wine is selling Red Apron products next door-I believe the hot dogs-not sure if they're selling the carpacio, but I'm going to look into it.

#41 grover

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:40 AM

Speaking of the grilled watermelon, Chef Will told us that he dreamed of grilling watermelon. It is like Tartini's 'Devil's Trill'.
Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
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#42 goodeats

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 10:08 PM

I would like to promote the kids menu options here. Even though they are of the typical fare you would find on other menus (the options were: pasta with butter and parmesan cheese; grilled cheese sandwich with fries; or chicken tenders with fries), these are some really tasty kids fare. The fries are thickly-squared cut, with great flavor and not oversalted at all. Gebaby ate almost all six of his lightly-breaded-chicken-breast-meat chicken tenders and almost 3/4 of his fries (he also did a great job sharing with his mama). The artichoke puree that supported the perfectly cooked salmon entree was worth eating an entire bowlful of.
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#43 lggl

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 11:26 AM

We love Evening Star and it remains in our regular rotation of at least twice a month. I have no complaints at all about the food, my problem is always with the wine served by the glass. I have no beef with the selection - that is fantastic. My problem is that it is always, without fail, served too warm. I like a good red wine and am no wine snob, but often it is borderline hot. I have had them stick the glass in the fridge many times but normally, god forbid, I just ask for a water with it and throw a small cube in to chill it down from nasty warm. Given the association with Planet Wine and given that I mention this every time I go, it still never ceases to surprise me. Am I the only one that has this problem there? I should note we generally sit in the bar And I must repeat - I have no issues with the food and/or the service. They are both top notch and keep me going back to drink my ice cubed wine.

#44 tripewriter

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 08:43 PM

Evening Star Cafe was tonight's dining destination, the kickoff location for a series of meals to celebrate the Mrs.'s birthday. We each started with a roasted red and yellow beet salad with rocket, cress and blue cheese. Next we enjoyed a preview of the fall menu's savory house-made pumpkin raviolli, served on cooked greens and a caramelized garlic confit. The third and perhaps best course: impeccably pan-seared scallops matched with a hearty bacon and Brussels sprout hash. Next was Chef Will Artley's storied jalepeño mac 'n' cheese and his latest take on the hamburger; this one served on an oversized jalepeño-cheddar biscuit with bacon, barbecue sauce and blue cheese. The first few bites had me reaching for my water glass, but the Mrs. was clearly in the hot zone and relishing every bite. Fried apple pie with a comforting skin-on apple compote and a little vanilla ice cream finished us, and the meal.
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#45 flygirl

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:17 PM

I had the pleasure of accompanying Adam and Colleen (NQD and AGM) to Evening Star last night.

An aperitif each (plus a bottle of very well-priced St. Emilion), 5 apps for the table (which prompted a visit by the chef, who had heard that "his brother" was dining there that evening), stupendous main courses plus divine desserts for all and we made our slow way back to the car afterwards. I'll leave Adam to describe the meal in detail. I DID have my camera but didn't take photos...

#46 agm

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:49 PM

As Flygirl said, three of us ate here last night. It had been a long time since NQD and I had been back, which already bothered us, and last night was proof that it was a huge mistake to stay away so long. Is Evening Star on YOUR regular rotation? It should be.

Since we were each attracted to different things on the salads and appetizer menus, we ended up ordering five dishes. Our server offered to course it for us, which worked out quite well.

Pepita Crusted Brie w/Sliced Granny Smith Apple, Crackers. Truffle Maple Syrup was a fairly simple dish, but very well executed and elevated by the sweetness of the maple syrup.

Braised Pork Belly Sliders w/Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits, Cranberry Jam was simply awesome. How could it not be? It's pork belly! On my first taste, biting gently through the biscuit, waiting for the extra resistance against my teeth as I found the meat within ... well, that didn't happen. Only the burst of flavor told me that I had reached the buttery soft pork belly.

Beef Tartare w/Ruby Beet Puree, Horseradish Creme Fraiche. Chef Will Artley says this isn't overly popular; apparently tartare lovers don't necessarily like this dish. NQD and I do NOT normally enjoy tartare, but we love this version. It's the only one we'll actually order. Make of that what you will.

Duck Confit Spring Rolls w/Cabbage, Ginger Chili Dipping Sauce . Delicious, perfectly fried, crispy flaky and light. And duck confit. No further description necessary.

"BLT" Mac & Cheese w/Spinach Gnocchi, Tomato Concasse, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Triple Truffle Cream This is not mac & cheese as I understand the dish (a more familiar version appeared alongside an entree). But I don't care, I really don't, because this is outrageously good. Rich but still light, with great depth of flavor. Give me a large bowl and a spoon and I'll be very, very happy.

Entrees:

Brined and Roasted Chicken - Bone-in Chicken Breast, Jalepeno Mac & Cheese, Braised Greens, Thyme Pan Gravy I didn't taste this dish, because I was already getting full and had a very large plate sitting in front of me that I was determined to finish. But this was Flygirl's dish, and she just described the entrees as "stupendous," so that should give you an idea.

NQD had a special, so no cutting-and-pasting the description from the menu. Braised beef shortrib on a squash risotto. Like the pork belly in the sliders, slow-cooked to the point of buttery tenderness. Very well-executed risotto, creamy texture with nice bite to the rice, and a light sweetness from the squash. The last of the risotto is in the refrigerator.

I had Grilled Pork Loin w/Creamy Polenta, Black Forest Gravy, Date & Walnut Herb Salad. Perfectly cooked pork, moist and tender. The polenta was tasty enough on its own, but as a vehicle for the gravy and pork, was a rich and flavorful treat. I'm not a walnut fan, but the dates added just the right note of sweetness.

Will - who really does look like he could be my brother - went a bit off-menu for dessert. The fried apple pie (which is on the menu) is small (good after a large meal), somewhat delicate and as well fried as the the spring rolls at the start of the meal. But instead of the ice cream accompaniment on the menu, he paired it with a cup of what is best described as a pecan pie milk shake. Imagine a delicious pecan pie ice cream - not just bits of pie mixed into vanilla - made into a light, frothy shake, because anything thicker would have been overkill. As it was, it still pushed us dangerously close to Mr. Creosote territory.

Oh, and as for the wine, as usual I don't feel I have enough wine knowledge to do a reasonable review, but with the resources of the wine store attached, finding something to match your taste and budget is not a problem.

It's probably good that we don't live close by; if this were my neighborhood restaurant I would be a lot fatter than I already am. But we'll be back, and we won't wait nearly as long next time.

agm - it's my name, not my job.


#47 StarStraf

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 11:02 PM

We had dinner at Evening Star Cafe on Sunday (1/3/2010) and it has made our 'return to' list.
The restaurant selection was made my one of my new co-workers who was dining with us (and also turned me onto Open Table for reservations). Though we had driven by before and seen the menu when we stopped in the wine shop next door.

Parking was easy across the street, entry is thru the side door during the winter to keep down on freezing the dining room.
Booth was comfortable even for this plus size diner. Service was friendly and the place was busy when we started (6:30) and packed by the time we left. Noise level was loud but we could carry on a conversation but did have to have each other repeat things once in a while.

Started with Pepita Crusted Brie Sliced Granny Smith Apple, Crackers. Truffle Maple Syrup - Very yummy

Pooch had Duck 2 Ways Roasted Hudson Valley Duck Breast, Lentil & Duck Confit Cassoulet, Braised Greens, Peppercorn Demi
The roasted was wonderful, the confit was good but not great, but not attractive on the plate.
Star had Seared Sea Scallops Bacon & Sprout Hash, Celery Root Puree, Fennel Sauce
I almost licked my plate everything was so good, she Scallops were seared perfectly and the sauce and hash complemented it well.

Dessert was the weak point of the meal
Star had Chocolate Creme Brulee
Good chocolate yummy but not really a creme Brulee
Pooch had Rocky Road Bread Pudding which was fair.

Dinner for 3 with glasses of wine $110+tip

Star & Pooch
- Looking for some great Mexican, Sushi, and a good Canolli in Alexandria area.

Star Star & Pooch Picucci (And sometimes Grandma Lila)
- Looking for some great Mexican, Sushi, and a good Canolli in Alexandria area.


#48 lperry

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:57 AM

Inasmuch as we have always had good service at dinner, it is difficult for me to report that we no longer recommend Evening Star for lunch. On four different occasions now, we have had poor service. When the servers come to the table, they are friendly and helpful, but it is rare that they come to the table at all. The restaurant seem to be perennially understaffed at this hour. It is rare to have anyone check on us after the food arrives, glasses stand empty on the table, and managing to flag down someone to bring the check is a precursor to the long process of waiting for the check to appear. The first couple of times we thought maybe someone called in sick, and after waiting a few months we went in even after the third time, hoping that something had changed. It's a real disappointment. We would very much like to have ES on our list of lunch venues.

#49 jiveturk21

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:01 AM

Quick review of Evening Star since my memory is a bit cloudy from last night.

Desserts were the best part of the meal, by far. Lemon/blueberry torte and peach cobbler were simply delicious. We loved our wine, Panther Creek Pinot Noir, but were discouraged when the waiter told us to order three different wines because they were out of a lot on our list. Granted, we got our first choice, but I have never heard a server be so brazen about advertising that they were low on inventory. A shared appetizer of mac and cheese, using gnocchi, was terrific, and my halibut was one of the better cooked pieces of fish than I have had in a while. But, while the fish and fava bean puree were wonderful, the mussels were an embarassment. I am guessing they cooked them for about 15 minutes too long because they were so tough and impossible to even remove from the shell, I was shocked at how bad they were. But, since everything else was so solid, I could overlook this one mistake and still walk away happy.

#50 Will Artley

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 01:03 PM

Jiveturk21,

First and foremost we are very happy you enjoyed your meal and only wish we could have had the opportunity to correct your displeasure with the mussels on the halibut.

With regards to your wine, we apologize if the server was perhaps a bit confusing. We are very happy to offer all of the wines from our wine shop, Planet Wine, in our dining room for retail plus a corkage fee. Currently that list runs to nearly 1700 different labels that we believe offers a variety and value unmatched in the area. The retail aspect of the store, though, can lead to being out of certain wines at any given time. Customers can, and do, walk in off the street and purchase cases of wines, very different from a traditional restaurant wine cellar. The process of looking for a wine, discovering someone has bought it up, and then returning to the table for a second choice can lead to a long wait for the customer. This is why we generally ask you to have at least one second choice picked out in advance.
Once again, we apologize if the wording was a bit confusing and will continue to strive to make that process smoother.

Many thanks for your feed back,
Chef will Artley
General manager Neel Lassetter





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