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  1. 10 points
    Had another wonderful meal at the bar a few weeks ago with @MichaelBDC. There was a private party on the second floor, but otherwise the restaurant was pretty empty. @MichaelBDC and I were the only people at the bar until we were about to leave, at which time another couple came in for the bar menu. That is too bad because summer is probably the best time to try Tom Power's cooking. He does great things with the seasonal produce at hand and doesn't use a heavy hand with sauces, letting the ingredients shine. A good example is the soft shell crab I had that night. It took me a long time to come around to soft shell crabs, but now I seek them out every summer. The ones served by Tom Power are my favorite in DC. I just love the simple preparation, letting the crab be the star of the show. The crab is served on a bed of simply dressed and slightly wilted greens, which I really like. Also, Corduroy is probably the only place where I want to order a soup on a 90 degree day in July. All around, a wonderful meal on a hot evening.
  2. 8 points
    We headed back here for our anniversary yesterday. I didn't reserve right when they went on sale (because we hadn't made any plans at that point) but was able to pick up two still available spots at the bar for 5 PM a little while after the on-sale date. The caviar supplement was available again, and it did not appear that anyone at our bar seating ordered it. The supplement had an Asian theme to it this time, but I didn't take careful note of the details (beyond bao and nuoc cham). They seem no longer to have a bread course, but the corn taco with white mole they had this time (with veal sweetbreads) was more satisfying than the component-based version last time. It was one of my favorite courses. Also, no "science experiment" course (my term, alas), which I enjoyed for its creativity and whimsy. The welcome drink was a sparkling rose (NV Hush Heath Balfour 1503, Kent UK) that I liked a lot. It was beautifully balanced and perfect for summer. I bought a second glass of it farther along to go with the meal (which showed up on the receipt as 1504, not 1503). Otherwise, we drank water. Several of the courses--including the first one, which featured gin--had small amounts of alcohol. Simply not ordering an alcoholic pairing here will not result in a alcohol-free meal for anyone for whom that is an issue. Perhaps they inquire of someone ordering the non-alcoholic pairing (or declining the welcome drink) if they want alcohol-free food courses, but it would be prudent to let them know if there is a concern. With the exception of one tiny service glitch (which was notable because of the absence of any others), the meal went perfectly smoothly. The service was excellent but marked with the warm casual elegant style of Aaron Silverman's restaurants. That sounds like a PR brochure, but I'm not sure how better to describe the feeling. There is something very comfortable about coming here that almost makes me forget how much it is costing. My husband's favorite course, which I also enjoyed quite a bit, was what they called "surf and turf," a beef tartare with caviar and some chili spice among other components. My least favorite course (which he got most of) was the main dessert: pecorino cake with pesto ice cream. I found the flavors way too strong in this. He adored it. The lovely miniatures in this course did catch my attention. It was more beautiful to me than it tasted. The cake had a tiny Pecorino frico sticking out of each of its pieces. The cake was also topped with pine nuts. The other course with fried cheese was a tiny French omelet with summer squash and "crispy mountaineer cheese." The idea was clever but the fried cheese may have been my favorite part. The interactive course (which I suppose took the place of the science experiment) was the lovage cavatelli, with chanterelle mushrooms (confit of), and "choice of luxury." The luxury options (I see this tying into Rose's) were paddlefish caviar, truffles (I think Australian) and uni. My husband went with the truffles (which the employees said most people did) and I opted for the uni. We both enjoyed this course greatly. The person who served this to each of us took some of the "luxury" and mixed it into our bowl of pasta and mushrooms so it was thoroughly combined. The Fluke "Veronique" was also worthy of note. One course (and I wish I could recall which one) had buckwheat puffs mixed in to give a wonderful crunch). I took no notes and we don't have smart phones and took no photos. The final course was "fruit plate": a candied gooseberry, which looked attractive but didn't have much flavor; a sugared piece of dried (or partially-dried) apricot, which gave off an enormous burst of flavor (again, maybe too much for me), and a banana pop covered with chocolate (and maybe coconut). The latter was my favorite, and the gooseberry (which was cool-looking) was our least favorite. The take-home bag seems to be shrinking in contents over time. (I think the biggest one I ever got of these was from Rose's rooftop years ago.) Instead of cold-brewed coffee, there was some kind of pasteurized orange juice/soda kind of drink. It seemed to have perhaps an herbal flavor (?). something that stands out. There were small housemade granola bars, one of which we split with breakfast. It's almost surreal to have a 2 star Michelin restaurant within short walking distance. We even joked about what inning it would be if we decided to head over to the ballpark and continue our anniversary date there. But, in the end, we just walked home and turned the game on tv. The price has gone up, but P&P is still worth the splurge on the luxury.
  3. 8 points
    I was there last night to pay homage to Jeff, and spent an obscene amount of money - the wines at the bar were being shared, and were flowing like, well, wine. Grapeseed may be closed, but I'm less than an hour away from having a Grapeseed meal. Last night, I bought two bottles of wine which were entry-level bottlings from two of the best white-wine producers in the world, and had a 2014 Donnhoff Riesling Trocken, and a 2012 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer, sharing most of the wines with my bar-mates. More importantly, I took home all of my Brick Chicken ($24) with crushed potatoes, spinach, and lemon caper sauce; and got a second entree of Crab Cakes ($28), two marvelous crab cakes with arugula and daikon salad, and Thai pepper caramel sauce, as well as a second appetizer of New Orleans BBQ Shrimp ($15) with grilled bread, all three items to be enjoyed today for lunch. Actually, my plate of food just got plopped down right next to me (*). I also made sure my last-ever bite of food at Grapeseed was a piece of bread dipped in that crack-like dipping sauce of olive oil, tomato puree, and garlic - wow, I'll miss that dip. Thank you, Grapeseed, and best of luck with your upcoming surgery, Jeff. We'll all miss you - please let us know where you emerge next, even though I know it will most likely be in Frederick County - I'll make the drive, and I'm sure others will also. (*)
  4. 8 points
    I passed by several days ago, and saw that they were closed due to a "broken air conditioner" and that the dining area was too uncomfortable. They had also discontinued lunch several months ago, I guess the new Whole Foods and other fast casual spots that have popped off had crowded the once-sparse lunch scene on H Street NE. My children grew up on their kid's chicken plate with broccoli and fries. I would also fly solo there at the bar, always saying hi to the ceramic blowjob kitty perched next to the scotch, and either ordering the steak tartar (or pierogies, if the late-night menu was in effect). From the beginning, the restaurant was an optimistic, defiant, and just fun place situated in an evolving H Street NE. "I'm Thinking about Getting a Vespa" was their signature cocktail for as long as I can remember, and the title totally captured the neighborhood vibe at the time. Chef Brad had his concept of European peasant food down, and it was just a comfortable, delicious place. Most importantly, it was a community spot, especially late night, when industry folks on the East side of H Street and Union Market came over to unwind. The beer program was also a strength there. The douche level of bar traffic there was not at an elevated quotient back then, and I was hopeful that their early investment would pay off later as the neighborhood's vertical buildings came online. When the Obamas ate here, I was so proud for them that I actually thought this might be a "We've Arrived" type moment, but that moment never really played into their identity moving forward. When it was profiled in George Pelecano's "The Double", I thought that was a good luck charm that would smile upon it for a long time. Thank you, in no particular order and forgive misspellings, Chef Brad, Chef Luke, Karlos, MK, Jenny, Dan, Erin, Sally, Sam, Shadora, Francesco, Tim, Stephen, May, John, Josh, Anneliese, Brenden, E.J., Lindsey, Sheila, Tim, Assanti, Pat, and several others whose names but not faces escape me a the moment. You all built a really cool spot, and we have fond memories of this place forever. Good luck to you all. P.S. Fuck you, any cheering PETA asshats
  5. 7 points
    We went to Mirabelle for the first time on Saturday (7/15), and we look forward to another visit. The space is lovely, and the service was excellent. The wine list offers a broad range of choices, including bottles priced at less than $40. We ordered a red—Domaine de Bel Air, Cabernet Franc, ‘La Fosse Aux Loups’ at $40—and a white—Chinon 2011 and Bernard Defaix, Aligoté, Bourgogne Aligoté NV at $26— to accompany our meal. Others before me have mentioned the rabbit terrine, but I will, too. It was excellent—possibly one of the best dishes of the evening. So many terrines and pates are bland. Not this one! It was nicely seasoned and spiced, and was accompanied by a mustard and a green salad that added punches of flavor and acid that complimented the terrine. Nuggets of rabbit, mushroom, and foie gras delighted us in turns. Beef tartare had a nice, beefy flavor and was enhanced by its dressing. We enjoyed every bite, and this is now my favorite tartare of the ones I’ve tried. Foie gras poached in consommé was a new preparation for us, and we loved every single luxurious spoonful! All in all, the appetizers we tried were delicious, special, and ones we’d order again and again. I ordered the Angus strip loin, which was accompanied by Dauphin potatoes and beef tongue. The tongue was not a dominant flavor in the potatoes, rather it seemed to provide depth and richness to the crispy potato cake. My husband had the veal “Oskar” with lump crabmeat. He seemed to enjoy it, although he felt the sauce/preparation kind of drowned out the flavor of the crab. That’s more a stylistic criticism than a quality criticism. Our overall impression of the food was extremely positive. Flavors were balanced. This is not quick or easy food to make. Terrines and consommés take time and care and skill to make. The ingredients used are very high quality. Someone upthread commented on the butter, and my husband did say that it was the best butter he’s ever tasted. I can’t speak to the issue of the ham sandwich, as we were there for dinner, and I wouldn’t be able to try it anyway. But my husband and I both felt that the prices for dinner were competitive with other restaurants in the same category. I never had a Palena burger or the roast chicken. We dined at Palena several times, only once in the front room and even then we ordered from the back-room menu, which we always loved. I understand that some people miss that front-room neighborhood place from Cleveland Park, but it wasn’t a sustainable business model there, and it probably wouldn’t be here on 16th Street by the White House. This is a different restaurant, in a different area—not really a neighborhood. It is a place where “power players” will go, and they will get a good meal for their dollars. Many years ago, when we first moved to the area, we read about Jean-Louis at the Watergate, and knew it was a very special place, but it seemed too expensive and we never went. To this day I regret not saving up the money for that special dinner. I don’t know if Frank Ruta compares favorably to Jean-Louis Palladin, but I think that a dinner at Mirabelle is well worth saving up for, if it is beyond one’s normal dining budget. I have celiac disease, and I ate here safely. My choices were limited, but what I could eat (listed above) was wonderful! Everyone connected to our service was aware of the issue and took great care to ensure my safety. As always, YMMV. Angus Strip Loin: Veal Oskar: Tartare: Foie Gras: Terrine:
  6. 6 points
    OK so here goes. The day ahead of us was largely driven by the excuse to celebrate a birthday with a zero in it for me, while we really plan an celebrating it in Scotland next year. This year, we still marked the occasion by indulging in not one but two meals at Mirabelle, the current place Chefs Frank Ruta and Aggie Chin call home. The idea was actually hatched when both of them were at The Grill Room in Georgetown as that restaurant was in a hotel and we though 'Man, wouldn't it be amazing to have 24 hours of their food?!'Of course, they shifted away from The Grill Room to open Mirabelle instead. Foiled! That said, we had a great lunch and, quite a few hours later, had dinner there as well. It was indulgent, sure, expensive, yes, but also a great way for my wife and I to spend a day where we needed to do nothing but take time out and enjoy each others company (a rare treat given a switch in occupation for me early this year having me work longer and commute farther than I'd done in a number of years). To really extend the experience, we stayed at a nearby hotel. Lunch was up first, our first time trying lunch here at Mirabelle. Our reservation was at noon, and it was a little light in the dining room but this evolved over the next few hours as the tables filled up and diners came and went. The mix was mostly business folks, but also a good number of folks that were clearly there not for work. Love the space and seating as expressed before and our assigned wait staff member, Mario, took good care of us throughout the lunch and dinner as well. After horse trading with my wife over dishes, we continued to do so after hearing of two additions to the menu - a variation of a summer bean salad that we've experienced before and an heirloom tomato salad. This altered our approach but not my drive to try the lunch version of the consomme. True, we knew dinner was on the horizon, but I also knew I wanted what I wanted and figured I would try to keep the rest of the meal 'lighter' (haha!). But the real surprise was getting to see both chefs come out to the table and say hi. So nice to chat with them both and so nice of them to do something like this as I am pretty sure they both prefer to stay behind the scenes and out of the spotlight as it were. Anyway, we accidentally kicked things off with some lovely Champagne and then caviar and accoutrements - holy crap the accoutrements alone were amazing. The blinis were great, but the potato chips and then especially the piped, fried potato rings were magnificent. The caviar was wonderful and also came delivered with egg and very lightly whipped sour cream. Mmmmm. Caviar and Accoutrements Next up were the salads. Here's the very simply presented but exquisite selection of many heirloom tomato varieties dressed with olive oil, salt, balsamico and greens. The elongated yellow one at the 7 o'clock position on the plate was my favorite (so sweet - like candy), but they were all so damn good. Heirloom Tomato Salad The summer bean salad highlights these lovely light yellow beans, but are given a tremendous supporting cast of a coddled egg, truffles, tiny (peeled) heirloom cherry tomatoes and delicious greens. Summer Bean Salad Next I had the lunch version of the consomme with little bits of braised veal and then veal tongue along with other tasty tidbits. But, as always, the star of the show is the glassy clear broth that is loaded with layer after layer of flavor. I hope to die in a vat of this slurping it all up in to my own oblivion. Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. Consomme with Veal Tongue Next came the mains. First up is the Berlingot of Summer Corn, with With Maine lobster, chanterelles and chorizo oil. What a wonderful way to sneak in a little bit of pasta in to great, great dish. One at first would think the chorizo oil would overwhelm the dish, but it was not so at all. Someone was very careful about not letting that happen. The dish was completely in balance and so damn good. Berlingot of summer corn with lobster I had the Navarin of Block Island Cod, with Mussel and clam broth, confit new potatoes and sweet garlic, brandade. I know, more sauce bordering on soup, but how could I not order this? Besides, remember I was trying to stay 'lighter' for lunch saving room for richer dishes later in to the evening. Anyway, mixing the brandade in to the broth made an already delicious broth revelatory. The Cod I totally forgot to take pictures of the dessert, but we went for the Butterscotch Crémeux (Served with whipped vanilla crème fraiche and sea salt) and the Paris Washington (Choux pastry filled with caramelized peanut cream and milk chocolate served with chocolate sauce). Both were delicious, but the Cremeux was the better of the two by a slim margin. Never overly sweet and almost always having fun with textures or delivering perfection of the singular chosen texture depending on what is best. We were sated and bid our hosts a brief goodbye. We worked off some of the indulgence with a walk around the area before retiring to our hotel before we returned later that evening for a great dinner. DINNER! Hoo-boy so good. We were well taken care of for the evening by Mario, Jaren, Jennifer and others of the staff - leaving us to enjoy ourselves and never getting in the way of our conversation and enjoyment of the evening. We opted to try some cocktails - The Stark and Embrasse de la Terre. Both were delicious and a great way to start things off. After considering the proposed meal of the evening, we still opted to order our own selections from the rest of the menu (very hard decision!). After that horse trading with my wife was over, we chatted with Jaren and, knowing we were going to splurge on an excellent bottle of wine to mark the occasion, he confirmed our wine list selection would work well with the bulk of our menu selections (it was a 1998 Chateau de Beaucastel Chanteauneuf du Papes). We snuck in a few other wines for the early courses (a tremendous Chenin Blanc for my wife and a wonderful Riesling for me - please note - they are happy to sell you half glasses of wine - just ask!) as well. Here we go! Before we got anything we actually ordered, extras came out from the kitchen - the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho (from the proposed meal menu) - lavender scented Ora King Salmon in the middle with grated horseradish. The gazpacho was excellent but that salmon was perfection. The combination of the two parts at the same time. Yeah. Forgot to take a picture. Oops! Next up was what appeared to be compressed melons of at least two varieties with great seasoning, alongside some lobster, greens some nice olive oil and a couple very small edible flowers. Very nice, but, in a day of great food, one of the overall weaker dishes (but, people, I am splitting hairs as usual). Melons and Lobster My wife started with the Oysters. Normally, I would not order oysters at anywhere Frank Ruta is cheffing (because I look for the stuff that difficult if not impossible to try to make at home!), but he had fun with this preparation methinks and I am glad my wife ordered this and shared a slurp with me. These oysters were prepped in shell with toasted brown rice tea, served with a small pumpernickel canape and a small bowl of yuzu vinaigrette was there for you to top off the oysters with. Alone, the oysters were great, but adding the yuzu was like a light bulb going off in your head. So good! And the Chenin Blanc my wife had with it was super. Oysters View #1 Oysters View #2 Opposite the oysters, I had the Soft Shell Crab dish. Buckwheat Fried Eastern Shore Soft Shell Crab with curry vinaigrette and toasted coconut. Split baby corn, house pickled sweet peppers of a variety I could not place, and of course more wonderful greens, herbs and other magic tidbits. This dish was quite, quite fine and worked very well with the Riesling that Jaren suggested I try. Great pairing. Soft Shell Crabs Next, my wife had the Veloute of Locally Foraged Chanterelles and Pennsylvania Zucchini (with herb blossoms, small variety tomatoes and pickled chanterelles). Brought to the table composed with all of the elements, the veloute was poured at the table. My wife (and I) loves mushrooms and this was a great way to marry that with some elements of summer. A great dish. And it worked really well with the CdP. Veloute of Chanterelles I opted for the Áll Parts of the Rabbit and Foie Gras in a Terrine' dish (with mushroom gelee, tarragon dijonnaise and minus 8 verjus vinaigrette). I love rabbit. I love parts. I love terrines. This was PERFECTION. That is a house tarragon mustard/aioli there front and center. Plus some heirloom carrots and a pair of delicious yellow beans playing supporting actors to the perfectly dressed salad greens. SO.DAMN.GOOD. Rabbit Terrine My wife went for the Braised Veal Shoulder Óskar', next (braised Veal Shoulder Óskar' with Crabmeat gratin, chanterelle mushrooms, peas). It sounds sort of like it should not work, but it so does. How to make a braise in summer feel light and vibrant. Lots of other unmentioned veg in there as you can see. Really, really good and worked very well with the wine. Braised Veal Óskar' But this entree, what I had next, blew me away. The Roast Guinea Hen Breast and Boudin of the Leg (with summer chard, glazed carrots and onions, and juniper sauce) was good just in the letters and words already. It, at first, reminded me of something I had earlier in the year here when they did it with chicken, but this dish was a number of rungs above that prior effort for sure. Wow, just wow. To me, this was the course of the night. Wonderful vegetables and a flavor packed slightly sticky sauce underpinned the whole dish. The breast was perfectly cooked, tender, well seasoned, juicy and with a 'more-ish' flavor. But the star of this dish was the absolutely mindblowing boudin. Anyone that has had time with Chef Ruta's food knows he loves house making lots of what hits the plate, and this boudin is no exception. Part Guinea Hen leg, part foie gras and part magic, the boudin was as light as air (so delicate, so full of flavor!), full of Guinea henniness and yet reminded me of something almost Alsatian because a well made weisswurst in Germany can be a quite fine thing as well. This took the idea of a boudin, took the, IMHO, Germanic inspiration of a weisswurst, the presence of an excellent Guinea hen and made a thing designed to just blow you away. Guinea Hen To provide us a pause and a bit of relief as we headed towards dessert, out came another unexpected dish from the kitchen (also from the proposed meal menu I think), the Sour Cherry Sorbet with yogurt lime espuma, gin cucumber gelée, mint. Delicious and a nice was to transition away from dinner towards dessert. Sour Cherry Sorbet My wife opted for the Mirabeller 'Sachertorte'(with chocolate mousse, plum preserves, eau de vie cream, and cocoa sponge cake). A nice play on the traditional dish and delicious - And not too sweet at all! Mmmmmmmm! My wife was able to try two sips of other drinks along with this as well as after this dish. I think one may have been an eau de vie (I am probably wrong!), but the other, I am pretty sure, is the Thunevin- Calvet, Grenache, Vin Doux Naturel Maury, Roussillon, France, 1975 - which was a triumph, not just with the dessert (pairing well with the chocolate) but on its own. My wife was pretty much in heaven. Mirabelle 'Sachertorte' I opted for the Blueberry Vacherin' (with blueberry sorbet, lemon thyme sorbet, crispy (blueberry!) meringue, lemon curd and blueberry compote). Just lovely with such good flavors playing off each other so well. After dinner, I tried a couple of sips from their Armagnac list (they have a cart of all of the wonderful Armagnacs, Brandys, Cognacs and Cavadoses (Calvodi?) at the front of the restaurant near the host desk) after chatting with Jaren about options originally thinking I was going to go for a cognac. Boy am I glad I tried these Armagnacs. So good. The Vintage 1964 Marquis de Puysegur was quite, quite good (and older than me!), the 1990 Bas Armagnac Francis Darroze "Domaine de Bertruc"was really excellent (and better to my tastes). A wild little ride with these for sure. Somewhere in there, too, there were the caramels and other goodies that Aggie sends out - always a pleasure and always good and delicious! I think we left right after the other last table departed, a bit before midnight. A great night. We took a stroll around the block before taking a turn to the hotel, only to find one of the staff (the guy with an excellent tie, pocket square and even better shirt - I cannot remember his name, argh!) leaving the lobby, seeing us, and handed us a bag of goodies to take with us, too. What a surprise! We dug in to the goodies the next morning- macarons, caramels, house made peach preserves (well, that is not opened yet - saving that for breakfast tomorrow!), some of their great produce as well - cherries, peaches, figs and more. It was a great way to spend a day celebrating. I think everyone should try that Guinea Hen dish - especially that boudin. Simply amazing. [EDIT - I could not figure out the photo thing again, so I just posted everything as links to where I have it on Flickr. Sorry for the extra clicking y'all have to do!]
  7. 6 points
    Along with The Inn at Little Washington and The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, I know of no restaurant in Northwestern Virginia equal to Ed Matthews' One Block West, which is sadly closing on Aug 5, 2017. When I heard that One Block West was closing, and knew that I hadn't yet even been there, I realized that it was because of people like me that it was closing - I always knew in the back of my mind that this was a great restaurant, based on feedback I received from trusted diners, but I'd never experienced it for myself, and I never quite knew *how* great it was - Winchester, VA is losing a culinary treasure. Chef Ed wrote me after our meal, and told me that the menu that evening was "inspired in large part by a stroll through my home garden Saturday morning before coming to work." That sounds like the boatload of BS many restaurants feed diners as a marketing tactic, but in this case, it was the absolute truth - it was obvious that basil was an important part of this meal, and the link that tied together all of the first courses. I could rave, poke, prod, and urge everyone to get out to One Block West this week, but it won't do any good, because neither hell nor high water could stop Ed from moving out to Oregon later this month. I reminded him that the total eclipse would be passing through his new home, and he seemed happy at having it as a bonus, but when I urged him not to leave the culinary field, he put his finger on his throat, made a cutting motion, and said, "I'm done," adding that every restaurant in Portland had called him when they heard he was moving out that way. It's their loss, it's our loss - the only person who's going to be happier because of this is Ed Matthews, who will finally have a chance to live the life he deserves. "I hope you become a realtor and make a fortune," I told him, when I realized that he Really. Is. Done. Before I went out to One Block West, I asked Ed what the tasting menu would be, and he said he wasn't doing any more tasting menus, but when I arrived, he told me that he cobbled one together, and was offering it to others in the restaurant as well. What a meal this was - a meal which I'll never forget, and a reminder that words alone do not support a business. This post is a profound, albeit inadequate, show of my respect and gratitude towards Chef Ed Matthews: one of the great culinary geniuses ever to have graced the Washington, DC region. The wines we had were perhaps my two favorite Virginia whites: one bottle each of Thibault-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay Sparkling Wine, and Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc. With dessert, we each had a wonderful glass of Calvados (what else should you have with a Clafoutis?) Note: I asked Ed to take pictures of each dish before sending them out, so I wouldn't have to fumble around with my iPhone during dinner - he was gracious enough to email them to me so I could use a copy. These are the actual dishes we were served: Scallop Crudo - Scallop, Sweet Corn, Tomato, Basil Oil, JQ Dickinson Salt, Basil: Wahoo Napoleon - Tomato, Half-Grilled Wahoo, Tomato Vinaigrette, Cilantro Aioli: Insalata Caprese - House-Made Mozzarella, Pesto Oil, Balsamic-Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Basil: Thai Lamb Salad - Cold-Sliced Grilled Lamb (Lamb Marinated in Thai Basil, Mint, and Lemon Balm), Greens, Cilantro, Thai Basil, Cilantro, Cucumber, Carrot, Peanuts, Thai Lime-Fish Sauce Dressing: Peach-Thai Basil Sorbet Duck - Grilled Moulard Duck, Flageolets, Caramelized Tomatoes: Cherry Clafoutis - Clafoutis, Blueberry Mascarpone, Crème Anglaise, Blueberries, Pickled Blueberries: When we waved the white flag, we were told that only one course remained: the Clafoutis. I joked with our server that I was a Clafoutis snob, and that a true Clafoutis should always be served with unpitted cherries, knowing full-well that in a restaurant, that's not the reality. We were, of course, served our Clafoutis with our cherries having been pitted. Until my final bite - that son-of-a-bitch somehow managed to sneak *one* unpitted cherry into the back of my dessert, just because he could. Hilarious and remarkable! I'm raising One Block West to Bold in the Virginia Dining Guide, and that is how it shall be retired.
  8. 6 points
    It had been a couple of years since my husband and I last enjoyed dinner at Taberna del Alabardero, so we decided to return on July 1, as part of our “Farewell DC” tour. We had the chef’s tasting menu, and enjoyed it so much that we returned on July 29 for the July paella special (selected paellas for $22 pp). The wine list is long and varied, and does contain its share of wines in the three-digit price range, as well as a good selection of very enjoyable wines at $50 or less per bottle. Our five-course tasting menu ($65, $35 for wine pairings) started off with a lovely glass of gazpacho, bright and flavorful (and no breadcrumbs!). Octopus, grilled and carpaccio, served with new potatoes, provided flavorful contrasts of perfectly cooked octopus. Grilled tuna on rice was perhaps a bit more well-done than at some other restaurants, but the flavor and texture were wonderful. My husband's grilled sirloin was served with a mushroom cake and truffled potatoes, mine was accompanied by grilled vegetables (to be gluten-free). We both loved the dish very much! Dessert was rice pudding, in deference to my need to be gluten-free. It was simple but perfectly cooked and flavorful, not too sweet. The wines were all Spanish, and each complemented the accompanying dish quite nicely. IIRC, we had a lovely dry sherry with the gazpacho. Sadly I don't remember the rest of the wines. Our second dinner comprised 3 tapas and paella for two, with delicious sangria to wash it down. We enjoyed the grilled octopus with potatoes, salt and paprika ($16), marinated seafood "salad" ($12.95), and black-ink baby squid over creamy rice ($16.95), and then the paella with asparagus, shiitake mushrooms and sliced grilled duck breast ($22 pp). It was a very satisfying and filling meal, for around $45 per person, and the pitcher of red sangria, my favorite of those I've tried lately (Jaleo and Arroz), was around $29. To be fair, the marinated seafood “salad” was the weakest dish, needing a little tweak like a few grains of sea salt, but we really enjoyed everything else tremendously. I honestly don’t know why Taberna doesn’t get more love, especially here. We enjoyed both of our dinners here much more than similar meals at Jaleo, SER, or even the new darling of Mediterranean restaurants, Arroz. The food and wine are great, with reasonably priced choices for both. Service is as attentive as ever, with the staff keeping a close but unobtrusive eye on every table. And, especially if you eat early in the evening, the dining room is mercifully quiet. You can enjoy live Spanish music on weekends, later in the evening. Edited to add: Free parking!!! Park in the garage just to the right of the entrance, and have your parking ticket validated in the restaurant. It's not self-serve, so you'll want to tip the attendant, so almost free! Photos to follow, still figuring that out. [Scottee, see my PM. Rocks]
  9. 5 points
    For Pooch's 50th I gave him a 50 states Travel journal that I had entered the best restaurant in each state a combined the list by Travelstoke and Business Insider And we started the list with Virginia's entry Inn at Little washington The trip was a surprise, all he knew was travel by car, dinner jacket no tie, bed & breakfast. Our friend Terry and Emily picked us up about 1 and did the driving and we kept Pooch in the dark until there was a info sign pointing to the restaurant We checked into our B&B Gay Street Inn - very nice and got ready for dinner and then walked over to the Inn. The fount entry hall reminded us of the portrait room at the Haunted Mansion, luckily the mirror did not expand on us. We were seated in the back of the sun room, an nice quite table away from the main room. We started with cocktails and then the three rounds of amuse bouche started. first was a crispy cannoli filled with pimento cheese then the tequila lime pork belly wrapped in kimch and finally a cheese brioche with a tomato orange soup. (I Saw other tables with what I guess was the truffle oil popcorn but we missed out on that) I had the Enduring Classics menu and Pooch had the Here and Now Mine started with the Tin of Sin - Royal osetra caviar with Sweet Crab and Cucumber Rillette (Pooch's was a Foie Gras) I had only had black caviar so this was a treat and the combination was stunning. Next was a Baby Lamb Carpaccio with Ceasar Salad ice Cream - (Pooch's was Lobster and Corn) - I want more of this Macadamia crusted soft shell crab tempura was so amazingly good (tough Pooch's Wagyu Beef was pretty tasty) and finally a Duck Breast with sour cherries (Pooch's was Lamb chop with an amazing minted bearnaise which I was tempted to just drink) We had the wine pairing and the L'Arco Valpolicella Ripasso from Veneto italy (2010) is now on my list. The cheese course served from a traveling cow (Farina and her friend Cameron) was superb I finished up with the Klein Constantia, Vinde Constance, Muscat de Frontignan, South Africa (2012) and the Coconut Bavarian - Pooch had the Southern Butter Pecan Ice cream Sandwich We did ask for the kitchen tour and got to meet Patrick O'Connell (Should have had a cookbook with me) Total about a three hour meal
  10. 5 points
    Lots of cooking today. Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes. Some will be for tomorrow's breakfast, folded into scrambled eggs with crème fraîche; the rest will be for either crostini or with pasta. Stufato di verdure, served with pesto. Roasted figs. These will be part of tomorrow's breakfast, served over Greek yogurt. Split 1 lb. figs in half, then top with a mixture of: red wine vinegar, pinot noir, extra-virgin olive oil, wildflower honey, sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes in a pre-heated 375 F oven.
  11. 5 points
    I gave up on the dress code this Summer. It was a losing battle. Everyone is welcome to dine in shorts.
  12. 5 points
    the marinara from etto is my favorite dish in DC forever. there seems to be confusion about the two-stage dish. 1) we have the ara yaki, which ARE the offcuts of (usually) sea bream, salmon, shima aji, and whatever other whole fish we get. ara means "offcuts" and yaki means grill or broil. 2) the fish we offer in two stages is the aji tataki, which is a whole horse mackerel from japan. we filet and serve it raw with grated ginger and we present it on the spine so it looks like a whole fish. after the sashimi is eaten, we take back the spine and head and fry it and serve it again. the spine of horse mackerel (as well as many other bluefish varieties, like sardines) is very brittle so you can eat the bones if they are fried or dried out enough.
  13. 5 points
    @Mark Dedrick & I were lamenting the loss last night, and like @DaRiv18, we will miss he tremendous range BR had. So many family meals with my kids there. So many out of town guests. And yes, so many late nights at the bar. My oldest would often ask to go see "Chef Brad," and we were always happy to oblige. If you look at one of my early posts in the Houston forum, you'll see me describing my search for a BR replacement. Everyone should be so lucky to have a place like Boundary Road.
  14. 5 points
    Though I was an early participant on this site, I have not been living in DC for nearly ten years now, and have not been back to this Board for a bit longer than that (holy growth, batman!). I stop by now for a hint of nostalgia and to say hello to all the folks here. I had an all-out full sensory dream last night about the $5 pork shoulder sandwich with green sauce ($8 if you added provolone and broccoli rabe) that Roberto Donna would make himself in Galileo's grill/laboratorio space a couple times of week in the mid-2000s. To this day, it is the best sandwich I've ever had. Better than any hamburger, any lobster roll, and French Dip, any of the legendary options at Darwin's in Cambridge, MA, or any at Furstenburg's Breadline. Even better than DiNic's in Philly's venerated version. Donna's bread was so flavorful and perfect-crumbed, and the green sauce so complimentary that I've never even thought about trying to re-create it despite such simple ingredients. I hope this blast from the past finds a few kindred folks here eager to reminisce about the explosion of DC's food scene around that time, even while we have so many great resources in Don's own Dining Guide to do just that. Cheers all, from the West Coast.
  15. 5 points
    Inspired by this thread being bumped, I walked in tonight at 5:50 and was immediately seated at the counter. The virtues of dining alone. The food and service were stellar, as always; I was sad to miss the chicken dish that ended the meal on last week's menu, but it's hard to be disappointed by the consistently delicious Mekhong whiskey ribs. The staff here is so friendly and nice; how on earth did they get overlooked by Michelin? They're far more worthy of a Bib Gourmand, at a minimum, than half the names on that list. $49 for seven courses is a damn steal.
  16. 5 points
    We just got back from a 13 day trip: four full days in the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) followed by five full days in Copenhagen, and although I loved the latter, I really wished we had spent two more days in the Faroes. This is not a destination for everyone. The main reasons to go: appreciate the bleak, beautiful landforms; hike; birdwatch; experience a modernized yet still traditional country that does not yet have a well-developed tourist industry. I could write pages and not do it justice, but will try to get a few details in. If you're considering going, please post questions in this thread and I'll happily answer them. Getting there: currently service is offered by Atlantic Airways (the Faroese national airline) from a handful of European cities, and SAS once daily from Copenhagen. Also there's a ferry from Copenhagen and Iceland but that takes days. The shortest route from the US would be through Iceland, though you have to change airports. Weather: temperatures range from the low 30s in winter to the low 50s in summer. Summer is drier but still wet - kind of like Seattle, not pouring rain but light rain and mist, frequently. Bring all your raingear and dress in layers. The main issue here is wind. One guide told us that last Christmas Eve, they had a storm with winds at 70 meters per second. That's 156 miles per hour. That was an unusually strong storm, but winds can make travel to and within the islands challenging, and I've read that pilots consider the airport at Vágar to be one of the most challenging commercial airports in the world (Mr. P did not appreciate me reading this to him while we were on final approach). Be flexible in your plans, because boat and helicopter service are frequently canceled or delayed. And the weather is extremely difficult to predict with any accuracy. Just dress appropriately and be adaptable. The weather may be fine half an hour's drive in another direction. We stayed in the Hotel Føroyar just outside the capital, Tórshavn. It was described everywhere as the best hotel in the country. It was rather like a very nice motel. This is not a place for luxury. Tip: ask for a room on floor one, which is above floor two. Our room on floor two had a weird odor which was so bad on the second day, we asked for another room; they were happy to move us, explaining that the odor was "a known problem." An evening walk on the property led me to believe the problem is the septic system. However, the rooms are reasonably spacious, clean, and comfortable. The Faroe Islands is not a foodie destination, although there is a Michelin 1 star restaurant (KOKS). We didn't eat there. We had some very good meals (call it the Noma effect), and some good food. Nothing was extraordinary, but neither was anything bad. One dinner was fish and chips at a village convenience store. It wasn't great, but it was hella better than a lot of fish and chips at DC restaurants. I'd say on average the quality of food is rather good, just don't expect fine dining or service or you'll be disappointed. The range of ingredients is limited: not much grows there. Expect fish and seafood (especially salmon, as salmon farming is the major industry), lamb, bread (really good bread, actually), potatoes, other root veg, and rhubarb. This is probably reading like a hell-trip, but actually we loved it. Absolutely loved it. We're going back next summer. They don't exactly have a tourist infrastructure, but they do provide for visitors. For example, many of the villages are too small to drive in, or have no place to park. So there's a small parking lot at the entrance, and frequently there's a WC there as well. Every building we went to was impeccably clean, sound and sturdy. These people take pride in their land, and it shows. They have rules, only a few simple ones, and so long as visitors follow them, it will remain a delightful place to visit. Mostly the rules come down to common sense and courtesy. Like, stick to the paths in the infields, the trails in the outfields. Don't harass the sheep. Close the gate. Most of these villages will have a little cafe that might serve something savory, but more often than not offer just coffee (espresso, really) and "vafur" (waffles), which are always served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream. I'd read that the Faroese were reserved, and think that's generally right, but at the same time they know hospitality. In one village a man had set up kaffi & vafur outside, but when the rain started, he moved us into his kitchen, where we sat and chatted with a Danish couple. In another, a woman gave me a coffee - we walked into her shop (ground floor of her great-grandfather's house), and she said "oh you look cold, I'll get you coffee". I tried to buy a sweater she had knitted, but I didn't have enough cash, and she couldn't take a credit card. So she gave me a slip of paper with her bank account info and asked me to deposit the amount into it within the next two weeks. How can you not love that? Faroese is the official language, but everyone speaks Danish and almost everyone speaks at least some English. Roads are generally good (better than Iceland), but some of the tunnels can be challenging (think one lane, unlit, and five kilometers long). There are sheep everywhere, including the roads (though I think the Faroese build better fences than Icelanders do). Watch the road. And watch your step, because with sheep everywhere comes sheep droppings everywhere - including the entryway to our 5-star hotel. Seriously. The hiking is challenging. There are some mostly flat hikes, but the topography is such that mostly you're walking up and then down. After one hike our iPhones registered 4.5 miles walked, 170 flights of stairs climbed. As you ascend, the weather comes in - the mountains catch or create the clouds, fog rises on the slopes, and sometimes when you reach the top you're socked in and can't see a thing. Sit still for 45 minutes, maybe it will clear up a little and you'll have a beautiful view, maybe not. There's a new excellent hiking guide online (here), and free copies of it at the airport and tourist info centers. Read it and pay heed to the warnings. In Mykines there's a memorial to men who've lost their lives at sea; on the other side is listed the names of people who have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs. I'm not kidding. It happens. Poor footing and fog are a dangerous combination. And I heard tales of scheduled helicopter trips being canceled because the 'copters were needed for search and rescue ops. This is an inconvenience for the tourist but a real problem for the residents, because many of them depend on those helicopters for supplies and transport, so much so that as a tourist you're only allowed to travel one way by helicopter, and must take a ferry the other way. Oh, and ferries are frequently canceled because of rough seas. People get stranded on some of the smaller islands. Those islands have no accommodation for visitors. Do your homework and be prepared. And if you're prone to motion sickness, consider getting a scopolamine patch. Back to food. Favorite restaurant: Áarstova, by a mile. Simply prepared food but a little elegant rather than plain. Coffee: Brell Cafe in Torshavn (they roast their own beans). Kaffihúsið is good, too, but they use beans from Iceland (Kaffitar). Breakfast: just eat at the hotel if it's included in the room cost, because unless you want to eat pastry and eat it late, you won't find much of interest. Good pastry: Paname Cafe. Good fish and chips: Fisk and Chips (really, that's what it's called). All of these are in Tórshavn. In Klaksvik, Fríða serves a good cup, with nice pastries. That's all for now. Again, happy to answer questions/provide details for anyone who's considering going.
  17. 4 points
    Last week was my first visit to Charleston. I hoped the city would live up to the hype, but damn, it exceeded it. We were there four days and nights, and tried to pack as many restaurants as our schedule and stomachs would allow. This was about trying a lot of renowned favorites rather than necessarily trying something new, but I can't wait to go back. McCrady's This is the 18-seat tasting menu bar that Sean Brock opened last year. I've read that Brock said he wanted to strike a balanced approach here, ensuring that meals don't go past two hours and that diners don't leave hungry or overly stuffed. I'd say he nailed it. It was 14 courses, with each course between 2-4 bites. Highlights were: the carrot tart with baby carrot slices arranged like a rose, and then revealing a sweet carrot gelee upon first bite; an aged beef strip steak accompanied by sour cabbage and farro (I normally don't care for farro, but here it was smoky, toasty and excellent. Chef Brock said that's because they burn the farro and then thresh it in a barrel); the Charleston ice cream of Carolina Gold Rice accompanied by fresh herbs and thinly sliced raw okra; and the "foiechamacallit", their take on a whatchamacallit candy bar but filled with foie gras. Brock was in-house, supervising the staff throughout dinner and serving many plates himself. Without exaggeration, this was the best meal I've ever had. I don't say that lightly but after putting a lot of thought into it, I can't think of a better menu from beginning to end than what I ate here. This is an opportunity to catch a great chef at his peak and I'm grateful we did. And lest you think it is difficult to get reservations, we managed to get a 6:30pm seating just three days earlier - and they now accept bookings via OpenTable. Husk We went here for lunch, and I think it suffered a little from our McCrady's experience. The shrimp and grits was excellent. We also ordered the fried chicken which I thought was good but the crust was a little thin and I didn't get a lot of flavor from it. I think I just prefer my chicken to be a little spicier. Edmund's Oast This is a fun place with a giant open seating area, lots of communal tables, a long bar, and a large assortment of beer and charcuterie that's made in-house. The vibe reminds me a lot of The Publican in Chicago. I wish they had a larger selection of malty beers, but that's a complaint I could register just about anywhere these days. I went with the Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel for a couple of rounds, and before leaving tried their Peanut Butter & Jelly beer. It tasted just like peanut butter and jelly, but was drinkable. I finished it all, but wouldn't order it again. It's a nice novelty. Leon's Oyster House We fortunately found a couple of seats at the bar here, which was still packed an hour before closing. I've heard such great things about the fried chicken but had no room. We did however try a platter of the fried oysters and this place knows its way around a fryer. The breading covered every centimeter of the oysters, without being clumpy in any spots and none of the oysters stuck together. Rodney's Scott BBQ I've always wanted to try whole hog bbq so I'm glad Rodney Scott opened this place in Charleston. I snuck a peak at the smokehouse in the back and the dozen or more giant smokers left little doubt they are doing it the authentic way. The pork was moist and the combination of flavors from different parts of the hog really made it unique -- like enjoying the light and dark meat from a turkey. Lewis' Barbecue John Lewis helped open Franklin's Barbecue and LA Barbecue in Austin, so his credentials can't be questioned. His brisket is as tender as butter with a blackened crisp crust that tastes of pepper and hints of sugar. I could have used a little more smoke flavor, but that's a personal taste that I know isn't shared by many. Their hot gut sausage was dense but moist, almost like a polish sausage. It might have been my favorite bite. I'd also strongly recommend the green chile corn pudding. One nice quirk is their green barbecue sauce, made with peppers and meant as an accompaniment for his smoked turkey. Once I tasted the two together, I couldn't eat the turkey without it. It may be something I have to try at home. The Ordinary The Ordinary has probably ruined most raw bars for me moving forward. We ate the tuna tartare, the red snapper ceviche and an avocado and red porgy ceviche. These were complex ceviches with a great mix of sweetness, salt and spice. The bartender recommended the chili garlic snow crab too, which were two crab claws served with a swipe of chili sauce. The chili sauce was legitimately spicy, but I could have licked the bowl. I'd strongly recommend just sitting at the bar here and ordering small plates until you're full. Xiao Bao Biscuit We went here for lunch. Had the Bo Bo Ji, which is sichuan style chicken, cilantro, scallion and peanut salad; and the Mapo Dou Fu, which is spicy pork with chili oil, rice and greens. Enjoyed both dishes. FIG Our final meal was an early dinner at FIG. We had the tomato tarte tatin and ricotta gnocchi for appetizers and the suckling pig with Carolina Gold Rice. It was all as good as advertised. The only complaint was that dinner felt a little rushed. They clearly need to move tables especially that early in the evening, but the dishes came very quickly. Still, the food is fantastic. I just wouldn't go there for a leisurely meal.
  18. 4 points
    When my wife asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday ending with a zero, I advised her that I preferred to put our focus on our trip next year to Scotland (big anniversary year for us). However, it sat rattling around my head what we might be able to do to mark the occasion. I thought maybe we could do 24 hours of the food of Frank Ruta and Aggie Chin. Unfortunately, they have not yet launched breakfast, so we could not accomplish this goal completely. But we came pretty darn close - lunch, dinner and goodie bag from them to take with us to indulge in today. It was such an amazing experience, and I promise to post full details of everything soon, with pictures and more. But please folks, this is the place you NEED to get to when you have a big, indulgent meal (at the very least!). Lunch is more affordable (but still expensive and indulgent). Dinner is more manageable on the cost front if you limit courses and/or beverages, too. But when you really want a great experience, a relaxing environment, and really want to indulge and stop your life for a while to slow down and be present - come here. As a teaser, we had at least 8 dishes we tried at lunch, and at least 11 dishes at dinner. Plus we got to not only indulge in a great wine off of their list, but tried several more as half glass accompaniments to specific courses. We also partook of I think 4 spirits selections from their brandy, armagnac, cognac, etc cart at the front of the restaurant - including a selection from 1975 and also 1964. Such an adventure.
  19. 4 points
    I had the immense pleasure of eating dinner on Tuesday night at the R&S Cafe. Very friendly service and not surprisingly not too busy on a Tuesday evening (I'm sure weekend brunch must be packed). Started with a very nice Lower East Side gin cocktail and a bowl of mushroom barley soup that comes with their shishel rye. I was especially excited to try this and some of their other breads after reading about how they've brought back some older Jewish-style breads for the cafe. Soup was good but not great and bread was good but again not great. What was AMAZING and really induced a foodgasm was the herring plate. This is why you go here. Yes they likely have very good smoked salmon but so do a number of other places. Very few places anywhere in the US have homemade delicious herring. The herring plate is a big portion of a whole pickled herring filet (excellent and goes great plain or with the 3 sauces), my favorite the matjes sweet herring - you get about 1/2 a fillet (IMHO if a sushi restaurant served pieces of this as part of an omakase menu - people would flip - it is just that good), another 1/2 filet of very salty schmaltz herring (a bit too salty for my taste but you can mellow it with the pickled onions and cream sauce), and 2 rollmops (German style stronger brine, small pickled herring fillets rolled out pickled sweet onions) - they were good too but a bit hard to eat. The fish was great quality and it comes with several slices of good pumpernickel and 3 cups of cream sauce, curry sauce, and mustard sauce (the latter was my fave but I'm a sucker for mustard). I managed to save room in my chazer belly for the second foodgasm - Halva ice cream with salted caramel drizzle and sesame seeds with halva crumbles. Wow this was really really good - sweet but not too sweet and super creamy. If you like Halva or even caramel flavors, I'd recommend it. Definitely recommend you go and likewise enjoy herring heaven (with the side of ice cream).
  20. 4 points
    Don, thanks for your very kind words. To all of your readers who have supported us over the past 15 years, a hearty thank you as well. I'm very sad to be moving on and very happy at the same time. I think I am at the top of my game and that is the perfect time to walk out the door. My best to all of you.
  21. 4 points
    The bf and I had the same "this will make it a lot harder for us to get a table" conversation when we saw the (well-deserved) news. And then yesterday, Bon Appetit put them on their list of 50 best new restaurants (along with P&P and Himitsu neighbor Timber). (Fingers crossed for their performance in the top ten.) The wait for two last night ended up being a bit over an hour when we left a name around 8:15 (frustratingly, much exceeding the 30-45 minutes we were quoted), but we were told (when we asked) that they aren't sure yet to what extent the accolades are extending waits. We tried three new dishes last night, all of which were excellent: Thanks to my love for the simple-yet-excellent bibb lettuce and blue cheese dressing salad at 2 Amys (which I'd never have ordered had Kirsten, one of my favorite 2 Amys staffers, not insisted on it ages ago), I was excited to try the wedge salad (iceberg, herb buttermilk ranch, everything furikake, grated egg yolk, black pepper), hoping for another boring-sounding classic made novel. Himitsu delivered: creamy, rich but not too heavy, salty, herby, crunchy from the lettuce, and sprinkled liberally with the furikake blend (think an everything bagel with added seaweed) -- just great. The corn in yellow squash elote (roasted squash, crema, cotija cheese, chili flakes, cilantro) was popped and dusted with chili powder; the dish is basically the fanciest, most delicious cheese popcorn you could imagine. (The yellow squash didn't add much beyond texture/a base for popcorn and crema, but I was glad to have it for that purpose.) Our favorite may have been the kanpachi + coconut (hawaiian amberjack, red onion, coconut milk, cured squash, lime + peanuts), which was very evocative of the Rose's Luxury lychee salad given the coconut, red onion, and peanuts, but with fish instead of sausage (a very worthwhile trade-off, as far as this pescatarian is concerned). Loved the rich coconut milk sauce, which made me consider asking for a spoon (or picking up the bowl to slurp up the dregs), but I restrained myself. And we repeated the heirloom tomatoes + strawberries (parsley-taragon puree, pickled strawberries, crispy quinoa, black pepper + shiso), a lovely seasonal dish that had me dredging the last bits of micro shiso through the vibrantly green puree.
  22. 4 points
    Baan is so good. So good. Went before the Judd Apatow show on Friday for an early dinner. Got the pork - peanut skewers and golden fried pockets to start. The skewers were very tasty, and the sauce that it comes with wasn't even necessary. The fried pockets are really cute and tasty, comes with a sweetish sauce. Entrees were the stir-fried noodles with shrimp (on the summer menu) and the pork picnic. Both were delicious, great flavor, heat but not overwhelming. Only criticism was that the pork was a bit chewy. With a couple of drinks, barely hit $80, and we were stuffed. Ordered the right amount - we had nothing leftover. And then watched Judd kill it. Perfect!
  23. 4 points
    I agree. Mirabelle would be slightly less pricey with a different address, and if it were trying to attract a different clientele. But Komi and P&P are much pricier. That's why I suggested its lack of (relative) popularity is mostly a function of location and, especially, formality/stuffiness, real and perceived, more so than the factors McArdle identifies.
  24. 4 points
    Interesting ... I'm more cost conscious when dining, much more than regular posters... but, in my experience, Mirabelle just didn't get that level. You go to normal steak houses that charge this much.. and ...The Fiolas. Metier/Kinship. Convivial. Le Diplomate. Omekase at Sushi Taro. Izakaya Seki. P&P. As mentioned above, Komi. Many more... I'm not even a huge fan of Mirabelle's cuisine, but hammering on them for price seems a little odd. It was expensive. As dining in DC tends to be. Nothing over the top... EDIT: Just read Megan's article. She's right. They do high end, standard food well. Maybe perfectly? Idk... I see enough $2.75 oysters and $45 steaks and $38 fish and $13 Brussel sprouts that aren't amazing that I really don't think price is keeping people away. 1789, Marcels, Fiola/Casa Lucca, and many more are the same price. It's stuffy, that's what keeps me from making it something I want to go to soon. But, wouldn't deny its great, and a reasonable value compared to much of non-Asian DC...
  25. 4 points
    We moved from DC to North Carolina last winter. Just yesterday, I was thinking about how much I missed Jim Vance. I watched him for decades and there was no one better. I especially appreciated his Vance's View editorials in which he would speak his mind freely and often offer what would be considered in some circles as controversial opinions. I can't think of a single time that I disagreed with him. He was a giant of a man and someone you just assumed would be there for you forever. DC is so much poorer today.
  26. 4 points
    Very sad news. This was a fantastic neighborhood restaurant, and one we visited on many occasions. It was good for solo dining at the bar, for meeting people for drinks, for late night dining, and for taking folks from out of town. There's no other place on H that can do everything that this place did.
  27. 4 points
  28. 4 points
    We both loved Kinship. I had the soft-shell crab as an appetizer and the lobster french toast as a main. The flavors were not very similar despite the rhubarb and sesame in both. The rhubarb "gazpacho" was a terrific contrast in flavor and texture to the crab. I really prefer soft-shells sauteed or otherwise not fried, but these were the best tempura'd crabs I've had, as the crab flavor didn't get lost under the breading. The lobster was amazing. My husband had the creme fraiche agnolotti and the lamb shoulder and thought both were wonderful. For dessert, he had the chocolate sesame torte and I had the pralines 'n cream. Both were scrumptious. Service was very very good (I particularly liked that when they called to confirm the reservation, they asked about any food restrictions, and then the waiter had those on a list and asked us about them and said he'd alert us if anything we were ordering had those ingredients).
  29. 3 points
    I had asked B to make some chili this past weekend -- which was a success -- and I found out later that he had used a Cook's Illustrated recipe. I suppose I'll have to revisit my dislike of that magazine now. Oh, this was tonight's dessert: a fig galette that had a bit of frangipane spread beneath the fruit.
  30. 3 points
    I was randomly on the Komi website and noticed this: Effective September 7, 2017, a 20% pre-tax service fee will be applied to the final bill; no tipping necessary.
  31. 3 points
    And they overcame George Steinbrenner's dysfunction, a 14.5 game deficit to the Red Sox, and Billy Martin's firing, to go on to win the World Series. Credit some of that pitching to my hero, Thurman Munson. One day, when Guidry gave up four hard hit base hits on the first four pitches of the game, and he was walking around the mound kicking dirt and cursing himself, Munson showed up over his shoulder and calmly said "You want me to stop telling them what pitch you're going to throw them?"
  32. 3 points
    My wife is a pretty accomplished baker. She's taken inspiration for my deep love of rye breads and making me quite a few this year out of a book, I think it is called The Rye Bread Baker. Everything she has made so far is great, but the below one takes the cake so far -- Malfabrot - East German Malted Rye. So effing good!
  33. 3 points
    Tried Chi-Ko yet? Hardly "authentic," and the name is cringeworthy; but I was very pleasantly surprised by my meal there last night.
  34. 3 points
    Tiger Fork has to be appreciated in-context. Is their BBQ, for example, better than what I've had at the best specialist shops in HK? No way. But I don't really expect a $1.50 char siu rice box joint to pop up on Blagden Alley anytime soon. As I wrote above, if this place opened in Vancouver, it wouldn't merit much attention. But it's in DC, and there's nothing else quite like it right now. I do appreciate authenticity and focus. But I also understand why dilution may be necessary to succeed in a given market. 10 years ago, you couldn't really get a proper bowl of ramen here. Then, Toki Underground opened with a pretty non-traditional take on the dish (which they were frank about). But it did open a lot of people's eyes to the idea of ramen that didn't come in a plastic bag, a menu focused on it, and a new price point for it. Now, we have a diverse selection of ramen-only shops, like Ren's and Daikaya, which could hold their own in Japan. But, unlike NYC, we don't have dedicated soba or udon restaurants, so there continues to be room for the market to evolve (mature).
  35. 3 points
    Timber is the best pizza in the district right now, especially if you prefer Neapolitan style over NY/NJ/Conn style. I never have been to Petworth before, and keep finding excuses not to drive all the way out here. It's the hardest place in the district to get to, bascially, other than Takoma Park. Anyway, neighborhood around Upshur/Georgia have really taken off. Lots of new businesses and cute places, dress shop (Willow), independent book store, restaurants, etc. Timber is in that main stretch, across the street from Himitsu. Got there around 7 (45 min from Old Town, not unreasonable at that time of day). You order at the counter, and take a number on a holder and take it to where you're going to sit. It's a small space, they have an outdoor area, and they also have seats at the bar. They have an eclectic beer selection, including quite a few small breweries I never see out. On draft, they have Hellbender, which is local. I got a dry hopped sour ale, Sour Chicky by Burley Oak Brewery (on the Eastern Shore). We got the roasted pork empanadas which comes with a pineapple ketchup. Did not think I'd like the sauce, but it worked. We ordered two pizza. One pepperoni and cheese and the other was the Green Monster (which a cutie pie 3 year old in line recommended to us) that had pesto, fresh mozz, feta cheese, zucchini and kale. Based on a classic pizza rating scale, this is how I felt about the pies - A- pepperoni, B- Green Monster 1. Crust - A - perfect char, but not too much, slight chew but not too much, cornicione was just slightly less than an inch (i.e. - perfect), and doesn't get soupy in center B - same 2. Sauce - A - First bite was salty, but I think that was because the pineapple ketchup was sweet, b/c after that it tasted ideal B - I don't generally like white / pesto pizzas, but this was great, not overpowered by the basil 3. Toppings - A - I like my pepperoni bigger but it pays to have it smaller on a smaller pie (rather than the massive Detroit pizzas I grew up with). Crisped and tasty. B - Veggies fresh, tasted good. I was even accepting of the kale. They did not sprinkle it like arugula to make it a salad pizza, it was cooked. That's a good thing. 4. Cheese - A - Not too stretchy, not browned much, perfect to me. Not fresh mozzarella as far as I can tell. "Cheese" - maybe mozz/provolone blend? B - Mmm.. mozz and feta go great together! The pizza is better than most, the prices are lower than most ($14 for pepperoni vs $16 at All Purpose, average pie $14.77 vs $18.77 at All Purpose), and slightly larger than Ghibellina and All Purpose. The new champion!! Ghibellina had a great run, recently had some issues with soupiness that weren't correctable with instruction. Check it out, and then get a drink at Hank's Cocktail Bar afterwards.
  36. 3 points
    The Majestic had been off our radar for a while after two mediocre visits after their reopening. We tried wednesday night wince were walking up from Captain Gregory's and decided to give a try. The Exec Chef is now Graham Duncan and the staff has once again returned to the service level I got when I went long ago. I had the Charred Lamb and Pooch had the Bronzini. We were quite pleased and will be returning.
  37. 3 points
    Dinner menu for August 3, 2017: Spaghetti with white clam sauce Broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper Italian fruit salad
  38. 3 points
    Aunt, uncle, and their friend were in town from California so @MichaelBDC and I took them to Convivial for a fun -- dare I say, convivial -- last meal in DC. We hadn't been back in a while, and left wondering why we don't go more frequently. Started the night off right with a round of cocktails. I had a perfectly made Paloma to start while @MichaelBDC ordered the French75. The bar made virgin pina coladas for my aunt and uncle, which they really enjoyed. Their friend had a beer. For appetizers we shared the esgargot in a blanket, the pickled rockfish, and the leeks dijonnaise. All three were very good, but the pickled rockfish was my favorite of the bunch. I ordered the beef nicoise and chard ravioli for my entree and am glad I did. It was my favorite dish of the night and I savored every bite. @MichaelBDC enjoyed his fried chicken coq au vin, a dish he always looks forward to ordering when we go here. I had a bite of my aunt's braised lamb and parisian gnocchi, and thought it was good though I preferred my ravioli. We had a little bit of everything for dessert. All were wonderful. I was impressed by the floating island but especially enjoyed the key lime and speculoos pie and the hot sticky toffee pudding. I have more family coming in town throughout the month, and am thinking of taking them here as well. Don't want anyone to get jealous.
  39. 3 points
    I live two blocks from La Taqueria. A few things I've learned over the years: It's important to have a firm time limit in mind when going to LT. If you show up and the line is out the door, just walk a couple blocks over to Taqueria Guadalajara. It's not the same thing at all, but the carnitas is some of the best in the city. They are cash only. There's an ATM in the back. The cabeza and lengua are definitely the best meats at LT. The rest are fine, but the cabeza in particular is outstanding. Regardless of your preference for tacos (correct) or burritos (less correct), you'll want to order them dorado which means they'll be crispy. For tacos this means they shallow fry the tortilla on the flat top. For burritos in means they go into a panini-press type mechanism. If you're getting tacos, you don't need all the toppings. Most of the time I just get cheese on my cabeza dorado taco. The at-table hot sauce is very good, but I also usually ask for the taco itself to be spicy too.
  40. 3 points
    Annnnd... The New Bridge has closed and re-re-opened as "Denim and Pearls", a nominally Italian restaurant. The New Bridge team is out (save for the building owner) and Chef John Payne is in. We stopped by for lunch on Monday, and see very little reason to return, sadly. DnP is not ready for prime time. We ordered fairly simply and were seated to the back of the sparsely populated dining room. Our group ordered a "housemade mozzarella" salad with heriloom tomatoes, basil and balsamic to start, two meatball subs, pasta with meatballs and fettuccine alfredo with flank steak. Our server took our order, brought us drinks, and we waited. And waited. And waited. At the twenty minute mark (for a salad, mind you) we asked our server if the salad would be forthcoming. At this point the lunch could have been rescued by a sympathetic word or an update - basically any interaction. However our server returned about ten minutes later with our full order. One of our group pointed out that we had asked for the salad to start, and was given a shrug in response. That aside, the mains were pretty solid, save the fettuccine. Meatball subs were a generous portion of pretty light meatballs in a bright tomato sauce, and the spaghetti and meatballs were basically the same, sans bread. Nothing groundbreaking, but acceptable. The fettuccine came topped with three slices of flank steak, cooked far beyond the requested medium rare. The alfredo sauce was fine, but the plate had a coating of balsamic vinegar around the rim and under the sauce. I now know why you rarely see alfredo sauce combined with a heavy dose of balsamic vinegar. Blech. The dish was a total failure. Between the overcooked steak, long wait and subpar fettuccine I don't see much reason to return until we hear that the ship has been righted, or this location has yet another iteration. Cafe Torino provides a reliable, if atmosphere-less option for Italian-American cuisine in Warrenton.
  41. 3 points
    Jim Vance loses it and takes George Michael along with him....
  42. 3 points
    I mean, it's hard to imagine a more striking illustration of gentification than when Bozzuto sets up shop with its apartments, gym with boxing ring, dedicated dog washing room, rooftop swimming pool and arcade, and gets a Whole Foods as street-level retail. Not to mention a coffee shop right off its lobby that offers pourovers and $9 Manhattan specials on Monday. There used to be an albino drug dealer on my corner back then. Now there are roving white girls in yoga pants heading to any of three studios for their class.
  43. 3 points
    pjnewman and his +1, turbogrrl, and me and my +1 all had a lovely time at the HH. The rest of you missed out. :-(
  44. 3 points
    the biggest travesty of the dc michelin guide was that monis and his wonderful teams got shut out. however, little serow wasn't eligible for a bib gourmand, which i believe requires that the diner can get two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. obviously little serow is a much better food value than a lot of the bib gourmand recipients (many of which are probably getting credit for two small plates as individual courses, and can easily get much more expensive than $40), but their $49 price tag excludes them.
  45. 3 points
    After a trip to Hill Country on Saturday, I agree with Tim Carman that their moist brisket makes them the #1 barbecue restaurant in the DC-area by a wide margin. This was truly great brisket -- juicy, infused with smoke that provided a mild tang, and a robust beefy flavor. My brother was in town from Houston, and he has sampled several of the places on the Texas Monthly Top 50. He was impressed and said that the brisket that day would be worthy of being on the Texas Monthly list. He and I also ate at Franklin's last year, and we agreed that Hill Country was not quite at Franklin's level. But it was still close enough for DC barbecue enthusiasts to be excited about. Where Frankin's bests everyone (in my opinion) is texture. Franklin's brisket has a melt-in-the-mouth quality akin to kobe beef that I haven't noticed elsewhere. Carman says Hill Country is now cooking with 100% wood, and it is noticeable. I think I'm going to become a weekend regular there this summer and enjoy it while it lasts. I'll also put in a plug for Hill Country's pork belly which they seem to have as a special on most weekends. They put a very salty rub on it and slice into 1/8 inch slices. It is now a must-order for me.
  46. 2 points
    I know they became somewhat trite a few years ago, and can't speak for other locations, but the Costco in Gaithersburg recently started selling bags of shishito peppers. Great when deep-fried in olive oil and topped with Maldon sea salt, not as great but still decent when tossed in sesame oil and grilled. Either way, they are so addictive!
  47. 2 points
    Before Tuesday night's game at Nats Park, there was a nice tribute to Jim Vance, complete with video of him throwing out the first pitch at a Nats game and followed by a moment of silence. I hadn't been expecting this, but it certainly seemed fitting for someone who was such a part of DC. Lots of applause from the crowd.
  48. 2 points
    Exciting news to report. They have opened their second location which is located in Rockville--804 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD 20850 (former Banner Glass location, which is slightly offset from the road), 301-417-8628. Thy Rockville location has a much larger capacity which will produce bread and pastries to be sold on premises and also service their growing commercial business. Items sold in Bethesda will still be made on site at the Bethesda location. Are third location in Georgetown is in the works also.
  49. 2 points
    Congratulations to the entire team at The Columbia Room, winner of the 2017 Spirited Awards "Best American Cocktail Bar", announced tonight at Tales of the Cocktail.
  50. 2 points
    You may have noticed the adorable kitten who serves as my avatar. Here are a few pics of Belle all grown up, six years later. Also a few of her older brother from another mother, Blade. Belle is very "cat" like...she will deign to lounge across your lap, at her leisure...never yours. Blade is more dog than cat. He follows us from room to room, always wants to be our complete focus, and will cry if you walk out the door and leave him alone with only Belle for company.