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About Keithstg

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  • Birthday August 26

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    Paris, VA/ TriBeCa NYC/ GCI, ME

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  1. I've said it before, and it bears repeating - Batard is the best fine-dining deal in NYC. Was there last week, and despite restaurant week crowds Batard delivered a wonderful experience. We opted out of the restaurant week menu and the three of us sampled the majority of the "regular" menu dishes. I started off with the Octopus Pastrami, which was reminiscent of David Dunlap's Octopus carpaccio from his Ashby Inn days (with the addition of pastrami spices, obv). The octopus was bound into a terrine and served warm-ish, along with ham hock, pommery mustard and roasted new potatoes. The ham hock was a nice accompaniment to the octopus, as was the mustard, which helped cut the richness of the dish. Not sure why it's obligatory to include potatoes in each Octopus dish, but there they were. Didn't add a ton, but didn't detract either.The others in our group had the foie terrine (duck confit, apricot, mache salad, hazelnut viniagrette) and the scallop crudo (avocado mousse, lime, radish, black sesame) both of which were excellent - but when is foie ever bad? We then moved on to a pasta course, where I had the rabbit sausage (spigarello, preserved lemon). This dish was flawless, and my favorite of the night. Really not much else to say about it other than every component worked harmoniously. Reminiscent of a Roberto Donna prepared risotto, back before I stopped patronizing his establishments. In fact, all of the pasta dishes were standouts - the others being sunflower seed pasta (roasted quail, spinach and olive oil) and agnolotti (taleggio, caramelilzed onions, roasted tomatoes, parmesan). I got a bite of the sunflower seed pasta and it was also excellent. Although the pasta dishes were the standouts, mains were no slouches either. I had the lamb, which included the rack and leg, along with runner beans, romesco and pistacios. The rack was a bit more rare than anticipated - I would have prefered less than 30 seconds more in the oven, but was still good. The leg was compressed into a terrine-like square and was excellent. Other mains included steamed black bass (goldbar squash, tomato, black olive) and a pork schnitzel, although I have waited too long to document the dish and it' already off menu - replaced by a roasted chicken dish now, I believe. Wines were two burgundies - a 2010 Domaine LeFlaive Puligny-Montrachet and a 2008 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle - Musigny. Both were singing. We skipped dessert/ cheese and headed over to Compagnie des vins Surnaturels for wine and cheese, but had another truly memorable meal. Service was excellent and the pacing was also on point - at no point did we feel rushed, despite a huge crowd for mid-week in August. Batard continues to provide tremendous value and a fantasic overall experience.
  2. I guess two different concepts - NIK in Winchester is a straight up Italian-American joint, while NIK's Broiler room is a cross between an Italian-American restaurant and a steakhouse. No dry-aged beef in Winchester.
  3. Agreed! Have heard about the overcrowding, but Centurion card holders still have family access and dedicated areas.
  4. Thanks! Looks like I'll stick with the current card and continue to swallow the big annual fee. I've got access to most lounges, and the Centurion lounges are now in most of the airports I frequent.
  5. Interesting - can you expand on this? How often are lounges closed I'm considering downgrading to Amex Platinum, but lounge privileges are important with frequent travel.
  6. Couldn't agree more, Don - Tom's cuisine and Corduroy are worth making an effort for. If "dressing up" now constitutes "more than shorts/ tshirts", we have well and truly lowered the bar.
  7. My son's baseball schedule has finally stopped, but had us traveling througout VA and beyond this summer. Last weekend saw us heading home from West VA via route 340. In an effort to avoid eating in West Virginia we headed into Berryville to try the rumored Neighborhood Italian Kitchen (NIK) offshoot. For those who are unfamiliar, NIK is probably the best restaurant in Winchester now that One Block West is going away. A strip-mall Italian-American joint that makes it's own mozzarella, cooks everything to order from scratch, and cuts no corners. NIK's Broiler room has opened just off the main strip in Berryville, conveniently located next to the ABC. In addition to the "regular" menu we have come to enjoy from NIK's Winchester, the Broiler room has added a selection of steaks, dry-aged in house. As with the NIK in Winchester, the prices are unbelieveable. $24 for a 20 oz bone in shell steak with your choice of side, and $13.95 for a chicken parm dinner large enough to serve two! While I can't comment on the ingredient sourcing other than to say that (a) mozz is made in house, and (b) suffice to say that the steak isn't wagyu and the chicken isn't green circle I can say that the dishes are made with care. We started with mushrooms oreganata and calamari, both of which were excellent - I prefer the sauteed calamari at NIK's Winchester, but was over-ruled on this order. The oreganata was well balanced between garlic, oregano and parsley - you'll often see versions leaning too heavily on the garlic, but not here. Mains were Rigatoni with Meatballs, Chicken Parm x2 and the 20 oz. shell steak with fries. The Rigatoni and meatballs were enjoyed - the bite i was able to steal impressed me with the brightness of the tomato sauce. The meatballs themselves were large but relatively light - I would guess a ground beef and pork sausage mix. The chickens parm were also excellent - the very same bright tomato sauce worked as well as a topping as it did in a more starring role with the rigatoni. Finally, my son inhaled the 20 oz shell steak, which came cooked to the requested medium rare, and with a generously charred exterior. The fries were potato wedges, and seemed to be made in house vs. the frozen variety. We were far too full to contemplate dessert, and left with basically an entire chicken parm dinner ready for the following day. The wine "list" is short and unremarkable, however they do have at least three offerings from Winchester's Escutcheon Brewing Co on tap, so I'd lean in that direction. We will be back.
  8. This is unfortunate, although I always wanted to like eM more than I did. The atmosphere was great, but the food was....competent, I guess? Nothing exciting, nothing adventurous, just solidly prepared. Of course, that's saying quite a bit for Winchester, but still didn't have us flying back OTM to return. Hopefull all involved land on their feet elsewhere.
  9. Wine Shipping, Moving and Storage

    DCist is late to the party - Domaine has been in business for years now. Those considering storing wine at Domaine may want to read this first - unsurprisingly Lazar didn't get into this in his interview: Lazar charged with two felony counts
  10. Couple Visits Every Cracker Barrel in America

    My usual reaction would be to dismiss stories like this, but ultimately isn't stuff like this what retirement is about? Picking up something to do that's a shared interest, hopefully with someone you love? I'm not about to hit the road anytime soon, but good for the Yoder's.
  11. Great to hear that Antonio is there now! I am a bit surprised about the wine list - granted it has been several years since I was at the Roland Park Petit Louis, but I remember the wine list there being strong...
  12. Paid Parking Slowly Killing Reston Town Center?

    I remember that as well - it's probably been 13 years since I was last out here. I also think you may be right about long-term residents, but wouldn't they be more likely to park off-peak? I can't say I have much sympathy for those who had years of free parking for second and third cars, but that may just be me being crotchety.
  13. Paid Parking Slowly Killing Reston Town Center?

    Having watched this thread with great amusement since it started, I was anxious to experience the alleged horrors of paid parking at RTC. I spent a total of about two minutes downloading the software, setting up my account and paying for the day's parking ($8). Couldn't have been an easier experience, and parking is less costly than my office building in Tysons. Now that parking is free after 5pm, what on earth is/ was the big deal? RTC is a faux community, populated with chain restaurants, office buildings and apartments. Given that businesses can validate parking and that parking is free during off peak periods I still fail to see the reason for the tempest in the teapot that has been so breathlessly reported on.
  14. To Whom Are You Drinking Right Now?

    To my dog, Fred. From humble beginnings at parts unknown to the NY Avenue shelter and through 12 years with our family in DC, NY, VA, ME and parts inbetween he was a constant presence, a perpetually wagging tail and incorrigible around any food within leap's reach. Fred was so loved, and will be so missed.