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  1. A couple of weeks ago a friend and I walked up on a Friday in the hopes that we could snag a seat at Brother's and Sister's. As we walked up the front steps, we were "greeted" by two large bouncers, who when we told them we didn't have a reservation, boxed us out, and wouldn't let us even move further up the steps of the property and told us to leave. I guess a 40 year old lawyer is very scary looking and not the demographic they were going for. It was very off putting, I don't really know what the purpose was of the treatment, perhaps, they could have just told us they were fully booked and we should try for another night. I know it was Friday, soon after opening, but it was a pretty rude treatment.
  2. Note Domaine Hudson's "Pastrami Carrots" dish, very similar to Rose's Luxury's. Note also their "About-Team" webpage, which highlights all the individuals responsible for the restaurant's success. This is a viable option on the way from Washington, DC to Philadelphia, PA, or to Princeton, NJ. Thank you for existing, Domaine Hudson!
  3. What is the story behind reservations at this restaurant? Phenomenal popularity? A secret? For the next month, they show availability for only a handful of weekdays, for seatings near closing time. I have encountered a similar roadblock at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, though at the opening bell it is not that difficult to find something in the bar area. It's discouraging, though. (And making the journey to Spike Gjerde's award-winning kitchen is expensive and not always quite as transporting as it used to be.)
  4. We went to Prospect for dinner on Saturday. Prospect 300 Spear Street (Folsom Street) Embarcadero http://www.prospectsf.com/ I want to say that we loved it. Well, it's probably more accurate to say that my partner likes it. It was just "ok" for me. We might return for lunch, but I think there are better in SF. Thoughts and impressions: * When you come by within literally 1 minute after your guests are seated and ask them if they want anything to drink (other than water), WE HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO LOOK AT THE MENU OR THE WINE LIST!!! And then, you compound that by vanishing into the ether and not coming by to take our orders for 10 more minutes. * I had heard of restaurants not giving out bread and butter as you would normally expect them to do. We had to eventually ask for some. Always an adventure dining out in San Francisco. * Would someone please tell FOH staff everywhere that reciting specials without telling your guests how much they cost is a turn-off? It makes you seem uninformed and disorganized. * A girl sitting at the table next to us managed to break the glassware within 5 minutes of being seated. That's a first, at least for me. * Prospect is another restaurant that has minimal sound absorption. True, there is a carpet on the floor which does absorb some noise, but when you couple that with plentiful wooden surfaces, square tables with no tablecloths, wooden benches with suede cushions, etc., the result is that it can be impossible to carry on a conversation without shouting. The room emptied out about two-thirds of the way through our dinner after which the difference in loudness was quite noticeable. We paid $260 for the pleasure of dining there (includes a 20% tip). At least the food was ok and saved the evening. Seared sea scallops, smoked clams, celtuce purée, chowder broth. Foie gras, pear butter, Bartlett pear, black sesame brioche. Berkshire pork chop, cacio e pepe potatoes, broccoli di cicco. Halibut, brown butter cauliflower, chard, grapes. I'm reminded of "the parade of brown food" which is a line from Ruth Reichl's review of Le Cirque back in the mid-1990s, and is equally applicable here. Lemon sour cream pie, caramel sauce. Almond frangipane cake, burrata ice cream, corn flakes, blackberries.
  5. Since opening five years ago, Chris Shepherd's Underbelly has been a self-appointed beacon for the evolution of Houston food. The menu has a half-page thesis on why Houston is the most interesting culinary city in the country, there are dozens of celebratory links to *other* Houston restaurants on their main webpage, and Bun B is quoted on the wine list. From afar I've found the chest-beating a little too much, but I can appreciate a chef who wants to represent his city -- especially in a time where many owners are happy to replicate restaurants from other cities. And being such a vocal proponent certainly helped Shepherd win the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. But hey, what about the food? Head-on Gulf shrimp with buttermilk dill panna cotta, pickled beans ($24). Plump and sweet, this was a great showing for Gulf seafood. The panna cotta was a nice compliment. Hand-torn cornbread pieces and pickled beans were both sort of throwaways. Seared soft-shell with eggplant curry ($24). Shepherd recently made a big PR announcement about getting away from beef and pork, which meant a larger focus on seafood. Soft-shells are among my personal favorite foods, and this was a very good one. The eggplant curry was nicely done with a touch of heat; Shepherd is a fan of moderate-to-significant spice (if you're not, be aware, as it permeates the entire menu). Vinegar pie with salt brittle ($9). Previous savory dishes were not coursed (nor labeled as appetizers or entrees; guess by price) so I was rather full after two. Still curious enough to try this dessert, which I believe has been on the menu since 2012. It's not scary at all; more key lime in flavor than sour or acidic. Overall, a quality showing by Shepherd and his team. I didn't fall in love with Underbelly, but it's worth visiting for anyone who appreciates loud flavors with global influences -- basically the "Houston creole" cuisine that the restaurants trumpets.
  6. The parade of mediocrity continues that consists of restaurants that exist in the Castro. B and I have date night once a week. We usually alternate between a cheap/moderate place and an expensive place. Last night, we went to Starbelly and I was reminded why we hadn't gone there since 2015. Grilled fig and cress salad with blue cheese, panna cotta, honey and balsamic. The panna cotta was tasteless and added nothing. And there were literally three figs on that plate; technically, one and a half figs since the fruit was halved. For this, we were charged $9. It could have been dessert. Also, horrible plating. Try (!) to have some effort. Bavette steak, salt-crusted potatoes, grilled cebollita, mojo verde. Steak was slightly chewy and the potatoes served as "filler". Note the amount of potatoes in B's dish. I thought to myself: 'The farmers' markets in this city have amazing produce that makes the rest of the country weep for joy when they first taste what's on offer, and THIS is the best you can do for this plate? That's insulting. Really and truly.' I object to potatoes used as filler. At least they were prepared well. Halibut, grilled Little Gem lettuce, butter bean purée, chermoula and olive salsa. The halibut was overcooked and dry, and the purée an afterthought. Bill came out to $95 (with tax and 20% tip) for barely average food. We went there so you don't have to. Starbelly 3583 16th Street (Market Street) The Castro Afterwards, we went to the Castro Street branch of The Ice Cream Bar for some dessert. Brownie sundae with buttermilk ice cream and mint chip ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce
  7. Chef Ryan Ratino (Ripple, Masa 14, L'Auberge Provencale) has announced Bresca, opening Fall 2017 in the former first floor of Policy: Jul 12, 2017 - "Major Update about the Plans for the 1st Floor of Policy. Chef from Recently Closed Ripple To Open Bresca" on popville.com
  8. Wanted to try someplace new on a recent trip to NYC, so this was one of the places we picked. Dovetail. There are so many places to consider trying in NYC. I am often overwhelmed with choosing so my wife usually narrows it down to 5-10 places and together we winnow it down to the place we finally choose - their menu spoke to me. We had a fun day at Die Neue Gallerie (and had had a fine, fine lunch at the restaurant there on the premises), and we were glad we had a later reservation to ease in to. I'd like to punch the taxi drive we used in the head, but that is another story. Great space. It felt very refined and elegant, without feeling too stuffy. I'm a nice jeans and nice Hawaiian shirt guy at heart, and I did not feel (completely) out of place. Nice hum to the room without being noisy. Easy to carry on a conversation. They have some prix fix options (3-4 courses), a tasting menu, and things like pre-theater and a la carte dining at the bar. We went for the 4-course option where we could pick and choose. After a small flurry of amuses (oysters, then some fried things (tine risotto balls? and I think tiny...what, almost like micro egg rolls but so much better), we dipped in to their fluke crudo (fluke crudo, morels, dill cream, fava beans) and white asparagus (white asparagus, prosciutto di parma, sage, orange oil), both wonderful but the fluke was the standout. Then we had primarily vegetable/salad courses next. Warmed avocado, summer truffles, rye, rocket arugula, was stunning. And the Spring green ravioli, asparagus, black trumpet mushrooms, nutmeg was wonderful. Very hard to choose a winner between these two. You'd be right to order both. Entrees were quite good as well. Beef tenderloin, green garbanzos, chanterelle mushrooms, pickled ramps is what they have listed on their menu now, but the preparation I had involved no ramps, but wilted/seared greens and I think morels. My wife had the Halibut confit, english peas, shishito peppers, clam nage though I also think it was slightly varied as I do not remember the peppers in her dish (and I forgot to take a photo of it!). Both were great, but a minor step down from the prior course. For dessert, we had these two - Macerated strawberries, vanilla panna cotta, lemon sorbet, crystallized violet and Rhubarb pavlova, hibiscus cream, pink peppercorns - the first being particularly inventive in its preparation and plating. The crystalized violet was essentially the thinnest meringue you could ever make shaped in to a cup/dome that was then dropped on top of the strawberries and other gooieds - hiding everything inside until you cracked in to it. So good, and not too sweet at all. Perfection. The Rhubarb pavlova was quite fine as I recall (missed the phot again!), but was a notch down from the other dessert. We ultimately also got more petit fours to take back to the hotel with us. Good wine list, good service, great space, great pacing and a good time. I'd absolutely go back. I'll append photos when I have time to upload them and link to them here from there. Now, what is really funny is this - despite it being an excellent meal and being largely sated, there was a Shake Shack literally right around the corner from Dovetail. We were just going to hail a cab back to the hotel, but we'd talked over dinner about how much my wife raved about the chicken sandwich she'd had at the DC outpost of Shake Shack. We popped in to split one of those so I could wee what the fuss was about. SO GOOD! Get one! And yes, that kind of put me over the top. OOOOOOFA. Pictures
  9. I went to a get-together with a large group at Homestead last night (my first time eating in Petworth). We were on the top floor of 3, where there was a bar and some tables, and they handled us well (large group of various people showing up anywhere between 6 and 9 p.m.). I like the space and the host was friendly and welcoming. I only had a small taste of the menu, but it was excellent. The things I ordered aren't on the online menu at http://homesteaddc.com/starters/ because their menu changes daily, although a number of items on the online menu were on the menu last night (quail, raclette, catfish, buttermilk hot chicken, half roasted chicken, Homestead burger). A salad of berries (blueberries and strawberries), goat cheese, hazelnuts and greens was great - very fresh, interesting greens that weren't the typical "mixed greens," though I can't tell you what they were. Good goat cheese and fresh, tasty berries. Large serving, too. Grilled squid was tiny tiny whole squid (baby squid, but much smaller than baby squid I've had before, about the size of a thumbnail), with drizzles of a delicious yellow sauce that tasted of Spain (I don't recall what was in it, maybe saffron?), and bits of diced fruit (pineapple? don't recall), on top of salad greens. Not what I expected, but very good. There was a saffron soup on the menu and I was very curious but didn't end up getting it. My husband got the half roasted chicken with vegetables and he was happy with it; someone else got the burger, and I snagged a few fries, which were good. Someone else was very happy with her tuna tartare over avocado, which looked appealing. There were many interesting cocktails on the menu (drinks menu isn't online). No mocktails, but I got a nonalcoholic version of a drink that had blackberries (or maybe blueberries, can't recall), cardamom syrup, and lemon. Very nice. Followed it with a ginger beer. There's outdoor seating on the second level (maybe 8 tables) and lots of space throughout the building. I'd definitely go back.
  10. My wife and I live in the Washington DC area, but her family lives in Philadelphia. We were visiting over the Passover/Easter weekend and because we were staying in Chestnut Hill, decided to try Mica, a small BYOB restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. We are used to fine dining and to be honest, found that Mica could hold its own with some of the best here in DC Chef driven, the restaurant only has about 32 seats. The services was superb, and the food outstanding. We started with a smoked trout salad with marinated fennel that was described as "a taste", but actually a small appetizer. Next came Albacore Tuna Tartar with smoked jalapeno and carrots and a house salad. We shared all three. My wife ordered the arctic char and declared that it melted in her mouth. The vegs that came with it were perfectly cooked and were so flavorful that she wondered if she could order just a dish of them next time. I had the roasted sirloin of beef with smoked potatoes. Cooked perfectly (rare side of medium rare) and the potatoes were so good that I asked how they were done. (Boiled, smoked, fried, then dried) Dessert was a chocolate mousse with caramel and sea salt and a sour cream pana cotta. I brought a 2013 Radio Coteau Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir with me and it went perfectly with the meal. And the glassware was perfect (not the cheap jellyglass stuff many BYOs give you) We enjoyed our meal so much that I have already made a reservation for when we are back in Phila next week to visit her parents.
  11. Anyone been yet? I know they are only open for lunch so far, but the initial buzz seems quite good. I was never in doubt of course, but I think this could be something really special. We have ressies for the middle of next month for dinner, so I will be sure to report back but just curious to see if anyone has been there yet. Also....thoughts on parking? Mirabelle
  12. I'm shocked no one has started a topic on Preserve. This place easily is one of the best in the area, and I include DC metro. After having their chef's 5 course tasting menu there last weekend, it is no surprise that they are included in the Washingtonian list of best restaurants. It is in a great location right on Main Street directly across from Chick and Ruth Deli. We had a large group and a fabulous meal with great service. The place is rather small only 40 or so seats in total including a bunch of bar seating. There is an open kitchen right in the back of the long narrow dining room. It is a husband (chef) and wife (FOH manager) team. We started with a round of cocktails - my gin-based one was great accompaniment to the first snack course. $65 for 5 courses (not including drinks/taxes, etc.) was a steal as each course was really 3-4 items with sides. First, we had the Chicken Caesar Skins which was very inventive and delicious. You make your own sandwich of small strips of fried chicken skin, mini romaine lettuce leaves, and spread a bit of Caesar dressing on it (I think I'm forgetting one component too). Also in the first course was their potted, soft goat cheese with warm slices of bread. This was one of the few items that was only good, not great. Most were great. The cheese is topped with oil and possibly some pickled vegetables. ALSO for the first course was a great variety of different quick pickled vegetables - radish, carrots, and 3 more I can't remember. Each one had been brined in a different way - some sweeter, some spicier. I'm a pickle lover and maker and these were superb. Second course was individual bowls of pan-seared scallops with a bit of sausage in a fennel broth and family style plate of head on shrimp with butternut squash salad with a lime-serrano vinaigrette. I don't eat shellfish so I didn't try this course but everyone loved it. Third course was three family style dishes: 1) glazed porcini trumpet pasta with roasted mushrooms, preserved lemons, capers and parmesan - great for mushroom lovers and rich, 2) cheese and potato pierogis with caramelized onions and sour cream - very well made but a bit bland compared to the other bolder flavored dishes, and 3) crispy kale with cumin yogurt, sweet pepper jelly and red onion. This last one is their twist on Rasika's crispy spinach (or Bombay Club's crispy kale) with more mid-atlantic/PA dutch flavorings. The kale was awesome and like Rasika worth a trip. Fourth course was a bucket of delicately fried catfish, with various sides - creamy mashed potatos, Brussel sprout and carrot slaw, bread and butter tomato pickles, cornbread with honey butter and 4 different sauces - regular remoulade, spicier remoulade, and a green and red hot sauce (all house made). The fish and hot sauces were very nice, the pickles were excellent and the cornbread also really decadent with the honey butter. Mashed potatoes were good, but nothing special. Fifth course was dessert - individual portions of Tandy cake and shoo-fly mousse pie. The tandy cake is dense yellow cake with a rich chocolate/peanut butter icing. It was only ok. The shoo-fly was better with sweet but not cloying mousse on top of a thin crust. We also had them pair a white wine with the first 2 courses and red for the second two. I didn't catch the names but they were good and paired nicely. I highly recommend going to Preserve if you are near or passing through Annapolis. Despite the overwhelming amount of food described above, they are mostly an a la carte menu and have a nice mix of vegetarian and meat/seafood items. If nothing else, go for the pickled items and crispy kale.
  13. New York Times Travel feature for Luca: "A Pennsylvania Restaurant That's Hot in More Ways than One" by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans on nytimes.com A sister restaurant to Ma(i)son. Luca, unlike its sister, serves liquor. Its nothing short of amazing. Central PA eats, kat
  14. "Alton Brown Names Ma(i)son 'Restaurant of the Year'' by Kevin Stairiker on flymagazine.neet Maison, mark my words, will make it to JBF, along with other Lancaster culinary talents. My goal is to add Central Pa, to the dining map, one bite at a time. hungry, kat
  15. Had the chance to eat at The Bird recently. What a cool space -- the entire restaurant is decorated by local artists. There are four distinct parts of the restaurant themed after each of the seasons, complete with a "summer" patio outdoor space on the second floor. We both started with the Charlie Parker cocktail ($13) (rye, apple brandy, madeira, peach, pomegranate, bitters). It was fantastic and a boozy sipper. My wife and I elected to try some small plates to share, so we didn't order any of the main courses, despite being very tempted by the spicy fried chicken ($17). The triple fried Korean-style wings ($10) were topped with a soy-garlic style glaze and were fantastic. My only complaint about them is that there was so much sauce that the dish was a bit overwhelming and intense. The duck meatballs in spicy tomato curry ($9) were fantastic, and the spicy tomato curry made for a bit of a break from all the heavy fried-style food. The curry was spiced well and in a very balanced way. These came with a creamy yogurt to cool the dish down. The Hudson Valley foie gras torchon ($14) was spectacular, especially for the price. It came with walnuts, berries, and toasted bread. It's hard to go wrong with foie and fruit on toasted bread for me, and this is no exception. The flight of the egg ($9) consisted of three eggs: an organic chicken egg-pickled in tamari with gold rice, a deviled duck egg with duck fat mayo, duck pastrami, and toasted caraway, and finally a quail “scotch” egg soft poached, encased in sausage, breaded & fried. My wife's favorite was the chicken egg with gold rice - simple with a tang from the pickling; mine was the duck egg - decadent deviled eggs with some truly flavorful duck pastrami. The quail "scotch" egg was very good as well, though it's more of "fried sausage" than an egg, given the sizes of both components. We also had a side of Brussels sprouts ($7), which were a good diversion from the heaviness of the poultry dishes. Like at The Pig, their Brussels sprouts are cooked perfectly in a way I never seem to be able to at home. We finished sharing a miso caramel gelato ($3). This was just sublime. Imagine the best salted caramel ice cream or gelato you've ever had and make it a little bit more umami. The quality-to-price ratio is out of this world here. We expected this would be just enough food for us due to the plates being small, given the prices. This was not the case - this was SO MUCH FOOD. You get at least 50% more foie than you expect for $14. You wouldn't expect 6 large duck meatballs for $9. You certainly wouldn't expect a huge scoop of gelato for $3. The customer service here is truly impeccable. We arrived not terribly long before they closed, and asked if the kitchen was still open, fully expecting to leave and get some pizza or something. Our waitress checked with the manager and ushered us to a seat. We ordered quickly out of courtesy to the kitchen staff, but were told we could take as long as we like. We were so concentrated on the food that we had neglected our cocktails a bit, and our waitress asked if we didn't like them, offering to take them off the bill or have something else made. I'll definitely be returning -- very very impressed.
  16. Since moving to Houston, I've been on a mission to find my new place. I'm the kind of creature of habit that needs a local, a home base. In New York, the dearly departed Redhead, and (also dearly departed) Northern Spy filled that role, and in DC, Boundary Road did the heavy lifting. While it may be a tad premature to say after only one visit, Nobie's is looking the part here in Clutch City. Nobie's is named for the chef's grandmother, and radiates a warm, familiar feel from the very beginning. I think the comforting confines of the former Au Petit Paris help, as do the beautiful vintage speakers displayed throughout, playing an eclectic mix of music off of a stash of vinyl records. It also helped that we immediately ran into an acquaintance at the bar as we walked in...a welcome occurrence when you're new to a city. The bar itself is relatively small, with a few stools, and from the looks of it, the full menu is available there. Cristina and I have a long-documented love of dining at the bar wherever we are, so I imagine we'll end up parked on those stools fairly often. We started with 2 of the 3 cocktail specials of the moment, the lightly effervescent gin-based Snow on the Pines, and the rye-based Baby it's Cold Outside (served warm, which would've been even better if it weren't 70 degrees in Houston right now). Both were excellent, and I imagine it would be tough to go wrong ordering whatever the daily cocktails happen to be. The rest of the drink list is equally well-edited and curated, with 3 interesting draft beer options, and a number of bottles and cans (big ups for Lone Pint Yellow Rose on tap). I took note of the Schlitz tallboy for $3 and $5 shot of Four Roses Yellow Label for another time/context. I miss my occasional late nights at Boundary Road with a friend or 2, winding down with a slightly superfluous Natty Boh and shot of Old Overholt. We started with a couple small plates. The Texas Tartare is a finely chopped steak tartare adapted to our lovely State's tastes with smoked jalapeño and topped with a layer of deviled egg yolk. Served with nicely toasted bread, this was a hit. The "Texas" bits were noticeable but played with a measured hand such that they didn't overtake the basic flavor profile of my beloved steak tartare. This is the kind of thing that can get super gimmicky real fast, and the skill shown with this dish is a real "tell" as to what you can expect from the kitchen here. The beer battered sweet potato tots came hot from the fryer in a bowl ringed with a whipped goat cheese. Crispy, soft, salty, cheesy. So get those. It was tough to pass up some of the other snacks on offer...the dukkah Chex mix and cool ranch chickpeas sounded great. Next time. Our salad of local citrus and fennel was the perfect foil for the richness of the tartare. Segments of grapefruit and orange mingled with paper-thin slices of fennel, bits of mint, red chili, and black sesame seeds. This is a simple salad whose execution elevated it beyond my expectations. There are a few salads on the menu, and if they all receive the care this one did, they shouldn't be missed. Moving along, we shared the Ricotta-stuffed raviolo with crispy duck confit, and the Aleppo prawns with burnt orange. The pasta is a rather robust single raviolo filled with house-made herbed ricotta and an egg yolk that covers everything beautifully once you cut into the shell. This was surrounded with irregularly sized pieces of crisped duck confit. This was a hearty dish whose richness would have been better appreciated in colder weather, but was still greedily devoured. The ricotta was light and lemony, and a nice counterpoint to the richness surrounding it. The prawns were served head-on and simply, seasoned with citrus and Aleppo pepper. These were well-cooked and delicious, though without any accompaniment on the plate, they felt a bit spare. We unfortunately skipped dessert to make it to a movie, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Nobie's hit all the right notes, from the unfussy, comfortable decor, to the friendly, unpretentious staff (none of that "Are you familiar with chef's concept crap), to the soulful, straightforward, ingredient-driven cooking. There's something for everyone here, from bar snacks and well-chosen wines by the glass, to large-format dishes like a grilled octopus and "Fred Flintstone" ribeye. My favorite joints always have that flexibility. Nobie's is a welcome and important addition to the Houston scene. Keep my seat warm guys, I'll be back soon.
  17. My cousin booked Beauty and Essex for our family brunch gathering. I think my cousin hates breakfast food as much as me, so he found a place with a large diverse menu and we ordered quite a lot of food. The dishes are meant to be shared and our waiter offered to adjust the dish size to accommodate our large group, but we assured him it wasn't necessary. Chinese people are used to sharing, even a single grain of rice can be shared by an entire village. The red velvet waffles won the approval of both my daughters. We also had crispy fish tacos, chicken fried steak, fried chicken biscuit, frittata espanol, chilaquiles, brunch pizzetta, everything bagel & lox pizzetta, kale & apple salad, and Brussels sprouts and Serrano ham on toast. I would note that the chicken fried steak were hockey puck shaped croquettes of braised short-rib, topped with McMuffin like eggs. That was a distinctly weak dish. Otherwise the dishes are decent to tasty, though not meant to be authentic, e.g., I thought the frittata was too sweet and the chilaquiles not crunchy enough. The restaurant is fronted by a pawn shop. The vibe is hip but the service is friendly yet professional. This place won't win any Michelin stars but it is a fun place to go with a group of food obsessed people.
  18. Hat tip to Jake for nudging me to this "real good" spot: The Wallace. Smart crowd but decor is tasteful and comfortable. Started with a spinach salad with grilled portabellos and blue cheese which was very nice and straightforward. Grilled Japanese eggplant over lentils was next, and possibly my favorite dish of the night. Lentils were smokey and delicious! Spouse ordered the squid ink pasta with Uni bescamel and ikura. Tasty but a bit too rich for me. And yet hypocritically I loved the next course, foie gras three ways: terrine, mousse, and grilled. All fantastic, with the exception of the mousse which was spectacular. It was served over what looked like crumbled feta, but was actually dehydrated foie gras! We shared a carrot cake that delivered. Many tables ordered a mushroom tartine that looked really good. Cocktail was an apple brandy and a duck fat rinsed orange liqueur with bitters. Very nice. And the wine was all good as well. Fun place! Service got weeded here but we enjoyed ourselves and had no subsequent commitments.
  19. Mythology is now (soft) open at 816 H Street NE. The concept has been in the works for years and comes from former Atlas Room GM (and Mark & Orlando's owner) Mark Medley with his business partner Todd Luongo. Mythology opened quietly last night. With little fanfare, Mythology lined up the talented Chef Joseph Harran (formerly of Woodward Table, Bistro Bis and Vidalia) to operate the kitchen. If you don't know Chef Harran (and I did not), note that our fearless leader DonRocks has described him here as "exceptionally talented" and a "Top 20 Chef in the city." Our preview meal confirmed Don's informed opinion and was quite delicious and well-executed. We particularly enjoyed the blue crab toast appetizer, the scallops and steak (w/bone marrow) entrées, and the playful "coffee and tea" dessert. The second floor lounge area and roof decks of the building and concept remain under construction, but Mythology is open for dinner now and likely to add brunch and the upstairs bar/lounge space in the coming months. Some aspects of the Mythology theme were not to our taste, but we will be back again for another very good meal soon. Mythology is an instant contender on H Street, IMHO -- Chef Harran in back and Mark in front is a very strong combination and elevates the competition for quality dining here in NE DC.
  20. [I hesitate to start new threads but I suspect there will be more posts on this one] Couple brief thoughts before I forget. Maybe I'll return and do a more thorough writeup. I was able to swing by last Saturday on what I believe was the second full day of business. They already seemed to be humming on all cylinders, service wise. I didn't get to try dinner, but we had several drinks in the bar at a four top table in the corner. Service was extremely friendly - even going as far as to repeatedly apologize for getting in the weeds behind the bar (really, the waits were not bad). The young-ish, attractive crowd seems to have already descended on the place. As we left (around 6pm), they seemed to be beginning a brisk dinner service. They clearly put a ton of design resources into this place. It's slick, modern, with some clever touches. Note: the restaurant/bar is on the 2nd floor, but they have an elevator. By coincidence it turns out my friend Candice is working there, and she mentioned they hope to start distillery tours soon (on the 1st floor, where the hostess stand is). A special shout to the bar staff: they have some killer signature cocktails, and the bartender that night improvised at my request an ad hoc Cachaça drink (their substitute for not having any pisco for a pisco sour) that was excellent. I'll definitely be back but I suspect this place will get crazy very quickly.
  21. "Winsome Takes Echo Park Diner Food beyond Hipster Brunch" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
  22. I find it hard to believe that this topic hadn't already been created, so if so please move this. I looked and couldn't find anything. We had dinner last night at Hazel and absolutely loved it. We arrived around 7 pm and were able to grab seats at the bar. The bartender provided fantastic service, and was extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu, cocktails, wine and food. The cocktail, wine and beer lists all show a great deal of care, with very interesting choices available. Both my wife and I enjoyed our cocktails very much. I went with the Power Play, which featured a barrel aged gin, montenegro amaro, paw paw vinegar and lime juice. Delicious and interesting. We initially ordered the Barbecue Carrots (fennel kraut, hazelnuts, buttermilk); the Hamachi Crudo (crispy rice, black lime, radish, hibuscus, smoked yogurt); the Octopus a la Plancha (roof top basil, shaved carrot & fennel salad, nuoc cham); and the Gnocchi Bokki (pork kimchi ragu, sesame seeds, smoked pecorino). Our bartender suggested that we probably needed one additional dish, and at his suggestion we ordered the Steak Tartare (tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, carmelized onion dip). He was 100% correct, and this was the exact right amount of food. First off, we loved everything, and will absolutely return. It's location directly across the street from the 930 Club immediately makes this our pre-show destination for the foreseeable future. Our two favorites, by far, were the Barbecued Carrots and the Gnocchi Bokki. The carrots were incredible. They cold smoke them, and then roast them with cumin, smoked paprika and a bunch of other spices I can't remember. The hazelnuts provide a great textural element, and the fennel kraut gives it some fantastic acidity. It was wonderful. And the gnocchi was just delicious. We will be back.
  23. This could be my most controversial post BUT it must be said considering the ludicrous hype around this restaurant. Serious people told me to go and I listened. The menu sounded interesting the chefs are alumni of great institutions but alas this meal was shitty (dunno if I can curse but I can take it out if necessary). I love fine dining restos, I am not one of these guys whose like "holes in the wall ARE ALWAYS BETTER" like some people I read but this was just not very good. The space is incredibly uncomfortable particullarly the banquet chairs which are made of wood like you'd find in Central Park and it's pretty hot etc. Anyway our first and second course were the two faves of the meal. My parents liked the first one better I liked the second which was little neck clams. The first course was tuna. Interesting flavors and interesting combos etc but it was after where the world started falling. Our cooked herring with butter was gross. It was like oil butter. Herring is a fave of mine and while I appreciate the chef's going against the grain and not just serving like pickled herring it is already a very oily fish and to have it with butter sauce was ridiculous. Then we had chicken and my one was slightly undercooked and the flavor combo just didn't work. It was a very headstrong dish and combined with the fattiness of the chicken I was disappointed to say the least. Our Desserts were underwhelming as well. I am being vague admittedly which I am sorry about but I am just incredulous that this restaurant gets such hype. Save your money and go to 11 Madison Park it's ions better or even Le Bernadin or Marea etc etc AVOID CONTRA!!! I am tired of these NYC faux Denmark (I guess hipster as well) new age restaurants. I also went to Take Root as well and hated it. Can one of these restaurant be good please!!!! And I should repeat I like these sort of places particularly in Europe where they somehow pull it off many a time but in New York they often fall flat. Sorry not well written rant over
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