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  1. 12 points
    Seylou is one of the most important food service operations in the DC area. I've been on this board since its inception, and before that eGullet, and before that Chowhound, and almost everything that has been discussed in those 18+ years about what may be "lacking" in DC, or whether or not DC is truly a world-class food city, is represented in Seylou. It's success and future depends on DR.com and other like minded and passionate people to support it, either monetarily or on social media. Seylou literally checks all the boxes: local, organic, sustainable, free-standing, independent, world-class quality, unique, community, I could go on and on. The owners, Jonathan Bethony and Jessica Azeez, work tirelessly and uncompromisingly to put out some of the best breads and pastries in the world. Yes, I said world. Jonathan, who ran the Washington State Bread Lab and started the bread program at Blue Hill for Dan Barber (started as in did everything from selecting the specific wheat, growing, harvest, mill, bake) is doing the same out of Seylou. Nothing here is inexpensive, but it is all reasonably priced. A loaf of bread made from freshly harvested grains from a local Amish farm, milled in full the day of baking, does not come cheaply. But that $11 loaf of pain au levain will last two weeks and is massive, not to mention delicious. So certainly price point is a barrier to entry for most, and Seylou knows this. If you are on SNAP, the discount for bread at Seylou is 50%. Another challenge is the physical appearance of the breads and pastries, specifically the color. Everything is brown to dark brown. It looks burned beyond all hope. The croissants appear as if a single bite will cause the pastry to crumble into dust. There is no "golden" colored anything. The color comes from the whole grains and oils from the entire wheat kernel. That deep brown croissant that looks dry is "OMG this is the best crossant I have ever tasted" as my lovely wife stated oafter her first bite. Cut one in half and it is extraordinary in its lightness, with hundred of airy pockets in between buttery (Trickling Springs) rich dough. Just amazing. You can say the same about the cookies, bialy's, financiers, foccacia, etc. The District is incredibly lucky to have Seylou, and it is a bakery worth a special trip into DC, just as Metier or Komi are. Go. Buy a loaf of bread or as much as you can afford. This place should be a landmark in DC for years to come.* *Climbs down from soapbox.
  2. 12 points
    Headed to Fiola Mare for an early dinner last Saturday, pre-company holiday party. The restaurant was packed, the music was loud, and the atmosphere was hectic. We checked in for our reservation a bit early and were offered a seat at the bar. As we ordered drinks, I perused the wine list. Ruinously priced, many, if not most, bottles at 4x retail or auction. Few bottles of red wine under $100 (unless you like Dolcetto or Lagrein) - nothing from France under $100 - including a cru Beaujolais for $125?! Glanced at the bordeaux list only to see the 2000 Ducru-Beaucalliou pushing $900! I don't begrudge a business their markups, but damn. After a cocktail we chose an '07 barbaresco from Taliano for $130 that didn't seem like highway robbery. Once seated, we ordered two appetizers - first, the Hamachi Sashimi, with marinated eggplant, basil, and olive oil. This was an excellent dish, albeit a bit olive oil heavy. The basil and eggplant added to the hamachi, punching up the flavor but not distracting. Next up were two orders of risotto with white truffles - shaved tableside. The truffles were in great condition, and the captain shaved a generous portion over the two dishes. Great pairing with the barbaresco. We really enjoyed this course, though I'd love pretty much anything with truffles. For mains we had Ora King Salmon, with a mushroom ragout, ditalini pasta and winter truffle and a Bucatini with Red King Prawns, Uni and piment d'espalette. Both mains were excellent - the bucatini was probably the more "interesting" combination of the two, and was really more suited to a white wine, but we did that ourselves. The Salmon paired very well with the barbaresco, but perhaps better with a half bottle of Altesino Brunello that we ordered as well. While we enjoyed both dishses, all fell into the realm of very good, not great. The salmon needed a bit of salt, and the bucatini would have benefited from a bit of acid. Overall, service struggled to keep up with the kitchen. Granted, the place was filled, but we experienced waits to be seated, to receive our cocktails, wine, second half bottle of wine, etc etc. Service was perfunctory, but pleasant enough. The waits were nothing egregious, but enough to be noticed as glasses were empty. I came away thinking a few things - I'm not sure if the goal for Fiola Mare is a Michelin Star but our meal and service in no way merited one, the wine pricing is ruinous, bordering on predatory, and I bet they will do super in Miami.
  3. 11 points
    My wife surprised me with a trip to the Inn for dinner. Until we left, I wasn't completely sure where we were going. She rightfully decided to find a more affordable place to stay, since $800 a night is extremely expensive. We ended up at 1812 Caledonia Farms B&B, which is another story entirely. At $140/night, it was quite a savings. Overall, the every dish we ordered was creative, perfectly prepared, and quite delicious. That said, I have have enjoyed food that's equally as good (or better), and the entirety of the service did not rate 3 Michelin stars. We arrived a bit early, and thought we might have a cocktail at the bar. Since I didn't have time to do any research, I didn't realize the bar is essentially a small waiting area. Nonetheless, we were escorted to our table, which was past the main dining room. I think the area overlooked the court yard--a fire pit was visible outside. Unfortunately, we were seated at a very odd corner table. I say "odd" because there was simply no way for one of the diners to sit directly in front of their place settings. My wife and I looked at one another, and quickly asked to be moved to another table. They moved us to the main dining room to a more conventional two-top. Much more relaxed, we settled in, looking forward to a wonderful experience. We indicated we would like to enjoy cocktails before we started, and quickly found out our primary server was less than engaging. We asked for recommendations, and our server replied simply with "it depends what you like", and nothing more. Again, very unexpected. My wife had read about the truffled popcorn, and we asked if that was available. A bit later, two boxes appeared. It wasn't revolutionary, but it was quite good. I believe the popcorn is normally topped with black truffle shavings, but that wasn't the case with ours. Both of our cocktails were exceptionally well-prepared and delicious. (One was a riff on a gin cocktail, the other a play on a manhattan.) I chose the "Out of the Blue" seafood menu, while my wife opted for "The Good Earth" vegetarian selection, substituting a couple of vegetarian dishes for selections from the other menus. Each menu is $238. As anyone who has been to the Inn knows, the wine list is massive. My wife opted for a single glass, since she was driving, and I opted for the $175 wine pairing. We asked our server for a wine that might carry through my wife's meal, and she decided on a Grenache, which was around $30 per glass. The next "misstep" occurred when the sommelier appeared with my first glass (L. Aubrey Fils, 1er Cru, Jouy-les-Reims, Champagne, France (N.V.) She very briefly described the champagne, but I thought it was very perfunctory. Our cocktail glasses were still half full, so I'm not sure why they decided to begin the dinner service. We both enjoyed a couple of small amuse-bouche, which were quite delicious. Following those, we were presented with a gruyere gougeres and a shot glass of a wonderful cheese soup, enhanced with country ham. Amazing. When our waiter returned, I mentioned that we were in no hurry, and we would like a more leisurely pace. To his credit, the pace of the meal slowed down. Overall, each of the paired wines was a great match for my food, and even though my glasses were never topped off, I thought the relative value was reasonable. That said, the sommelier was going through the motions, only appearing briefly to pour the wines, but never asking what I thought, etc. I'm barely a wine novice, but I've had many more enjoyable interactions with sommeliers at other restaurants. While our server was a bit of a dud, there were plenty of staff members who were funny and engaging. The lack of consistency was a bit puzzling. Based upon our experience, I've enjoyed more value for the money at other places. Two cocktails, a wine pairing, a glass of wine, and two dinners cost $798 before gratuity. (OBTW, two small containers of the truffled popcorn were $12. Each. On to a few food pictures: A Quartet of "Wellfleet Oysters" in Champagne SabayonSpectacular. Very rich and decadent. Paired with the champagne mentioned above. Chilled Baby Leeks with Black Truffle Remoulade. My wife's favorite dish. A "Star-Kissed" Tuna and Foie Gras Confit. Exceptionally delicious. Rich, velvety and savory. Paired with Domaine de la Bergerie, Le Grand Beaupreau Savennieres, Loire Valley, France (2-15) A Turnip Tarte Tatin with Caramelized Onion and Triple Creme Cheese. (Vegetarian). Another highlight. We were informed this was on the menu for the first time. They asked for feedback, and it was all positive. Well balanced textures and flavors, with a perfect warm temperature. Pan-Seared Maine Diver Scallop Perfumed with Curry and Calvados. Paired with Ebony, Chardonnay, Hive, Willamette Valley, Oregon (2014). This was a delightful dish as well. This is the first time I've seen a scallop served sliced. I'd be interested to know why they chose this method. A Marriage of Virginia Bison: *Pepper-Crusted Tenderloin and Braised Short Rib with Seared Foie Gras and Black Truffle Reduction. My wife picked this from the gastronaut menu. I was amazed at the tenderness of the bison, because it was literally "melt in your mouth" texturally. For whatever reason, I enjoyed this dish more than my wife did. Simply outstanding. A Duet of Lobster: Butter Poacched and Cabbage-Wrapped Maine Lobster with Caviar Beurre Blanc. Paired with Domain Blaine-Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet, La Boudriotte Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (2016). Another delicious dish. I was very impressed by the relatively plain looking cabbage wrapped lobster. The lobster filling may have been a type of lobster mousse. Delicate and delicious. A Lilliputian Pomegranate and Maple Dreamsicle. We both received this. In hindsight, I should have received the listed Coconut Sorbet with Passionfruit and Ginger Granite. Very tasty nonetheless. Apparently a Pear. Paired with Jorge Ordonez, Victoria #2, Moscatel, Malaga, Spain (2015) This dessert's reputation is well-deserved. Chocolate-Hazlenut Mousse Napoleon. Light, but decadent. Finally, a mystery. (Sort of). Both of these are water glasses. Initially, we both had clear water glasses, but without explanation, my wife's glass was removed and replaced with this oversized blue glass. I finally asked our waiter, who said it was a signal that my wife was not eating seafood. She had indicated she likes a very limited range of seafood (she ordered the scallops), but she obviously does not have an allergy. The glass was comically large. Can anyone help with a better explanation? (I'm not complaining--it was funny)
  4. 10 points
    With a hankering for Peking Duck and bored of going to the same 4-5 places that we always go, my wife and I decided to venture out to Bethesda for a late dinner on Saturday. Wary about what we might come upon based on the reviews we read here, we decided to order "wide" in the hopes that at least two of the things, and most importantly the duck, would be hits. Lucky for us, everything we ordered we loved, and we will certainly be moving this place firmly into our rotation. To start, we got one of our favorite dishes from Arlington, the Dry-fried Eggplant and the Half Duck. The eggplant was fried and spiced to perfection, this would be an awesome snack to have at my Super Bowl party this weekend. The duck was what we were hoping it would be and far superior to the one that I had at Peking Gourmet Inn. Well prepared and plated, this was unctuous without being fatty and greasy, served with lovely light pancakes and fresh, crisp cucumbers and green onions alongside 2 sauces. This is up there with The Source's preparation, leaning more to the traditional, and really delicious if a bit expensive. Already feeling a bit full and satisfied, we realized we over ordered even prior to the huge portions of Double Cooked Pork Belly, Grandma's Country Style Chili Chicken, and Stir Fried Snow Pea Tips arriving. The pork belly has been a favorite in the past in visits to Arlington, and while this version didn't disappoint, it didn't have the level of heat that it has had in the past. I would still order this again, but it was the least popular dish at the table. My wife loved the chicken, which came with a 4 pepper rating on the menu and was way too spicy for my taste. The snow pea tips, which were initially ordered as just a way to add some green to the table, might have been my favorite dish all night. Garlicky, bitter, and well cooked, these were soft but still had bite in their spines and complemented everything that we had perfectly. A lovely dish that I left wanting to make for myself at home. This wasn't a cheap meal and has to be one of, if not the most, expensive Chinese restaurants in the area, but it was right in our wheelhouse.
  5. 10 points
    We had an epic meal at Bad Saint over the weekend. Four of us went through pretty much the entire menu. Needless to say we left stuffed. I can honestly say there were no "low lights" nor "mid lights"...it was all high lights. Lots of intense flavors, some good funk, and a couple dish brought the heat. The staff was lovely, the decor beautiful, and although seating is rather cramped/tight, the wonderful food more than makes up for it. We had: Labanos At Pinaitum radishes, burnt coconut, honey Ginisang Ampalaya bitter melon, farm egg, preserved black bean Adobong Dilaw cauliflower, kabocha squash, turmeric Kinilaw yellow fin tuna, ginger, kalamansi Laing lobster, bittergreens, coconut milk (this was a hot one) Lechon pork, mang tom's sauce, chile vinegar Kare Kare oxtail, peanuts, pickled okra It was tough to pick favorites, but I think we all agreed the bitter melon, cauliflower, lechon, and oxtail dishes were all excellent. Probably my only complaint is the restaurant lighting isn't very conducive to good phone photography! But I tried. Adobong Dilaw (cauliflower, kabocha squash, turmeric) Lechon (pork, mang tom's sauce, chile vinegar)
  6. 9 points
    We enjoyed an exceptional evening at Métier last week. From start to finish, everyone we encountered was wonderfully hospitable, and the service was flawless. Celia greeted us in the lounge--she is wonderfully charming. Michael Chesser, the Captain and Sommelier, was engaging and informative, and led our service. For my budget, it's a special occasion restaurant, and even though it was very expensive, it was money well spent. The dining room is relatively small, but spacious. The kitchen is visible, but we couldn't hear any sounds. If I had one quibble, it would be that three desserts was one too much for me. (Signs of age, I suppose) Instead of providing my own descriptions, I'll include a photo the menu notes. The restaurant was quite accommodating, and changed a couple of dishes to better suit my wife's preferences. For the wine aficionados and experts here, I'd be interested to get your thoughts on the wines used for pairings. I enjoyed each pairing immensely. Toro with hummus and lavash crackers served in the lounge, accompanied by a burnt cinnamon cocktail. Seared Bluefin Toro Puree of Savoy Cabbage soup with Rye Bread and Cured Foie Gras Crostini Crispy Skin Filet of Virginia Black Bass Scallops. (They prepared this instead of lobster for my wife) Confit of Maine Lobster. Pan Roasted Martin Farms Beef Poached Pineapple Upside Down Cake. (My favorite dessert) Métier Candy Bar Dessert number three. I honesty forgot the description, but it's a play on cinnamon rolls, accompanied by a hot buttered rum drink. Our view of the kitchen. Eric was visible throughout most of the evening, but the table was occupied and I didn't want to intrude on diners' privacy by taking a picture while they were present. Menu Menu notes Menu notes Wine pairings
  7. 9 points
    Visited last night as part of a corporate private party. I'm sure there are a number of spaces/configurations for private events - we were seated in the front room upstairs, which was very comfortable for 15 or so guests. Service was fantastic as always and the food was a unanimous hit - some dishes I hadn't seen on the menu before (though I hadn't visited in some time). I wasn't part of the planning process so unsure what options or prices were available. The two wines for the evening were a Sancerre that carried us through the first 2/3 of the menu, followed by a french red but I didn't catch the specific type - that being said, the full bar and wine list were available. A quick rundown from memory as there was no printed menu: Foie Gras amuse Coconut ice cream with caviar Oysters with cream and spicy granita English Muffin with clotted cream and orange marmalade. This was the highlight for me - yes, the bread course. Lychee Salad Squash blossom rangoon. This was the low for me (but was still pretty good). It was salty and fried, but beyond that I wouldn't have been able to tell you it was a squash blossom or contained crab Honey fried chicken Rigatoni alla vodka with calamari - just a fantastic pasta dish Linguini with shrimp and garlic Wedge salad Tomahawk steak (picture below) - impressive presentation. Came with roasted garlic, also separate pans of roasted mushrooms and potato straws. The steak was fantastic - the mushrooms were very balsamic and cold - seemed better suited to a salad than a steak accompaniment, particularly the temperature Cinnamon toast crunch ice cream topped with crushed cereal ("palate cleanser") Chocolate pecan pie topped with chocolate mouse and vanilla ice cream They honestly could've stopped after the chicken and everyone would've been satisfied, but the servers were good sports about making to-go boxes. Also noted that one member of the group had a severe shellfish allergy that the restaurant handled very well.
  8. 9 points
    Sometimes, I like to walk into Vace and inhale deeply...certainly one of the best smelling stores in DC.
  9. 9 points
    As planned, we ate at the bar last night & reacquainted ourselves with Andrew, Dean & Kay. All were great to see and talk to again. Nice to see that Hawaiian shirts are still in vogue 😎. And, since it was Sunday night, there were a ton of excellent "Happy Hour" specials offered (& accepted). Half price on good wines had us drinking a very nice bottle of Sagrantino throughout dinner. We started with an order of the deviled eggs w/prosciuotto (these are very nice) and a full charcuterie board of 5 excellent meats, olives & some cheese. These were not the usual slices of cold cuts that I'm used to (& would've expected and accepted), but 4-5 pieces each of interesting & tasty stuff - pork shoulder pate, tongue, testa, pate w/ginger slices & duck - all of which was top notch. At full price, I think this is a no brainer to order -- at $10 its a steal. We then moved on to a half order of boar w/pappardelle (for me) and spinach/cheese cannelloni (Ginny). Both were excellent as well. Writing this, it doesn't seem like we ate a lot -- however, eating it all wasn't easy, as this was a lot of food. I remembered the old location fondly and I'll remember this one even more so. The place was busy, both upstairs and down but, looking around, it seemed like folks were content to order mussel pots (which looked great) & other food without really paying much attention to what's being served here & why it stands out. We get that in Brooklyn a lot -- tons of red sauce places serving decent tasting Italian food that was probably made well in advance from standard ingredients by reasonably competent kitchens, served straight from the microwave to folks who like it well enough & accept it without much thought. However, Dino's, like a couple of favorites of ours at home, is doing something significantly different, serving much better tasting food which, importantly, comes from fresh, well sourced ingredients and is prepared/presented with a much higher level of skill and care. And they're doing it at a price point that makes it look "normal" & may not easily stand out. If I lived in the area, it'd be a once/week dinner place for us minimum. As it should be for any food loving person in Shaw and surrounding communities. Not that they made any $$ on us eating there on a Sunday & would be patiently waiting for us to make a return visit to D.C., but we're going to seriously consider more than a once in 7 years return & live vicariously through you all in between.
  10. 8 points
    four of us had dinner last night at punjab grill. service wasn't great, but the service kinks seem like the newly opened kind that hopefully will be worked out. dinner came out to around $90/person, which was definitely expensive but not quite as brutal as i'd feared from a maharaja-inspired restaurant that offers "market price" caviar and truffle supplements. while we agreed that the food is more interesting than rasika's and most of it quite good, the overall experience wasn't one that will have any of us rushing back. i'm guessing this place will live or die based on the amount of expense account business it draws. the first dish that i tried was the adraki tuna tartare (sago crisps), which was . . . adequate, at best. a small cylinder of ring-molded fish atop under-seasoned, possibly underripe avocado, with one crisp on top (which i didn't try, because only one). no distinguishing flavors stood out. (my internal monologue is concerned that i'm about to sit through an entire disappointing dinner.) luckily, the chana masala “hummus” (amritsari kulcha, radish achar) was much better, albeit quite small: a quenelle of spiced, creamy dip was accompanied by an airy round of kulcha that was no more than four inches in diameter, with a nice pop of acid from the pickled radishes. (luckily the four of us are all pretty close friends, as we tore apart the little disk with our fingers so that everyone got a bit.) our carnivorous friends got a meaty small plate that they seemed to really like, but i have no recollection of what it was. the rest of our food came out basically all at once, crowding the table. the tandoori tiger prawns (moilee sauce, curry leaf, tomato jam) came two medium-sized prawns to an order (heads on, but surprisingly dry inside -- nothing to suck out). i like tandoori seasoning and the prawns weren't overcooked, so i enjoyed my half-prawn bite, but be warned that this is another small one. in contrast, the malai broccoli (amul cheese fondue, spiced churma) was basically an entire head of broccoli. childhood favorite broccoli with cheese sauce grew up and studied abroad: char on the brassica, the richly cheesy sauce given texture by the breadcrumb-like churma, all with a spicy kick. probably my favorite dish of the night, for nostalgic deliciousness. i've read for ages that jackfruit is a serviceable vegetarian substitution, but i'm not sure that i'd ever had it before the kathal kofta (jackfruit dumpling, lebabdar sauce, cilantro cress). the dumpling did have a satisfyingly dense (but not too dense, just enough to be meat-adjacent) texture, and i was sad to realize that the bowl of delicious brown sauce was cleared before i got at it with my naan. (with only four chocolate truffle-sized dumplings in the order, the ratio of sauce to dumpling had to anticipate side carbs, but with table space at a premium, the busboys were quick to clear even the not-quite-empty plates, so i see why this one got away.) at our server's urging, we ordered the burani palak paneer (spinach, tandoori cottage cheese, olive tapenade, garlic), which he assured us was different than the palak paneer with which we would be familiar. a pre-sliced (mostly -- the very bottom wasn't cut through, presumably to keep the slices together) block of paneer sat in a pureed green pool, a bit deeper and more cooked-down in flavor than i'm used to from palak. i appreciated the starring cheese; i'm that person who is constantly wondering how many cubes she can dig out of the shared dish of palak paneer before friends get annoyed. the mushroom khichdi (morels, exotic achari mushrooms, yogurt, lentil) felt more southern than indian, weirdly enough; a friend pointed out that the lentils almost had the texture of grits. along with the broccoli, this was the dish that i just kept eating: roasty mushrooms and starch are addictive in any cuisine. (i swear the lentils tasted cheesy, but i'm not sure whether that's the grits association playing tricks.) given how i usually make a meal out of rasika's sides, the baigan bharta (charred eggplant, desi ghee) and the brussels sprouts thoran (fresh coconut, mustard seed, curry leaf) were both a bit disappointing. the eggplant was a one-note mush of very cooked eggplant. the brussels sprouts were much better, the shaved sprouts warm but otherwise almost raw. the almost-salad was a light counterpoint to the rest of the tablescape, though. naan (both garlic and sundreid tomato, olive & basil) tasted nicely of its respective toppings, although the bread was a bit more crisp and less fluffy than i'd probably prefer (personal preference, not a flaw). a side of the raita never made it to the table (which i did not realize until just now, as i am looking over the menu to recall everything that we ordered). the cocktails we tried ranged from pretty to very good; we all tried each other's. my first drink, the chaiwala (masala chai infused scotch, spiced cordial, lemon, ginger) was probably my favorite, a classic-ish, penicillin-adjacent cocktail. a friend seemed happy with her king alphonso (gosling’s dark rum, mango, pomegranate, lemongrass, mint), although such fruit-forward drinks tend not to be my favorite (unless i'm on a tropical vacation and the setting calls for it). in retrospect, i'm fairly sure my order of the kasauli 1820 (rittenhouse rye, saffron & spiced sugar, orange, smoke) was mixed up with a friend's order of the akbari (old monk rum, dry vermouth, ginger, cloves, aromatic bitters), as his smelled of smoke and mine didn't. (not sure what it says about our palates or the drinks that we couldn't be sure from the other flavors, but his drink was half gone by the time mine arrived.) both were enjoyable, although the one i drank (so probably the akbari) was a tad on the sweet side. (and i think that sweetness is what confused me as to which drink i got, as "saffron & spiced sugar" sounded likely to make a sweeter drink.) the bf's rikki-tikki-tavi (pyrat xo rum, tullamore dew whiskey, pineapple, coconut, egg white, cardamom keora water) was described as a not-too-sweet take on a pina colada, which was a pretty good description (served up but with a frothy head), although the drink could have used acid (maybe some lime) to add another note. the gt&t (mango, ginger, lemongrass & cardamom infused gin, house-made turmeric tonic) was also a bit flat and could have used acid; i think the addition of all the other flavors (especially the turmeric in the vivid orange tonic) muted the brightness that i associate with a more classic g&t. we were seated in a little side room across from the bar, which was quite loud (although possibly less so than the main room); they seem to be going for a scene-y atmosphere with the music. service was surprisingly slow. everyone was perfectly nice when they did come by, but there were lots of noticeable lags throughout the night. i arrived earlier than the rest of my party and was immediately seated, which i appreciated, but no one asked whether i wanted a drink while i waited, which i did. two of my friends joined about ten minutes later, and we only managed to order cocktails after awkwardly calling back a somm (i'm assuming -- he stopped by to draw our attention to the wine list but walked away before asking if we wanted anything). even more awkwardly, i went to a bathroom in the back of the room where we were seated only to discover after i had a handful of soap that the sink wasn't working! (there was an out-of-order sign on a second bathroom, but the one i entered had no indication.) when i asked someone where there was another bathroom, explaining that the water wasn't working in the one, the guy's initial response was something to the effect of "yes, those aren't working, wasn't it locked?," which put me on the defensive. i was led through the main dining room to another set of bathrooms, feeling very uncomfortable the entire time as i avoided touching anything or dripping soap. ugh.
  11. 8 points
    To characterize Grant Achatz and Cat Cora as culinary stalwarts at the same height in the culinary stratosphere is like lumping Ernest Shackleton and Popeye Captain Stubing in the same boat as accomplished sailors. But sure, we can all agree that any international "go fuck yourself/s" gesture is the perfect catalyst to a reasonable conversation.
  12. 8 points
    Tonight was vegan night at Casa TrelayneNYC and I'm snacking on some chilled diced pineapple as I type this... The first two pictures are approx. 1 kg of wild and cultivated mushrooms. The first bowl contains black pearl oyster mushrooms and baby shiitake mushrooms, and the bowl in the bottom picture has yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms. Clockwise from bottom left: porcini broth; yellowfoot mushrooms; baby shiitake mushrooms; black pearl oyster mushrooms; thyme leaves; red pepper flakes; sage leaves; flour; tomato paste; garlic paste (3 garlic cloves, smashed and pounded into a paste in a mortar and pestle along with a pinch of salt); diced onion; olive oil. The porcini broth consists of 10 g dried porcini mushrooms combined with 150 g diced onion, 100 g diced celery, 60 g diced carrots, 1 bay leaf and 710 ml water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Strain liquid into a small saucepot and keep on another burner, on low heat. You can smash the garlic cloves into a paste using the tines of a fork, or pound them in a mortar and pestle. It'll become something like this after a few minutes. Porcini broth. Leave this unseasoned since you'll be using it later on. Warm olive oil in a pan, then fry onions until browned. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer onions to a small bowl. Add mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the mushrooms begin to exude some liquid. Eventually they'll reabsorb the juices and begin to brown. At that point, add the garlic paste and herbs to the pan. Stir them in and cook for a minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions back to the pan. Stir in the tomato paste. Fry for a minute, then stir in the flour. Cook for one more minute, then add in the porcini broth, a ladleful at a time. Cook until ragu reaches your desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper, stir in some chopped parsley, then serve at once. Curly endive salad with orange and oil-cured black olives Wild mushroom ragù, served over pearl barley and pigeon peas
  13. 8 points
    An early dinner at 2 Amys last night featured the restaurant in high gear, at its most ambitious and creative self; still, it was slightly different than any of the many dozens of meals I've had here in the past. With only a couple of tables left, 2 Amys was kind enough to seat us near the window, where a friend could stretch out a recently strained knee. 200 ml bottles of San Pellegrino Aranciata ($2.50) got us through the entire meal. I'd gone to wash my hands, and on the way back, glanced at the bar to my left - on it sat something that was the length of a loaf of bread, but the circumference of a basketball, and I knew it was in my immediate future. Sometimes, 2 Amys puts exclamation points on their daily-specials menu, and last night was no exception. The Roman Artichoke !! (Carciofi alla Romana, $8) was a capitulation to the kitchen, as there was no description for it, but with two exclamation points, it must be good, right? It was. A single, majestic artichoke, presented on a plate with some olive oil, like a gigantic Hershey's Kiss, gave no indication of its stuffed, inner self. The bottom half was stuffed with a green, pesto-ish hash of what seemed to be parsley, lemon, and possibly mentuccia. Beautiful in its simplicity, this extremely mild dish allowed nature's basic ingredients to take the bow, and served as a much-needed counterpoint to its partner dish. Porchetta with Farro and Green Sauce !!!!! ($17) was a five-exclamation point dish, both in name, and in ambition. This was that huge, basketball-thick roulade I saw when I glanced over towards the bar, and was the result of a cook's psychedelic fantasies on steroids. The rolled-up pork monster was multi-layered, with some of the layers being nearly lard, and this was the richest dish I've had in recent memory - two of us could only finish half of it; if we'd gone any further, any hope of enjoying our pizzas would have been lost. I'll be cursed (literally, cursed, and cursed *at*) for saying this, but my endless respect for this porchetta, and the creative energy and labor that went into making it, mostly ended on the plate - it was so rich that actually eating it became an exercise in theory, and I felt guilty for taking the portion from whichever hungry NFL linebacker missed out on it later in the evening. The spicing was subtle and suave with whispers of clove and vanilla, the little rectangles of skin, tooth-breaking, the "green sauce" something like a pesto (slightly darker, and with a bit more verve than what was in the Roman artichoke), and the farro, curious. I had some for lunch today, and I'll have some for dinner tonight (simmered down in a previously vegan, homemade blistered-red pepper soup (*)) - bravo to 2 Amys for offering this dish, and for having taken the time and effort to make it: There's nothing else like this being offered in the DC area. As many times as I've been here, over the course of what must be close to 25 years, I don't ever remember having ordered the Pozzuoli Pizza ($14.45) before. I forgot to order the pizzas "well-done," and I'm curious to see what they'll be like if I do. Remember, 2 Amys is no longer DOCG-certified, and that may have shown last night in the pizzas - they were unlike any I've had here in the past: not better, not necessarily worse; just different, very thin in the center, with a thicker crust at the periphery, blistered and charred, with a fine flavor, but also markedly more bready in the interior of the rim. The Pozzuoli was made with tomato, Fontina, 2Amys sausage (!!!!!), grilled peppers, "hotties" (only in appearance), and parsley. I wish I could purchase this sausage in bulk - to have with breakfast, to freeze, to put aside for the nuclear winter: It was as good as sausage can possibly be; the Fontina was somewhat assertive and rind-y: a slightly riper version than I was expecting, but not at all overripe - although this isn't a spicy pizza, the ingredients aren't shy, and it seemed wise to use a cheese on that half of the spectrum. I look forward to getting this again (note: We asked for the pizzas to be sliced). The second pizza was a daily special: Burrata di Bufala, Squash Blossoms, Tomato Purée, Cherry Tomatoes, and Parsley ($16.45). Served with a half-orb of Burrata in the middle of the pizza, this was a self-service spread-around - necessary to prevent the pizza from becoming soggy (as it was today for lunch). If you're familiar with 2 Amys' pizza, and can picture how the crust was different on this evening, then you know exactly how this pizza was - the tomato purée was sweet and terrific, the Burrata making it milky and homey, and this was a fine foil for the Pozzuoli. Yet another "imperfect, but perfect" showing at this monument to rustic Italian dining. --- (*) ETA - It was *magnificent* in the soup, both the meat and the farro.
  14. 8 points
    The centerpiece of Christmas Eve this year was a chestnut bisque (from this Geoffrey Zakarian recipe). It came out extremely well, but I really should have bought frozen chestnuts, as the recipe indicates, rather than roasting and peeling my own. That was a lot of extra time and frustration I didn't need. The addition of the pumpkin pie spice in this is essential. I even bought a new jar of it, and it paid off. This was really good. I also picked up a new and decent quality bottle of sherry for the recipe. The rest of the meal was an herb and garlic baked Camembert from Smitten Kitchen Every Day; crudites; an assortment of breads and crackers (sourdough baguette, pumpernickel, whole wheat pita, Carr's rosemary crackers, and Triscuits); cold cuts (Virginia baked ham, mortadella, and Genoa salami); regular and spicy Cava hummus; various olives, pickles, and mustards. It was way too much food, but it was fun to graze and everything left can be used in future meals. Christmas lunch was more of the bisque, plus grilled cheese (leftover Camembert plus Parmesan, pear, and leftover ham.) Christmas dinner was a simple and delicious celery and Marcona almond salad I've made before (from Fine Cooking) to start. For the main course I made a sous vide boneless leg of lamb (rubbed with Maille whole grain mustard, black and red pepper, and olive oil, stuffed with thyme, rosemary, and nicoise olives). Steamed green beans with evoo and toasted pine nuts and sage scalloped potatoes rounded out the meal. That makes two dishes over the holiday I added to the menu after seeing Food Network's "The Kitchen" on what seemed like endless repeat. The potatoes were incredible but super rich. I will not be making them again for another year, because OMG...2 cups of heavy cream. They were GOOD. The sage and garlic infused cream made the flavor amazing, plus the salt and cayenne between the layers added a spark I don't usually associate with scalloped potatoes, and the heat cut through the richness. The only downside (other than our cholesterol levels) is that the 1 lb. amount given for potatoes in the recipe is too low. I used two medium potatoes (1 1/4 lbs.) sliced thin and couldn't even get three full layers. I should have added the third potato I had. This is the first time I can recall not parboiling potatoes for this kind of dish and having them cook through perfectly. Both nights I planned to make ice cream sandwiches with the homemade toll house cookies I made (my only holiday baking this year) but they went by the wayside since we had plenty of food already. Maybe this weekend.
  15. 8 points
    Thank you for the support on this. There is Supreme Court precedent supporting basic first amendment rights in this case (see 44 Liquormart v Rhode Island in 1996). But even though Virginia has all but said they agree with me, they are trying to bury me and my attorney in paperwork. I handed over 65,000 of absolutely useless documents to them. It is data on sales by the hour (they wanted by the minute). I gave them three years of information. They wanted ten years but my point of sale doesn't keep that info beyond three. They wanted to settle with me but it would have been an incomplete victory as laws would have still have to make it through Richmond post dropping the suit. The best thing for Virginia to do is to concede. The further they delay, the more money the state is wasting defending asinine regulations that serve no purpose. The fact that it is against the law to advertise the price of a glass of pinot grigio at happy hour makes no sense. And Virginia is making it worse by trying to defend it. -Geoff Tracy - Chef Geoff's
  16. 8 points
    I wish for many things: I wish I could get to College Park more than once-in-a-blue-moon, I wish everyone would realize how great Ferhat's cuisine is, I wish people knew how much of a risk he took opening in Shaw, I wish people knew just how wonderful of a human being Ferhat is, I wish people - myself included - would just say, "to heck with it," and make a beeline towards College Park to get three-days-worth of cuisine at Fishnet.
  17. 8 points
    Did you, by chance, see the comment by "Joel Haas"? If not, read it to the end...or just read the end of it.
  18. 8 points
    A Clyde’s regular gets a final honor from those who knew her best, by John Kelly, October 31, 2018, on washingtonpost.com.
  19. 8 points
  20. 8 points
    Well, we did it up well. Thanks for the suggestions and between the four of us we did everything that was mentioned last week. The night started with a bang by getting a metered parking space right across the street from the restaurant! The pre-meal Negroni was delicious, as was the Ric Flair cocktail with rye, an amaro of some sort and some other tasty liquids. Restaurant Week pricing was extended until the night we went, so we sampled a good chunk of the menu. Burrata appetizer was fresh and tasty. It included a cool little stewed tomato with a bright, palate cleansing tang from some unknown ingredient. Very cool. Squash blossoms were nice and the octopus was tender and tasty, as were the canellini beans which accompanied the tentacles. MrsDrXmus had the crab pasta which to me tasted like a light Alfredo. Honestly, it wasn’t very crabby, but the fettuccine were delicate, al dente and delicious. I had the frito misto which was great but I should’ve had a pasta, I just couldn’t make a decision. My friend raved about his fra Diovolo pasta and his wife loved the risotto main course she got. Desserts were terrific and I loved the option of cheese instead of a sweet. The tasty gratis spiced pear ‘cello digestif was appreciated. We also had some post-meal amari, which was great to see on a menu. I wish we lived closer to the Grotto because there were several dishes I wanted to try. I know Dean is keeping the menu seasonal, and if every season tasted like this meal I’d love to try it through the year.
  21. 7 points
    Roasted Eggplant, White Beans, Tomato Sauce, Tahini, Fresh Herbs, Za'atar,
  22. 7 points
    The only reason Michelin shouldn't rate Kinship two stars is because there's Métier (sometime this year, Métier will be receiving a special dcdining.com rating). Look at this bounty (and this is only part of it):
  23. 7 points
    Agree with everything Eric said. Last night's dinner was delicious. I am not sure what things were called on the menu, but am going to talk about what I liked- I really enjoyed the Shaanxi cold noodle in chili oil, this dish got eaten faster than any other. The noodles are thicker than the chengdu cold noodles my friends make, but were very tasty, not off the board spicy, but enough of a kick to be good, the small bits in the sauce were good. The beef tendon and tripe in spicy sauce was delightful, I think this is something even most non-tendon/tripe people would like, I thought it was very good. The lamb with pita soup was really a nice balance to a lot of the spicy food we had, and I really liked the flavors, I thought the lamb was good. The Enoki mushrooms were very good, but I don't know I would order them just on my own. I really liked the vegetables (Shaanxi flavored vegetables?) They reminded me of this spicy dipping pot dish we had in China. The vegetables had nice crunch and a good heat to them, this is a veggie dish I would order again, even with more limited people. The spicy pig trotters might not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed them, they have a good amount of bone and cartilage, so you have to be ok gnawing a bit, but well worth it. The chicken dish we had with the noodles was very good for being a little more pederstrian, I thought it had good flavors and was something with good flavor to eat in between spicy bites. The bean jelly, OH, the bean jelly- this might be a must order for me anytime I go here. It was everything you don't think a bean jelly would be, kind of like a cold spicy noodle dish in a good way, but with bean jelly slabs instead of noodle. The "burger" was fine, I mainly used mine to get more spicy sauce off my plate from the bean jelly. I liked the fish, the lamb above was very good- the yams with it were good and the lamb was very tender, I thought it was a very good dish. I am not sure what else we ordered, it was a full table, but this really is one of the best Chinese meals I have had in this area.
  24. 7 points
    In appreciation for my favorite dish in this area. Their Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken continues to be the best version I’ve ever had. I stopped in for lunch today. They have a Kung Pao Chicken lunch special with rice and an egg roll. I asked if I could have the special with the Chengdu Kung Pao Chicken. They said no. I didn’t even care. The real “special” is the Chengdu version and this confirmed it. I’m always here with groups and order multiple dishes, so it was great to just focus on one outstanding dish. Outside of the traditional chicken, peanuts, and peppers, they also include sliced ginger and garlic. These take it to the next level. I’m usually a stickler for using chopsticks, but I was wearing a tie so I used a fork for safety. This also made the dish better as I could get all the flavors at once rather than one at a time. These folks take my favorite Chinese dish and make it my favorite-ist.
  25. 7 points
    I thought I posted something similar elsewhere on the site. Maybe Don can find it. Here is my hummus making advice after making a lot over many years and eating it in the Mideast and all over the place in the US. The difference between store bought and home made is the freshness and creaminess and the ability to adjust it to your taste. First tip - start with canned chickpeas except for special occasions. The difference in final product between canned and soaking dried chickpeas is minor. I find you can get a more delicate, airier hummus with soaked chickpeas but it turns a 15 minute food processor recipe into a multi-day affair with soaking overnight and long cooking. Second tip - fancy tahini is hard to detect once you mix it together with everything else. I tend to use cheaper Israeli/mideast or even Greek brands I can find in my grocery store. (I don't use Joyva). I have also tried Soom and didn't notice much difference. If you were making a more straight tehini sauce or dressing, maybe you'd notice the difference more. Third tip - figure out how aggressive you want the added flavors to be (such as garlic, lemon juice, or other non-dried spices added for flavoring). If you want it strong, then simply toss those ingredients in the food processor along with chickpeas and tahini for quick and tasty hummus. If you want more subtle flavoring, then roast the garlic or infuse the flavors into the tahini before adding to the food processor with the chickpeas. Again, Zahav recipe has a neat trick to blend garlic with lemon juice and let it sit and then press the garlic through a sieve into the tahini and mix before adding to the chickpeas. This of course is much more time consuming but does have a nice effect. Fourth tip - figure out your preference for chickpea to tahini (or other ingredients) ratio. Some recipes are chickpea heavy which often leads to a thicker/denser more neutral tasting hummus vs. other recipes call for a lot more tahini which is a bit smoother and of course much stronger sesame flavor. Fifth tip - taste it before you remove from the food processor and adjust it to your taste. Most recipes call for using a certain number of lemons but each lemon has a different amount of juice or sometimes garlic is stronger, etc. Sixth tip - start with a recipe that likely suits your personal preference. Zahav is heavy on tahini and subtle flavoring. I like it. This recipe I've used for years from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs is more chickpea heavy and strong on the garlic: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/IsraelExperience/Lifestyle/Pages/HUMMUS -Chick-pea Dip-.aspx (when you only use the 3 TB of tahini. Michael Solomonov's need cookbook as a quick recipe for hummus I haven't tried yet, but anything by him is worth trying. Seventh tip -process it longer than you think needed - it will help you get the smoothness you want. (or if you are cooking the chickpeas, follow the Zahav advice and overcook them). Eighth tip - hummus is forgiving and if you plan to top it with dried spices like paprika, herbs like parsley, a swirl of olive oil, or strong vegetables like olives or even roasted meats - don't worry too much about having the perfect subtle, fancy hummus as these add-ons will likely overpower the base hummus. Save all of the above fancier ingredients and time consuming steps for when you plan to eat the hummus straight or with only a bit of an add on (I do like a swirl of extra olive oil). Ninth tip - get some good pita bread (or make your own) to enjoy your hummus more. I haven't been able to find much great stuff in grocery stores - but I'll go with the Mideast bakery brand which is decent. I like Yafa Grille and Shouk's pita (which is the more pillowy type). I'm less a fan of the thin lebanese pita you find at Lebanese Taverna and others place (note I like LT generally and the bread is good but not my preferred style). Tenth tip - I've seen some videos online and even a recipe or two that says to make hummus in a mortar and pestle or a bowl, but unless you like arm workouts and chunky hummus, stick to the food processor. For store bought hummus, I like sabra but there are a bunch of niche brands that I haven't tried and may be better. there is a lot of funky, non-chickpea hummus available in stores. Like fake meats, know that it will not be the same, but if that is what you like, enjoy.
  26. 7 points
    So I finally made it to Corduroy for dinner after meaning to go for so many years. Perhaps mistakenly I thought there had been a jacket and tie requirement which goes against my very ethos (modern slob in case anyone is wondering) - anyway the dress code is gone now if it ever existed and I was excited to try the place after so many wonderful reviews here. Went with a couple close friends who were happy to share in the adventure. I had the appetizer special, a smoked salmon/cream cheese affair that was quite good with the accompanying bread. Followed that with the chicken two ways - confit and roasted - that was wonderful. Really enjoyed this dish immensely. Perhaps what helped that was the wonderful wine recommendation from Marc Slater, who stopped by to say hi and to suggest a really great red that all three of us enjoyed. I'd be glad to add this place to my standard repertoire, such as it is. Kudos for the wonderful cooking and hospitality.
  27. 7 points
    Four of us had dinner at the bar here last Friday (10/12). We had originally intended to go to Kinship to celebrate a friend's birthday, but it turned out that they were closed. So... up the block and across we went. Just us at the bar when we arrived (early), but it filled up. When we eat there, we usually do the $30 bar menu, but being as this was a celebration, we decided to go for the $70 "Chef Surprise" 5 course menu. They were remarkably accommodating, as I do not eat seafood, and 2 others don't do mushrooms. I really appreciate this. It was absolutely delicious, and as ever, the drinks and wine are fabulous. I don't get here very often, and am always astounded that the wonderful bartender (whose name I have forgotten again) remembers us, and even remembers what we drink. I don't think we are that memorable - she's clearly a customer service genius. And the wine advice is really good too!
  28. 7 points
    On May 20, 2018, I enjoyed a very delectable lunch at Mikko's Café, which serves casual modern Nordic fare. See café menu. Seating is limited to 5 seats at the back counter and 4 at the front so take-away is a very quick and convenient option. Mikko plans to expand to al fresco dining with beverage service in the near future. I can't wait for the expanded café menu! I enjoyed the following: Pickled Herring Open-Face Sandwich with Egg, Greens, Mustard, Dill (Herring is pickled in-house. Mikko has a smoker for smoked fish. And for smoked mushrooms in a recipe for a catered soup, which I hope will make it on the expanded café menu!) Karelian Pastry (served reheated) Finnish-Style Fish Soup (this is a hearty dish and can be enjoyed on its own) Salmon Quiche (as take-away immediately enjoyed by reheating at home)
  29. 7 points
    My wife and I went out (a less frequent occurrence now that we have 3 kiddos) for our anniversary last Sunday and were very very pleased we chose to do so at Kinship. We arrived early for our 830 reservation and enjoyed a couple drinks at the bar - a pear themed fall cocktail for her and a glass of chenin blanc for me. The bar was relatively empty but the dining room was humming even on a Sunday so it was a really nice, relatively sedate, way to start the evening. Upon finishing our drinks we were informed that our table was ready and escorted from the bar to our table in the back corner of the dining room. As an aside, in the future I’ll definitely try and grab one of the private booths right off the bar. I thought those looked terrific and should’ve heeded the advice of others in the thread above and snagged one. A nice touch was a little card awaiting us on the table wishing us a happy anniversary from the staff. For our meal we shared 3 courses and a desert, complemented by two excellent half bottles of wine (a nice dry Riesling and an excellently chosen Pinot Noir): -Squid Agilio e Olio - I literally (and my wife would’ve fought me for it) could’ve eaten a giant bowl of this. Extremely light and dressed so that the squid really shined (and texturally was perfect). We gobbled this up before my wife had a chance to snap a picture. -Lobster French Toast - I agree with Don that this dish doesn’t totally represent the “best of” Kinship due to its overall decadence. That said - we both really enjoyed splitting it (for me, it would’ve been too rich to eat by myself). I found the “french toast” to be a nice compliment to the perfectly cooked lobster I also thought it was a perfect size. -Roasted Chicken - I had to convince my wife go this route and man, she was pretty thrilled we did. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a chicken dish of any sort that rivals what we had (and I’d include Palena’s in this). The panade was incredible and I liked the way they shredded the dark meat over the frisée salad. I accompanying potatoes (I wonder if they use the par boil with baking soda technique to get the crusts the way they are) and parker house roles served as nice compliments to the roasted bird. - BlackRock Orchard Baked Apple - we paired this with the excellent coffee service (its worth getting to echo everyone’s statements above) with this fall focused desert (despite it being 80 degrees outside). The apple may have been slightly underdone - but otherwise this was another excellent dish. I really was surprised at how much I enjoyed the “bay mouse” that served as the base. Despite some absolutely atrocious behavior from a customer nearby, I was also extremely impressed by the staff at Kinship from both a warmth and an overall level of service perspective, even late on a Sunday evening. Additionally - from a cost perspective, getting out of there after having the amount and quality of the food we ordered plus two very nice half bottles of wine for 160 pp (including tax and tip) felt like an excellent deal (not cheap certainly, but more than fair in my opinion). I really look forward to returning.
  30. 7 points
    Cheers. To be honest I am not really qualified to answer this. I have a WSET advanced qualification in wine so am comfortable to talk about wine lists and wine pairing, but I don't know a great deal about cocktails I'm afraid. The other beverage that is interesting to pair with food is Japanese sake, which I am still learning about. I'll leave the cocktails to others that are more knowledgeable about them. Thanks Don. It has been very kind of you to invite me to participate in this forum and I would especially like to thank all the forum members that contributed so many interesting questions and responses to my answers. It has been a real pleasure and I would like to wish you all very happy dining in the future.
  31. 7 points
    the bf and i checked out himitsu's monday "supper club" last night, which i ringingly endorse. seven course menu for $90 (pre-tax/tip), which is expensive but not insane given the quality and quantity of the food. i would even go so far as to call it a good value (in the expensive world of tasting menus -- all relative, of course). how are these reservations not impossible to snag? (there are currently tables at a variety of times available every monday in september, which is as far out as they're currently booking.) but come hungry: it was a lot of food. multiple dishes basically felt full-sized, despite the tasting menu format. (i wonder if this is something that they will tweak with experience.) and be prepared for spice; almost every dish was spicy to some greater or lesser degree. the meal began with the akami crudo (tuna, compressed honeydew, chile, white onion, and shiso), which was the only item that pulled from the regular menu (although subbing shiso for . . . cilantro? if i recall correctly from a dinner last week). as expected with crudo at himitsu, it was a bright, balanced combination of fish, sweetness, spice, and acid. one of my favorite crudos since they've opened. next up was a sort of shumai (although i believe our shrimp filling was a pescatarian sub for boudin blanc -- bits of southern influence on this menu) in a soy broth liberally studded with salmon roe. i quite liked this dish, but it was right on the edge of being too salty for me, and i'm a salt fiend. i imagine some diners will find it too much. the dumplings themselves were a bit too big for one bite but a bit too soft to easily scoop from the bowl with the provided fork. (plus, all that roe!) i should have asked for a spoon. maybe my taste buds were a bit overwhelmed by the shumai, but a sprinkle of finishing salt on the "tartless" tomato tart probably would have been fine with me. (again, salt fiend; not necessarily a technical flaw.) a thick slice of heirloom tomato sitting in a pool of tomato water, topped with little heirloom grape tomatoes (peeled, maybe slightly cooked to condense flavor or just really good to start) and dotted with a spicy yellow paste (more tomato?). i vaguely recall something crunchy -- fried red quinoa, maybe? very summery. (i requested a spoon for the tomato water.) next up, a little pyramid of perfectly fried panelle cubes stacked atop concentric pools of a peppery-garlicky sauce and cauliflower puree. (yes, i did use my fingers to swipe up the last bits of that puree. screw spoons.) tasty but starchy -- could have easily had half as many cubes, given how much food was still to come. back to the southern influence with fried catfish over coleslaw. the coleslaw was bright (not creamy), with raw slices of beautiful purple carrot (which are presumably the same as they use for the awesome roasted carrot dish on the regular menu), the catfish was well fried (of course), and everything was complemented by creamy hot sauce underneath. deceptively simple-looking, immensely satisfying to eat. i think i had three small fillets, and i ate them all. i wasn't hungry by this point, but i couldn't leave anything behind. (really, the bf and i should have packed one dish up for someone's lunch today and split one plate at this point. hindsight.) given the size, we would have expected the catfish to be our last savory but for the fact that we were paced behind an adjacent table, which received a beef dish after the fish. our sub: seared scallops (at least three, possibly four?), fingerling potatoes, charred okra, a pool of salsa verde. very good but also the least favorite dish of an excellent meal, not really more than the sum of its (well-cooked) parts. for those who remember the early himitsu desserts fondly or just lament the lack of dessert offering on the regular menu: the supper club includes dessert! and it is excellent: a (coconut?) forbidden rice pudding studded with roasted pineapple, slivered avocado, and roasted peanuts, and dusted in lime zest. satisfying and complex without being too heavy at the end of a very filling meal. possibly my favorite dish of the night. the meal was great, but between the large portion sizes, the spiciness, and more than one fried/starchy dish, i definitely left in second trimester food baby territory. carlie's cocktails never disappoint; i love how much sherry she uses. (there were also three levels of wine pairing available, and the regular drinks list.) and it was great to have a way to experience himitsu's food with a reservation!
  32. 7 points
    I've been meaning to write about Texas Jack's for a while now, but the WaPo listing reminded me. It's in my neighborhood and I've gone off and on since it opened (I've been going about 2x a month recently). I think Don can remove the "warning" from the title at this point. It has had some consistency issues, but the good/great has largely outweighed the disappointing. I've stuck with the brisket (moist) and pork ribs after trying some of the other meats. The smoked wings were okay, but I didn't love the texture. The sausage didn't leave an impression. I got the pulled pork once and have stayed away ever since (little smoke and dry, but this was well over a year ago). My wife gets the smoked chicken, which I think is "okay", or the fried chicken sandwich. (Compare to Rockland's, which I pass to get to TJs, where I think the best items are the beer, hamburgers and pulled chicken). The pork ribs have generally been great and have been consistently the best item on the menu. They come with a decent amount of pepper from the dry rub and are still moist. The brisket is sometimes a little inconsistent (once or twice in the past year it has been dry), but the bark is great and the moist brisket is usually on point. The brisket sandwich with queso and fried onions (I think it's from the flat) is enjoyable too. I can't believe I'd recommend this, but my favorite meal here is brunch. I've made it a semi-regular habit to go and get the huevos rancheros. It can come topped with brisket (or I guess any meat) for no additional charge, but this feature is inexplicably not listed on the menu. The queso, runny egg and other sauces mix great with the brisket, which is chopped. Doesn't hurt that there are cheap drinks ($5 bloody mary).
  33. 7 points
    I was in Austin this weekend and arose early Saturday to make the trek to Snow's BBQ. Snow's is located in Lexington, Texas - a very small town about one hour east of Austin. It has also been named 'The Best BBQ in Texas' by Texas Monthly magazine on two occasions, last year beating out Franklin's for the title. They are open only on Saturday mornings and are typically out of meat by noon. For those few who haven't ready about Snow's, their story is as remarkable as their barbecue. Snow's pitmaster is Tootsie Tomanetz, an 82-year old woman who arrives at 2:30am every Saturday morning to smoke meat for the masses. During the week, she works in the maintenance department at the local school district. This spring, she was nominated for a James Beard award. A reporter who reached out to her after the nomination had to explain to her what it was. We pulled up at 6:30am sharp, and I was the 11th person in line. In front of us were a group of five men from Los Angeles who were doing a BBQ tour of Texas, hitting several places in a single day. By the time Snow's opened at 8am, there were roughly 60 people in line. The line provides a good view of the open pits, and I noticed Steven Raichlen was there, following Tootsie around and taking lots of notes. I wanted to say hello, but he was gone by the time we got our food. Entering a small shed, you have a choice of ribs, chicken, turkey, sausage, pork butt, and brisket. I went with the brisket, sausage, pork butt, and some chicken to share with my companions. There is coleslaw and potato salad to buy, and free barbecued beans. I tried none of them, not wanting to waste valuable stomach space. There are a few tables inside, but ten picnic tables outside next to the pits are where you want to sit. The brisket was great, with good smoke and nicely rendered fat. Some of the lean parts were a tad dry but that is to be expected. I've read they use small briskets (5-6lbs) and only cook them for about six hours. The pork butt is the real star. They cut it into steaks about an inch thick, then cook it about 4-5 feet over hot coals for about six hours. Then the meat is carved into slices before serving. This is not a tender cut, but is salty and fatty with a nicely caramelized crust. I had read many people say the chicken is their favorite, and it is very good. It has the 'bite through' skin that is so important on the competition circuit, is nicely crispy and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. I thought I detected a hint of citrus in it (maybe lemon pepper?). The sausage was good as well, though not particularly noteworthy. Was it the best barbecue I've ever eaten? It was up there, but probably not quite the best. Was it the best barbecue meal I've ever had? Unquestionably. You arrive in a tiny Texas town at sunrise. Exiting your vehicle, you can hear the cows rustling and mooing in the nearby cattleyard during the coolest part of the day. From your seat, you can look over the nearby fields while feeling the heat and smelling the smoke from the fire and watch these pitmasters at work while enjoying the fruits of their labor. It is an encapsulation of everything about Texas barbecue, and a reminder that meals are about experiences as much as food. I can't wait to return.
  34. 6 points
    Well, he's carefully weighing options, and open to hearing more, with the idea that he's looking for something that will have longer term successes, and a place to build relationships. Many people have reminisced about Palena, and I think he'd like to work towards achieving and earning that status ... for both employee and guest. Frank is actively seeking work, as well as talking to potential employers already - if you're a restaurateur, you should contact him (through me, if you'd like).
  35. 6 points
    Starting another new thread here on a restaurant worth talking about in Ivy City Smokehouse, tucked back on Okie Street in a surprisingly bustling block in Ivy City. My wife and I hit this place for a casual lunch/dinner on Sunday and really enjoyed the food, if the service left a lot to be desired. We walked in and headed straight to the large, fairly open bar, our preferred seating in casual places as we have found the service to be better and we were in a bit of a hurry to get out to Zoo Lights that night. We were half greeted by our somewhat surly bartender, who I would have thought was having a bad day if not for her pleasant demeanor with other patrons at the end of the bar. Perhaps she didn't like my face? She wouldn't be the first to have that problem, although one would think in the service industry that you would try to "put on a good face", but I digress. Thankfully, the food was great, even if it took about twice as long as you would reasonably expect for it to come. The Smoked Wings come on a small skewer and were perfectly seasoned and cooked, with a significant but not overbearing smoke flavor and perhaps the best wings that I have had in this area in recent memory. The Alabama White Sauce they come with is pretty forgettable, but I'm not sure that you need a sauce with these, as I loved them dry. The Crispy Fish sandwich brought back memories of the best days of Eamonn's. The fish had a fairly heavy, well seasoned batter that was just barely stuck to moist fish, and came with a buttery soft roll that would only be good with something that had a crunch like this fish. This, a 3 Stars Ghost White IPA, and a couple good football games on TV put me in such a good mood that even our dismissive bartender couldn't dampen my excitement to come back here again some time soon.
  36. 6 points
    As mentioned in a separate post, a number of new restaurants/food outlets recently opened in Tyson's Galleria. My daughter and I were out doing some Christmas shopping, and we decided to check out Sen Khao. I haven't been to Thip Khao, but I frequented Bangkok Golden a few years ago, which is the restaurant that introduced me to Lao cuisine. The menu is somewhat "compact", and featured two starters, a salad, two sticky rice dishes, and three noodle soups. You have your choice of proteins for the salad dish as well as the soups. We opted for Curry Puffs ($5) and two of the soups. The curry puffs may have been the best I've ever had. The dough was thin, light, and perfectly cooked, while the filling consisted of nicely seasoned pieces of potato. An order consists of two curry puffs with accompaniments. I chose the Khao Piak Sen ($14), which is a type of chicken soup featuring rice noodles, pulled chicken, garlic chili oil, herbs and greens, and some crispy rice. While it was slightly spicy, chili paste and raw chiles are available for those who like it hotter. This soup was a winner. Clean favors, nicely seasoned, and freshly prepared. (Note: The menu states the noodles are udon-style, and while I'm not a noodles expert, I think rice noodles were used.) My daughter opted for Mee Kathi with tofu, which is a coconut curry rice noodle based soup flavored with egg, peanuts, cabbage, and banana blossom. She declared her soup to be outstanding as well. The service was extremely quick, and the staff was very friendly and helpful as well. If I worked in the Galleria or lived nearby, Sen Khao would be on my short list. We strolled to check out the other food outlets, and picked up an eggnog ice cream cone ($4) at Ice Cream Jubilee. The eggnog ice cream was fantastic. Creamy, rich, and with a hint of rum. They offer several interesting flavor combinations (Thai Iced Tea, etc.) Looking forward to a return visit there, as well.
  37. 6 points
    The rest of our meal there consisted of the Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes, Moulard Duck Foie Gras Confit, Pan Seared Venison Loin, Vietnamese Banana Fritters, Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit, and a special off menu ice cream sandwich for my birthday. Everything was perfectly cooked, but the standouts were the Pommes Anna and the Foie Gras Confit. The richness of the foie gras was a perfect accompaniment to the butter pickle savoy cabbage. @MichaelBDC who generally doesn't even take a bite of dessert much less order his own, polished off the Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit on his own. We shared a bottle of Crozes-Hermitage, which we thoroughly enjoyed. One of the best meals we have had in a long long time and one of the few outings where we felt our dinner was worth every penny.
  38. 6 points
    I first wanted to applaud this new establishment (now several months old) for opening in one of the riskiest spots in the city for restaurants, given how PizzaGate affected so many businesses near Comet Ping Pong. We ate here several weeks ago, and I would describe it as a safe-choice venue with some interesting specials. Prices are fair for the value. Ambiance is come-as-you-are comfortable, I like it. Service is a strong point, they are very friendly. It is hard to provide any strategies for this place, as WYSIWYG menu-wise. We did order from the larger format menu, and got the $45 Grigliata Mista - filet of mackeral, two head-on fish, and octopus. Simple and tasty. Our child ordered spaghetti and meatballs $16, it was a modest portion which she easily finished. I also ordered a tripe dish in a red sauce, from the special menu, it was good. We will be back, it is a nice neighborhood amenity, and the bar is well-stocked. It will be in my rotation with Buck's and Sfoglina for last-minute neighborhood walk-ins. My interest is peaked in that it seems to be food-centric without being Instagrammy or outwardly pretentious. But I don't think they will capture an AU crowd like Comet Ping Pong or Medium Rare seems to enjoy. It is a bit of a strange bird and I will enjoy tracking it.
  39. 6 points
    I prepared Hainanese Chicken Rice last night, using some frozen broth from another Hainanese chicken recipe I'd tried before. My wife and I are both under the weather, and while the chicken and sauce were delicious, the broth proved to be very comforting on its own.
  40. 6 points
    Stopped by Stan's for lunch today on one of my increasingly rare visits downtown. I suppose I'm a creature of habit, as I first started visiting some 30+ years ago....but if they keep putting out pleasing food and drink...its why not...but rather, why don't you go there more often. On my own I lunched at the bar, and it may well have been the only time I've ever been at Stan's when I didn't down alcohol. Regardless, two gents next to me were drinking straight booze with respectively water and soda water in additional glasses. (now that is the Stan's I know). Speaking of people who know what they like, the two gents both worked in the area; one has been visiting Stan's for 15 straight years and the other a paltry 10 years; both on a consistent basis. During lunch, Kathy the owner came by and recognized me, and her two regulars. Nice lady..we had a great chat. Stan's, and at least the Post Pub are evidently both doing well from recent tenant relocations that have added beaucoup daytime workers in the immediate vicinity. You can't beat the wings. I had 1/2 an order of 10 decent sized wings for $8.50. They are beautifully cooked; the chicken is moist and the spicing is delightful. The two gents next to me ordered the quesadilla steak and cheese special of the day and both gave it a gold star. Stans: Pleasing the population at its lower level location in Downtown on Vermont Avenue for well over 35 years. Now that says something!!!!
  41. 6 points
    It’s last call for Virginia’s unconstitutional happy-hour advertising laws, by Anastasia Boden November 30, 2018, on washingtonpost.com. The Commonwealth of Virginia's behavior in this case is appalling and indefensible. I can't believe my taxes pay for this. I, for one, plan to spend more time patronizing Chef Geoff. I suggest you do so as well.
  42. 6 points
    My wife and I went the other night and, to be polite, we did not feel the way about our dinner that Monsieur Slater felt about his lunch. Everything looks the same at Mirabelle, but nothing feels the same. The service was pleasant and attentive, but definitely lacking the polish that it had in Frank Ruta-Mirabelle's best days. I asked for recommendations on the mains and was directed immediately to the most expensive item on the menu, followed by the second most expensive. When I inquired about the quail, our waiter had trouble describing it in any way, and I think this came down to a bit of a language barrier, but nonetheless was a bit disappointing. I usually don't comment on the amuse bouche, as it's free and uneventful way to start the meal. Mirabelle, unfortunately, has turned this into a confusing and really poorly chosen way to do so. We were each given a small ball of what can only be described as wet peanut butter and jelly. It was sickly sweet and beyond unpleasant, and honestly made my wife and I give each other the "WTF?" look from across the table. I can't imagine anyone who would be dining at a restaurant like this, at this price point, enjoying having this to start off a dinner, but I have to think that they tested this out before giving it to people, so maybe I'm the odd one. I settled on the Burgundian Truffle Tagliatelle for my appetizer, which wasn't unpleasant by any means, but felt totally uninspired. The dish was decadent and very rich, but otherwise lacking in flavor apart from the faint hint of hazelnut that was sprinkled on top. How can a dish that has parmesan and truffle not have significant notes of both jumping out at the diner? Little did I know, this would be the strongest part of the meal. I settled on the Stuffed Quail despite not getting a ton of detail on it from our waiter, and it disappointed. At first glance, the dish didn't appear to have anything wrong with it, glistening and garnished with plenty of mustard greens and other morsels sitting in the chesnut bisque. The bird itself, though, was terribly overcooked and gritty. There was way too much going on with this, with mustard greens, mushrooms, bacon, nuts, all sitting in a luke warm liquid that didn't add much in the way of flavor. I came from a family where we always were told to finish what was on our plate, a habit that I have carried into adulthood, but I couldn't make it past 2-3 bites of this dish. I will say that our waiter asked what was wrong with the dish, to which I tiredly replied "it wasn't to my taste" and he took it off of our bill, which I didn't ask for and was nice of him to do. Between the clubby crowd and this uneven dining experience, this familiar looking restaurant that we have been to many times has changed a lot, and not to our liking. I hope our experience was a one-off, but I can't imagine us making a return trip here to find out.
  43. 6 points
    To answer my own question--yes, the note in the Open Table reservation worked. Michael reached out to me via email and we now have a legit reservation for 8 people.
  44. 6 points
    Happy 50th Birthday, Karen! There's a Mass today at Noon, "Our Lady, Queen of Peace" in South Arlington, all because of DIShGo.  Magdalena, we're all thinking of you today.
  45. 6 points
    I'm surprised there's no thread for this place yet. It's a very pretty warehouse in Ivy City across the street from Dock FC. Like Masseria, it's tasting menu only, with a variety of dishes of all styles to choose from. You choose 4 5 or 6 courses, with the last one having to be dessert. Each person much also choose the same number of courses. We noticed that there were exactly 20 dishes on the menu, so the four of us decided to go 5-dish ($87) and share everything on the menu. We all loved our cocktails, which were creative and well balanced. Instead, I got two mocktails which were nice, bubbly and gingery, as mocktails often seem to be. The food had some great hits and some bad misses. The bread and herb butter were nice to start, and they brought us seconds. The best dishes included sashimi style tuna, phenomenal scallops with caviar ($21 upcharge), a beautiful summer veggie salad with tiny carrots and radishes, chicken that tasted like Convivials poulet rouge, an egg a anson mill grains soup/porridge and an outstanding braised beet dish that was so creative and delicious. We liked the duck a fair bit too. The duds included halibut that was as dense as a brick and just as dry. The tomato salad, while still tasty and pretty (I love tomatoes) had too much basalmic. I dont eat pork, but my tablemates didnt even finish it and even had to spit out a chewy piece. Sweetbreads were decent but a tad salty. Everything was exceptionally pretty to look at and instagrammable. The most notable parts of the meal, I think, were a few odd service quirks. My friend was getting dripped on by the air conditioner far above him on the roof. Upon politely bringing this to the attention of the young manager, the manager could not have been less sympathetic. It was shocking really. He said they had no spare tables and that's just condensation from a new air conditioner being used in the summer. He gruffly suggested he could help move our table a few feet, but didn't seem to agree it was a big concern. He also suggested that they had no plans on fixing this apparently recurring problem before fall. So bizarre! Unsatisfied, my friend then raised the issue with another blazered floorman, who happened to be the sommelier. He was a bit more sympathetic but also said that's kind of just how it is, though at least he apologized and brought us some cardamaro. When the bill came, we noticed that they charged us for 5 four course meals instead of 4 5 course meals, which cost $45 more total. We brought it to the attention of the sommelier, who joked "that fifth one was for me!" and went off to fix it without apologizing for the error equal to the cost of 4 extra cocktails. When the manager came by with the revised bill, he was confused about what correction had been made and did not offer an apology. Not the kind of attitude that lead us to want to come back, even if the cooking is creative and has lots of potential.
  46. 6 points
    I. Never. Bake. But my 91 year old dad wanted a custard pie. I dug up a recipe, followed it closely, and produced a pretty decent product. Dad was thrilled.
  47. 6 points
    Definitely a place that deserves more love when it's on. The lobster purses are excellent, but I thought the showstealer was an eggplant puree served with a few dishes, rich, smoky, and sweet, and according to our waiter prepared fresh by Chef Yannick over several hours each day. Most entrees combined a perfect classically cooked protein with an interesting and visually stunning accompaniment, such as lamb saddle with a mini mushroom and zucchini cake, or seared scallions and turbot with pea coulis and morels. Wonderful elevated French bistro fare in a quaint Bethesda townhome; the second story dining room, complete with decorative kitchen, felt like we were guests at a dinner party.
  48. 6 points
    Grover and I were the first to snag dinner at Chef Will Artley's pop-up at Bastille. He's there July 19 to 29 while waiting for his new restaurant to be completed. To say that the five course for $55 dinner we had was amazing does not even begin to describe how well the flavors balanced and complemented each other. The menu: Smoked crab cake with root slaw and remoulade (this might be the best slaw I've ever eaten. I could be totally happy just eating five courses of it alone); BLT Gnocchi with Sweet Corn; Agnoloti with Ham Hock Broth and Popcorn; Sea Bass with Succotash and Horseradish, and for dessert, Banana Trifle with Caramel and Candied Pecans. Dinner was excellent, the service was impeccable, and the entire experience was a steal at $55 per person. I had the wine pairings which added $35 to the total but the pours are generous, they paired well (with one exception which I believe was corrected after we finished dinner) and timely. Highly recommended before Chef Wili decamps to Scott's Restaurant, Bar & Cask Club, which will take over the former Co Co Sala in Penn Quarter.
  49. 6 points
    Currently Ray's is carrying deluxe hamburgers. Big juicy well made burgers; Hell Burger kinds of deluxe burgers. They are on the menu with the full assortment of steaks, plus the non steak seafood dishes. So any family or any group can go and not only get great steaks, but if you wish there are less expensive alternatives, but oh what an alternative--clearly one of the meatiest, juciest, most flavorful burgers in the area. I had one late last night. There are about 4 alternatives on the menu roughly priced in the $10-14 range. I had what I believe is called the Umagi--delicious. I hadn't realized it before but if you are in Arlington or closer areas of Northern VA and you crave those types of burgers, you have this wonderful source at Ray's in Clarendon.
  50. 6 points
    The website is back online after several days when a simple backup request by me wasn't being answered - I kept trying and trying to get an answer, and took the website down because I didn't want any members to lose their new posts (not everyone reads these Administrative Announcements); however, I heard from the President of Invision last night, and everything is going to be fine. Bottom line for everyone: The "Unread Posts" feature for people is going to be reset to where it was as of June 23rd. I could have it reset to June 27th, but that will cost me $150, and I don't see that being much of an advantage. So, in a couple of days, you may notice that your "Unread Posts" will be reset to everything written here since June 23rd - you can easily solve this problem by clicking on "Mark Everything Read," but then there's the opposite problem: Everything on the website will be marked as having been read. The only "correct" way to do this will be to go in and churn through the posts individually. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone for more than a few minutes (they're sorted in reverse-chronological order, so the new ones will be at the top). Happy July 4th everyone - it's nice to have you back, and I hope you enjoy the holiday!
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