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DPop

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  • Birthday 08/16/1979

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  1. I'm going on Saturday, I'm buying into the hype. Agree that the menu does look startlingly simple/boring, but the Palena Cafe menu back in the day did as well, and you know how everyone felt about that place....
  2. 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.
  3. DPop

    Richmond, VA

    Is driving 3 hours to Richmond for BBQ really reasonable, though? If I'm ever down there or driving through, sure, but I can't see making a special trip that far for some brisket and pulled pork.....
  4. I'm with Eric here. I went today and got the 3 meat platter and went with the brisket, pork belly, and spare ribs. I'm always amazed when people can take fatty meat and make it relatively flavorless. The brisket was impossibly dry; it had the texture of something that sat out for an hour after cooking. Only a very thin ring of fat around the outside, and no discernible seasoning or flavor outside of black pepper. Where is the smoke? The ribs were better and definitely the best thing on the platter, very moist but again no smoke and too light on the seasoning. The pork belly was incredibly moist, but completely devoid of flavor and needed to be dipped in the spicy barbecue sauce they had on the table for any taste. It was unbelievable that a place that only does barbecue would not season their meats before or after cooking them, but that clearly happened here.
  5. We were in on Thursday and this has to be the hottest new restaurant in the city right now. At 8:15 the place was absolutely packed to the gills, with only awkward standing room by the bar and all of the tables full. It's loud in the bar area and not the most comfortable space, but the dining area was a big improvement. There were some hits and misses on the cocktails food. We got Boulevardiers at the really crowded bar, I feel like I only comment on drinks if they are really good or really bad and unfortunately this one was really bad, too much ice, too much Campari, and not enough pleasure. We found the Radish dish with foie butter to be somewhat uninspired and devoid of flavor if you didn't use the sea salt on the side of the plate. The Beef Tartare was a different take on the dish, with no creaminess and some spice provided by calabrian chiles. It was wasn't bad, but not something I would order again either. Thankfully the meal got better as the night went on, as our last second addition of Day Boat Scallops saved our appetizer course, as these were two wonderfully grilled mollusks sitting in a small pool of blood orange curry that complemented rather than masking the flavor of the seafood, the only complaint here was that we wanted more! We both went with steaks for our first time here, going with the Butcher's Cut and the Flat Iron, the 2 cheapest cuts on the menu, and they were well worth the price. The Butcher's Cut was a hangar steak that brought me back to the glory days of Ray's before all of the expansion and fuss, a wonderfully grilled piece of meat that was precisely spiced and dressed with some garlic butter. The Flat Iron was a little fussier, with some more spices and maitre d'hotel butter, but it was right up my wife's alley, a lean cut that was again perfectly grilled and a nice sized portion. We will be back for sure, we will just order a bit more carefully next time and see if we can snag one of the booths on the quieter side of the restaurant.
  6. Dinner here on a blustery evening yesterday was a highlight and made me wonder why we hadn't been yet. I was disappointed to learn that they didn't allow corkage, but the sommelier guided us to a lovely red from the Loire Valley that paired well with all of the offerings. The food was fantastic; we loved the crispy salt cod, it was rich and good winter food, and really enjoyed last night's cheese course. The stuffed porgy was wonderful; perfectly cooked and well spiced, restaurants don't always do these share dishes well but knocked this one out of the park. I agree with some of the posters above about this not being the cheapest meal, but it also doesn't compare to places like Joe's Stone Crab or RPM. We got a $60 bottle of wine, 5 courses and dessert for under $200, and 2 small gratis courses from the kitchen. Not necessarily a place to hit every night, but this will definitely be in our rotation a couple times a year.
  7. 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.
  8. No thread on this place? You're slipping, Don. My wife and I went to Stable on Saturday night and were very pleased with the offerings. It's a quaint, if oddly configured space with a dark yet cozy atmosphere. The food, while certainly Swiss, has some French and American leanings, and tends to be on the heavier side. I could see this turning some folks off, but on a cold, rainy night for this guy who spent 6 early years of his life in Geneva, this menu suited me just fine. We started with a couple hearty appetizers in the Famous Stable Wings and the Landjager. The wings came out piping hot, sitting on top of a Cafe de Paris sauce that added some moisture to the very crispy skin, but in my opinion did not necessarily take the dish to the next level like you would want a wing sauce to do. The chicken, which the owner told us is a typical preparation for a whole or half chicken, was really lovely, as there was absolutely no flabbiness to the skin. We finished all of the dish, but I think we might try other items when we return next time. What we will get next time, though, is the lovely Landjager, a style of sausage that I have always loved but unfortunately not seen as much in the States. This hard, wonderfully smoked link came with a small pile of pepper and a lovely peppercorn mustard for dipping. Simple, yet fantastic, my wife was pining for us to order another, but I knew that we would be stuffed to the gills after our entrees. After going back and forth a few times (and being a bit disappointed by the 4 person minimum for Raclette), we went with the Veal Zurich Style and the Vol-au-Vent. I think that we wound up going a little safe with our entrees, but it didn't matter as they were both delicious. The veal is exactly how you would imagine it being a Swiss restaurant; pan seared in a mushroom cream sauce with a side of very crispy Rosti. Everything was cooked just how it should be and I wouldn't blink if I had to have this again, although I think next time I would probably get the Venison or Pork Cheeks a la Chasseur to really get a feel for the non-cream based cooking. My wife absolutely loved the Vol-au-Vent, which was a fun preparation that paid homage to the traditional while modernizing a bit, adding some green to the plate with some roasted brussel sprouts on the side as opposed to the french fries. I got a few bites before she finished it off and shamelessly swabbed up the remaining sauce with the excellent Wurzel bread. This cooking is devoid of gelees, smoke, foams, or really any modern culinary gimmick, and thus may never be a darling of critics or regional award ceremonies, but it hit all the right notes for a good Autumn/Winter night. We will definitely be back.
  9. 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.
  10. Anyone been recently? I wanted to go tomorrow and they are fully booked for the night (perhaps a private party?)
  11. My wife and I went here the other night after hearing that Brian Wilson was back and were pleased with our meals. I've never loved this space, it always feels a bit cramped and it's very loud when full. We started with the very lovely Steak Tartare, which was well seasoned and garnished, and the Onion Soup, an app that we have a soft spot for (and are a bit snobby about). The soup was nice on a cold night, but I couldn't help but feel that the mushroom broth lacked the depth of flavor and mouth feel of the best versions of this soup. This needed more black pepper and oomph, but again still hit the spot. Our entrees were the Seafood Stew and the Duck Confit and were very well prepared. The Stew was essentially a bouillabaisse minus the potatoes and my wife really enjoyed the perfectly cooked fish. The broth could have been more compelling for me, but that's a minor quibble. The Confit was right up my alley, however. This hit all the right notes, being rich and unctuous without being oily, and the interesting pairing of curried gnocchi brightened the dish up with some spicy (not hot) balance to the duck and garlic sausage. I think it's safe to say that we'll be back, this will be our go-to for brasserie food.
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