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DPop

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  • Birthday 08/16/1979

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  1. Great pics. I feel like these two have really fallen off since basically a year after Top Chef. I had one really good meal at VOLT, one solid meal at Range, and a great meal at Ink back many years now but everything since has been absolutely middling. I'll wait to read more reviews before shelling out for this place, the Voltaggios need to earn my trust back..... 😏
  2. I can't understand why the landlord wouldn't be up for that idea, it would have to be better than the $0 they have collected for that space since Palena closed 6 or 7 years ago....
  3. I'm surprised to read this. I ordered takeout from there a couple months back and we must have ordered different menu items. I found the wings to be gloppy and fried to complete submission and the cheesesteak greasy and odd in that the steak was a whole piece rather than the lovely chopped steaks you find at Jim's or Tony Luke's back in the day. I have always been of the mind that when you are eating something greasy/unhealthy, it should be good enough that it is hard to not eat every single bite. I left half of my cheesesteak and had just 2 wings. I have never gotten the Kwame food hype; he seems like a great guy and definitely the ambitious young chef that you would like to see succeed, but in the restaurant business you must yield results, and I'm just not seeing them here or the Wing Fry.
  4. To get back to the food, my wife and I returned on Saturday and the duck was even better this round. I retract my previous statement; I remember the late Mark Kuller (RIP) once tell me when I was complaining about the food prices at The Source that you could boil down most things in life to their simplest form (clothing, wine, art, etc) and pick any luxury thing apart as not being worth the things that made it up, but that's not what you're paying for at the top end; you're paying for the talent of the person creating it. We all know this, but it's good to remind yourself of it sometimes, and the thought, effort, and creativity combined with ingredient costs are certainly worth every penny of the $100 that you pay for it. The skin is tacky from the beet juice and licorice that the duck is brined in, giving it a lovely stick to go with that fatty and unctuous flavor that we enjoy so much. The medium rare (bordering on rare) meat on the breast is brimming with flavor, bolstered by the nice layer of fat surrounding it. This combined with the 96 Volnay that we brought were enough to leave smiles plastered on our faces on a cold, wet night. The other dishes that we had, however, did not hit on the same notes. The Mushroom dish didn't resonate at all with me, it was somewhat devoid of flavor outside of a hint of smoke and sweetness of the egg yolk "fudge". I didn't get the appeal or thinking behind this dish, and the same went for the Beef Tartare, which was nicely chopped and plated but the whole dish was overwhelmed by the farro tamari sauce that was dotted throughout the plate, again sweet and not to my taste. I have been twice now, and while I love chatting with Johnny and really enjoy the vibe at the counter, I can't say that I have loved any of the other dishes I have tried apart from the duck.
  5. The Duck really is very good, but about $30 more than it should be given what you get. I really liked this place overall, especially the free corkage on the first bottle of wine. Definitely rooting for Johnny here, I think this place will do well. Btw I saw the Tortilla come out and someone would have to explain to me why it was $150. Same with the $100 steak.
  6. 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....
  7. 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.
  8. 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.....
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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