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DPop

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  • Birthday 08/16/1979

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  1. 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.
  2. And that would be very Swiss of them as well, they love themselves some horse meat burgers
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Anyone been recently? I wanted to go tomorrow and they are fully booked for the night (perhaps a private party?)
  7. 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.
  8. This place has to be one of the most overrated restaurants in the area. I've been 3 times now over the last ~8 years and every time I go it gets more expensive and has never been anything more than ordinary. And this might be an unpopular opinion, but the duck here has never been special for me, I've had much better Peking Duck at Mark's Duck House and back when Scott Drewno was still at The Source. All of the Americanized Chinese dishes we got the other night were heavy handed and gloppy; the amount of corn starch and MSG used in them should be illegal in all 50 states.
  9. Very odd experience on Saturday night. We had a later reservation (9:15) and arrived to a relatively full but not packed restaurant. This is a huge space but there isn't a ton of place to sit, which I'm not complaining about but it's interesting. Agree with the poster about the vibe resembling Tao, which was definitely a bit of a turnoff for me at my rapidly advancing age. We asked to sit at the sushi counter as opposed to the table that we reserved and were fortunate to get the 2 spots right in front of the robata, with a view of all of the action. Our server arrived and seemed either confused or overwhelmed, which was a theme that continued throughout what turned out to be a marathon meal (not by our choice). To give him the benefit of the doubt, it appeared that he was waiting on both the sushi counter and tables in front of it, which was probably too much for how busy it was. He was harried, to say the least, and it was hard to blame him, but what I did take issue with was his attitude in waiting on us. After seated, he stopped by to tell us that he would be right with us, and after 10 minutes there was no word from him despite buzzing around the area chatting with and waiting on other tables. I flagged down the manager and asked for some water and a bottle of Cherry Bouquet sake, which by the way if you go, do not order, it was saccharine-tinged and far from a pleasure to drink. No one's fault on that but our own, but wanted to put out fair warning. Our waiter was the one that poured our sake when it did come, and I mentioned to him as he was pouring mine that we were ready to order if he was ready to take our order. I didn't say it in an annoyed tone or in a way to rush him, just to politely let him know to stick around for our food order before he disappeared for another 15 minutes. His response to this was "Yes, if you'll wait for me to pour the lady's drink, I'll take your order." Huh? I get it, maybe a tough night, but this is the wrong foot to start off, and this attitude further permeated the rest of our meal. This was too bad, because the sashimi that we ordered (thankfully read Don's post before going) was outstanding. The hamachi and kampachi were the best I have ever had. The Kindai Otoro and Chutoro were equal to the best that I've had. The scallop and uni were splendid. The aforementioned prawn might be the perfect expression of that crustacean. You could do a sashimi sampler here all day and be a very happy camper, it was remarkably fresh and fairly priced IMO. The challenge here was the service, as they were delivered incomplete, which the server took as annoying feedback and said he would go back to reorder. He returned again with the wrong order, and gave me a double order of the uni to make up for getting it wrong the first time. At 99% of restaurants, they would do this to correct their mistake from the first round, which is always appreciated. Unfortunately, he charged us for 2 orders of the uni on the check. Maybe he thought that doubling the order for us was somehow correcting his mistake from the first round, but this just didn't sit right with me. The rest of the meal after the sashimi, unfortunately, was a bit of a mess. My wife has a soft spot for constructed sushi rolls, and picked out the Spicy Tuna and Rock Shrimp rolls. These were odd, because they didn't come out with the sashimi, which would have been fine if they didn't come out 30 minutes later after asking 3 times. Clearly there is a problem with the order and delivery system here; most places will deliver the sushi/sashimi directly to you if you're sitting at the counter, which would make a lot of sense here as well. Instead, they take it back to a rack in the kitchen and have servers pick it up and bring it around from there, which I can only assume was cause for confusion and result in our order being delivered to different tables once or twice (I watched it being made several times, each time thinking that it was ours). The wait wouldn't have been bad had the rolls been at least decent. They were not. The Spicy Tuna was your garden variety roll. It wasn't bad, per se, but no better than something you would get at Momiji or any other low priced sushi joint in the city. Very blah. The Rock Shrimp roll consisted of 6 pieces of hard rice wrapped around some cucumber and scallions topped with painfully overcooked rock shrimp. No cohesion, very dry, and totally underwhelming after the sashimi. Speaking of overcooking, I got a very prolonged view of the meat coming off of the robata, which was manned by the Chef, and I found that he was overcooking pretty much every piece of meat that he put on there. Also, he was dipping meat during cooking in marinade multiple times during the process, which I found odd. We were still a bit hungry at the end of the meal, but tired of the whole ordeal by 11:00PM and got the check, which at $215 pre-tip was sticker shock after the poor service and uneven food. It'll be hard to justify going back here unless they open for lunch to stop in a grab a quick bite of sashimi. I can't see this place getting any better than it is now, as the upstairs had kind of a club feel and I could see them starting to find ways to milk money out of the place rather than focusing on quality as it ages.
  10. Agree with the issue about the location upstairs. It almost feels like that needs to be either a furniture store or a big box restaurant like the PF Changs or Maggiano's a level below. And even then, I think whatever goes there will struggle a bit, although I say that and Wildfire is always pretty crowded when I go.
  11. Agreed. I might have given it one more half star, but I'm a longtime Fabbri fan so I might be a bit biased.
  12. As great as that location is, I can only imagine what the rent for that space has become over the last 10 years. Going to take a certain type of restaurant to succeed there, one with food that satisfies the dumbed down palate and has a great bar program. Basically, what Graffiato was supposed to be but never was able to achieve.
  13. I figured I'd come out of hibernation for a quick post. This is the best new restaurant in DC. If you enjoyed Massimo's time at Tosca as much as I did, go here this week, try to elbow your way into a spot at the crowded bar and enjoy a fantastic plate of prosciutto, some Grilled Calamari, Massimo's signature Pappardelle with rabbit ragu, the best Seafood Risotto I have had outside of the Amalfi Coast, and the very homey Pork Ribs with broccoli rabe, a fantastically simple dish you will have you wondering why more restaurants don't cook food like this anymore. I've been here 3 times already and haven't spent more than $120 for the 2 of us despite eating and drinking way too much each time. All of this and the staff is great, very friendly and accommodating, which is unfortunately not as common as I'd like in this city. Go.
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