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lotus125

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About lotus125

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  1. Unfortunately, Peter Chang's has always been high variance. I've had the occasional let down meal, then gone back a month later and been blown away. HKP (and, in my view, Panda) are a bit more predictable.
  2. I think that part of JCA's point was that because the kitchen closed immediately after their reservation time, the 'try a few and reorder as necessary' strategy wasn't an option. Obviously how much of a menu should be light or heavy is a matter of taste. And, as dslee observed, for brunch there are the additional, and overlapping, splits between sweet or savory and "breakfasty" or "regular menu." I happen to veer towards the savory and light. And I think that for brunch, where diners are looking for very different things, it's especially important to have breath and variety. If I were craving a salad, an all-heavy menu would not satisfy. And if I were craving a burger or waffles, a bunch of salads probably wouldn't work, no matter how I much I ordered. But I gather that JCA's concern about a mostly heavy and carby brunch menu was compounded by the timing issue. They couldn't order a few seemingly heavy items and then evaluate if those dishes were lighter than expected or otherwise worth reordering, if they were full, or if they should go elsewhere for a further snack/drink/second brunch. I gather that JCA wasn't down on Hazel itself, just noting a disappointing brunch experience for like minded diners and saying that some people may prefer Hazel for dinner. That seems like a helpful flag.
  3. In the mood to try something new, we dropped in on Saturday night. The place was quite full but had a few seats in the bar and at the kitchen counter. The short version is good space, good service, high-variance food with several stunners and lots of potential. We ordered: -Broiled Oysters, horseradish glaze, rutabaga kraut, brown bread crumble. Absolutely delicious. They hit the magic spot where you can still taste juicy, briny oysters, but there is a ton of warm, flavorful goodness. Best broiled oyster I've had in awhile. -Cobia Crudo, avocado, Thai chilies, lime, fish sauce, crispy shallots, puffed black rice. Great fresh fish. The puffed black rice added a terrific nutty flavor that contrasted well with the fish and spice. We agreed, however, that the avocado should come off. It seems like a nod to so many asian-flavored crudo dishes that aren't as good. And it added no flavor. (It was also slightly underripe, but I'd feel the same way if it were riper.) -Roasted Kabocha Salad, green apple, watercress, arugula, pepitas, cider vinaigrette. This was an unfortunate fail. The squash was almost inedibly starchy. I've had kabocha many, many times and never seen anything like this. Either the squash was underripe or undercooked. But it was tough and mealy. (Also unfortunately adding to the dish was our discovery, after we stopped eating it, of a short, translucent worm-type thing swimming in the dressing. No big deal. It happens, and our server handled it with grace.) Hopefully just a one-off glitch. -Roasted Kaleidoscope Carrots & Parsnips, vadouvan labne, dill, crispy amaranth. Delicious labne that went well with the root veg. -Maine Scallops, celery root, pomegranate relish, wilted greens, celery salad. This was generic. The scallops were cooked well and went fine with the celeriac. But the dish just didn't come together for me. -Roasted Cod, papadam, coconut, fenugreek, curry leaf, ginger greens. Great dish. The fish was perfectly cooked and covered in a thin crust that gave it a nice texture. The curry was delicious and just a bit spicy. -Russet Potato Gnocchi, smoked king trumpet mushrooms, kale, black pepper, pecorino. Ok but not great. We didn't get any smoke flavor from the mushrooms. Maybe slightly undersalted.
  4. We had a good dinner a few weeks back. The menu is short, but the food is good. The much-discussed french onion soup is the best vegetarian version I've ever seen. And the seafood stew is excellent.
  5. lotus125

    Uni

    Izakaya Seki has a delicious uni and quail egg dish.
  6. lotus125

    Ramps

    Has anyone seen any ramp dishes on spring menus yet?
  7. I'm normally a huge fan of Panda, but had an off meal there last night. Yes, much of the food was still good. But the mapo had clearly been rewarmed and not very well. Double fried fish was soggy. And the rice was different -- almost like a basmati. Maybe Monday is someone's night off. Or maybe just a fluke. Let's hope this isn't a great restaurant in decline.
  8. We used to go to Iron Gate quite often, at least for drinks. We especially love the vibe in the front room aka the carriageway. For whatever reason, it'd been quite awhile. So we decided that the reformatted menu was a good excuse to go back. I have to say: I've always thought the food was pretty good, but this meal was even a notch better. We enjoyed a hummus with a twist; a smoked cod bruschetta, a delicious farro salad, gemelli with chard pesto, feta stuffed squid, and polenta stuffed tortellini. Great food and vibe. Plus good cocktails and a long and interesting wine list. I'm sure it's going back in the rotation.
  9. I'm a big fan of the Rad Thai -- only 365(ish) calories, and the dressing is delicious. I also love the Spicy Sabzi (440 cal.) and the OMG Omega (555 cal.).
  10. FWIW, I had a pretty strong meal there. Agree that it felt a bit overpriced. But Don, you may have just had a really off meal. Give them another shot some time.
  11. FWIW, I'm also a big fan, and I think they have great breadth. Yes, the cumin fish is the their best. But I've had great shredded potato, mapo tofu, cold garlic cucumber, eggplant with garlic sauce, etc.
  12. We finally tried the Inferno tasting menu -- very good! First up was caviar with meyer lemon. A very soft lemon cream with a scoop of caviar and drizzled olive oil. We briefly discussed whether we would have preferred a firmer lemon base and/or more olive oil. But the dish was quite good. Next up was crudo of madai (Japanese red snapper), grapefruit, ginger, chili, and cilantro. Great dish. There was a lot of chili; the chef is not afraid of the heat. The grapefruit worked surprisingly well with ginger and chili. Next was our favorite dish of the night, miso flavored spaghetti, sea urchin, olive oil & garlic. Slightly umami pasta with a ton of garlic and, as I recall, some chili and picked ramps. On top was a cold piece of fresh uni. Fantastic sharp flavor from the garlc and ramp and delicious contrast with the cold uni. Next was steamed black bass, fennel, green olives & basil. Perhaps the least standout of the savory courses but still strong. As I recall, there was some mint in the dish, which was very interesting. Finally we had snapper with vaduovan spices, bits of cauliflower, an oyster mushroom, and a mound of chili garlic condiment. Again, a fair bit of heat in places, and really delicious. The dessert was an old school molten-chocolate cake with soft serve. The downsides are (1) if you're in DC, Darnestown, MD is a bit of a hike -- a 30-75 minute drive depending on time of day and where in DC you're coming from; and (2) it's not otherwise a fine-dining setup if that's what you're looking for. But for some really good food and a novel experience, this is worth a try.
  13. After reading a short blurb in the Washing Post, we decided to try Mezcalero, the new Columbia heights Mexican restaurant. This one goes in the column of "easy to like, easy to be disappointed." We started with a round of very disappointing cocktails. For a place called Mezcalero, we had high hopes for the mezcal based cocktails on the list. Both were so sweet that we could barely get other flavors. Queso fundido was solid but undersalted. The chile relleno was quite good. We had many tacos including nopales (cactus paddles), mushrooms, salmon, and tilapia. The tacos were solid but also undersalted. Service was lackluster. For a neighborhood place, this is reasonably priced and has some authentic options. But it doesn't impress. And it's a very different experience from something like Espita.
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