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About DavidSmelson

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  • Birthday July 15

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  1. DavidSmelson

    Comp, Discount, or Full Amount - What Do You Think?

    This is most certainly a sticky wicket. There is much to be said for the wording and the interaction between invitee and invitor....if it doesn't specifically state complementary on the invitation, it's an advertisement. It's easier to distinguish in a conversation as you miss the verbal cues of a conversation when it's in writing. If someone actually invites me to dinner, be it a soft-open or just a normal weekend, there are several things to take into consideration: Was it said as, "You should come try us out sometime?" That is an invitation to come eat and expect to pay for your meal and drinks. Was it said as, "Come in. Let me take care of you and your family." I'd still expect to pay, but would not be surprised to have some drinks/apps/desserts whatever comp'd. Was it said as, "Dude, come in and let me buy dinner for you and your wife." I'd still expect to pay for drinks. Was it said as, "I love you. Thank you so much. Bring your wife and kids in and it's on the house." I'd bring lots of cash so I could tip heavy. In all scenarios other than the last I would ask for the check and be prepared to pay, be it partial or whole. If they say no, I ask the server for a rough estimate of how much it was so I can tip appropriately. If they won't give me that info, I do a rough calculation and tip heavy. Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional chef, but I was in restaurant management in a past life and certainly spend more than my fair share of time in restaurants professionally and as a hobby. That being said, Jay, any time I invite you over to my place you won't be given a check....you either Don.
  2. I've been there twice now, once with a group of seven and once with a 3 top. Both times I've been heartily impressed. I took a lot of pictures the first time so you can see what the food looks like HERE and the second time I went with a chef/owner of another restaurant. The first dinner was on a Saturday night. The house was packed, but the service was spot on. Kathy Morgan did take care of the wine service and we had 4 bottles, all charismatic and none more than $60/each. There were a few hiccups in timing, but that is expected in a restaurant this young. The favorites of the evening were the charcuterie plate, the seafood tower, the hanger steak, the lamb, and the rabbit. The second time was on a Sunday night and the process was flawless. We were served some of the same dishes (we didn't order) we'd had on the Saturday visit, but also got to try two new ones, the sausage pizza from Mr. McQuaid and the roasted chicken. I don't believe I've ever had a better chicken. The pizza was very well done, just enough toppings to make it shine, and had a very nicely spiced sausage on it. Bravo to this crew. They do have a lot of talent there, and it's a big place. I'm very pleased to not have to drive downtown to get a seriously good meal and Manhattan. You can feel comfortable there just going for a pizza, or bringing a client for an expense account meal. BTW, our tab for the table of seven with cocktails, wine, and more food than we could eat was just a little over $120/pp.
  3. DavidSmelson

    Birthday Recommendation for Thanksgiving Eve

    Try Suna. It's very new and they are still in the soft open phase. Chef Johnny Spero is an alum of some serious kitchens. I went Saturday and did the 8 course menu. Very nifty creations with some stupendous pairings. The service here was tops. Very polished for a new place.
  4. DavidSmelson

    Celebrity Chefs - Are They Worth It?

    These are business people, not saints, and not fashion designers, and none of them guarantees that they will be in any restaurant on any given day. You will not be disappointed if you don't expect them to be. Jose Andres spends time doing a lot more than self promoting. He donates much of his time to causes that help feed hungry children around the world and teach convicted felons new job skills to make them productive members of society while feeding the homeless to boot. Have I ever seen him cook? No. Have I ever seen him work with his chefs to bring new dishes to the menus in his restaurants? Yes. Just because they aren't sweating in their kitchen night and day doesn't mean they haven't brought together a group of trustworthy, like-minded individuals to help bring their vision to life. Not everyone can be, or wants to be, Johnny Monis or Thomas Keller (who is now a celebrity chef in his own rite). It is one end of the spectrum of restaurant ownership/management/cooking. The other end is McDonalds. Most fall somewhere in the middle. A lot make really good food, and most have a staff that can produce it while they aren't in the kitchen personally. It's part of the skill set required to be an excellent chef - to be able to teach your staff how to do it like you're there even when you're not. As far as duping the public, I don't feel duped, but possibly that's because I know what goes on in restaurants better than your average Joe. I know what to expect. I know who's doing the work, and what's behind it. If the "celebrity chef" talent just brings it all together in an enjoyable format, I find pleasure in that as well.
  5. DavidSmelson

    Celebrity Chefs - Are They Worth It?

    Got a chuckle out of that one Don. Methinks you're a wee to rough on them sometimes. Some of them can actually cook. Some just use their marketing savvy to help get more customers. You can't blame them for using another skill they've developed to help increase their business. I'm not saying all, but some.
  6. DavidSmelson

    Seafood - Ballston to Georgetown

    SeaCatch in Georgetown is decent. Bourbon Steak is always a winner, even for seafood.
  7. DavidSmelson

    Dinner for 8 in NOVA Tomorrow 7/7

    The Green Pig is worth a shot.
  8. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    Howdy rockers. Below is a link to a post that may intersest you about dining at the Chef's Table at Rasika West End. We were not the first to eat there, but we were the first to have Chef Vikram's tasting menu. Please check it out and comment. Thanks. http://pleasuresofthetable.blogspot.com/2012/06/rasika-west-end-vikram-sunderam-heats.html
  9. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    A new post on Pleasures of the Table about Toki Underground! If you've never been, it's definitely worth the trip to H St. They use CityEats for reservations now, so your chances of getting a seat and not having to wait has increased dramatically. Awesome meal. I love this place. Happy dining!
  10. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    Pleasures of the Table: The Source Had a great anniversary meal at The Source. Chef Scott Drewno took us to the canvas. Hope you enjoy the post.
  11. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    It took me a while to figure out how to post-process my pictures, but I think I have it now! This post is from a dinner I had a minibar a while back. Great shots. It's been the most-viewed post on my blog since I posted it. Enjoy. http://pleasuresofthetable.blogspot.com/2009/05/molecular-gastronomy-la-minibar.html
  12. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    Take a peek. It's looking good and Chef Harr is putting out some tasty Vittles. http://www.pleasuresofthetable.blogspot.com/2012/04/food-wine-coand-chef.html?m=1
  13. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    Part II......thanks for checking it out. http://pleasuresofthetable.blogspot.com/2012/04/think-local-first-dc-seminar-on_11.html
  14. DavidSmelson

    Pleasures Of The Table, by David Smelson

    Thanks for the compliment Don. I do most of the photography on my site, but I can't take credit for all of it. I have a professional photographer/foodie neighbor and he sometimes brings me into shoots with him for fun/company. The blog posts about dinners are mostly my pictures. I love to shoot food and chefs...hopefully reading what you and your posters put up will help me with the writing... I've been blogging for about four years and work with chefs and owners professionaly. www.pleasuresofthetable.net
  15. DavidSmelson

    Please Introduce Yourselves

    Howdy. I'm a recovering restaurant manager who currently works as a sales manager for a POS company. I'm in touch with restaurant people every day and also write a blog. www.pleasuresofthetable.net I may not always agree with everyone, but at least I'm be well informed. 8)