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Found 18 results

  1. I heard from an inside source today that Stephen Starr's restaurant group has signed a lease for the old Q Street Cleaners space at 1601 14th St. NW, and it's going to become a Buddakan. Confidence level? Since I'm relying on a source for this (as opposed to hearing it with my own ears), it can't be 100%, but it's up there.
  2. DGDB (website) is currently open for dinner, rolling out brunch and lunch in the next few weeks. Boulud said this restaurant was going to be the most American of his French restaurants. Also it is noted because it will be serving the "Crabbie" with a nod to SpongeBob. But all that makes it sound so much less of what the opening showed it is likely to be. The bar, with marble and mirrored walls with etched quotes about libations was playful. I liked the height of the space and it made it feel a little less loud while quite packed on opening night. Wine, beer, cocktails were served, we tasted two of the cocktails which I have to say even on a packed night they were shaking up quickly and consistently, so kudos on that. The upstairs private dining was much more normal corporate feel with carpeted floors and blue walls, it wasn't as colorful, but still had fun views with big windows on each side. The upstairs was very loud, but there were also a lot of people up there because of the raw bar. I hope the guys shucking oysters aren't there normal crew because one guy was kind of butchering all of his. On the main floor going back towards the dining room from the bar there were shelves with plates painted by other chefs, cookbooks and other items. The plates were really the coolest part. Some chefs (cough cough Cathral Armstrong) were phoning it in, and some are really cool. A few are so well done I wonder if they had someone do theirs for them. But they were fun to see and some of the chefs I didn't know I was looking up to see what restaurants they were from. It gave it a very casual feel, while not being super casual, reminiscent of a less Southern Empire State South. The back wall can open up completely to the inner courtyard there of City Center which was a really nice feature, it really made the space feel open and kept that section a little less noisy even when really full. I assume they are going to have some patio space, which would be nice given the large courtyard. As to the food, there were a lot of excellent bites at the opening that represented dishes off the main menu. I think the food will be casual, but thoughtful enough to pull off casual well. There was an anchovy dip that wasn't bagna cauda that was really unusual, but so good, I hope this shows up somewhere on the main menu. There were some nice surprise tastes in what might be a very seen it dish, such as their tuna with harissa, and amazing roasted eggplant with very melt in your mouth soft flavorful lamb and an escargot dish that was more than just butter and garlic, in a good way. I thought the sausages in the chorizo ish hot dogs were well made and really flavorful. You could tell from the menu this is a place that will be able to serve all day, which I think in this area of town is a good thing. A huge advantage they have for them is the the bread will be from Mark Furstenberg. A French restaurant with decidedly excellent bread can never be a bad thing. This shouldn't be a surprise, but especially in DC it sometimes is, if the desserts on the menu are as excellent as the opening this is going to be a really strong portion of the menu, which is something I think is exciting. The desserts are the items that really stayed in my head and would make me want to go back. Overall based on the opening, I am excited to see the menu and try some dishes. I think it will represent as another solid option in that area. So we will see. But the opening was a lot of fun. If nothing else the man can throw a great party and be the star of it very well.
  3. I hadn't seen my husband (or eaten a decent meal) in a week, so we decided to try something new for Friday's date night. We headed over to NoPa with high expectations, having all of our wonderful experiences at Rasika in mind - clearly, we knew that the food would be different, but I think we figured the "bones" would be very similar. I wasn't completely disappointed, but in my mind, NoPa still has some tweaking to do. We sat at the bar, which is pretty small, but we found two seats relatively quickly. Service at first was attentive-bordering-on-clingy - we barely had time to look at the cocktail menu before he wanted us to order. I started with a very good "brasserita," which was spicy and tangy and really tasty. Jason had a gin and tonic of some sort, but I'll let him post separately about what he thought. I also ordered a strawberry-basil-vodka cocktail that usually comes with soda in it, but the bartender was happy to leave the soda out (indicating that it wouldn't make a difference overall), and it was very fresh. I probably should have ordered it with dessert. We got a bread basket early in the going, which had decent "regular" bread and some delicious rosemary pull-apart rolls. The butter served with the bread was the proper temperature (yay), but it was unsalted (boo). For our first round of apps, we tried the twice-fried chicken and the smoked salmon croquettes. The chicken, for $10, was a drumstick and two thighs of delicious, perfectly fried chicken that was crispy (and NOT greasy) on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. All it needed was a little salt, and it would have been among the best I've ever had. The homemade ketchup served with it was quite good, though. I thought it was a great value. The croquettes were technically well done, but they had more of a dill flavor than a smoked salmon flavor, which thrilled my husband and disappointed me. Second round, we ordered the olive oil poached octopus and the duck confit. The octopus was tender and cooked nicely, but it had way too much olive flavor going on, and I am not a fan of olives, so it was definitely not something I went back to over and over. On the other hand, the duck confit was amazing - crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and PERFECTLY seasoned. There was also a sour cherry mustard sauce that went perfectly with the meat (when we weren't just sucking the meat directly off the bone like animals). Fantastic. Jason had some beers and I had a glass of sauvignon blanc (neither were anything to write home about - didn't think their selection, at least draft/by the glass, was particularly exciting), and we noticed that service had definitely taken a turn for the slow. Empty plates would sit in front of us for much longer, and other than the occasional, "Everything good?" there really wasn't much engagement. I already knew, from research, that I was interested in dessert. We ended up trying the fried strawberry pies and the maple pecan sticky bun. YUM to both. They each came with ice cream, but Jason will have to tell you about those - I was definitely only in it for the pastries. The strawberry pies were filled with fresh strawberry filling that was naturally sweet, so it was great that the pastry itself was more neutral and you didn't get that super sugary donut-esque cavity-inducing thing where the dish as a whole is just too sweet for more than a few bites. It was nicely balanced, and I would like to make some myself. The sticky bun was just decadent. Soft on the inside, though, and gooey and sticky and divine on the outside, with a few candied pecans sprinked on top for good measure. It would be the perfect breakfast pastry, if it wouldn't give you an epic sugar crash about an hour after you ate it. It made me think of my grandpa, who could never say no to a big ol' pecan sticky bun - he really would have liked this one, and I smiled while I was eating it because it allowed me to go back down memory lane and think of all the sticky buns we shared while he was alive. So, 4 apps, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails and a glass of wine for me, and then I think 1 cocktail, 2 beers, and a glass of port for Jason, and the total before tip was $139. I gave the overall experience a B-/B. Dessert was a real surprise highlight for me. With a few service and seasoning tweaks, this could be a great repeat place for us (ya know, not every week, at those prices, but for more special occasions). Has anyone else been? I'm sure Jason will pipe in shortly.
  4. I went last night with friends to the beautiful Hotel Monaco downtown and ate a great dinner at the B & O American Brasserie, which opened in the past year. The executive chef, E. Michael Reidt, was named one of the "Best New Chefs" in 2001 by Food & Wine magazine (in that year included Frank Ruta, Wylie Dufresne & Anita Lo) We started with a trio of appetizers: chicken liver mousse with figs, the steak tartare & carpacchio, and the smoked pork belly on a banana-lentil salad with chile caramel. All three were excellent. I particularly enjoyed the banana-lentil salad with the pork belly- the combination of sweet & savory was good. We got another round of items: the Market flatbread -red bliss potato, ricotta, egg & baby arugula, the "Kentoocky Fried" sweetbreads with raisins,bacon & capers, and the ricotta gnocchi in an arugula pesto. The flatbread had a great tasting crust, and again there was a salty-sweet combo with the yummy sweetbreads. The gnocchi was ok- but their texture was so light and fluffy. Our table also had three terrific entrees: the duck two ways (sous vide and confit) with cassoulet style white beans, the adobo braised pork shank, and the rosemary skewered scallops with oxtail, parsnip puree and foie gras emulsion. The scallops were coated with couscous so they had a crispy outside. Then we had a couple desserts- Meyer lemon bars with blueberry marmalade and sorbet, and take on strawberry shortcake with scones, strawberry sorbet, and rhubarb soup.
  5. I don't think I'd consider Parc essential - especially given the proliferation of brasseries in DC. They do what they do very well, but if you're staying off Rittenhouse it's really better suited as an option for breakfast, lunch or (even better) a spontaneous glass of bubbles in the afternoon.
  6. In LA last week, I had an absolutely great dinner at Comme Ça [Closed in Jun, 2014] on North La Cienega. Every French bistro classic was on the menu. Bustling, loud and lots of fun.
  7. Has anyone heard what's going in at the old Dan Kain trophy shop location next to the post office on Washington Blvd.? Construction is underway. I just love that space. -Wendy
  8. Just a note of appreciation to Bar Americain for accommodating my family at the bar for lunch on Saturday as we staggered in at different times and for their patience with us for over one and a half hours as we seemed incapable of placing two orders at the same time. The raw bar was a big hit for oysters and multiple orders of the chilled lobster. Particularly interesting was the New England clam and sweet potato chowder. The name is somewhat misleading as it is really less of a traditional chowder and more of a sweet potato soup, and not a particularly thick one. It is wonderfully seasoned, slightly spicy, with a hint of creaminess, and accented with small bits of bacon and some clams in the shell. This was one of the best soups I have had in a while. If you have any kids in tow they will sure to be impressed by the plate for their hamburger with three holes along the side into which are inserted three small bowls containing ketchup, mustard, and Russian dressing. Oh yeah, the hamburgers were not so bad either, at least the pieces I could grab off their plates. Of the five or six times I have been to this place, I think only once did I make a reservation and sit at a table. I usually arrive without reservations and find a spot at the bar where I have found the bartenders to be efficient, friendly, and engaging, whether I am dining alone or with a group. They make it seem easy, which is really a testament to how good they are.
  9. Celebrated @MichaelBDC's birthday with some friends at Le DeSales a few weeks ago. We had a reservation on the early side (6:30pm), which worked out well given our leisurely pace. Except for two hiccups, service was attentive and our water glasses were always full. Our party of four started with a bottle of Zinfandel and a mocktail for one member of our party who is nine months pregnant. We also ordered a platter of charcuterie and cheese to share: jambon cru, duck proscuitto, comte, parmigiano reggiano, and prefere des montagnes. This was a decent board of meats and cheeses, but nothing was particularly interesting or unique. The first service hiccup occurred when we wanted to ensure that the cheeses on the menu were pasteurized. The server said she would ask the kitchen but thought they were all pasteurized. When she came back to take our order, we realized she hadn't checked as she had already told us that she "thought" all the cheese were pasteurized. So we had to insist she go back and check with the kitchen. Turns out all the cheeses were pasteurized, but it was a frustrating back and forth. We ended up finishing the bottle of wine relatively quickly and ordered a second bottle, a Mourvedre from France. For our entrees, we wanted to share the other dishes - a mix of appetizer and entree sized plates as well as sides which the restaurant accommodated, but left for a very full table. We ended up ordering: beets with avocado, miso and quinoa; duck egg with paprika potatoes, soup de pain, and watercress; pork loin with carrots and preserved lemon; cod with turnip and clams pesto; bass with cranberries, cashews, celeriac, and chive oil; broccoli with peanuts and mustard; grilled leeks with sunflower seeds and buttermilk; and the fries. Highlights for me were the duck egg dish, the beets (not super interesting but well executed and loved the crunch of the quinoa), and the broccoli (an odd combination but successfully executed and very tasty). The cod, pork loin, and leeks were well executed but not particularly memorable. I passed on the bass and the fries so I can't comment. For dessert we had the deconstructed cheesecake, chocolate tarte, and creme brulee. Again, well prepared and satisfying, but not outstanding. The GM/owner also brought out four glasses of champagne for us. Not sure why we were on the receiving end of such generosity but we appreciated it. By the time we were done, the restaurant was packed and it took us awhile to flag down our server and get our check. Overall, I was pretty impressed with Le DeSales. Food was well executed and some dishes were really interesting and outstanding. Glad to have more French options to choose from.
  10. We were a large party that needed some place to eat lunch on a Sunday and I wanted a seafood platter. I recalled that DBGB had a pretty stellar plateau de fruits de mer from my previous visit, so we went back. This time, I ordered the "royal" platter for $99. It had a lot more oysters than the $37 "petit" platter but not more variety of seafood, which was disappointing. There was one small lobster tail, 3 whelks, lots of oysters, claims and mussels, tuna tartare, some white fish, and some shrimp. I also had a $9 DBGB dog - which looks pretty but wasn't really better than a Hebrew Nat'l 1/4 lb beef frank. Others had burgers and various sausages. I also had a side of crawfish and okra gumbo that was pretty good. Go for the large and varied menu, not outrageous prices (for NYC and a celebrity chef joint), and the fun LES vibes.
  11. Best of Philly noted Whetstone Tavern for its kids menu, saying that they're thoughtful about it, and that the kids items are as freshly made as everything else. This is no doubt true, yet this description does this excellent restaurant a disservice. All the food appears to be fresh and house-made, using simple ingredients but with close attention to detail. They have some good happy hour specials, which the wait staff was quick to point out, even tho it ended soon after our arrival. I had a very tasty pilsner draft that the server was nice enough to pronounce three times, yet I still can't remember. Oy! I had an order of pierogies, which were clearly made by hand on the premises, and included beef cheeks, onion, and other stuff. They were delicious and a meal unto themselves. I also got pappardelle, sausage, and kale dinner, and the noodles were also very fresh, solidly al dente , with ample crumbles of sausage and pieces of kale, among other ingredients. Oh, and the prices can't be beat; father in law got the hanger steak and it was $21, most expensive thing on the menu. The food was fantastic and we had excellent service (2 waitstaff taking care of a small, but not cramped, dining room). This is a great neighborhood restaurant.
  12. Read this today: "4935 Bar and Kitchen Owner in Negotiations To Take Over Brasserie Monte Carlo Space" by Andrew Metcalf on bethesdamagazine.com Brasserie Monte Carlo might be down on the ropes.....or not. Only been there once in the past 4 or 5 years. Almost got there a couple of weeks ago, might try to get there for lunch in case they are gone soon.
  13. La Peg at FringeArts is now open. "La Peg Is Officially Open" by Arthur Etchells on phillymag.com "La Peg Takes The Stage" by Michael Klein on articles.philly.com
  14. I'd be interested to hear more about Kinkead's from those of you who have visited recently. Of course, it's a Washington institution and therefore hardly obscure, but it's one of those places one seldom reads about on this site or elsewhere. I've had oysters, drinks, and entrees at the bar recently. Everything was good--especially the oysters--but I remember being wowed by this kitchen's cuisine in the past; now the menu as a whole seems a bit tired. Is it just me?
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