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Found 6 results

  1. For some reason, the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant (yes, the place on the same property as the original George W.'s house) has become popular as a special-occasion venue in one of our social circles. And it was only a matter of time before it happened"¦ an invitation to a private party there. I'd eaten at the Mount Vernon Inn only once before, nearly 10 years ago, when it was the only choice at hand (they now have a food court in addition to the more formal restaurant). All I can remember about that meal was that I ordered a pulled-pork sandwich (the memories of it are not fond) and the service was abysmal. But a lot has changed at Mount Vernon since that time, so I was hoping the restaurant had also been upgraded. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case. Overall, the food certainly could have been worse, but it was generally flavorless and uninspired. There was also an issue with the salt "“ the prosciutto/asparagus/puff pastry appetizer was too salty even for me (a known salt-fiend) and other things (such as the baked, stuffed tomatoes) were totally devoid of salt. We started the evening with appetizers: The previously-mentioned Prosciutto/Asparagus/Puff pastry Combo; Crab Dip (which had a disturbing viscosity) and House-made Crackers (too thick for my tastes and a bit soggy); Quiche (I think that is was it was supposed to be, but it was surprisingly cold and tasteless); Spanakopita (a crime against phyllo); Beef satay (which I did not try because the meat was cut in too large of pieces to gracefully eat while standing with a drink in one hand and carrying on witty conversation); Bacon-wrapped scallops (which were the best of the lot "“ all that could be tasted was the bacon, not a bad thing in this instance, and the scallops were not over-cooked). From there we went into one of the dining rooms and sat down for their American Traditional Menu I: Warm Goat Cheese & Field Green Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette (subbed last night with a syrupy raspberry vinaigrette); Petite Filet Mignon with Crab Cake (no discernable spicing, with the predominant flavor being that of old crab) or Sliced Duck Breast (the duck was subbed with lamb) with Shrimp Sambal (Sambal? Where? all the shrimp tasted of was raw garlic); Tomato Stuffed with Sautéed Garlic & Spinach (a perfectly baked tomato, but no salt and the spinach mixture was... yes, you guessed it, flavorless); Duchess Potato (possibly piped out and baked when the mansion was new); Homemade Breads and Colonial Cracker (served with stale butter); Fresh Strawberries in a Chocolate Cup with Chambord Cream (so that is what that taste was "“ all I could tell last night was that it was not a flavor found in nature). All washed down with Foxhorn Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay (or, in our case, water). What the meal really suffered from was lack of quality ingredients. With the exception of the tomatoes and the strawberries, nearly everything tasted old and stale (if it tasted of anything at all). The somewhat tragic part was that the food was technically cooked well "“ the meats to the appropriate degree of doneness, the scallops and shrimp were tender, the crab cake had very little filler and so on "“ so there is some talent at work there. Unfortunately, no one seems to be tasting any of the food before it leaves the kitchen (rwtye thinks it is intentional and they striving for innocuous and bland). Luckily, the focus of the evening was the celebration of a milestone in the life of a dear friend. So, regardless of what we were served, it was a very enjoyable evening. Sometimes it is not all about the food.
  2. Cedar Knoll is a little place on the George Washington/Mt Vernon Parkway just a mile or so from Mt. Vernon with a wonderful view of the river. It's famous for being awful regarding everything but the view. The place closed in November to absolutely no fanfare (the Cityzen closure it wasn't!) Anyhow, there was an article in this week's Mt. Vernon Gazette about their plans to reopen in the spring. It's light on details about the new place other than they are remodeling the inside. Hopefully they'll upgrade the food because this place is a goldmine waiting to happen. "Cedar Knoll Inn To Reopen In Mount Vernon" by Jerry FIll on mountvernongazette.com A couple excerpts: However, according to Gant Redmon, attorney /advisor for the owners, it will reopen sometime this spring after a new restaurant lease is signed and renovations are completed. ~~~ According to Redmon the owners are not allowed to enlarge the building, add rooms or add "wings." Also, the second floor can only be used for office space, and not to serve food to guests. Redmon said the community may not be aware that historically at one time it was used as a "Tea Room" which, at the time, presented a dilemma for the county planners. ~~~ "Our current plan is that once a new restaurant operator is selected and renovation plans are agreed to, we will work closely with county officials to turn this into a beautiful facility that will serve quality food for individual diners as well as continue to offer it as a facility to host weddings, community, and business meetings,......
  3. This is a new restaurant which appears to be under the Warner Theater. Although it boasts a Pennsylvania Avenue address, although that esteemed Avenue is a block further south, it is actually located at Thirteenth and E, NW, with the entrance on Thirteenth. You go down a nice flight of stairs into a well-decordated room. I took my goddaughter there last week and the fifteen year old enjoyed a clam chowder that was actually full of clams. I opted for the fried chicken that the Post food critic had recommeded. I liked the chicken very much as did goddaighter who had one of my pieces and pronunced it as better than Joe's where she had chicken last month. She finished off with chocolate chip cookies and milk and, when she had one cookie left, they put it in a neat little box for her to take home. I will go back, of course, and I do wonder why these new restaurants are not reviewed more frequently. Boss is a nice place and certainly better than Chef Jeff's across the street. Perhaps the entrance is too hard to find.
  4. It doesn't, but they list Bolly at $70. There are retail wine merchants who charge that (they're ripping you off, of course, but still). I've often wondered about that place when taking my dog to the (wonderful) vet across the street.
  5. Last night saw me stop in to the Butterfly, a relatively new restaurant on West Broadway in Tribeca, about five steps from Batard, yet a complete world away. I would never have picked this spot as a member of the AltaMarea group, but it is. Kind of strange to go to two restaurants from the same group within a week. The Butterfly aims to be a cocktail bar/ supper club, and seems to specialize in 50s "“ 60s era cocktails, along with a brief menu of American Standards from that era (beef stroganoff, etc etc). This is small, narrow space, decorated sparsely and primarily in white. The most prominent design feature is a vaguely bow-tie shaped mirror behind the bar. I arrived in time for happy hour, where all cocktails are $10 and draft beers are $5. I debated ordering a Tom Collins, but instead opted for a beer. Service at the bar was very friendly and efficient, although the bartender mentioned that although they opened about ten months ago, things haven't been that busy. Scanning the menu, I noticed Fried Chicken. If Fried Chicken is on the menu, I'm pretty much incapable of resisting it "“ to the point that I head over to the Dutch every Monday to enjoy their chicken special. So, I ordered the chicken and three good sized pieces of chicken appeared in short order, along with a small salad. One quibble "“ the chicken came in a shallow rectangular basket, along with a side salad in a large ramekin. The size and depth of the basket made eating the chicken pretty difficult. That said, the chicken was fairly tasty, well-seasoned and not at all greasy. All in all a generous portion for $20. I added a side order of French fries for an additional $5, which got me a large bowl of hand cut fries with salt and rosemary. The fries were excellent "“ some of the best I have had recently. The chicken was not as good as The Dutch, but then again that is also twice as expensive. The Butterfly's concept strikes me as odd, kind of a cross between a cocktail bar and an upscale diner. I don't get any sort of "supper club" vibe, and that is just fine for me as I prefer the Buterfly's décor to that of the former Posh in DC, for example. Hopefully the place survives, as it is flying well under the radar in the neighborhood at the moment. I'll return for more of the menu when I need an inexpensive meal and a cheap drink during happy hour, and think that the Butterfly is a solid neighborhood option.
  6. We had an amusing experience at lunch today. We both ordered the Chicken Salad. The menu indicates that it comes with curried chicken, a salad, and tea bread (all on the same plate). My wife is allergic to nuts, and we should have asked if the tea bread had any. Our chicken salads arrived, and, yes, the tea bread was loaded with nuts. My wife told our very charming server of her allergy, and her salad was whisked away, presumably for some nutless bread or some additional salad as a substitute. After waiting several minutes our server brought the "new" salad to our table. There was no bread, but the dimensions of the plate were smaller. The kitchen had scooped the chicken salad and the green salad onto a smaller plate. Why didn't it simply remove the tea bread and return the original plate? Would not have taken more than 15 seconds. I'm sure there were legitimate reasons, but no explanation was offered. We chuckled about this through our lunch. Middleburg in January is quiet and peaceful. No bikers roaring up and down Washington. No leaves to obscure the panorama.
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