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  1. I went to The Irish Inn at Glen Echo last night with friends to celebrate the guest of honor's 31st birthday. The restaurant was chosen (not by me) based on experiences in the Pub downstairs - which seemed to be a relaxing corner of the world if you're looking for a professionally-poured Guinness (with noticeable shamrock stamped in the foam) and authentic Shepard's Pie. Unfortunately, the group chose to dine aloft in the more formal dining room to properly pay respect to the auspicious occasion. The restaurant seated our party of 10 in a semi-private niche in the corner of the dining room. Somehow they stuffed a large table with chairs in the space, so to call it intimate is an understatement when you add 10 fully grown adults. Our server was quite green...if he knew the wine list, he certainly didn't show it very well, and it would have served him well to familiarize himself with the correct pronunciation of the daily specials ("chorizo," while perhaps not ubiquitous in Australia from where our server hailed, it certainly is not a hard word to pronounce - or shouldn't be). Regardless, the entire staff was quite attentive and patient with us. Two of our party got lost on the way to the Inn, so we took our time ordering to buy a bit of time for them to find us. We finally ordered appetizers - I opted for the potato-leek soup (~ $10) as I'm in search of a restaurant that does it well. It was a comfortable bowl - nothing that made me want to break out a roll to soak up the remainder at the bottom. Others had the salmon carpaccio which came with hard boiled eggs, capers and marinated cucumber salad, and caesar salads. Appetizers ranged from $15 to $8. Entrees came in a timely manner (maybe they were trying to speed us along but we weren't paying attention)...I chose the Roasted Salmon with herb gnocchi and sautee of early fall vegetables Nicoise ($25). The salmon was cooked to a medium/medium rare and presented over a beautiful array of colorful veggies. Unfortunately there really wasn't much flavor on the plate except the gnocchi which were good - nice consistency, fresh and full of herb. Veggies included cherry tomatoes, baby zucchini, carrot, green beans, and olives - flavorful for the eyes, not the palatte. The surprise on the plate was a generous dollop of caviar...surprised mainly because I have no idea what the chef thought the caviar would add to the dish. Those who ordered the rack of lamb seemed content with the generous portion, the steak eaters seemed slightly disappointed (although they were at the far end of the table and couldn't get specifics), and the fish of the day (a Wahoo? served with potato latke and a grilled tomato coulis) fell just short of expectations. The one highlight I could find was the mashed potatoes. If they had offered a side plate of the mashed Boniato potatoes, I would have gotten two - they were smooth and creamy with a hint of rendered bacon. YUM! The woman to my left was generous enough to share a spoonful or two with me. We skipped dessert, opting to finish drinks and order a few glasses of scotch. Finishing around 10 PM, we were the only remaining diners upstairs (and at least a third of the remaining patrons in the entire restaurant & pub. While dinner wasn't horribly expensive (about $70 per person), I didn't feel the quality of food lived up to the price tag. If I lived nearby, I'd opt to travel down MacArthur Blvd. to Blacksalt or skip up the road to Old Angler's Inn where I could spend the same amount (or a tad bit more) for a much more memorable meal. Bottom Line: it wasn't worth the gas but the company was phenomenal!
  2. The same guys that own tako, own the small sushi carryout in the shoppes at glen echo (goldsboro at macarthur blvd) its awesome, inexpensive and cool. No seating , just carryout. (Little industry secret, this is where the top caterers get their sushi from)
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