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  1. After reading some rave reviews, I went by for brunch (they say it's lunch, but it's only offered on weekends, starting at 11). The website doesn't actually have a lunch menu, so I wasn't sure what I was getting into. Unfortunately the lunch menu does not have the uni carbonara. But they do have most of the classics. I had the seafood charcuterie, consisting of smoked artic char, potted lobster, whitefish salad, shrimp linguica, and swordfish mortadella. The first 3 were traditional, and pretty good. The latter 2 were freaks of nature and not my cup of tea. I thought both were a bit too fishy, and the firm jello-like texture was weird. I also had grilled rockfish (or was it monkfish?) with braised kale, some kimchi cucumbers, and scallion pancake. I thought the scallion pancakes were so so. It's not Chinese nor Korean, more like American pancakes with scallions. The fish was cooked nicely. Altogether the flavor was pretty good. It's good to have another interesting seafood joint in the city.
  2. How about Equinox? Who has been there and what were your thoughts? I have searched this forum and haven't seen mention of it.
  3. We went to Albi for dinner on Father's Day. Sat outside on what turned out to be a nice day. We tried all 3 snacks, namely Sfeeha - lebanese meat pies with a pizza like crust that was better than most pizza joints Kefta - wrapped around cinnamon stick, good but I don't think the cinnamon stick added much flavor Arayes - eggplant + squash blossom + kashkaval cheese, reminded me of an eggroll Ordered two apps Smoke pork with hummus - garlicky pita, smooth hummus and bbq pork. I think the hummus is really good but when mixed with bbq pork, gets kinda lost. Yellowfin tuna kibbeh naya - very interesting dish served with lettuce and mint, pickled onions, etc. The tuna by itself didn't have much flavor but when combined with mint and onions, became well balanced. Finally, one entree: Smoke whole Bobo's chicken with corn succotash. The picture only shows half a chicken (I forgot to take a picture until we ate half the chicken). Served with feet on, while interesting to look at, I didn't fancy this dish. The skin was crispy but I didn't care for the sweet sauce. I think this place is fantastic. Would love to see some of the dishes he use to do for M. Isabella.
  4. Scored a reservation for four this Friday, and I'm certainly looking forward to it. A friend of mine ate there two or three times before the place became well-known, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a bit of a drive, even from Ashburn, but I know it will be great. Haven't read anything here--has anyone been?
  5. Been to Level in Annapolis 3 times in the past two weekends and my wife and I are convinced this is the best small plates restaurant in the Annapolis area. Large and crowded but we have been able to snag reservations on consecutive Friday nights. Place isn't quiet and adult oriented. I.E. I didn't see any children or really children friendly food. Small but great list of curated cocktails. My wife had a pair of Gimlets with Lime Foam and shaved Lime Rind and I have Moscow Mules with handmade Ginger Beer. Seemed like a good selection of Beer and Wines. We had Finca La Mata on Saturday night, a good wine which I have bought by the case. Annapolis is a drinking town and it doesn't disappoint in this regard. We have had salads, Fried Cuban Rolls, Lamb, Sea Bass, Pork Loin, frites and they were all great. They have 4-5 entrees in groupings such as sea, land, veggie, pasta and appetizers. On West street about a mile away from city dock, which makes for easier parking.
  6. We hadn’t been to L’Auberge Provencal in a few years, but headed out last weekend with a couple friends for a German Wine dinner, hosted by Elite Imports. We had a five course meal with accompanying wines. Each course paired very well, and we wouldn’t hesitate to return to La Table Provencal for a “regular” meal. Fluke Sashimi, preserved lemon, green apple, mango vinegar - Graacher Himmelreich Reisling Kabinett, Joh. Jos. Prum 2015 Excellent first dish – the preserved lemon and green apple matched particularly well with the Kabinett. We also received a peach gazpacho as an amuse, but this was rather unceremoniously plunked in front of us and as a result didn’t know what it was (apart from obviously being a gazpacho of some type) until later. Service was a bit choppy – we were often left to review the printed menus to understand what we were eating. The waitstaff didn’t describe the dishes at all. Scallop, spaetzle, heirloom tomato, chili flake - Graacher Himmelreich Reisling Spatlese, Joh. Jos Prum 2015 Maybe my favorite course of the afternoon – I taste any chili flake, but the acidity in the Spatlese and the tomato cut the richness of the scallop and spaetzli nicely. A small portion though - as the scallop was definitely singular. Maultaschen, bratwurst, Asian pear, dates, caramelized onion - Zeltinger Sonnenhur Reisling Spatlese, Joh. Jos Prum 2015 Another good example of how an off-dry or even sweet wine with enough acidity can pair with heartier foods. This dish included three silver dollar sized pieces of bratwurst – the maultaschen was in a ravioli-like format and the pear and onion were carmelized in a sort of rustic jam. At this point we began to notice two things – that the portions were pretty small, and that wine glasses were not topped up during courses (and were relatively small pours to begin with). Baker Farm pork roulade, potato, cabbage, fig, juniper - Weingut Bernhard Huber, Baden Pinot Noir Spatburgunder Trocken, 2014 Excellent dish – and a great pairing with the Spatburgunder, however I think that the wine suffered by comparison as it was such a departure from the gradually building sugar profiles in the wines until this point. The majority of the group ranked this wine as their least favorite of the afternoon, but I wonder if that would have been the case were it served earlier. The roulade was good, but two slices – cabbage manifested itself in the form of two cabbage leaves, and the potato salad was two spheres of potato with the traditional accompaniments. Peaches, Olive oil cake, vanilla yogurt, pine nut brittle - Wehlener Sonnenhur Reisling Auslese, Joh. Jos Prum, 2015 I was fully prepared to hate this course, but boy was I wrong. As delightful as a box of birds. Enjoyed the olive oil cake and yogurt as they were on the savory side and provided a very nice contrast to the sweetest wine of the evening. A great time was had by all - with two caveats. Portions were on the small side, as were the pours. I understand that there is a fine line in tasting menu portion control and wine dinner/ lunch pours, but the pours were considerably less than a half glass. The other caveat was the service – I’d describe it as perfunctory – bring plate, drop plate, clear plate. The service may have been compromised by the fact that the reps from Elite were often talking to the group between courses. Given the 2015 vintage’s reputation in Germany it was a nice opportunity to taste through some Rieslings and bring back a few cases.
  7. There's not a lot of detail in either the email I received or the website, but there is a website and the place has a name. Field and Main
  8. Forgive me Don if this is the wrong place to post this, but I needed to talk about our meal at Vin 909 in Annapolis. We thought we were lost when we got there because it's located in a residential neighborhood in what looks like somebody's house. When we saw all the people waiting on the lawn, we knew we were in the right place. It was just 6pm on Saturday night, but we waited about 45 minutes for a table. There's a pretty lawn with benches to wait for a table, so we ordered a bottle of wine and sat for a while. There are two small dining rooms inside and and a small patio out back. Also, there were two tables on the front porch that didn't look very comfortable. Oh yeah, the food. For starters I had the "Chesapeake farm raised clams" with wild mushrooms, grilled corn, scallions, garlic, smoked bacon, white wine, and cream. I think this was the best dish I ever had in my life. The clams were perfectly cooked, the bacon was thick and meaty, and the sauce was perfectly decadent. My SO, not as pro-cholesterol as I am, had the greens with blue cheese. SO loved it. Then we moved on to the pizza. Pizzas are sort of oval, pretty thin, but not soupy at all. Kind of Roman if you know what I mean. I had the Spotted Pig with spicy soppressata, wild boar meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and provolone. SO had the Trip, wild mushrooms,taleggio and fontina cheeses. Pizzas were AMAZING. Perfectly balanced amounts of sauce, cheese and toppings. Service was friendly and efficient. Char was just right. When informed of a food allergy, the server checked with the chef for each dish we ordered. Sorry, no dessert report, too full.
  9. No thread on this place? You're slipping, Don. My wife and I went to Stable on Saturday night and were very pleased with the offerings. It's a quaint, if oddly configured space with a dark yet cozy atmosphere. The food, while certainly Swiss, has some French and American leanings, and tends to be on the heavier side. I could see this turning some folks off, but on a cold, rainy night for this guy who spent 6 early years of his life in Geneva, this menu suited me just fine. We started with a couple hearty appetizers in the Famous Stable Wings and the Landjager. The wings came out piping hot, sitting on top of a Cafe de Paris sauce that added some moisture to the very crispy skin, but in my opinion did not necessarily take the dish to the next level like you would want a wing sauce to do. The chicken, which the owner told us is a typical preparation for a whole or half chicken, was really lovely, as there was absolutely no flabbiness to the skin. We finished all of the dish, but I think we might try other items when we return next time. What we will get next time, though, is the lovely Landjager, a style of sausage that I have always loved but unfortunately not seen as much in the States. This hard, wonderfully smoked link came with a small pile of pepper and a lovely peppercorn mustard for dipping. Simple, yet fantastic, my wife was pining for us to order another, but I knew that we would be stuffed to the gills after our entrees. After going back and forth a few times (and being a bit disappointed by the 4 person minimum for Raclette), we went with the Veal Zurich Style and the Vol-au-Vent. I think that we wound up going a little safe with our entrees, but it didn't matter as they were both delicious. The veal is exactly how you would imagine it being a Swiss restaurant; pan seared in a mushroom cream sauce with a side of very crispy Rosti. Everything was cooked just how it should be and I wouldn't blink if I had to have this again, although I think next time I would probably get the Venison or Pork Cheeks a la Chasseur to really get a feel for the non-cream based cooking. My wife absolutely loved the Vol-au-Vent, which was a fun preparation that paid homage to the traditional while modernizing a bit, adding some green to the plate with some roasted brussel sprouts on the side as opposed to the french fries. I got a few bites before she finished it off and shamelessly swabbed up the remaining sauce with the excellent Wurzel bread. This cooking is devoid of gelees, smoke, foams, or really any modern culinary gimmick, and thus may never be a darling of critics or regional award ceremonies, but it hit all the right notes for a good Autumn/Winter night. We will definitely be back.
  10. Sep 30, 2019 - "The Chef of Nina May Wants You To Scrap the Menu and Let Him Cook for You" by Laura Hayes on washingtoncitypaper.com Looks like Colin's moving on to his own thing! He's a talented chef and a legit good dude to boot.
  11. "This is it," I thought to myself. "This is the best taco I've ever eaten in my life." I had read about the lines at farmer's markets for Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern's taco stand, but didn't really know much about it. The other day, I decided to go see for myself, and I am *so glad* I found out early on about Chaia. First, the location: Chaia is on Grace Street, which is just a few feet off of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, south of Georgetown Park Mall - it's *right there* off Wisconsin, and even has a little sign directing pedestrians to "tacos and beer" - don't let the words fool you. Having read their website before I went, I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for, and I also had a pretty good idea of what I was going to order. One thing of great importance: Chaia is a daytime-only taqueria: Tuesdays through Saturdays it closes at 8PM, and on Sundays, it closes at 6PM - it's closed altogether on Mondays. Please don't forget this, or you're going to show up and find a closed taqueria. And they serve beer, too - in keeping with their "hyper-local" theme, the two breweries they sell are Port City Brewing and Atlas Brew Works. Don't make the same mistake I did: Donnie Boy just *had* to have a beer with his tacos, and for no particular reason, so I started off with a plastic cup of Atlas Brew Works Rowdy Rye ($5). Why in God's name I did this, I don't know - Chaia sells cold-pressed juice from Misfit Juicery and seasonal shrubs, and non-alcoholic beverages are what you should be paying attention to here, unless you *really* like hop-laden beers at the opportunity cost of something truly special. Read on for another reason not to succumb to the temptation of ordering a beer. I got the Market Trio ($11), saving all of twenty-five cents from the í la carte taco prices of $3.75. You should ignore this special, and order however many tacos you want, and get whatever sounds good. Still, three tacos were just about right for me, and gave me a chance to try three different versions, the top three on the list: 1) Mushroom with feta, red sauce, and cilantro 2) Smoky Collards with queso cotija, tomatillo salsa, and pickled radish 3) Creamy Kale + Potato with pepperjack, polano crema, green sauce, and pickled onions. On this one taco, I sprung for a fried, pasture-raised egg ($1.50, available weekends only) - I'm a sucker for eggs and potatoes together, since they conjure up memories of diner breakfasts. I'd gotten my beer first, and nursed it throughout the meal. Note that you're not allowed to go out on the patio if you order beer, so if you want to eat outside, keep it non-alcoholic. Wanting to enjoy the egg while it was hot and runny, I ate my tacos in the order 3), 1), 2), and as I was about one-third of the way into the Kale and Potato taco, I paused, and said to myself, "My God, this is the single greatest taco I've ever eaten." I know it's California-style, and that it's vegetarian, but I don't care - this was not only the best taco I've ever eaten, it was the best quick-serve food I've ever eaten (think what that's saying). The corn tortillas are unbelievable, and the combination of ingredients on this taco was perfect. Do yourself a favor and *get the egg* with this - I could not believe what I was eating, and even cheated a little bit by dripping some of the egg yolk onto the other two tacos (only a few drops, as I didn't want to flirt with ruining perfection). Read that previous paragraph as many times as you need to read it - get this taco, and get it with an egg. In fact, get *three* of these tacos, and get *each one* with an egg. It'll set you back $15.50, and you'll love yourself (and me!) forever and ever. The Mushroom taco was next up, and it was fantastic as well, with thinly sliced mushrooms that picked up everything because they were so thin. A few days ago, I complimented the Wild Mushroom Taco at Virtue Feed & Grain - allow me to paraphrase my dear friend Terry Theise: 'I like tortilla chips, and I like truffles, and I also have no problem recognizing which of the two is better.' It's the same situation here: Virtue's Wild Mushroom Taco was tasty bar food; Chaia's Mushroom Taco was a great and profound taco by taqueria standards - there's a huge difference between the two, and if you like mushrooms, get over here and order this - it would also be terrific with an egg. Then came the collards, and this is why I should have gotten a cold-pressed juice: the collards are, by nature, bitter, and the rye-based beer was loaded with bitter hops - it was bitter on bitter, and literally left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, even as I was driving over the Memorial Bridge to get home it was still there, in a pronounced way. This is a *very* collard-greenish taco, and you have to really love collard greens to love this (think about the collard greens you get at barbecue shacks, without any of the pork they usually put in them). I'm not saying 'don't order this,' merely that you should be prepared for a blast of collard greens, and if that's what you're in the mood for, then you'll really enjoy it. As a boxed set, for $11, this was a fantastic meal, and I cannot recommend Chaia enough, both for vegetarians, and also for lovers of California (San Francisco, not Los Angeles) taquerias. This food was fantastic, and I contend that the first taco was the single greatest taco I've ever eaten in my life. I don't like putting pictures into my reviews, because I think it's lazy, and ruins the surprise for the reader when they get to the restaurant. However, in this case I'm going to make an exception, because this food is so beautiful, and tastes so good, that you'll be surprised no matter what I publish. Here you go: Enjoy your meal, and thank me later. Chaia is strongly initialized in Italic, and is one of the very greatest taquerias this city has ever known. It's also quite possibly the best quick-serve restaurant in DC, and happens to be the only one currently run by women. You're going to love this place.
  12. Serendipity led me to Bryan Voltaggio's blogfor his upcoming restaurant Volt in Frederick, MD. It appears that they are targeting mid-July for an opening date. I only had lunch once at Charlie Palmer's when Voltaggio was there and my friend and I had a very good meal, but nothing exciting. I have to say, though, that his blog makes me excited for Frederick. They need this place, so I hope they support him. Check out the cheese they're planning on using! Someone needs to give the Tasting Room a kick in their ass b/c I think they became complacent a while ago. If you go to page twoof the blog entries you can see a video of the space post-demo and pre-construction. It was neat to see the inside of the bay window that I longed to be part of my apartment; looks like it'll be used as a private party room for 10 people. In general, it looks like this place will be small. The video said the restaurant will seat 38! They'll have to have a pretty high price point to pay for the real estate and renovations to this place on top of the high quality of ingredients and staffing I'm sure he has planned. The Tasting Room thrives b/c the swanky fishbowl environment draws in the trendy drinkers who like to be seen. Volt won't have that to fall back on. They'll just have to knock folks' socks off with damn good cooking in a cool, seemingly more quiet atmosphere. Best of luck to them and I look forward to making the trip back up 270. ETA: Looks like the total capacity is more like 100. Pax, Brian
  13. I was thinking about this restaurant the other day, knowing that it was supposed to open in the Spring (but figuring that it would be delayed) and realized that we went the whole summer with no news on when exactly it will start service. I figured I would come here to see if cheezepowder or any other members had heard any rumblings and was shocked to see that no one had posted a thread about it yet. There has been quite a bit of buzz on the internets for over a year now, and dare I say that if David Chang and Eric Ziebold did not have anticipated openings this year or early next year that this would be the hottest reservation in town when it opens. I'm sure everyone has at least heard in passing about it at this point, but wanted to see if anyone had any more insight into what sounds like a very cool new restaurant. Website / @thedabneydc on Twitter "Jeremiah Langhorne's Restaurant, The Dabney, Will Open in Blagden Alley" by Missy Frederick on dc.eater.com "Meet Jeremiah Langhorne: Picking Composters, Pigs, and Potential Line Cooks" by Tim Carman on washingtonpost.com
  14. Last week, I went to the Rye Street Tavern, NoHo Hospitality Group's latest foray into Baltimore. It was on a Sunday evening, so we naturally gravitated towards their "Southern Fried Sundays" - a fried chicken dinner, served family style. Keep reading, because I'm going to tell you a little secret about ordering this meal that wouldn't be at all obvious to a first-time diner. and it will make the difference between you "liking it," and "loving it." The cocktails were somewhat expensive, but were well-made and delicious: And a little loaf of cornbread comes out just before everything else arrives: Then, the family-style dinner: Everything about this meal screamed "Repeat!" - everything, that is, except the price: We paid $70 for those two little assemblages of food that you see just above (plus the cornbread). "Geez," I said, "$70, and we got *four* pieces of chicken!" I mean, it was great and everything, but as you can see, there are three starch-heavy items: the cornbread, the biscuits, and the potatoes, and we both paced our dinners so that we finished everything at the same time. We were mildly full, and yes, the richness of the cooking made everything satisfying, but come on! I wanted more chicken, darn it! So, just as we were winding down, our server came up to us, and said, "Would you all care for some more chicken, or side dishes?" "Wat?" Okay, so ... spending my money so you don't have to ... we asked for some more chicken, potatoes, and collards (made with delicious bacon, btw), and got a healthy second portion; the rub is that we had *no idea* it was coming, so we filled up on starch, when we would have really preferred a better balance with another piece of chicken. Remember: Those second portions are coming your way, but not a word was said about them until we had almost finished the meal - if you take *that* into consideration, and use it to your advantage, then $35 is a very fair price for this meal. Also, the restaurant gave us two spice muffins "to have with breakfast the next morning," which is always a nice touch. To Rye Street's full credit, they offered to box up the second helping which we couldn't finish - we felt sheepish about this, since boxing up all-you-can-eat meals is something of a shady practice, but they would hear nothing of it. Keep in mind: I don't know if this is all-you-can-eat; I suspect you get two helpings, and *maybe* a third helping if you really do a number on everything, but I wouldn't count on that. Still, in no way did they seem like they were trying to skimp on things, so this was merely a lack of knowledge on our part - learn from our mistake! Go here on a Sunday night, get this exact same thing, and *remember* that it's essentially all-you-can-eat - I can't guarantee we'd have gotten a third helping, but who knows? There's no need to stuff yourself with carbs, merely so you don't leave hungry. Furthermore, the restaurant, and the grounds it's on (it shares acreage with a distillery) is beautiful - there's even a battleship in the background! And that is damned good fried chicken!
  15. My other really enjoyable meal in Southern California was at Petros in Manhattan Beach. I dined there with my boss and two colleagues (one a tremendously picky eater) late Wednesday night and thought it was quite a find. My client who lives in MB recommended the spot as he goes there often and knows the staff by name. We weren't disappointed. After sampling warm bread with olives and complimentary garlicky white bean spread, I chose the lamb pasta for my entree and a Greek cheese plate. The lamb was described as slow cooked and indeed it had a lovely tender texture. Also in the dish: a long pasta slightly thicker than spaghetti, roasted peppers, broccolini, olives, kefalotyri cheese and oregano ($22). Having missed lunch, this was exactly what I needed to feel sated and happy. The cheese plate was as salty as I had hoped. Seriously, I have never had a cheese plate focused on Mediterranean selections that wasn't salty. The plate featured Epirus Feta, kasseri, kefalograviera and kefalotyri plus two types of olives for $12. Everyone but the picky eater enjoyed sharing this. My colleagues seemed to enjoy their meals across the board. Their selections ranged from Avgolemono (chicken and rice soup with lemon) which I definitely would have tasted had I been dining with friends. It looked delicious, to a whitefish entree, to lamb pasta to roasted chicken. Although the night was cool, we dined outside on the very pleasant courtyard patio. Their powerful heat lamps did the trick and I wasn't cold at all. Our service was top-notch; our young server expertly described any dish we asked about and pronounced the Greek names with confidence. While it's a relatively elegant restaurant, it's also family-friendly. My group laughed that we were the only gang lacking the seemingly requisite adorable baby. Petros is a great spot.
  16. We stay at the Ashby Inn on a regular basis, and were there last weekend. It is far more casual than genteel, although there's a bit of that in horse country. Sitting on the balcony and listening to the cows lowing will quickly convince you that the city is not too close. They recently changed chefs, and have, at least for the moment, shortened the menu because of decreased dinner traffic in this stuttering economy, but the food remains wonderful. I know that they have an eight ounce filet listed, but believe that's the only steak offered. Note, too, that the Inn is quite close to the Sky Meadows State Park, which has very nice hiking trails and beautiful views. One of Paul Mellon's finest contributions to that part of the world.
  17. New York Times Travel feature for Luca: "A Pennsylvania Restaurant That's Hot in More Ways than One" by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans on nytimes.com A sister restaurant to Ma(i)son. Luca, unlike its sister, serves liquor. Its nothing short of amazing. Central PA eats, kat
  18. I have to admit that I haven't eaten at a lot of restaurants with 3 Michelin Stars, but the meal I had at Saison this week was the best meal I have ever eaten. The attached menu merely hints at the dishes I enjoyed, but the ecstasy in my mouth cannot be described by words. A bit of background -- I did not choose to go to Saison, rather, the invitation was thrust upon me. A well-heeled company hosted an event on a Monday evening, when Saison is normally closed. So the place was rented out for a special event, and I was one of the 30 or so lucky invitees. Last Monday night, I considered myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth, with due apologies to Lou Gehrig. The event began at the bar, with hefty pours of champagne along with lovely appetizers from the kitchen. The bites of lobster were amazing, but every mouthful was a total tastebud delight. We eventually were seated, and the menu doesn't show the amuse....it was a delicate bundle of 8 herbs with Meyer lemon zest, tied into a perfect bouquet, and served in a tea cup. Hot water was poured over, and that little cup of "tea" was exquisite. It was the perfect palate preparer for what would follow. I should mention at this point that service was precise, like a real brigade, with well informed and pleasant staff delivering each course with perfect choreography. Next came the Saison Reserve Caviar, served over a spinach and seaweed composition, accompanied by champagne. At this point, I should mention the stemware, which was delicate, balanced, and polished to a clean shine. Next came the diver scallop, which was incredible, and accompanied by a Puligny Montrachet. As lucky as I thought I was for just being in attendance, Imagine my pleasant surprise when the person seated next to me said he doesn't like scallops, so he gave me his! The next dish was the King Salmon cured over Sake Lees, and it blew me away -- easily the best salmon dish I have ever tasted. The Loire Valley "Roche Aux Moines" was a perfect accompaniment. Next came the radish dish, which I viewed as a palate cleanser. It was a bit of a salad made from every part of the radish -- tiny bulbs, leaves, stems, foam. What a surprise, and I've never seen so much goodness coaxed out of such humble bits. It paired well with the Zwickl from Austria. The grand finale of dinner was Omi Wagyu, lightly fired over the wood fire, and served with Obsidian Ridge "Half Mile" which was perfect. The Wagyu was perfect, the wine was perfect, and the meal was perfect. Dessert was served as a buffet back in the bar area, but the highlight for me was the Sauternes. This was easily the best meal I have ever eaten, and I will remember it forever.
  19. I'm the first, really? Maybe my post can moved down below the positives which will be coming. I'll start with the fact that I'm not an oyster or a clam kinda guy, so take the review with that grain of (sea) salt. My mom was in town, so Mrs DrXmus and I made a reservation through Open Table for 6P last Friday night. Brine had been open for a little over a week, I think. Every time option was available, so I assumed the place hadn't been slammed yet with people interested in the new food joint in the Mosaic area. The seats were about 1/4-1/3 occupied inside and about 1/6 occupied outside. There are about 10-15 outdoor small tables. We were seated quickly by very nice hosts. Complaint number one, IT'S CRAZY LOUD INSIDE!! Note that I said the place was about 1/3 full. I got readings of 87-90 dB on my Decibels app on my phone. Two days later in Fairfax, we happened onto the parade of motorcycles heading into DC for Rolling Thunder. We were 20 feet away from the bikes and my app was reading 90-93dB. I saw absolutely no move to deaden sound in the restaurant. Admittedly, this is a soapbox issue for me, but the noise will keep me away from Brine and its noisy ilk. The beer list is very good. It draws from mostly local breweries, which is always nice to see. We wondered aloud whether Brine would serve bread. I expounded about how bread service is going the way of the Dodo and other things I've learned on this board. About 10 minutes after ordering we received a metal bucket containing 5-6 freshly baked, soft yeasty rolls brushed with butter. They were delicious and much-appreciated. Good job Brine. As a knock, though, they were quite late in arriving to the table and one of the runners (who admitted it was her first day when there was some confusion about a side dish) took the bucket away with a roll still inside toward the end of our meal! This is like taking away my beer glass when I still have a swallow or two remaining! Server foul! We didn't get apps, but as you can assume, there are a number of raw shellfish options for your choosing and some shrimp. We were disappointed the menu isn't what's posted on their web site. Alas, no fish and chips. Personally, I think this should be a staple on the menu. My mom had a crab cake on a little bed of greens. Her take is that it was "OK" and my Baltimorean wife's take was "it's not good". My take is that it was a single, medium-sized crab cake for $16 with no side dish. Oh, so about the sides, they're extra, although the asparagus we got was quite a large order - plenty for two, too much for one, but not quite enough for 3. Mrs DrXmus had a dish which was called something like "seared scallops with something greens and something or other mushrooms". Because of the description, she didn't get a side dish. It turns out the non-scallop things were garnish only and she should've gotten a side. I had a special of rotisserie roasted croaker, 3 oysters and 3 clams. The oysters were fine. The clams were bitter (are they normally?), small and had to be mutilated to get tiny pieces out of the shell to eat. The croaker was cooked well, but Jesus was it unpleasant to eat. I thought I was doing pretty well separating bone from meat, but let's just say I'm better at other things than this. By the third and final croaker, I was disgusted and frustrated and just wanted to quit. Now, I'm happy to admit I may have ordered the wrong thing and I would've been able to enjoy something else, but I didn't enjoy this dish in the least. In fact, I got tired of the oily/herby drizzle during the meal, too. I had some small mouthfuls of what I thought was all fish that was a high percentage of bone that I ended up spitting into my napkin, which I feel terrible about but after swallowing and chewing many bones already, I started to freak out that I would end up in the hospital with some bizarre croaker rib intestinal perforation. I eventually gave up after 2.5 croakers. As the raven says, nevermore. No dessert for us, so I can't comment. It was getting louder as the seats filled and I was just done with eating. I trust they'll work out the kinks in service and table-busing (there were other minor problems with the busing), but as for the menu and food and ambiance, I'm not inspired to return.
  20. Ricciuti's is located in the historic Olney House, on Route 108, just off Georgia Avenue in Olney MD. It started out years ago as a pizza and Italian sandwich restaurant, but over the years has transformed into a nice restaurant with great wood fired pizzas and a fine dining menu (Italian for he most part) with a very good wine list, especially for Montgomery County. (They have a Wine Spectator award) The core of the restaurant is still the wood fired pizza oven. Pizzas come out crisp and hot, with lots and lots of toppings available. While they are not cheap, the pizzas are nothing like what you get at the usual Pizza joint. The restaurant is located in the Olney House, a large historic house in Olney, MD. There main dining room is upstairs, with two smaller dining rooms, a bar, and the carry-out space on the first floor. The food is excellent, reasonabley priced for the type, and the service is pretty efficient. There are always specials, and the chef has a nice list of standard fare that is very tasty. Most of the menu is Italian but I have enjoyed some excellent soft shelled crabs there when they were in season. My wife loves the eggplant Parmesian, but the star, and biggest draw, are the pizzas. They have a long list of speciality pizzas and you can compose your own. They never have a problem substituting toppings for you, and the list of toppings avialable is about thirty items. The wine list is excellent and for the County, very reasonably priced. There are always 7 or 8 wines by the glass, some half bottles, and full bottles that range from the ordinary to the sublime. Stemware is very good, not those little glasses that so many places use. Wine service is professional and discrete. Nobody tries to keep filling your glass when you don't want them to. They are on OpenTable for reservations. They get very crowded on weekends, so make a reservation. If you live in the area, you already know that they do a huge pizza carryout business. In the summer they have a soft icecream window outside. On nice days you can eat outside on the patio in front of the restaurant. Parking is ample behind the restaurant.
  21. I first saw this soon-to-be open announcement courtesy of Penn Quarter Living and only really saw how >close< it was to the PQ Farmer's Market, after my trip there today. According to the two gentleman right outside the restaurant and assuming they are employees, I asked when they are opening. Their response was Monday, May 11. Keep your eyes open, I guess!
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