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Found 12 results

  1. Tom wrote a first bite about this in the Post in early March. Esquire featured an article entitled, "Found: the incredible restaurant in the middle of nowhere that nobody knows about." Despite the distance this is a serious restaurant that Washingtonians should be considering for a destination. Simply, it is Rose's Luxury with seven tables and a total of one person in the kitchen: the gifted Ian Boden. I would actually suggest in the weeks to come this will be the most difficult table in America to find a seat at. An excellent video: My little essay about it: The early 19th century insane asylum, Western State Hospital, in downtown Staunton, is now a condo called the Villages. For its last 15 or so years it was a penitentiary. The small one hundred + year old graveyard with individual crosses on the graves of inmates is outside a building's window. Condos. The guard towers still stand. Across the street is Wright's Dairy Maid, a small town '50's hamburger and frozen custard stand that is still popular with families and teenagers camped out by their cars and sitting at picnic tables. A hundred or so yards from the guard towers which no longer need to be staffed. Whatever contrast the image of an American Graffitiish drive in across the street from a former institution for the criminally insane conjures actually doesn't approach the reality of sitting in the primitive, spartan Shack that James Beard semi finalist Ian Boden now holds forth in a few blocks away. He opened this three or four months ago after moving back to Staunton from his stay at Charlottesville's Glass Haus Kitchen which was built for him. This is, literally a shack. An outpost in a small town of character presenting itself as an affordable Charlottesville. But with a dinner destination that would be worthy of Barracks Row or anywhere in D. C. Or New York-where Chef Boden was trained. Open four nights week, wednesday through saturday, with a $55 four course prix fixe menu on weekend nights this is as extraordinary of a dining experience as I've had in America considering the setting. Rose's Luxury in a small, literal wood framed hundred year old shack. A total of three staff including the chef who stands alone in the closet sized kitchen. You are literally having dinner in his "house" even if it is a shack. And no reservations. First come first serve. They open at five. This is an individual expression of a man's passion who happens to be a world class chef. I would write about what we had but the menu changes every night and there is no telling what you'll find on it if you visit. I will say this: one of my wife's dishes included the hamburger mentioned in the above linked video. I took several bites. Perhaps the best explosively juicy first bite of a hamburger I have ever had. But that was only the start of an extraordinary small town adventure: flavorful textured ramen noodles with razor clams, rabbit gnocchi and three or four other dishes that I never expected to find in Staunton. If I had had them in D. C. I would still react the same: they were creative and delicious. Depending on traffic Staunton may not be any longer of a drive from Reston than downtown Washington. Even if it is, the Shack is certainly worth the effort. It may take a few years for panelists to make the pilgramage but he'll win a Beard award, holding court in his shack in Staunton. Chef Boden's twitter site: His tweets can build an appetite.
  2. Enough of Etete, which is tired, boring and full of yuppies. Zenebech is the best Ethiopian in town, and the gored-gored is the best raw meat dish you will have this year.
  3. I'm sure there are a lot of Washingtonians who are intolerant about waiting in line (some are members of this site). Heck, some pay other people to stand in line for them.
  4. Do we have a list of great (or really good) restaurants (with full table service, full menu and booze) that don't take reservation? If not, I'd like to start one. Little Serow Rose's Luxury Compass Rose Bad Saint Izakaya Seki
  5. Radicchio Cafe in north Old City is a great modern Italian BYOB. Had an excellent lunch there in June of this year, with a focus on the scallops and fresh seafood. Clean. distinct cooking, very enjoyable vibe with a lot of regulars bringing their Tuesday afternoon hooch.
  6. [Posted on eGullet 2003-2004] Approaching the hotel from the northern perspective, one appreciates the scallop atop the majestic batiment, the crescendo of grandeur as one strolls slowly across the trestle, winding across the expansive exterior foyer, disappearing into the frosted glass porticos. Translation: if you're a cheap fuck like me, park across the railroad tracks and check your car insurance beforehand. I went through the majority of the lounge menu at CityZen this evening. Here's the scoop: The drink menu is impressive, with page-after-page of interesting and thoughtful choices, ranging from the affordable (fine selection of quality beers for $6, Bouchard Montagny for $9, a fabulous, traditional Sidecar for $10) to the hilarious ("Jack Daniels is Using his Blackberry in Tennessee" - a whiskey drink made with blackberry puree) to the insane (a $650 glass of Cognac: take your pick from among three of them). Three dozen vodkas, a dozen rums. [note: it's hard to believe so many millions of dollars would go into this restaurant, and they wouldn't pay someone $100 to spend thirty minutes spellchecking their drink menu] The toro of marinated salmon and beef tartare (in the $13-14 range each) are flat-out great, and perfect ordered side-by-side. I cannot rave enough about these great little plates - if you're on a budget, scarf a few handfuls of nuts to fill up on, and then order one of them. The potato crisps that come with the beef tartare are the best thing approaching a potato chip that I've ever tasted and must be tried to be believed - just try and eating a waffle fry at Chick-Fil-A when you've had one of these babies. But contrast these with the porcini soup with Madras curry puree (a dollop of vegetable creme spooned atop the soup, $10), which was a no-holds-barred failure. The proportion of (cool) puree -to- (hot) soup was excessively high, and the puree was overtly curried to the point of being dry-spice gross. This soup will either change or come off the menu in the near future (trust me). Braised ox heart with Bermuda onions ($10 or so) was perfectly executed, and a stunning combination of salt(ox)-and-sweet(onions), fat(ox)-and-acid(onions), earthen(ox)-and-colorful(onions), warm(ox)-and-cool(onions). I was worried about this dish because I've seen similar things in the past that are clunky-gamey and crunchy-thick-oniony, but this was just a perfect combination of a well-conceived recipe supported by great work in the kitchen. Speaking of the (semi-open) kitchen, I smiled when I walked past, looked over, and noticed the consummate professional Ron Tanaka (former saucier at Citronelle), front and center, working the line furiously, hopping and sweating, looking like he was trying to stop a dam from bursting. Everyone that knows Ron likes him, and it's nice to see this hard-working and talented chef here at CityZen, sure to get the credit he richly deserves. At the bottom of the lounge menu, there are four intimidating dishes: three rillettes (low $20s) and a foie-gras ($42), all served in a preserving jar. In no way should you run from the prices of these dishes, as they are enough for two or three people to share, and worth it. The duck rillettes was everything you could possibly hope for, served with cornichons and brioche presented in an interesting nod to (rip-off from? message about?) Citronelle's fries: rectangular prisms, stacked perpendicularly in twos, well... if you've had Citronelle's fries before, you'll instantly recognize what I mean here. After dinner comes the cheese course (if you're quirky and want to go backwards on the menu to order it), and this California Saint-Marcellin-looking disk (I cannot remember the name of the cheese) is baked up in a little ramekin and comes out looking like a small order of hummus, served with terrific housemade pita bread and a pear chutney with pine nuts in it. This middle-eastern riff was clever and cheeky, but it simply didn't work - the hot cheese tasting blue (it wasn't blue) and acrid, and dominating every other component on the dish. Four brilliant plates, two misses, excellent service and atmosphere, great and imaginative drinks (the wines by the glass are merely decent, not great). Not at all bad considering how short a time they've been open, and at the highest heights, this meal was a clear indication that CityZen Lounge is going to be in its own right, apart from CitiZen the Restaurant, a worthy destination for fine dining. Cheers! Rocks. P.S. CityZen Restaurant currently offers 3 courses (app, main, dessert) for $70 or a 5-course tasting menu (app, fish, meat, cheese, dessert) for $90 (nothing on the tasting menu was on the 3-course menu, but the styles of the offerings were similar. My (excellent) bartender told me that he'd see if they could serve me the 3-course at the bar, although I was perfectly content to explore the Lounge Menu instead. They are not booked for next week at this point - as of this evening, they had openings at any time next Wednesday or Thursday nights, for those curious earlybirds among us. P.P.S. The meal this evening got rather extensive, and when I asked for a copy of the lounge menu to take with me, they politely declined, saying it was against hotel policy to give out the menu for now, so I'm recalling all of these plates from memory, with the appropriate disclaimers if I miss something, but I think I'm pretty close to accurate as I was paying serious attention to what came out tonight.
  7. Up for work for a week. Looking for places I can eat alone, with no reservations. Anything interesting around there?
  8. The wait for good ramen in D.C. and environs has finally ended: Ren's Ramen has opened inside of Daruma Japanese Market in Bethesda, serving up steaming hot bowls of Hokkaido style goodness. Ren's has taken over Daruma's seating area and, it looks like, part of its kitchen. The wife, Japanese, had the miso ramen, which she declared very good. I tried the pork shio ramen, including extra pork, which had a very good, rich broth. The pork was a little disappointing, though -- not too tender. They also have vegetable shio ramen and shoyu ramen, as well as gyoza. The noodles are fresh -- frozen or refrigerated, not sure which -- and imported from Hokkaido. Prices are on the high side -- $10.00 for a bowl of miso or shio ramen ain't exactly cheap. Plus, my extra pork set me back another $3.50. Don't plan to order that again. Egg and corn are extra. But the ramen here, while not quite as good as some places in NYC and NJ, beats the hell out of the slop served at other places around D.C., including Temari Cafe in Rockville. My wife and I will surely be regulars.
  9. I've seen a few mentions of Continental Midtown on this board, while it may not be the finest dining in Phila, I always have a blast when I go. If you've never been , just imagine what Willy Wonka would do if he turned his hand to savory instead of sweet. One of my all-time favorite dishes there is the lobster mac n cheese. Our good friends and Conde Nast were kind enough to post the recipe for us and here's a link...My link [Editor's note: Cookie (along with Gourmet and Modern Bride) went out of business in October, 2009, and this link no longer exists - if anyone can find it in Conde Nast's site, please alert me and I will replace it. DR] Yes, it's enough cheese, cream and butter to choke an ox...but, so yummy! I can't wait to try this.
  10. Going up to Philly to dine at Dimitri's...yep...just to have dinner and back again...wish there was something like it in DC...
  11. ------> EXHIBIT #1 EXHIBIT #2 Seared scallops, portabello and pea risotto with parmesean crisp and truffle oil, at Mercato, in Philadelphia; a tiny (38 seat) new byob on Spruce. Mercato has only been open a few months. It is the sister to Valanni across the street (which came in handy when they ran out of bread - just sent someone over to refill the huge basket). There is a small open kitchen at the rear, and an unadorned dining room of dark wood tables placed cheek by jowl on the bare floors, with cushionless wood chairs (there is a banquette running down one long wall, with a nifty system of horizontally sliding backrests) and unadorned walls. In other words: very loud and cramped - in a good way - a good choice for dining solo. Every table was occupied the entire time I was there. Patrons on either side of me were practically in my lap and happy to share their opinions on what they were eating and what other byobs they like. I thought it was friendlier and livlier than Melograno, and had better food than Porcini. As with many byobs in Philadelphia, they don't take reservations, and they also are cash only. Fun, frivolous feature: they have a separate olive oil tasting menu and they give you tiny glasses for the "flight" of the oils. I didn't try it, because the herb/lemon butter that comes with the bread was so good, but I'm waiting for this gimmick to come to DC (of course, we can righteously claim we did it first at the Fall '05 picnic.)
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