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Found 15 results

  1. [posted on eGullet 2005] Finally got to BlackSalt last night for dinner (9 pm res) and had an enjoyable meal. The restaurant was bustling when we arrived and we started with a nice glass of wine at the bar while our table was being prepared. We decided to order 2 small plates and 2 apps while we decided what to have for our main course. We asked our waiter if this would be a problem, and he said it was fine and that the 2 small plates would arrive first and then the apps. Well the apps came out first, followed a little bit later by our small plates. Not a huge problem, but I would have been happier without having all 4 plates on the table at once. Also our waiter told us that everything on the menu was wonderful and that all of our selections were perfect. Overall the service was acceptable and what I expected. The small plates that we ordered were the white anchovy and baby octopus. The appetizers were the rock fish cheeks and foie gras and a market special tuna ceviche with lime aioli and avocado. The anchovies, as previously mentioned were wonderful and by far the best of the 4 plates. The rock fish and foie gras combined well with the pureed and crispy potato that they were served with. The next 2 dishes were disappointing. The baby octopus was on the tough side and tasted predominately of lemon zest. I do not recall the exact preparation at this time, but remember looking back at the menu to see what else this dish was supposed to be in the dish as I could not taste much of anything else. The tuna ceviche was not what I expected and I dubbed this dish, tuna nachos. On the plate were 3 corn tortilla chips, resting on some greens, which were topped with avocado, lime aioli, a piece of tuna, and finally a piece of pink grapefruit. The wonderfully fresh tuna, which I sampled a piece of by itself, was completely overwhelmed by the lime aioli. I felt like I was eating a chips and dip. For our entrees I had the herb crusted long fin tuna with mushroom risotto while my friend had the bourride. The tuna was cooked on the rare side of the medium rare that I ordered it and was delicious. The spices on the fish, the earthy taste and creamy texture of the mushroom risotto complimented each other wonderfully. The tuna was also served with some greens and topped with pieces of pink grapefruit and some black olives, which seem to be a favorite condiment. The dish was also served with I braved the potential scallop health hazard and tried of piece of fish (that was far away from the scallop tongue.gif ) from the bourride. I really enjoyed the delicate licorice flavor and creamy texture with the piece of fish. For dessert we shared a piece of the chocolate peanut crunch cake (or something closely fitting that description), that we were told was the pastry chef's signature dish. It was a wonderful way to finish the meal and I recommend trying it. The total bill for dinner with 2 glasses of wine and tea was $132 and I was pleased with my meal and look forward to returning and trying some more of the dishes on the menu. I still think it has a little way to go before it can be compared to the top restaurants in the area.
  2. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] I have been to Makoto a dozen times-or-so over the years, and shaped by the crusty shell that has gathered around it, my opinion has become less critical, more accepting - think of the elegant decay that defines Venice which has literally been sinking for centuries. I still want to judge Makoto neck-to-neck with the finest restaurants, but that is simply not fair. The chef's menu, as always, has 1-2 compelling courses, a thing-or-two that shouldn't have been included, and the rest falling within the genre of interesting but not-quite-there. But yo, homeys, it's $45 for about ten courses! And if you order the tenderloin (and I urge you to despite your natural inclination to get the fish as the main course), you'll have a decadent, satisfying four-gulp portion of steak that is easily worth $10 by itself. Their small fatty pork dish is as good as anyones in Washington. The cold, unfiltered sake, though expensive at about $12 for a small carafe, is one of the city's great unknown treasures. The persimmon with a tofu paste is beautifully presented, but ultimately bland: but it's persimmon! - where else in the city will you get that as a savory course? You get a good scallop, a good shrimp, a couple mushrooms, all thrown into a miniature teppanyaki thing and overcooked right before your eyes. The small inital courses are always more interesting than the inevitable grilled-protein/soba/shaved-grape-ice which is the triad finishing the meal. Their sushi/sashimi has, in the past, been as-good-or-better than anyones in Washington, although my recent visit was perhaps the result of El-Nino: the fish was okay, but not world-class like it has been before. It needs to be repeated that the 10-course chef's menu is $45. Where does Makoto fall short? It dicks you on the incidentals, and I don't mean maybe. The supplements to the Tsukuri (raw fish) course are a rip-off. Avoid them and get what comes with the tasting menu (trust me on this). Thirsty? Ask for some water and you'll be told that they only serve "bottled water," but what they plop down in front of you is this El Cheapo soft-plastic half-liter Pennsylvania-Turnpike "spring water" that is so insulting that you'd prefer to have DC tap water in its stead. Your incidentals will easily and quickly double the course of your meal if you're not careful. The cold, unfiltered sake is worth the price, but other than that, try to avoid the bottled water, steer clear of the fish supplements, and don't order anything extra. Several years ago, I'd feel like a cheapskate advising you to do this, but things are different now: restaurants are not turning over two seatings each night on every table. You won't be hurting them at all if you go in and stick to the basic chef's menu with a beer and some tea, at least not during the week. This is my summary: Get the tasting menu. Order the tenderloin (not the salmon, or orange roughy, etc.) as the main course. Don't stress about the sobas, which other than the fermented bean curd, are virtually interchangeable though you'll never go wrong with the mushrooms or the yams. Do not order any extra sushi or sashimi. The last time I did this I paid dearly for extra fatty tuna, fatty yellowtail, spanish mackeral, uni, and egg, and quite frankly the only thing worth getting out of the bunch was the egg (yet the single greatest piece of sashimi I've ever tried was the fatty yellowtail on a previous visit.) Stay away from the bottled water. Be careful on your ever-increasing cold-unfiltered sake tab, which can quickly rise because it's so good. If you do this, you'll walk out of Makoto thinking to yourself, gee, how did they pull that off at that price? The answer: the chef's menu should be priced a bit higher than it is. Go see for yourselves, as this remains one of the great fine-dining options in Washington if approached with caution. "Fine-dining" is relative, but this place at least goes through the motions and makes an attempt, even if it sometimes falls short. Cheers, Rocks
  3. Signs up in the old Kemble Park Tavern space. Info, including a sample menu, in their application to serve alcohol. Doesn't look too exciting, but a good neighborhood joint is always welcome. They will be open at 6am for breakfast. . .
  4. You could have knocked me over with a feather. After an excellent meal at Ghibellina, I was strongly swayed that there may be a new king of the 14th Street Shuffle (the Dining Guide Shuffle, that is). Further proof that DC's Italian Renaissance is in full-swing. People are talking about this-and-that neighborhood, but the biggest change in DC's dining scene of late has been the explosion of high-quality, moderately upscale Italian restaurants. And Lupo Verde, at least downstairs at the bar, positively screams Italian. If you've never had a Na Biretta beer, get one, and if you like a lot of malt, get the Na Biretta Rossa ($9) - this is like Moretti La Rossa, but better, and on steroids. Excellent quality, and a very cool-looking bottle to boot. I would get this again in a heartbeat, but there are four Na Birettas on the menu, and I'm eager to try the other three. It took forever for me to get my appetizer, probably close to half an hour, but when it arrived, I knew what took so long: I cannot imagine the labor that went into the Torta di Cozze ($9), and they've got boulder-sized testicoli offering this on a 14th-Street menu. Nominally a "Mussels Cake," this was an incredibly elegant little plate of warm, shelled mussels, sandwiched between two small wafers, with a half-melted scoop of Burrata, a little Parmigiano, and a drizzle of leek sauce. While not a large dish, and perhaps more delightful than delicious, this was not a nine-dollar plate of food; get it now, or pay more later - assuming it can possibly remain on the menu. Lupo Verde has a nice little wines by the glass list, but I went straight for the house white: Pinot Grigio on Tap ($8) from Piemonte, and it was a solid (not perfect, but solid) match with the Torta di Cozze - ideally, you'd want something a bit fuller bodied and bone dry. I recently had a very good spaghetti carbonara at Rose's Luxury, so I thought I'd try Lupo Verde's Carbonara ($14) to compare - there was no comparison. Lupo Verde's is made with homemade paccheri, guanciale, eggs, and Pecorino(-Romano?), and the paccheri is a wonderful vehicle for this classic Roman dish. This was, without question, the finest carbonara I have ever eaten. Like the Mussels Cake, it was a fairly small portion, but it was also a fairly small price - my server came down and almost apologized that the dish, served in a metal bowl, is presented merely warm, not steaming hot, because "that's the way they eat it in Italy," he said. Maybe, but the dish was plenty hot enough for me, and I was entranced by its execution. Lupo Verde's house red is also from Piemonte: Sangiovese on Tap ($8), and while this was a perfectly nice wine, especially for the price, I would counsel having it with a less-delicate, perhaps tomato-based dish, or charcuterie, and I would again recommend a full-bodied, bone-dry white with the Carbonara. Although I was getting somewhat full, I knew I hadn't eaten very much - these were not large courses - and since it was early, I knew I'd be wanting something later. So I got a plate of Three Cheeses ($13) to go which came with slices of bread, walnuts, and apricots. I apologize for failing to note the cheeses, but if you'd like, you can piece the order together yourselves: Lupo Verde is currently offering a total of four DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta) cheeses, and I got the three that weren't Castelmagno. That was about the most non-helpful thing I've ever written, but the portions were fair, and although the cheeses are stored in plastic wrap, they were in perfect shape (on a similar note, my beer had gone several months past its expiration date, but it, too, was in perfect shape). It is important to recognize that I have now tried only two cooked courses at Lupo Verde, and I am not reviewing the restaurant; I am reviewing the individual meal. And I'm going to come right out and say that these were the two most refined dishes I can ever remember having on 14th Street. Needless to say, coverage is initiated, strongly, in Italic, and Lupo Verde, based on this one meal, is a legitimate contender for the 14th-Street crown. Yeah, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
  5. Stopped by 7th Hill Pizza (next to Montmartre) a couple of hours ago. I walked in to look around, and they're giving away slices of pizza. I thought the pizza was pretty good (nice brick oven). Apparently they're still lacking an inspection before they can open for business fully. I'll be back when they are.
  6. So Bistroquet did a soft opening last night. So soft, in fact, that they didn't actually tell anybody that they were opening and simply let people wander in. I only even saw that they were open because I happened to be walking my dog past them. Because of this, I got there too late and the kitchen was closed, but I did grab a beer (they had a good, but small, beer list. 3 different types of Ayinger and a few French and Belgian beers) and chat with the owner and the chef. I also got a look at the menu and it looks great. Lots of very traditional French food, with some Thai dishes thrown in, (the owner's wife is Thai) along with some Thai-French fusion dishes that looked surprisingly good. What impressed me most was their willingness to put offal front and center - their appetizer list was nearly half organ meat. Dishes like lamb's brain on toast and tripe in mustard sauce shared the page with escargot and pommes frites. The entrees also looked promising, if a bit expensive, but that's the new normal for the neighborhood. (despite the fact that every time a restaurant space opens up the listserv is abuzz with people hoping it gets filled with a "reasonably priced family restaurant." If that's what people actually wanted then Palisades Pizzeria and Listrani's wouldn't have closed down and places like Blacksalt and Et Voila wouldn't be packed every night!) Overall I can't wait to come back and give the food a shot. I'll report back once I have.
  7. We went tonight and had an excellent meal. Both chef/partners Claudio Pirollo and Mickael Cornu were there on Sunday night! Great pate, super mussels and a delicious gratin of prosciutto wrapped endive for starts. The rib-eye steaks were perfectly done. Charming service made the evening thouroughly enjoyable.
  8. [posted on eGullet 2003-2004] Tom's April, 2003 review is here. I finally made it to Bambu for a light lunch, and while I found it edible, my meal was very ordinary. The sushi-sashimi lunch special ($8.50) included a pretty good miso soup, with finely cubed, custardy tofu, scallions and a fair amount of dark-green seaweed. The pickled ginger on the fish plank was distressingly pink, and the blandish, powdered wasabi had the texture of thick mashed potatoes. The sashimi consisted of six chunks of good, fresh medium-fatty tuna, presented atop a typically boring pile of seaweed (with sesame seeds/oil and hot pepper flakes); the sushi was one piece of flounder and two pieces of very thick-cut salmon, all fresh, but inexplicably served with no wasabi, and sitting atop poorly vinegared rice; and then there was the unfortunate California Roll, with the usual shreds of pollock, decent avocado and a bit of curiously cranberry-colored fish roe. Nothing was so terribly bad, but there's no reason to go here for sushi when Kotobuki and Makoto are just down the street unless you're driving by and want a quick, low-calorie carryout lunch. The menu also has an odd blend of Chinese and Thai dishes interspersed with the Japanese fare. Cheers, Rocks.
  9. Drove by recently, saw the sign, but can't find anything about it on the internet. Does anyone know anything about it?
  10. For a posh Francophile and serious foodie who prefers European cuisine. (Friend of a friend so that's all the info I have). Et Voila and Mari Vanna were all I could come up with. And Mari Vanna was a shot in the dark. Any suggestions? Geo range is Dupont to Friendship Heights, though MacArthur Blvd was seen as in range.
  11. I forgot to make reservations for tonight .While I have 'free' babysitting, It is between 6:30 and 9 at lee and george mason. where can I have a great dinner and still get back to that location by 9pm? Probably without reservations. I wanted to try SER and Kapanos Taverna but alas, no reservations. Dare I try the bar or is that a disaster waiting to happen?
  12. This is a hidden sushi gem in a city crawling with sushi joints. You almost don't want to share it with friends because it could mean that in a restaurant that only seats around 25 you may not be able to get one. Where else can you find the best scallop around for a dollar a piece and toro for less than $2? One my first visit I asked if they had natto, fermented soy beans that many Japanese restaurants do not carry. On my third visit the waitress, who remembers me each time I go, mentioned that they had started carrying natto and would I like a roll? One of the highlights that makes this restaurant so special is the house made soy sauce. This is no Kikoman you are dipping your fish in. Keep in mind though that it is only available if you eat in. In addition to sushi they also serve eel, chicken and vegetable kamemashi, a Japanese hot pot rice dish served in an iron kettle. One a cold winter day, or cool summer evening, it is perfect. Along with the rice you are served a wonderful assortment of three side dishes, the likes of which you rarely see in a typical Japanese restaurant. For more information check out their web page.
  13. I heard a good report from a friend about Palisades Pizzeria. Here's the thing: said friend is from New Haven and raved about the pizza at Palisades, which he described lovingly described as a hole in the wall. But the web site mentions only NY style pizza. Has anyone been?
  14. I have been seeing Dr. O'Leary for ten years. His office is clean, his staff is great (both the receptionist and the dental assistants), and he is a nice, thorough Dentist. The best I have ever seen. A big plus is that his office reminds me of a family-run dentist office you would see in a small town, but it's right in DC near Sibley. He also uses electronic x-rays and records, which I appreciate. Only caveat, he is booked a month or so in advance because he is so good. 5840 MacArthur Blvd., NW Washington, DC. - (202) 966-8108 www.dennisolearydds.com Greg Watson
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