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Found 53 results

  1. Welcome to the board Marty! Would you care to expand on your admonition? Cafe Deluxe doesn't get much attention on this board, but I find it to be a perfectly acceptable, even very good lunch spot, and they serve Sunday brunch starting at 10:30 am. I particularly like their roasted tomato soup and their roasted lamb and goat cheese on sourdough sandwich. BlakeG can probably expand more on what's good there too. I really enjoy 2Amys, but it can sometimes be crazy busy on Sundays.
  2. Chef Ryan Ratino (Ripple, Masa 14, L'Auberge Provencale) has announced Bresca, opening Fall 2017 in the former first floor of Policy: Jul 12, 2017 - "Major Update about the Plans for the 1st Floor of Policy. Chef from Recently Closed Ripple To Open Bresca" on popville.com
  3. For me Charleston still sits at the pinnacle of "fine dining" in Baltimore. For better or worse, the East Harbor location is now ultra-trendy, close by the water (ask to sit in the front if you want a view) and steps from several other chi-chi restaurants like Roys and Flemings and all that is Fells Point. Inside is serenity itself: richly appointed, comfortable and refined. Do not bring young children. Don't even think about it. The menu is split between prix fixe and a la carte. I enjoy Cindy Wolf's cornmeal crusted oysters - six or seven for a first course with lemon-cayenne mayonnaise are reason enough for me to go. The cornmeal fried soft shell crabs are amazing too. Sauteed and served in a bright lemony brown butter, they need and get nothing but the few dressed greens upon which they perch in oozing glory. Grilled gulf shrimp with Andouille sausage and cubes of salty tasso ham over stone-milled grits are a perennial menu favorite. I'm no Southerner, grits ain't me, but these grits is great! The fried green tomato "sandwich" (ok, stack) with lobster and lump crab hash includes tiny perfect cubes of Yukon gold potatoes and a healthy pinch of curry. Oh yes. Entrees are wonderful, but this time it was straight to dessert. Cheesecake with apricot compote. A ramekin-size light cheesecake on a bed of roasted chopped pecans was very good, but apricots are my favorite fruit and the intensely tart/sweet compote surrounding the cake was the best I've had.
  4. I have been to this Boulud outpost maybe 4 or 5 times dating back to I think 2003 or so. It was quite nice back then. Then, I went there for lunch a couple of times with a vendor for the overly wrought burger for fun. It was all good. Then, last fall, went again pre-theater of all things and WOW. They'd updated the dining room a bit it seemed, and the menu was great. Really great. Good wine list if a bit overpriced. GREAT service/staff. My only regret was not taking proper tme to give the place a lingering meal for justice. Next time. I've been luck enough to go to db, Cafe Boulud, Bar Boulud, Danie; and I think another instance, this db experience was near the top of the heap. Honestly, Daniel was kind of a let down (aside from the over the top service, which was a hoot). My wife and I were walking quite a few blocks after the meal as we are wont to do, and we both came to the realization 'Palena is better.' (sad in retrospect now, but true!). And Daniel itself was no slouch by any means whatsoever. It was quite fine.
  5. Greetings Rockwellers, Just got off the phone with Patrick Bazin, the former executive chef at Occidental in D.C., who is poised to welcome guests to his new namesake restaurant tomorrow evening. Bazin has about two dozen dishes on his debut menu, including items like a Southwestern chicken soup with black beans and grilled radicchio, ricotta ravioli in a Meyer lemon sauce and a "double thick" Iowa pork chop served with vanilla sweet potatoes and braised Swiss chard. Most appetizers appear to be under $10 and the entrees top out at $26 for the crab cakes. The restaurant is located at 111 Church Street NW in Old Town Vienna and doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner. Just thought you'd like to know.....
  6. Just a brief lunch at Má Pèche, so no major conclusions to draw. It's essentially a big, white, shoebox sunk into the midtown topsoil, cement walls softened by white canvas hanging like massive Elsworth Kelly works on three sides with a bar on the fourth. Cool music -- some old, some new -- hip servers in t-shirts and stubble, wooden tables. Very minimalist. I just had two dishes. The raw striped bass with soy, angelica, seaweed was strangely compelling, as though the angelica-spiked soy sauce favored the impeccable fish with some umami-laden sorcery. More minimalism, but with an aftertaste of extraordinary half-life. The Nieman Ranch hangar steak with rice and egg was pretty OK. I sent the first version back when it turned grey and the second stayed appropriately pink. By this time, the waiter -- who was initially gruff and maybe hungover, as it was a Monday lunch shift -- had warmed up and acted as my carnivorous advocate in this matter, in addition to pointing out some decent red by the glass in a proper Queens accent. For dessert, I grabbed tasty a slice of Candy Bar Pie -- toffee, nougat, a chocolate cookie crust and mini-pretzels -- at the Milk Bar in the hotel lobby. Hardly enough to make judgments, but it I had a bunch of rowdy friends who appreciated good food and Modest Mouse, I might be tempted to head back to the basement, knock back a few bottles and work my way back and forth through the menu. It might be a pretty good time.
  7. My girlfriend, friend and I checked out Unconventional Diner last Friday. They plan on serving breakfast and lunch soon, but for now are just serving dinner. The space itself was modern looking and bright--not "cozy" but more "clean" and "trendy". At 6:30, the place was only half-full (more on that later), but it filled up by the time we left. We were seated near the semi-open kitchen. The cocktail menu was okay. Like a lot of places, it leans toward the sweeter side, which is not my favorite taste. I don't remember which drink I ended up ordering, but it was good and fairly priced. As for starters, we ordered the following: chicken pot pie poppers -- the kitchen seemed to be churning these out. Think rillettes, but with chicken pot pie ingredients. Fun presentation and tasty (though not incredible). everything lox -- this is basically a deconstructed everything bagel with cream cheese and lox, which is one of my favorite foods. Unsurprisingly, I liked this a lot. The lox was tasty and a good portion, and I enjoyed the bagel bites that it came with. Chef Deshaies, who was expediting not too far from us, noticed us looking around for a serving spoon after this was dropped at our table and had a waiter grab one for us, without us having to ask. Then, he noticed us still having a bit of trouble serving it, he grabbed us another spoon himself to make it easier for us. We were impressed by his ability to do so many things at once. wheat berry & butternut squash salad -- none of us cared much for this. its dressing was too close to mayo. For entrees, I ordered the crab linguini with squid ink pasta in and crab bisque. This was decadent, with a good portion of crab and well-cooked pasta. My friend ordered the steak and eggs, medium rare, with chimichurri and sunny side up eggs. This was beautifully presented on a large plate (picture from the restaurant's website below) and tasted as good as it looks. My girlfriend ordered the fried chicken, which was a half-bird that came with a biscuit, gravy, cole slaw and homemade hot sauce. Even though it was only a half-chicken, this was a TON of food because the breading makes it look bigger. We loved this as well. Our only complaint was that the food came out too fast. We had all our appetizers within 10 minutes of ordering, and our entrees not too long after that. Next time, i'll ask them to pace it better. The GM and chef came to our table to ask how everything was during our meal, which was nice. On another note, I worry about how this place will do long term. I think many people will go thinking it's diner food at diner prices, which it is definitely not. Those looking for higher-end food probably are not interested in elevated diner food. Those interested in diner food don't want to pay $25+ an entrée for it. I hope they find an audience, because the food is good and Chef Deshaies is clearly quite a talent.
  8. So the area in and around the Lake Anne Plaza still aesthetically remains much like it was when Reston initially designed. Concrete structures, on the water, and hidden since it is off the beaten path (it is not RTC nor Northpoint Shopping Center). This relatively new venture by a local family is a great place to grab coffee (they source from Cafe Amouri in Vienna, Virginia), breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is small, but the outdoor seating pared with the nights they feature live music is relaxing and simple. Right now on Sunday evenings they feature Patio party with Paella ($18) but that is all they have on Sunday evenings. If you want more variety, check out the regular menu and decent wine list. They have a nice white Sangria as well. You will often find several of the family members who own/run the establishment there working and more than friendly.
  9. A new restaurant opened on Hanover St in Federal Hill, the BlueGrass tavern. Since it's a few blocks from my house, I've been twice already. The chef, Patrick comes from Ryleigh's Oyster, and he seems to be subscribing to the local food movement and he's also interested in making some in house charcuterie as well. On my first trip- I just went for a light supper. They have a nice selection of small and medium plates on the menu, I ordered the bacon jam on crostini (reminded me of Kevin from last season's Top Chef). It was really good- sweet, salty, smokey. I then ordered a fresh asparagus salad and the bison carpacchio. Both were very nice. The chef spotted me as a food person (the camera was a giveaway), so he came out, greeted me, and offered for me to try something off the menu. It was slices of corned beef heart with cornichons and aioli. Very nice. pic For desssert, I had the strawberry rhubarb pie with basil ice cream. Went back for dinner with friends another evening. This round, tried his two charcuterie plates- my favorites were his duck speck, the chicken livers, and the duck rilletes. The best item, I had was the foie gras prep for the evening- seared foie gras, in between two pancakes, with egg and bacon, and maple syrup- a foie gras McGriddle. I also tried my friends dishes- the antelope loin with redeye gravy was nice, lean, and the chicken fried quail salad was good too. This time for dessert, we had the banana creme pie which was very good. I would say, this place is very promising for the Federal Hill neighborhood. blog/pics 1500 S. Hanover Street Baltimore, MD (410)244-5101
  10. "L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon may be the world’s most expensive restaurant chain." Ouch. I don't know what stings more - that line or the two star rating. "A New Link in the World's Most Expensive Restaurant Chain" by Pete Wells on nytimes.com
  11. Recently, I needed to make a quick jaunt to New York. I decided to make the trip have purpose, so I themed it, "2015 New Jersey James Beard Award Semifinalists," making it a point to go to every single restaurant in New Jersey that was nominated for some type of James Beard Award in 2015. There was only one exception, and it was a Hoboken restaurant that would have been too much trouble to fit in. My first stop was in Princeton, NJ, which, I realized, I had never before set foot in. I knew absolutely nothing about Elements before having arrived at the restaurant, and had no preconceived expectations. When I left the restaurant, I realized that I'd had my first Michelin 2-star-quality dining experience in (I'm embarrassed to say) a couple of years. I have been to many, many 1-star, 2-star, and 3-star Michelin restaurants both here and abroad, and there are very obvious differences - both qualitative and quantitative - between the levels (which, by the way, are often wrong, but that's besides the point - I know what they're *supposed* to be). Elements is a *nine-table* (yes, 9 table) jewel box which sits atop another restaurant - Mistral - having the same ownership. This is a *perfect* set-up to maximize the quality of two separate and distinct restaurants. If you visit Mistral's website, you might say to yourself, 'This place looks *fantastic*,' and you'd almost surely be correct. The Elements diner actually walks into Mistral and arrives at the host stand - in fact, my first overall impression was the only lesser experience of the evening, because I waited at an empty host stand - a very nice-looking bar looming behind it - not really knowing what to do, for about a minute (which, under the circumstances, can seem like the seconds are ticking in slow motion), and when the cordial hostess arrived and greeted me, I told her I had a reservation at Elements. At that precise moment, it was as if a Four-Star General had appeared in an officer's dining hall: She immediately took on a different countenance - not in a way that downplays the importance of Mistral's diners, but in a way that signaled to me that I had just been vaulted into VIP status - in a way that told me she instantly recognized that I had come to dine, and to dine well. Recall that, at this time, I still had no idea what the restaurant was, or what it was about - and yet, it was very clear to me what had just happened. She escorted me over to a private elevator, summoned it, pushed the button for the second floor, and told me I'd see another host stand when I arrived, wishing me a pleasant meal just before the doors closed. A few seconds later, the doors opened onto an entirely new atmosphere - one of a much more serious nature than the convivial Mistral down below. This was not unlike being escorted into a high-stakes baccarat den that is cordoned off from the everyday guests playing mere hundred-dollar games. Make no mistake about it: those hundred-dollar games down below are what's going to keep this restaurant in business, and they are deeply and genuinely appreciated by the staff (as I was to later find out). Downstairs is Jean-Georges' Nougatine, without which Jean-Georges might no longer exist. I was struck by the sheer emptiness of the room, after having witnessed the joyous vibrancy down below - the two spaces must be similar in size, given the shape of the building itself, and yet, here was an almost completely deserted room, with a total of *nine tables* (actually, eight, since two had been joined together for a larger party), a tiny welcoming area, and a state-of-the-art, open kitchen off to the back-right which had more cooks than the room had diners. I was led to a back table which afforded me magnificent views of the entire dining room, as well as the open kitchen, now on my left. I felt like a king. One thing I found out is that Elements had been open before, in another location, and had only been open in this new space - on top of Mistral - for a couple of weeks. The previous iteration was a few blocks away, and I have no idea of what it was like; all that matters now is that - whatever they did to change things - this new location is set up in a way that seems to approach perfection (and I'm just talking about the actual set-up) - everything is within a twenty-second walk of everything else. My guess is that if you have not been to the "new" Elements, then you have not been to Elements. This restaurant is not a "James Beard Semifinalist"; assuming they don't change things, this restaurant is a future regional winner, with probable future consideration for a national award. It became readily obvious that diner service is paramount at Elements. I was presented with my choice of still or sparkling water, and was immediately asked if I'd care for a cocktail before dinner. I had been presented with three different dining menus and a wine list. The first menu was available only on weeknights, and was a four-course prix-fixe for $79. If you only remember one thing from this write-up, please make it this: don't get this menu. Even if you go on a Wednesday night (which I did), you will be cheating only yourself if you don't get one of the other two menus: either the Chef's Tasting Menu for $125, or the Grand Tasting for $185. The reason is simple: the dishes on the weeknight four-course are much-less complex and less labor-intensive than they are in the two tasting menus. You'd be getting, for example, Tomato Soup with sourdough, basil, and pecorino - I'm sure it's very nice, but there's nothing even remotely resembling that on either of the two tasting menus - if you're taking the trouble to come all the way up here, and drop fairly large money anyway, do yourself a favor and spend the extra fifty dollars - it's the only way to give this restaurant a fair chance to match my rather bold statements here. I opted for the smaller Chef's Tasting Menu ($125), thirteen courses in addition to amuses-gueules and mignardises, and rather than purchase a bottle of wine - which I almost always do - I turned myself over to the *very* capable sommelier, Carl Harrison Rohrbach, for a Tier 1 Wine Pairing ($65) which provided me with a different wine for nearly every course, and as different as these courses were, one from another, the pairings were of prime importance - even more importantly, the pairings were absolutely brilliant. This meal, which was over $200 before tax and tip (don't forget I got a cocktail), could have been much more costly, had I gone now - two months later - and gotten the Grand Tasting Menu ($185), which now requires a one-week advance notice, with its Reserve Wine Pairing ($185). However, when I went, I noticed some overlap between the two grand menus, and since I was there for the food more than the wine, I felt the Reserve Pairing would have been more than I needed (and was nearly double the price at $125), and I think I made a correct decision - the important thing is to stay away from the more simplistic menus, and I even wrote the chef afterwards, and told him he should completely do away with them. We got into a fairly extensive conversation, and I can assure you that he really, really wants to serve *only* the two upper-level tasting menus, and is currently offering the weeknight four-course so locals will frequent Elements during the week - it has yet to receive national attention, but when it does, the more simplistic menus may indeed disappear, and I hope they do. Rather than go through the litany of courses, I'm just going to show you the menu (which I emphasize is the more modest of the two): Elements Chef Tasting Menu.pdf And to give you but one example of a particularly dramatic presentation, I'm going to include one picture of the "Woodear Mushroom" course: Look at the menu I had, envision a best-case scenario, and trust me that the woodear-mushroom presentation was the most flamboyant thing by far (too many presentations such as this would be, well, too many, but for this one course? It was about the coolest thing I've ever been presented with (for a solo diner, there was one, single mushroom in this presentation, and it wasn't easy to find)). In order to create a more intimate link between kitchen and diner, each course was presented and explained by a different member of the kitchen staff (including the Executive Chef, Scott Anderson, and the outstanding Sous Chef, Mike Ryan, who created and served the amazing Kasuzuke Ocean Trout tableside - this Michelin 3-star dish, along with the Patranque, are two courses I'll remember for the rest of my life. The last actual Michelin 2-star meal I've had in Europe was at ABaC, and based mainly on their relatively poor wine cellar, I have trouble justifying their 2-star rating (although the hotel it's in is absolutely spectacular - perhaps the most impressive hotel in all of Barcelona) - despite the luxury of the glorious ABaC Hotel, coupled with the incredible architecture incorporated into the restaurant, I believe that Elements was a better dining experience. It was also the first time in probably a couple of years that I've spent over $200 on a meal just for myself before tax and tip, and when I walked out, I was marveling at how good of a *value* it was. Really. This was the greatest meal I've had in a long, long time, and it was worth every penny. For those of you familiar with my work, ask yourself this: How many restaurants do I rave *this much* about?
  12. On a trip to NYC with my family that was filled with great eats at casual restaurants, the duck lunch at the Ssam Bar was the clear winner. The rotissiere duck over rice with chive pancake, the duck wings, the duck duck noodles, and of course the obligatory steamed pork buns were all amazing.
  13. I normally don't cut-and-paste press releases, but then one says all you need to know. That said, while this may technically be "Shaw," it seems to be the centroid of Shaw, Convention Center, Mount Vernon Square, and Logan Circle, so I'm not sure exactly where to put this in the Dining Guide. Congratulations, Ron and Sherman! --- WASHINGTON, DC - August 21, 2013: Bringing new flavor to 9th St. NW in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, Thally serves Modern American Cuisine created by Chef and Co-Owner Ron Tanaka, along with a rotating list of wines and craft beers, custom cocktails, housemade sodas, and unique spirits in a 70 seat restaurant which includes a 14 seat bar. The restaurant hopes to open on or about Tuesday, August 27th. A Dream Realized Thally is the brainchild of two good friends who have been talking about opening up their own casually elegant restaurant in Washington, DC for years. Chef & Co-Owner Ron Tanaka and General Manager & Co-Owner Sherman Outhuok finally found the perfect place, on a burgeoning block of 9th St. NW near the DC Convention Center, and Thally was born. Thally was conceived to be a comfortable and inviting neighborhood restaurant, as well as a destination worthy of Washingtonians crossing the city to discover our mouthwatering cuisine. Our name pays tribute to our Shaw neighborhood as well as our families: "Thally" refers to the Tally-Ho Stables (built in 1883) located in Naylor Court directly behind our restaurant, as well as to Thalia, Sherman's daughter. (Thally is pronounced without saying the "h", as in Tally-Ho.) The interior décor also reflects the character of Thally's surrounding neighborhood. Design details include: exposed brick, reclaimed wood, vintage barn-door hardware, blackboards, antique pipe fittings, leather seating, substantial wood and steel tables, and a 28 ft. absolute black granite bar with leather-finish. Our logo and the custom wall graphics created by local graphic designer/ artist Matthew Hlubny for Thally's dining rooms and bathrooms feature images of the antique stables, row-houses and carriage houses that are characteristic of the Blagden Alley-Naylor Court designated historic district in the Shaw neighborhood, contained between O and M Streets and 9th and 10th Streets. MENU Simple, Fresh, and Flavorful"¦ all of Thally's dinner dishes have been carefully created by Chef Ron Tanaka with those three words in mind. FIRST COURSE chilled cucumber soup "“ greek yogurt, celery, cumin, dill, mint romaine salad- capers, grapefruit, worcestershire croutons, buttermilk vinaigrette salad of grilled peach, crisp prosciutto, spiced cottage cheese, bibb lettuce, balsamic watermelon, heirloom tomato, herbed goat cheese, pickled radish bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, avocado vinaigrette, pain de mie toast crab roulette- peekytoe crab, cauliflower/tomato salad, dill carnitas sope- pork shoulder, red chile sauce, epazote, radish SECOND COURSE swiss chard- tarbais beans, fennel, mushrooms, shallots grilled branzino- eggplant caponata, basil, piquillo jus pan seared rockfish- corn salsa, filet beans, tomato, tarragon roast duck- artichoke, greens, black olive sauce grilled pork t-bone, mustard brined, pinto bean puree, mustard greens, ginger, grilled scallion grilled delmonico steak- baby spinach, coffee dust, bordelaise sauce BEVERAGES WINE: Thally will serve 24 wines by the glass, with a rotating list that switches out 6 wines by the glass per week! DRAFT BEER: Our bar has 10 craft beers on draft. DRAFT CIDER: We're cider fans, and will always have 2 ciders on tap and a few by the bottle. THALLYTAILS: Custom cocktails created by Co-Owner Sherman Outhuok. HOUSEMADE SODAS: In lieu of serving traditional sodas squirted from a soda gun, Thally will be making its own sodas and colas. OUR TEAM Thally is co-owned by Chef Ron Tanaka, Sherman Outhuok, and Paolo Sacco. Ron Tanaka, Chef & Co-Owner A native of San Diego, Chef Tanaka began his culinary career in the mid 90s when he came to DC and began working in the pantry of the Morrison-Clark Inn under the tutelage of Susan McCreight-Lindeborge, who was a great inspiration to him. He was then spirited away by well-known Michel Richard who hired Tanaka as a line cook when he opened Citronelle. He continued to refine his cooking talents and techniques while working for Frank Ruta at Palena and then Eric Ziebold at CityZen. When Cork opened on 14th St NW, Tanaka was hired as Executive Chef, putting the restaurant (and himself) on DC's culinary map. Excited for new adventures, Chef Tanaka left Cork to reinvigorate New Heights in Woodley Park, quickly making it a must "“go dining destination, and earning it accolades on Washingtonian's "2012 Very Best Restaurants" List. He is excited to now open his own restaurant which dedicates itself to Simple, Fresh, and Flavorful Modern American cuisine. Sherman Outhuok, General Manager & Co-Owner A longtime fixture on DC's bar scene, Sherman Outhuok was a managing partner for a number of years at Posto restaurant on 14thSt. He then went on to open Maple in Columbia Heights as the Bar Manager /AGM. He makes his own "Cello" (sweet and citrusy) liquors, inspired from his time at Posto. You'll regularly find Outhuok behind the bar mixing up new batches of Lemon, Tangerine, Orange and even Grapefruit Cello. You'll also see him front-of-house, greeting guests. Paolo Sacco, Co-Owner With more than 20 years of experience in Washington, DC, as well as substantial culinary work throughout Italy, London, and New York, Paolo Sacco is highly regarded as a dynamic leader in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He is the well-known and admired Owner of Ristorante Tosca, Co-Owner of Posto, and now a Co-Owner of Thally. Sacco's hard work, dedication, and mission to always provide the highest quality cuisine and service to his patrons have placed him among the elite of Washington's restaurateurs. Sacco's career in DC began when he became the maitre d' at the very trendy Bice Restaurant from 1993-1995, where he was responsible for the operation of the dining room, as well as creating unique menus with the chef. Since its opening in April 2001, Ristorante Tosca has firmly established itself as a mature player and premier Italian restaurant on the Washington restaurant scene. Sacco's trattoria-style restaurant, Posto, has followed that same path "“ albeit on a more casual level, as it is quickly became a cornerstone on 14th St.'s restaurant row. With Sacco's guidance, Thally is poised to lead the charge in making 9th St. NW a culinary destination. LOCATION, HOURS, AND CONTACT INFO: Thally is located in the newly thriving 9th St. Corridor in Shaw, immediately adjacent to Seasonal Pantry and A&D Neighborhood Bar, in the middle of the block between N and O Streets NW. 1316 9th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 202-733-3849 info@ThallyDC.com www.ThallyDC.com Facebook.com/ThallyDC Twitter: @ThallyDC Open Tuesday "“Sunday: 5pm -11:30pm (bar), 5:30pm - 11pm (kitchen) Closed Mondays Private Dining Thally is able to accommodate parties of up to 25 people in a separate, semi-private dining room. In addition, Thally is also available on Mondays for full restaurant buy-out to accommodate 70 people.
  14. I saw the application for a liquor license across from the newly opened Elephant and Castle on 19th Street (b/w I and K St) for a new restaurant called Cities. They are supposed to have sidewalk seating and a garden. I wonder if this is the place from the owners of Teatro, or a reincarnation of the spot that used to be in Adams Morgan. Anyone know anything about this? I am excited for the edition to my neighborhood!
  15. In the "for what it's worth category" Zagat gives Gary Danko a food rating of 29 and the French Laundry 28 in its 2005 guide reversing the food ratings from earlier years. This is the link: "Gary Danko" on zagat.com Danko is considered by a number of people to be San Francisco's best restaurant. It is open on Sunday night and yes, there are a handful of bar seats which you can have dinner served at. Typically Danko has a two month wait for reservations so the bar seats will fill up literally within minutes of when the restaurant opens at 5:30. But you will have a shot. This is Danko's website. In the fall of 2001 I wrote a lengthy piece about an experience I had sitting at Danko's bar: This is an extraordinary restaurant that you may want to give serious consideration to.
  16. We went to Prospect for dinner on Saturday. Prospect 300 Spear Street (Folsom Street) Embarcadero http://www.prospectsf.com/ I want to say that we loved it. Well, it's probably more accurate to say that my partner likes it. It was just "ok" for me. We might return for lunch, but I think there are better in SF. Thoughts and impressions: * When you come by within literally 1 minute after your guests are seated and ask them if they want anything to drink (other than water), WE HAVEN'T HAD TIME TO LOOK AT THE MENU OR THE WINE LIST!!! And then, you compound that by vanishing into the ether and not coming by to take our orders for 10 more minutes. * I had heard of restaurants not giving out bread and butter as you would normally expect them to do. We had to eventually ask for some. Always an adventure dining out in San Francisco. * Would someone please tell FOH staff everywhere that reciting specials without telling your guests how much they cost is a turn-off? It makes you seem uninformed and disorganized. * A girl sitting at the table next to us managed to break the glassware within 5 minutes of being seated. That's a first, at least for me. * Prospect is another restaurant that has minimal sound absorption. True, there is a carpet on the floor which does absorb some noise, but when you couple that with plentiful wooden surfaces, square tables with no tablecloths, wooden benches with suede cushions, etc., the result is that it can be impossible to carry on a conversation without shouting. The room emptied out about two-thirds of the way through our dinner after which the difference in loudness was quite noticeable. We paid $260 for the pleasure of dining there (includes a 20% tip). At least the food was ok and saved the evening. Seared sea scallops, smoked clams, celtuce purée, chowder broth. Foie gras, pear butter, Bartlett pear, black sesame brioche. Berkshire pork chop, cacio e pepe potatoes, broccoli di cicco. Halibut, brown butter cauliflower, chard, grapes. I'm reminded of "the parade of brown food" which is a line from Ruth Reichl's review of Le Cirque back in the mid-1990s, and is equally applicable here. Lemon sour cream pie, caramel sauce. Almond frangipane cake, burrata ice cream, corn flakes, blackberries.
  17. The best-kept secret in town, but not for long - unconfirmed opening date is August 25th, with a soft opening before that. I'll let others fill in the details, but this sounds like a fairly ambitious effort. At the Jefferson Hotel on 16th and M Streets: Plume. Here is a press release from March. Cheers, Rocks.
  18. I'm normally hesitant to post about somewhere so well known, but since Don asked... I feel a small sense of guilt whenever I go to New York (a few times a year) and end up at the same restaurant each and every time I'm there. Sure, I branch out as well, but at least one meal (and frequently several) is had at CraftBar. I've tried Mesa in Union Square - it used to be really good, but for a few years I've felt like I'm paying for the name attached. Same can be said for the Batali restaurants I've tried lately. Momofuku Ssam is still a decent place to grab a pork bun if in the neighborhood, but David Chang seems focused on his more recent ventures. Daniel Boulud and Tom Colicchio are definitely ruling the celebrity chef roost at the moment (in my opinion) - and I just find myself attracted to CraftBar more often. There IS a certain initimidation factor to dining out in NYC, particularly for unadventurous. Amazing and affordable food can be found if you have a playful palate and are willing to wander more than a few blocks from Broadway. If you're willing to drop a months rent, or at least a car payment, change your outlook on food with Masa or Per Se. But for a relaxed Saturday evening, or the in-laws happen to be in town? CraftBar is almost always a guaranteed homerun. I, too, get frustrated at times by the simplicity (even if its near perfect simplicity) of the original Craft and (insert other ingredient focused, protein centric restaurant here). Sure, I love a GREAT and FRESH piece of fish, but if you're just going to poach and plate it, there is only so far that respect for ingredients and freshness can take you (other than to a triple digit check). I'm in the camp that I would like to see what a chef can do beyond cooking my protein to a ridiculously perfect temperature. So enter CraftBar. The Pecorino Risotto Balls with spicy tomato sauce are consistently on the menu and are downright addictive. Sure, they're just risotto balls, but they're the best I've tried. There is almost always a pate or similar meat concotion on the menu, and these better than a safe bet as well (in addition to the pickles they come with). I've tried sweetbread dishes at every Colicchio restaurant I've been to - my advice is if you see sweetbreads on one of his menus - order the dish. Sweetbreads sauteed with Kumquats is similar to the most amazing rendition of Orange Chicken you'll ever eat. Sweetbreads with a ramp puree brought a bit of spring into a dish I don't normally associate with warming weather. Pasta's are another strong point of CraftBar - I've never been sorry to have ordered a seasonal gnocchi. So obviously I'm a fan. But last trip, I was made a believer out of a special pork dish for 2. Three different parts of the pig (including belly and shoulder) were presented with three different preparations, along with sides in what was a piggy nirvana. Easily enough food for 3 people was demolished by 2. Throw in a relaxed atmosphere with professional service, a quality beer program and good wine list, and a price point that isn't going to bring tears to your eyes and the guilt for being a repeat customer in a city of so many good choices starts to abate.
  19. Blue Plate is an "underrated" restaurant according to Eater San Francisco. Well, I can tell you that we threw away $80 on the night we went on underwhelming food. Maybe it's underrated for a good reason. Bibb lettuce salad with tahini vinaigrette, strawberries, avocado, pumpkin seeds and dukka spices. B pronounced this combination as "unworkable". Monterey Bay squid with charred eggplant, treviso radicchio, chicken skin, harissa and nepitella.The harissa overwhelmed all other elements to the point that it was a one-note dish. Horrible execution and plating. Grilled escarole with linguiça sausage, balsamic vinegar and burnt orange. This might have been fine were it not swimming in grease. A main of oyster mushroom casarecce with smoked chicken, with preserved lemon, fines herbes, baby leeks, summer truffles and pecorino was probably the best thing we ate that night...and that's saying something. By the way, B left half of his plate untouched. That's the plate in the background in the pic above BTW. We took one for all of you so none of you have to come here. Blue Plate 3218 Mission Street (29th Street) Outer Mission
  20. "Alton Brown Names Ma(i)son 'Restaurant of the Year'' by Kevin Stairiker on flymagazine.neet Maison, mark my words, will make it to JBF, along with other Lancaster culinary talents. My goal is to add Central Pa, to the dining map, one bite at a time. hungry, kat
  21. In NYC over the weekend for a birthday getaway. Was able to spend several hours getting acquainted with The Dutch, the new-ish spot from Andrew Carmellini in SoHo. Unfortunately didn't ever make it over to a proper table as I was using the place as a meetup for folks. But got to try several of their items via the bar. Definitely get the fried oyster mini sandwiches (order several), the hot fried chicken (semi-famous in his cookbook), and anything they're recommending from the raw bar. The real standout, though, is the service. Top notch at every station -- the killer bartenders somehow made dealing with the Friday evening post-HH rush seem effortless and kudos to the beverage director Brynn who took care of us with a little extra. I'd recommend going for lunch or early in the evening during nice weather when the sun is still out and occupying the counter seating alongside the open windows.
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