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Found 5 results

  1. Thought people might be interested to hear about Chef Guo, a new restaurant featuring Chef Guo Wenjun's take on Chinese banquets. This is probably the closest the DC area has had to Chinese fine dining, and I'm interested to see how it fares. The chef serves a selection of two tasting menus, the Banquet of Eternal Bliss Hot Pot ($68 lunch, $98 dinner), and the Banquet of Peace and Prosperity ($158 dinner only), both of which feature 10+ courses in the style of imperial cuisine. Scroll through the website to see the full menus, pictures of the dishes, and a press release detailing the overall concept. So far there hasn't been much buzz about this place outside of the Chinese community, but some friends who have gone reported it to be luxurious, visually and conceptually unique, and a lot of (too much?) food, mostly very good to excellent. There seems to be a mix of traditional cuisine and modern/Western techniques. If I understand correctly, the dinner they attended was a special event combining dishes from both menus, with all of the guests at a shared table and Chef Guo himself coming out between each course to explain the concept behind the dish (in Chinese); it's not clear to me how different the experience will be once the restaurant gets settled in, but from their website it seems like they are definitely interested in catering to non-Chinese clientele as well.
  2. BL-4th grader has decided his goal in life is to have dinner at Victoria and Albert's at Disney World. But before I commit to that with him (and I have some time as he has to be 10), I thought I might start him off with something local, smaller and less expensive. And where an enthusiastic 9 year old foodie would be welcomed at 5 pm seating. Mr. BLB hates, hates, hates everything about tasting menus so I've let all the options completely fall of my radar. I'm probably willing to spend $100-ish per person. Suggestions?
  3. I've heard numerous diners say they're "over" tasting menus, and I'm asking myself what, exactly, this means. Prix Fixe menus (which are nothing more than multi-course meals) have been occurring in France for probably a couple hundred years, if not longer. So what exactly is it about tasting menus that gets on peoples' nerves? Is it that every 25-year-old CIA graduate wants to play Thomas Keller? Is it that you have 30 bites of food and leave hungry? That last question reminds me of this post I made over ten years ago in which I said: Is it: 1. The young-amateurish chefs who cannot orchestrate a symphony, but insist on doing it anyway? Or is it: 2. The modern-day leave-hungry lab-experiment visual-textural food-as-art experiences (Minibar, Rogue 24, Riverstead, Moto, etc.)? As a reference, here's the divisive article written by the snotty Corby Kummer for Vanity Fair: "Tyranny - It's What's For Dinner" which is like reading someone lambasting operas because you have to sit there and watch for four hours and shell out two-hundred bucks for the privilege. I've come up with a very simple solution to this problem, btw (it has two words). How many restaurants *really* force you to have a tasting menu? I say, "Not that many," and if you've grown "weary" of tasting menus, you're either going to the wrong restaurants, or you've simply ordered them too many times (grand tasting menus are not designed to be a daily, or even weekly, experience). --- Subject Change --- Now, if you'd like to discuss wine pairings? Done it. Done *with* it. It is the almost-nonexistent meal where I've had a wine pairing that fared better than me simply purchasing a wine from the list, and it's for both reasons, #1 and #2: 1. The young-amateurish sommeliers who cannot orchestrate a symphony, and 2. Fixed-amount pours that require me to have the exact same amount of wine with each course (I *hate* running out of wine in the middle of a course without the ability to fill my glass, and some courses simply demand more (or less) wine than others). A 2-ounce pour of Grí¼ner-Veltliner with my carpaccio, and a 2-ounce pour of Nebbiolo with my venison? I'd rather order a bottle from the list, even if it means paying close to double-retail (now you know why I drink rosés so often at restaurants - it's like tuning a piano with equal temperament: It isn't perfect, but it's the best you're going to get - and double-retail with a rosé means you were only nicked for twenty extra bucks).
  4. I am over tasting menus as well. They are only done truly well by a few - and it is hard to know if a new to you place knows what they are really doing. These days, I far, far prefer picking what I want and how much I want than leaving what I get to the chef or through a limited choice. I still CRAVE the days when Frank Ruta's Palena had a folded over menu where you could mix and match almost anything to a 3, 4 or 5 course menu of your choosing. A recent example of a really nice meal where I shunned the tasting menu idea was at Cityzen - wow it was tremendous. That said, I'm going to be here tonight to check things out with my wife and some friends. Looks like I will probably have options and a good time.
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