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Found 4 results

  1. 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?
  2. I'm surprised there's no thread for this place yet. It's a very pretty warehouse in Ivy City across the street from Dock FC. Like Masseria, it's tasting menu only, with a variety of dishes of all styles to choose from. You choose 4 5 or 6 courses, with the last one having to be dessert. Each person much also choose the same number of courses. We noticed that there were exactly 20 dishes on the menu, so the four of us decided to go 5-dish ($87) and share everything on the menu. We all loved our cocktails, which were creative and well balanced. Instead, I got two mocktails which were nice, bubbly and gingery, as mocktails often seem to be. The food had some great hits and some bad misses. The bread and herb butter were nice to start, and they brought us seconds. The best dishes included sashimi style tuna, phenomenal scallops with caviar ($21 upcharge), a beautiful summer veggie salad with tiny carrots and radishes, chicken that tasted like Convivials poulet rouge, an egg a anson mill grains soup/porridge and an outstanding braised beet dish that was so creative and delicious. We liked the duck a fair bit too. The duds included halibut that was as dense as a brick and just as dry. The tomato salad, while still tasty and pretty (I love tomatoes) had too much basalmic. I dont eat pork, but my tablemates didnt even finish it and even had to spit out a chewy piece. Sweetbreads were decent but a tad salty. Everything was exceptionally pretty to look at and instagrammable. The most notable parts of the meal, I think, were a few odd service quirks. My friend was getting dripped on by the air conditioner far above him on the roof. Upon politely bringing this to the attention of the young manager, the manager could not have been less sympathetic. It was shocking really. He said they had no spare tables and that's just condensation from a new air conditioner being used in the summer. He gruffly suggested he could help move our table a few feet, but didn't seem to agree it was a big concern. He also suggested that they had no plans on fixing this apparently recurring problem before fall. So bizarre! Unsatisfied, my friend then raised the issue with another blazered floorman, who happened to be the sommelier. He was a bit more sympathetic but also said that's kind of just how it is, though at least he apologized and brought us some cardamaro. When the bill came, we noticed that they charged us for 5 four course meals instead of 4 5 course meals, which cost $45 more total. We brought it to the attention of the sommelier, who joked "that fifth one was for me!" and went off to fix it without apologizing for the error equal to the cost of 4 extra cocktails. When the manager came by with the revised bill, he was confused about what correction had been made and did not offer an apology. Not the kind of attitude that lead us to want to come back, even if the cooking is creative and has lots of potential.
  3. My wife and I had dinner at Laurel last night, which I've seen consistently seen reviewed as one of, if not the best, restaurant in Philadelphia. We had a positive experience, though it definitely did not live up to the hype. On the positive side, it is rare to dine at a restaurant of this caliber that is also BYOB, and the $85/8-course price fix is exceedingly reasonable by the standards of refined dining in major American cities. The restaurant is a tiny hole-in-the-wall place devoid of any character or ambiance whatsoever, and it's a pretty tight squeeze. The service was good - servers were attentive, provided a helpful explanation of each dish, and weren't overbearing when monitoring our wine glasses. Generally speaking, Laurel tends more toward the food-as-art concept than food-for-enjoyment. The first two dishes were frozen - hamachi with frozen horseradish powder and green apple and shaved frozen foie gras with granola and champagne grapes. These were two of the most unusual dishes I've ever eaten with very complex flavors and textures that would be a challenge for even the most refined palette, but I would be hard pressed to describe either as "delicious". The high points were the smoky sea scallop with ginger and the arctic char with seaweed butter, and the pork cheek with blueberry miso to close out the savory portion of the meal was also a nice dish. In summary, Laurel is good value, lacking in ambiance, and best suited to adventuresome eaters who are really into refined, experimental cuisine.
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