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Mendocino Grille, 29th & M Streets in Georgetown


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Enjoyed some snacks here on tuesday and for my first time at Mendocino, I loved it. We ordered a few appetizers, some cheese and desert and a bottle of Constantino "Ol red" (pinot noir, sangiovese) to wash down. We ordered:

pork belly pastrami

Fried oysters

Fettucine with mussels, squid, shrimp and tomato concasse

4 cheeses

Valhrona chocolate mousse

The pork belly pastrami was a really cool plate that had the ingredients of a sandwich but was not a sandwich. The "rye bread" were actually gnocchi and served with a creamy mustard sauce, sweated onions and brocoli rabe with a slice of perfectly crisp pork belly. I think this was our favorite dish

The fried oysters were really tasty, you get 3 oysters (I thought this was a little stingy) and 2 of the 3 were perfectly fried, the third one was a tad overcooked, they were served over a bean puree (chick pea?) and fried lemon slices with a side of cauliflower "cous cous" (which was awesome). Actually the menu says tabouleh, so the cauliflower was supposed to sub in for bulger wheat, it tasted fresh and worked for me.

The fettucine was really tasty and conforting, one of those dishes you could have anyday. The pasta was perfect and had a hint of saffron flavor which I like and the seafood (mussels, shrimp and squid) wasn't overcooked.

We asked the bartender to pick the cheeses with a focus on the stinkier ones and he nailed it. We got:

- Forme d'ambert (blue)

- Comte fort de rousse

- Epoisses

- Camembert - my least favorite

For desert we got the chocolate mousse, even though i really wanted to apple beignets and it was thick rich and heavy, I didn't love it. I thought it would be lighter, I think the word mousse threw me off, it was more like a cake with creme anglaise. We left nothing on the plate.

I will be back for sure

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The pork belly pastrami was a really cool plate that had the ingredients of a sandwich but was not a sandwich. The "rye bread" were actually gnocchi and served with a creamy mustard sauce, sweated onions and brocoli rabe with a slice of perfectly crisp pork belly. I think this was our favorite dish

Holy crap that sounds awesome.

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Hello all,

We still have a few openings for New Years Eve. In addition to our a la carte menu, which will be offered all night, we will have a 5 course tasting menu available for $85 with wine pairings $130. Our regular menu is on our website.

http://mendocinodc.com/pdf/menu.pdf

Tasting menu

Amuse Bouche

I.

“Vitello Tonnato” veal tenderloin, ahi tuna, shallots and capers

II.

Leek crusted scallop, lobster raviolini, coriander-lemongrass broth

III.

Seared black bass, shrimp and country ham risotto, cuisson du homard

IV.

Mustard lamb chop, celery root puree, braised celery, Périgord truffle, garlic lamb jus

V.

Araguani chocolate terrine, nutella gelato, pistachio emulsion

Mignardise

Happy Holidays!

Sincerly,

The staff at Mendocino

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As always, Mendocino was on point for their dinner last night. We passed on the Tasting Menu, as everyone at the table was not up for that much food, but we did not feel like we missed out at all going a la carte. Everything was excellent, but the standouts were the Rabbit Pate, which might have sealed with me that Barry Koslow is the best chef I have come across with rabbit. The Beer Braised Pork, which came across as a hearty stew with root vegetables, spinach, and homemade wide black pepper pappardelle piled high on the enormous plate. This was a surprisingly large portion for this caliber of a restaurant, but my dining companions were not complaining as they picked copious bites off of my plate. The wine, cheeses, and desserts were on point as usual, but unfortunately the service was a bit spotty (very unusual as it is usually outstanding). I think that may have been more of a function of it being NYE, though, so it's hard to judge our server for being less attentive.

All in all, still one of the better values for the quality around, Chef Koslow should be getting more attention for how well this kitchen does night in and night out.

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Finally stopped in the other night after an alumni meeting for my prep school in Pgh. Amazing how many people from my little school have ended up in DC.

Started with a LARGE slice of the country rabbit pate. Could have used a slightly sweeter condiment, but this was very well done and very much enjoyed. I'll stop in again just to grab this as a snack.

The seared rare hiramasa had tasty components (shiitake, beans,taro root, surf clam) in miso broth, but to my mind needs to be reconceived. I was looking forward to the seared and rare part. I liked the fish but by the time I got more than a bite into it the heat from the broth had pushed it considerably past rare. Also discovered that I should have grabbed a bottle of water for the drive home as the saltiness of the dish lingered.*

Really enjoyed the Dominio IV Temperanillo '05 Columbia Valley Gorge. The Vision Cellers '06 Pinot Noir, however, didn't do much for me.

Fine service at the bar. Place was pretty packed late on a weekend night.

*YMMV, I tend to have a lower salt tolerance than others.

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We had an amazing time here tonight -- everyone was lovely, and the food and wine were superb. Highlights for me included the fish dish, with clams, mushrooms, bok choi, and a miso broth, perfectly paired with a lovely white that I've completely forgotten, as well as the squab with black truffle risotto. Fabulous. The only down side is that we can't eat here every night...

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I went for dinner on Friday to see how Drew was doing back in his old haunts. Glad I did. On special that evening was some blue fin that Drew's fish purveyor happened to have lucked into -- some swordfisherman got lucky and caught it on his line. This was a small 3 oz block of deliciousness (tuna loin) seared with a sprinkle of sea salt, cut into two little triangles and served with a dollop of sweet onion marmalade and another of carrot puree. Simplicity itself but, oh my! And since it was a small plate I had room for the chocolate sorbet. This was three little pots of chocolate so intense that each one should have had a fuse on top, because they were like little chocolate bombs in the mouth. Had to be reminded it was actually sorbet and not ice cream.

Drew's knack is seeking out great ingredients, what's really good and available that day, so my advice is always check out whatever specials he may be offering on the evening that you happen to choose for your Mendocino occasion.

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I went for dinner on Friday to see how Drew was doing back in his old haunts. Glad I did. On special that evening was some blue fin that Drew's fish purveyor happened to have lucked into -- some swordfisherman got lucky and caught it on his line. This was a small 3 oz block of deliciousness (tuna loin) seared with a sprinkle of sea salt, cut into two little triangles and served with a dollop of sweet onion marmalade and another of carrot puree. Simplicity itself but, oh my! And since it was a small plate I had room for the chocolate sorbet. This was three little pots of chocolate so intense that each one should have had a fuse on top, because they were like little chocolate bombs in the mouth. Had to be reminded it was actually sorbet and not ice cream.

Drew's knack is seeking out great ingredients, what's really good and available that day, so my advice is always check out whatever specials he may be offering on the evening that you happen to choose for your Mendocino occasion.

We were there later the same evening and also had a thoroughly enjoyable meal. My wife had the serendipitous tuna and loved it. I had the seafood ravioli (large, succulent chunks of haddock, shrimp, and scallops in almost tissue-thin ravioli with a sauce spiked with chili flakes) and thought it was excellent. The bib salad with duck bacon and blue was also a winner. I agree about the sorbet--chocoloate so dense it tasted like it was scooped out of a black hole. As always Troy was at the ready with wonderful wine pairings. The place was practically full at 10:00 and Drew seemed to be in his element.

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It's always exciting to taste a dish that causes eyes to close and time to pause while you slowly savor its textures and flavors. Such was the case with Chef Drew Trautmann's tempura-battered squash blossoms, a highlight of our Friday supper at Mendocino Grille. Flash-fried and filled with herbed goat cheese, the blossoms were plated on a roasted tomato reduction and garnished with a small sampler of heirloom tomato wedges. Owner Troy Bock's wine selections were uncannily well-matched with this and other dishes we tried. It's clear that the reunited team are in sync and hard at work integrating new approaches into the Mendocino Grille concept.

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From Tom Sietsema's chat today:

Calling all chefs: Mendocino Grille in Georgetown is looking for someone to helm its kitchen. Drew Trautman recently left the building, as they say, to search for a place to call his own.

Well, if they can lure Barry Koslow and Joey Alvarez back from Tallula, they won't have to change their website. :lol:

(Temporarily downgraded until they regain their footing - I only had one meal under Drew's latest tenure, but it was a very good one.)

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Some more details from Tom S on Drew Trautman's departure. Apparently he's planning on opening his own place on Capitol Hill. This would be very welcome news for either side of the Hill or H Street where we have a growing number of neighborhood spots, but remain short on fine dining with great chef options.

Another reason for Trautman's exit: The chef has long expressed an interest in opening his own place, and searching for the right location and investors, he says, "is a full-time job." He and Jawad Saadaoui, the general manager at Redwood, are looking for a spot on Capitol Hill, where Trautman lives. The neighborhood "is fairly underserved," he says.
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Some more details from Tom S on Drew Trautman's departure. Apparently he's planning on opening his own place on Capitol Hill. This would be very welcome news for either side of the Hill or H Street where we have a growing number of neighborhood spots, but remains short on fine dining with great chef options.

This would be sooooo cool.

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Ate there tonight, and had a delicious meal: scallops, salads (house cured sardines with baby arugula and Fresno peppers) , papardelle with lamb "ragu". Service (waiter was Colin) was excellent, his recommendations for wine to go with our food were good matches. We hadn't been there for a while but will definitely be returning. One caveat: go before 7:30 if you want a quiet place. It gets loud after 8:00.

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Ate there tonight, and had a delicious meal: scallops, salads (house cured sardines with baby arugula and Fresno peppers) , papardelle with lamb "ragu". Service (waiter was Colin) was excellent, his recommendations for wine to go with our food were good matches. We hadn't been there for a while but will definitely be returning. One caveat: go before 7:30 if you want a quiet place. It gets loud after 8:00.

And may I say CON-GRAT-U-LA-TIONS to both Chef Sam Whitcomb (an extremely talented cook whose career I've been indirectly following for years) and Sous Chef Giuseppe DeSilvio, who most recently was Sous Chef at Spezie.

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And may I say CON-GRAT-U-LA-TIONS to both Chef Sam Whitcomb (an extremely talented cook whose career I've been indirectly following for years) and Sous Chef Giuseppe DeSilvio, who most recently was Sous Chef at Spezie.

These two are both very talented. It is easy to imagine great things...

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Hey, wow. Thanks... (it is so weird to see my name "out there"...)

I am Sam Whitcomb, the new Chef here at Mendocino. I'm very excited to be here and look forward to the opportunity to please your 'buds. It's been about (not quite) two months now and both the savory and dessert menu are finally fully changed out, and I would love to read your opinions on sed changes. I'd also be happy to meet some of you fine folk to chat about food/wine/life, so don't be shy about asking your server to make it happen!

Cheers!

Sam

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I was going to put this in the Mussels thread, but it's all about Mendocino Grille and their new chef Sam "I Yam" Whitcomb. I ordered three dishes last night that went from good, to great, to mind-blowing.

Pennsylvania Rabbit Terrine ($10) with local rabbit, pork, prosciutto, frisée, and house pickled carrot was a fine terrine, but really most notable for the wonderful pickled carrots. I'm not a big fan of Mendocino's bread (or creamy butter), so I'd be doing the next two dishes a disservice if I raved about this one.

Halfway through the Smoked Sweet Potato Dumplings ($12), I thought about this post about being "intellectually stimulated" by restaurants. Served with virginia sweets, caramelized, apple, cippolini, sage, and butter, this unusual, gutsy prep was all the intellectual stimulation I needed - it challenges notions about sweetness (it's a joyously, unabashedly sweet dish), and sweet potatoes being a focal point of an entire course. Go and get this with an open mind, and you're going to love it.

But save room for what is my favorite "Mussels" dish in the city right now. I didn't know what to expect from Mussels, littlenecks, cockles ($13) with spaghetti squash, pork belly, hard cider, and fresh cream. Think about that for a minute, and then come up with a best-case scenario, and that's what it was. Served sort of like a traditional mussels presentation (except in an interesting, slightly-too-small-for-all-the-shellfish single bowl complete with shell-dumping area) it's a wickedly good trilogy of all three of these bivalves, with everything working together - the hard cider, the fresh cream, the ample bits of pork belly, man oh man was this a great dish! And all of a sudden that mediocre bread basket became exactly what I needed. When all mollusks had been set aside, I was dunking bread and spooning up the shredded squash out of the broth like a hungry dog. Run, do not walk, to get this fantastic bowl of shellfish!

Cheers,

Rocks

P.S. Get the final two courses with their (American) Gruner Veltliner - an absolutely perfect food and wine pairing. You'll see.

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And the owner walks away and gets a job as a sommelier? Nice.

Not true.....Troy sold back his shares to the existing ownership. Dont throw stones, I have known Troy for almost 20 years, there is way more to the story then you can offer.. That's what is wrong with posting sarcastic remarks before the truth is known. Troy is one of the best GM's and Somms in the area I put him right up there with Mike Nevarez and Duck Mohr. He is an honest and straight up person. I would trust him with my twins.

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Not true.....Troy sold back his shares to the existing ownership. Dont throw stones, I have known Troy for almost 20 years, there is way more to the story then you can offer.. That's what is wrong with posting sarcastic remarks before the truth is known. Troy is one of the best GM's and Somms in the area I put him right up there with Mike Nevarez and Duck Mohr. He is an honest and straight up person. I would trust him with my twins.

And believe me I dont post on this board to often and I dont tend to dwell in other peoples business matters. My relationship with Troy is true and long, We have been through many restaurant battles together. I can say that my take on his character is genuine and real.

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And believe me I dont post on this board to often and I dont tend to dwell in other peoples business matters. My relationship with Troy is true and long, We have been through many restaurant battles together. I can say that my take on his character is genuine and real.

So who didn't pay $80,000 in sales taxes? He's not much different from Donna.

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If you all believed what the news papers always say as total truth, then the world would be much more screwed up then it is now........

From the DC Office of Tax and Revenue website:

February 8, 2011

OTR Revokes Sales Tax Certificate of Mendocino Grille for the Second Time

(Washington, DC) - On Friday, February 4, the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR), again, revoked the sales and use tax certificate of Mendocino Grille and Wine bar, located at 2917 M Street, NW, for failure to pay more than $80,000 in sales taxes collected from patrons. OTR also seized the business liquor license.

In October 2009, OTR entered into a payment agreement with the owner, Troy Brock, following the seizure of the business for non-payment of sales and use taxes. Mr. Brock breached that agreement resulting in OTR’s action on Friday.

OTR encourages businesses that are not in compliance to immediately pay any liability due or to contact our Collection Division to arrange a payment plan. The Collection Division can be reached at (202) 724-5045.

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Not true.....Troy sold back his shares to the existing ownership. Dont throw stones, I have known Troy for almost 20 years, there is way more to the story then you can offer.. That's what is wrong with posting sarcastic remarks before the truth is known. Troy is one of the best GM's and Somms in the area I put him right up there with Mike Nevarez and Duck Mohr. He is an honest and straight up person. I would trust him with my twins.

From the article:

In October 2009, OTR entered into a payment agreement with Bock, following the seizure of the business for non-payment of sales and use taxes

I was just responding to the information in the article, sorry. I guess I should not assume that the article was factual and do my own fact checking.

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And the owner walks away and gets a job as a sommelier? Nice.

It appears that unless a sugar daddy appears with $80k, the city is not going to give back the licenses, so there really is nothing left to do with the space but turn off the lights, lock the doors, and wait for the final nail in the coffin (the bankruptcy sale). So what would you suggest that he does in the mean time: sit alone in the dark restaurant bewailing the restaurant’s predicament or find a way to generate income so he can eat?

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It appears that unless a sugar daddy appears with $80k, the city is not going to give back the licenses, so there really is nothing left to do with the space but turn off the lights, lock the doors, and wait for the final nail in the coffin (the bankruptcy sale). So what would you suggest that he does in the mean time: sit alone in the dark restaurant bewailing the restaurant’s predicament or find a way to generate income so he can eat?

Fair enough, but this predicament certainly did not happen overnight. Hopefully everything possible was done to work with the OTR to try and avoid the takeover.

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So who didn't pay $80,000 in sales taxes? He's not much different from Donna.

Nice generalization. I see a guy who set up a business and it didn't work out, he couldn't keep up with the taxes and they shut him down. Not someone who continually and repeatedly screws workers, investors, the government, etc. I do not know Mr. Brock but wish him luck in his future endeavors.

I don't write often on this board b/c it seems over the course of last year or so there are several members that are SO quick to jump down others throats and sling wild accusations. I understand that the board is not just about food and what it tasted like to us and that it is by definition an opinion website, but for petes sake, can't people just chill the f out.

FWIW - I had drinks at Mendicino a few months back and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

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Nice generalization. I see a guy who set up a business and it didn't work out, he couldn't keep up with the taxes and they shut him down. Not someone who continually and repeatedly screws workers, investors, the government, etc. I do not know Mr. Brock but wish him luck in his future endeavors.

I don't write often on this board b/c it seems over the course of last year or so there are several members that are SO quick to jump down others throats and sling wild accusations. I understand that the board is not just about food and what it tasted like to us and that it is by definition an opinion website, but for petes sake, can't people just chill the f out.

FWIW - I had drinks at Mendicino a few months back and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

He collected sales taxes and did not remit them. This is the felony charge that Donna plead guilty to, IIRC. No one here slung any wild accusations - these are facts as reported by the government. How long does it take to fail to pay over $80,000 of sales tax? Assuming the tax is 5%, that's based on revenue of $1.6 million. How many months did he screw the government in the process of generating $1.6 million in revenue? He may not be a repeat offender, yet.

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Some people say that invoking Godwin's Law signals the imminent demise of a thread, but on DR, it Paris Hilton. In 3..2..1...

Actually, I think it's been more than a year since Paris Hilton has been invoked by word. I have been finding straight lockdowns. Maybe we should submit new muses to be used instead?

I can relate, Iggl...

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I don't write often on this board b/c it seems over the course of last year or so there are several members that are SO quick to jump down others throats and sling wild accusations. I understand that the board is not just about food and what it tasted like to us and that it is by definition an opinion website, but for petes sake, can't people just chill the f out.

This was the case for me until I discovered how to ignore users... :)

Too bad about Mendocino on several levels. I, for one, enjoyed my meals there, as well as the Sunday night 50% off wine special.

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FWIW: I have enjoyed dining at Mendocino since soon after it first opened, and have known Troy for that long. As RJ has said, Troy is a stand-up guy and I have to believe that circumstances beyond his control (i.e. the economy, the high cost of doing busines in Georgetown and other factors of which we may all be unaware -- I certainly am) led to this unfortunate turn-of-events. Menodcino always had high standards for both its food and beverage service and, perhaps, faced with the choice between abandoning those standards -- disappointing his customer base -- and meeting obligations to the local government, the management tried to keep the customer base in the hopes that would eventually lead to way to meet its other obligations. I don't know, but I wish all involved better luck with any future venture, and hope that Mendocino can be restored somehow.

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FWIW: I have enjoyed dining at Mendocino since soon after it first opened, and have known Troy for that long. As RJ has said, Troy is a stand-up guy and I have to believe that circumstances beyond his control (i.e. the economy, the high cost of doing busines in Georgetown and other factors of which we may all be unaware -- I certainly am) led to this unfortunate turn-of-events. Menodcino always had high standards for both its food and beverage service and, perhaps, faced with the choice between abandoning those standards -- disappointing his customer base -- and meeting obligations to the local government, the management tried to keep the customer base in the hopes that would eventually lead to way to meet its other obligations. I don't know, but I wish all involved better luck with any future venture, and hope that Mendocino can be restored somehow.

John, you have expressed exactly my thoughts and feelings in this matter, which I have had difficulty articulating myself after reading some of the other posts in this thread. Thank you.

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