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2100 Prime (formerly The Jockey Club), in The Fairfax at Embassy Row - Closed


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It's difficult to fault the top chef, though. He turns out to be different from the original hire, who parted ways with the hotel shortly before its ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 18.

On November 10th I got a PM that said, "Jockey Club opened last Saturday."

I text messaged back, "Worth an early visit?"

The reply: "They weren't ready to open."

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On November 10th I got a PM that said, "Jockey Club opened last Saturday."

I text messaged back, "Worth an early visit?"

The reply: "They weren't ready to open."

Bummer. Hopefully some kinks will have been worked out by Dec. 11th - back in DC for a night and the Jockey Club was selected for a group dinner...

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On November 10th I got a PM that said, "Jockey Club opened last Saturday."

I text messaged back, "Worth an early visit?"

The reply: "They weren't ready to open."

Was the reply sent via courier pigeon, or just smoke signal?
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I had never been to the Jockey Club, neither the old nor the new. About six weeks ago, I got a laconic, anonymous email advising me that Jockey Club had come into its own, and that I should give it a try. I wrote the person back and questioned the Dover Sole on their menu for $32 which, at that price, must surely be frozen. "Are you sure the Dover Sole is fresh?" I asked.

A cryptic, two-word response arrived the next day: "Oui, monsieur..."

The Jockey Club is a handsome dining room, with a better "feel" than its surviving competitor, The Prime Rib, and without the European aura of the most beautiful dining room in the area, The Willard Room. The hostess politely advised me that gentlemen are required to wear jackets during dinner, and I accepted her offer to get me one. Maybe it was my big, bold deltoids that broke their size barrier, but she returned moments later, and escorted me to my table. I remained without jacket, wearing just a black, cashmere sweater.

Well, I mean, I had pants on too, but no dinner jacket.

I was seated at a two-top in a mostly empty dining room, with less than ten other people having dinner prime-time on a Wednesday night. Every table had a fresh, red rose in a vase. I was warmly greeted (although not recognized), and instead of being given a menu, I was offered a drink instead. Why don't more places do this? Partially because they're concerned about turning over the tables. I knew right away that my table was my table, for the entire evening, and that I'd be able to pace the meal at my discretion. Another gentleman sitting across the way had finished his meal, and was relaxing with an after-dinner drink and reading the newspaper - doubtless offered to him as a courtesy.

As I sipped my gin and tonic, I was asked still, sparkling, or ice water, and was soon after served my amuse gueule - a slice of buttery, lightly smoked salmon, dressed with a few microgreens. The salmon itself was a nice bite, but the vinegar in the greens worried me about potential oversaucing; I needn't have been worried.

Wines by the glass here are quite expensive, with nothing in the single digits. The pours are generous but not excessive, probably about five ounces. I went with a white Graves (Bordeaux) from Château Graville-Lacoste ($12), a fine Kermit Lynch import that I knew would complement my Shrimp Cocktail ($16), a handsome presentation on the classic appetizer, the four large, perfectly poached shrimp accompanied by fresh horseradish, fennel cocktail sauce, and a perfect little lemon-dressed watercress salad, complete with a carved lemon that I KNOW was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek version of a limace crawling around the greens as they are so often wont to do in France. Somebody, somewhere, has a hell of a sense of humor.

The Graves went beautifully for the rest of my meal, carrying into the Sautéed Dover Sole Meunière (now $36 despite Jockey Club's website saying it's still $32). Here is an important point: nearly all entrees at Jockey Club, which range from the mid-$20s to the upper-$30s, are available as half-portions. However, the Dover Sole is prepared tableside, and is the entire fish, cooked and deboned before your eyes in a beautiful cart. The fish was filleted, and placed on the plate next to the interesting, attractively cut vegetables, and my server was ready to begin heating the sauce to ladle onto my Dover Sole. I stopped him, and made a special request: There were some naughty bits left on that fish carcass, and I damned well didn't just want the white meat, so he carved off another long strip of ... something, every bit as long as the filet meat, and put it alongside. And then there were the shards of side meat, scraped off to allow deboning. I wanted those too. This long strip, whatever it was, had the texture of ankimo and turned a good dish into a great one.

Soufflés here are ordered twenty minutes in advance, but I knew I wanted another tableside preparation (call me old-school, but I LOVE them when they're executed well). Everyone here knows what Crêpes Suzettes ($11) is, but to have one prepared properly is a thing of great beauty and entertainment. During early preparation, as the ample amounts of butter and sugar began to heat in the copper pan, the cart literally ran out of gas. So what did my apologetic server do? He called for a second cart, which arrived promptly, and everything was transitioned there with remarkable aplomb - it was like a Metro Bus breaking down, another chancing to be just behind it, and the passengers swapped onto the new bus with minimal disruption. Bravo, not only for the juggle, but also for the remarkable dessert, with cut orange peel, cut lemon peel, then the squeezings of the citrus, all reducing and caramelizing before my eyes before the addition of the crêpes themselves, the whole thing being lit aflame by a final pour of liqueur. It was a sensational course, fully worthy of my glass of Tariquet VSOP Cognac ($18).

An expensive dinner, yes, but only because I wanted to make it so; a diner can do quite well here drinking Ayinger ($7.50) or a .750 of Les Trois Monts ($15), a tableside (?) Caesar salad ($10), a half-portion of sweetbreads ($14.50) and maybe even a half-portion of tableside Steak Diane. I gave my server an extra cash tip for his hors classe performance, then the hostess, and finally the remarkably charismatic maître d', the legendary Martin Garbisu, who heralds from the southwest of France. Just before I left, M. Garbisu, made one final check, an elegant gesture to make sure everything went well with my dinner. My cryptic, two-word response: "Oui, monsieur..."

Cheers,

Rocks.

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No, it shares its lineage with the Jockey Club that was in the same location from 1960-1996. Martin was the maitre d' then, too.
Yeah after I posted my question, I tried looking up the NY Jockey Club and the only institutions of that name that came up were those whose members had to be under 5'5''. And the Pierre Hotel website doesn't say anything about what restaurants are there. But I remember sitting at the bar and crying in my bourbon on at least one occasion at that spot, apparently no longer extant.
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I lunched at the Jockey Club today in a party of five. One of my dining companions told me that there actually was one other customer, a solo diner who was presumably a hotel guest--I didn't see her, and thought that we were the only guests in the dining room through the entire meal. It was pretty sad. That aside, though, the dining room is quite lovely, and the lunch was pretty good. I was surprised that the only option offered was a prix-fixe brunch: there's no mention of that that I can see on their website. The price was $45 for three courses, or $65 or $95 with increasingly fancy champagne--presumably only one glass, considering that the $95 option came with Dom Perignon. I almost never want dessert, and absolutely never want dessert at lunch, so the three-course thing really kind of annoyed me, and they weirdly required us to order dessert at the same time we ordered the rest of our meals, even though there was no dessert that required special preparation. Happily, the first two courses were pleasing. Four of the five of us had the gravlax, which was very good indeed, and accompanied by a tangle of nicely dressed rocket, with a few slices of dreary, out-of-season, irrelevant apple. The fifth diner had a Caesar salad, which was oddly prepared partly table-side and mostly not. The rather elegant server wheeled a cart to the table, asked about the desired levels of anchovy and garlic, and prepared the dressing in a big wooden bowl. He then wheeled the cart away, and later brought the finished salad to the table. Peculiar, but I tasted the salad and it was quite good. Then all of us had the crabcakes for our main course, and they were superb, really about as nearly perfect as a crabcake gets, all nice big lumps of crab with very little to bind it, and a trio of sauces--tomato coulis, balsamic vinegar, and a sort of remoulade. Very nice. I grudgingly had strawberry sorbet for dessert, which wasn't very good, but I really wouldn't have wanted even a good sorbet. They rather strangely billed their ice creams and sorbets as being Gifford's. A very good lunch, rather overpriced, in a deserted dining room. The pricing is even more puzzling when you consider that $45 would have gotten you an omelette, or eggs Benedict, or two crabcakes, or prime rib, or some other things I don't recall. Anyway, I doubt this business model is sustainable in this economy.

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Stay at The Fairfax and eat at the Jockey Club. Mrs JPW and I won a one night stay and dinner at a silent auction the other week and will be giving it a shot sometime this winter.

FYI, there is some major news - which has gone completely unreported - about The Jockey Club: It has both a new chef (Levi Mezick, who has taken over for Richard McCreadie), and a new GM (William Washington, who has come from Blue Duck Tavern). With a couple of exceptions, there will no longer be any tableside preparations (which, to me, is a huge deal because these beautiful, dramatic presentations are what set Jockey Club apart from just about everywhere else in town).

But Levi has an eye-popping resume - maybe William can chime in and tell you the rest.

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FYI, there is some major news - which has gone completely unreported - about The Jockey Club: It has both a new chef (Levi Mezick, who has taken over for Richard McCreadie), and a new GM (William Washington, who has come from Blue Duck Tavern). With a couple of exceptions, there will no longer be any tableside preparations (which, to me, is a huge deal because these beautiful, dramatic presentations are what set Jockey Club apart from just about everywhere else in town).

But Levi has an eye-popping resume - maybe William can chime in and tell you the rest.

See ChefDB. That is a heck of a resume and surprisingly under the radar.
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FYI, there is some major news - which has gone completely unreported - about The Jockey Club: It has both a new chef (Levi Mezick, who has taken over for Richard McCreadie), and a new GM (William Washington, who has come from Blue Duck Tavern). With a couple of exceptions, there will no longer be any tableside preparations (which, to me, is a huge deal because these beautiful, dramatic presentations are what set Jockey Club apart from just about everywhere else in town).

But Levi has an eye-popping resume - maybe William can chime in and tell you the rest.

Thanks Don,

William Washington chiming in and yes we have re-launched The Jockey Club.

The Chef does have an “eye Popping resume”, Levi was most recently employed as the Executive Sous Chef at Café Boulud in NYC, prior to that he was with restaurant Daniel, and prior to that Per Se as well as Oceana. Complete bios will be up with the launching of the new website early next week (for now the current menus may be viewed on the original site, which otherwise has not been updated during the re-launch process). The response to the new menu has been overwhelming and the cuisine reflects the Chef’s culinary background; diverse and exciting, yet well rooted in classical French technique.

While it’s true that our tableside presentations are gone from the new menu (with the exception of the Caesar salad), they are not forgotten. They are simply taking a well deserved vacation while we allow our guests to experience Chef Levi’s culinary prowess without the distraction of those great classics, so they may return fresh and invigorated when the time is right.

We look forward to welcoming everyone into this new phase of the Jockey Club’s rich history.

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Wow! Per Se and Oceana. The best of Manhattan. When will the new chef and menu be in place?

The Chef and Menu are in place (http://www.thejockeyclub-dc.com/menu), our new website will debut later this week, but the on-line menus are current; and accurate examples of the style of cuisine Levi produces. We anticipate very frequent changes to the menus (particularly dinner) so future updates to the website will serve as seasonal examples with actual daily adjustments available via email. We've spent the last month quietly testing and re-testing, dotting I's and crossing T's. The Jockey Club is evolving and will continue to do so, on an ongoing basis, we hope the residents and visitors of the greater Metro area will join us now and be part of the experience. We look forward to welcoming everyone back into this new incarnation of the Jockey Club.

WW

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I NEVER made any comment about the Jockey-club!!! I did not go there since 1993 and I would not dare to make a judgement on a restaurant and a chef I don't know.

I will report this problem to DON.

I was sick last week and one of my employee used my PC and my donrockwell.com account to make a comment about the Jockey-club.

I apologize if it mislead some people of the blog.

Like I said I don't know the chef and the restaurant so it prevents me to make a comment about this restaurant.

[it sounded V-E-R-Y out of character. I'll delete all relevant posts now.]

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Before going to the Georgia O' Keefe exhibit at the Phillips today, my SO and I had lunch at the Jockey Club. We both ordered the heirloom beet salad that had red and orange baby beets, baby spinach, blue cheese, toasted walnuts apple "batons", crispy shallots, and a cider vinagrette. It was excellent. Because they were out of the sea bream, she ordered scallops. Three big and juicy ones arrived with a variety of mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and a plum coulis. I ordered the sweet potato risotto with brown butter emulsion, shaved ricotta, and tiny carrot squares. Very, very tasty.

But, the place was virtually empty. Only three tables taken. Service was a bit slow, though a rather large staff was in place. We plan to return for dinner. Has anyone been there since the latest chef was installed?

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Saturday night my wife and I had dinner at the Jockey-club and we had a pleasant surprise.

A beautiful and elegant restaruant where the noise level is good and also a great dinner.

My wife had a simple endives salad and a sea bass and I had a crab salad with a very interesting granny smith aspic then a pork chop perfectly prepared.

I was less thrilled by the dessert but I was told taht a new pastry chef started 2 weeks ago.

I would say that the first two courses were among the best I tasted in the last few years in DC.

Now I cannot wait to go back when the new dessert list will be in service.

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Say hi next time, Chef! ;)

Mrs JPW had Oysters and the bread encrusted sea bass.

I had the egg/duck prosciutto/sauteed spinach salad and the duck breast.

All were good. Technically everything was prepared perfectly. But with one exception nothing blew me away.

The exception was the sea bass. (BREAD CRUSTED SEA BASS Basmati Rice, Coconut, Coriander, Glazed Bok Choy Essences of Tamarind and Kaffir Lime Oil)

The hints of Thai flavors were perfectly done - present in the background and not overpowering. This was a superb entree.

Dessert was a nice slice of cake (with a candle as it was Mrs JPW's birthday) and coffee.

You'll not find very many inexpensive bottles on the wine list, but we were very ably guided by the sommelier.

Service was absolutely spot on. And like apicius, I really enjoyed the elegant low key atmosphere.

It's a very narrow edge they are trying to walk, mixing the old school with some more modern touches. It'll be interesting to see how it develops.

All in all a very good dinner.

I can see 3 stars from Sietsema.

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And in case it isn't common knowledge by now, The Jockey Club closed and has replaced by the thoughtfully named 2100 Prime.

I take it your "thoughtfully named" remark implies you share my bewilderment at this incredibly stupid name for a restaurant. How do they come up with these horrible names? Does it take a consultant? I think restaurant names based on street number are generally pretty lame, but 2100 Prime? At least 2100 Mass would actually mean something (although it would still be lame).

Anyway, I got a flyer in the U.S. mail today for 2100 Prime, which includes a coupon worth $10 off your next meal there. You have to write your name and email address on the coupon before you present it.

Anyone been? The flyer led me to visit the restaurant's web site and look at their menu. It's pretty standard American fancy-restaurant fare, not unlike what you might have found in a luxury hotel restaurant in 1960, I imagine, which if well-done is pretty reasonably priced, although this is their menu-final-spring2012, according to the page heading, so things could have changed a lot. A half roast chicken for $21. New York Angus strip for $34. Prime steak tartar $25. Dover sole $45. They do have a "locavore" emphasis.

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Anyone been? The flyer led me to visit the restaurant's web site and look at their menu. It's pretty standard American fancy-restaurant fare, not unlike what you might have found in a luxury hotel restaurant in 1960, I imagine, which if well-done is pretty reasonably priced, although this is their menu-final-spring2012, according to the page heading, so things could have changed a lot. A half roast chicken for $21. New York Angus strip for $34. Prime steak tartar $25. Dover sole $45. They do have a "locavore" emphasis.

I walked by the other week on the way to Eola - does that count? :)

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