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DC Coast, 14th & K Streets NW - Chef Miles Vaden Takes Over From Matt Kuhn - Closed Dec 31, 2015


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DC Coast doesn't get much coverage here. I have only been for happy hour. Among those of you who have dined there, what's good?

I like DC Coast (not sure why it doesn't get more coverage... maybe because of the lobbyist/expense account scene that seems to go on there). If for lunch, have the shrimp and grits. If dinner, they generally do good things with scallops, or there's the signature wok smoked lobster.

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The smoked lobster is delicious. Expensive, but delicious.

It's been a year since I've been there but I remember the desserts were all fantastic. I'd definitely save room.

The soups are fun because of the presentation. You'll see the same routine at Ceiba and even Zaytinya, but I remember seeing it for the first time at DC Coast -- little bowl, little white pitcher, soup poured for you at the table, with a twist to the wrist. Red pepper soup with shrimp and thyme in the bottom of the bowl. Good stuff.

Jael

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Probably one reason why DC Coast doesn't get so much play here is that it is fairly close to Corduroy. Another reason is that of all the Tunk, et al, establishments it strikes me as the most lacking in fun concept. Not knocking anything in particular, but it does seem to attract the expense account set and there's not much else happening there. Ten Penh and Ceiba (haven't tried Acadiana yet, 'xept for the po' boys), on the other hand, are more of a scene and have the Cuban Latin and Asian fusion thing going.

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I've been twice - the first was one of my very earliest "fancy meals out" when I first moved here and I was very impressed.

My second was earlier this year during Restaurant Week. That combined with a few years of serious dining and having gone through that whole process of becoming bored and jaded diners, and jenrus and I can away considerably less impressed.

Seafood in a nice room.

Nothing wrong with that, but the cooking isn't quite up to the standards that would elevate that concept to something more.

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It's been a couple of years, I think, since I last dined at DC Coast. I loved almost everything I had there--an oyster and artichoke dish, foie gras with figs, mussels, and my favorite, the Tower of Crab. :lol:

I did try the smoked lobster once, but to me the smoke flavor overwhelmed and drowned the flavor of the lobster meat, so it wasn't my favorite. I do remember, after a dessert of begnets one evening, asking our server to package up the pastry chef so we could take him home with us. :P

It's a nice space, and the shape of it, at least on the main floor, leads to an arrangement of the tables that feels a little more spread out to me. I've never been upstairs, because I can't walk up that many stairs, they have no elevator, and the restroom is in the basement. :D

I do remember it fondly, and always thought that the media was hard on DC Coast.

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I've been a few times in the past several months for work and also for RW. It's not a place I would go on my own dime simply because it has a corporate/ expense account feel and I prefer neighborhood places.

Recently, the fried oyster appetizer, which I rememberd very fondly from over a year ago, disappointed. They were covered in a hot sauce that, for me, didn't jive with the fried oysters at all. Next time, I'd probably stick with the ceasar salad + fried oysters for an appetizer.

During RW, both my husband and I had the scallops entree (with a tomato sauce), which was nothing special. Recently, I had the shrimp and grits, a dish that I love, but was also disappointing. The grits were too watery for me, and I was not a fan of the onions and peppers thrown in; I guess I was looking for something richer and more savory. On a high note, last spring, I had the crab cake, which was excellent.

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I have never been to DC Coast before, but we are going for RW lunch tomorrow. It is a favorite restaurant of a co-worker who is moving out to Denver at the end of the month, so we're surprising her with lunch there.

Anyone been there recently that can recommend anything? Do they limit their menu significantly during RW?

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I have never been to DC Coast before, but we are going for RW lunch tomorrow.  It is a favorite restaurant of a co-worker who is moving out to Denver at the end of the month, so we're surprising her with lunch there.

Anyone been there recently that can recommend anything?  Do they limit their menu significantly during RW?

They normally limit the appetizers and desserts to a few choices, but keep all the entrees on the menu.

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I have never been to DC Coast before, but we are going for RW lunch tomorrow.  It is a favorite restaurant of a co-worker who is moving out to Denver at the end of the month, so we're surprising her with lunch there.

Anyone been there recently that can recommend anything?  Do they limit their menu significantly during RW?

I've totally quit restaurant week but the last time I did do it was probably about 2 years or so ago and DC Coast was the last restaurant I did it in. When we did it then they had everything available and only a slight upcharge for the tea smoked lobster....which is what I had and enjoyed.

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We did DC Coast last night. They had a selection of soups (Lobster Coconut Curry Bisque and Butternut Squash) and salads for course 1. And their entire entree menu available for course 2 (the lobster was an extra $10 or so). There were three choices for dessert. My double-cut porkchop with applewood smoked bacon stood out as the star of the evening. :)

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I have not been in quite some time but last time I went I had some very good scallops.

The desserts are usually a strength there too.

It's been a couple of years since I've been there, but I remember the tower of crab with fondness.

I also remember our waiter's startled expression when I asked if he could package up the pastry chef for me to take home. I'm not a big dessert person, but I loved their desserts!

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Had dinner there on Friday night with a large group celebrating a birthday. Nice selection of fru-fru martinis (Lisa particularly enjoyed hers that was made with Ciroc, white grape juice, and adorned with three frozen grapes. I admit it was tasty and without burn - which meant I would've had three in a row and then fallen down).

We started with wagyu beef carpaccio (lots of greens, not much beef) and a plate of oysters (six lovelies whose taste was sadly obscured with some ginger-ish seasoning). First round was OK, but could have been better.

For mains, I had the whole Hong Kong style crispy sea bass and Lisa went with the seared scallops. I got a plate with a very large and well deep fried fish. It was thankfully free of any extraneous seasoning so I was able to enjoy the combination of crispy skin and sweet meat. It tasted like the oil might have been a little old but I was able to overlook that. I was so focused on demolishing the entire fish that I didn't get a chance to try the scallops.

The wine suggested by the server was not what we hoped for. She promised us a crisp dry chablis (Francine et Olivier Savary 2003) and I was quite surprised to find that it was way too sweet for us. Oh, well.

No dessert because we were stuffed (and somewhat focused on getting to Restaurant Kolumbia in time for last call!).

Overall, not a bad meal. It wouldn't be the first place I'd think of going to in that area but I'd happily tag along if someone suggested it.

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I was there last night with an eight year old goddaughter and her parents, armed with a listing of specialties from the Washingtonian where the place is 91st in the top one hundred. The child had the lobster bisque which she said was awesome and well as the similarly rated Caesar salad. She also liked her vanilla ice cream but felt the portion was smaller than she liked. The parents had the Asian lobster (which the child also sampled), crispy bass, and fois gras. I did the mussels (larger than Beck's) and the double cut pork chops that were easy to slice, chew, and swallow. I have been to both Corderoy and Beck's and felt that the food and service at the Coast was better.

I note that there were quite a few children at various tables, something that I had not expected, and all seemed to be well behaved.

I can't fault the place at all and wonder why there isn't more discussion of it on the board. Possibly becuse there are other flavors of the month and year that are more must do.

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I can't fault the place at all and wonder why there isn't more discussion of it on the board. Possibly becuse there are other flavors of the month and year that are more must do.
I enjoyed a meal I had there a few years ago, but the restaurant was very loud. I'd been wondering about going back again, but all I could remember about the previous meal was the noise level :angry:. Have they done any kind of soundproofing, or is that still an issue? (Unfortunately, my hearing ahs gotten even worse, so I'm more sensitive to that kind of thing than I was then.)
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I enjoyed a meal I had there a few years ago, but the restaurant was very loud. I'd been wondering about going back again, but all I could remember about the previous meal was the noise level :angry:. Have they done any kind of soundproofing, or is that still an issue? (Unfortunately, my hearing ahs gotten even worse, so I'm more sensitive to that kind of thing than I was then.)

I've only been there once, and it was 4 or so years ago. I enjoyed the food there, but I agree, the place was noisy. But, IIRC, isn't there a (much smaller) upstairs part of the joint? If I were to go there again, that is where I'd prefer to be seated (if it exists).

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I've only been there once, and it was 4 or so years ago. I enjoyed the food there, but I agree, the place was noisy. But, IIRC, isn't there a (much smaller) upstairs part of the joint? If I were to go there again, that is where I'd prefer to be seated (if it exists).
If I'm recalling it correctly, we sat upstairs and it was really loud. It's been too long to be sure my memory is accurate, though. We were not in the main area where the bar is.
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Wow. I say congratulations to both Brendan and DC Coast for what seems like a great move for both parties.

Tom Sietsema: CATCH OF THE DAY: The co-owner of DC Coast tells me that he's just hired a new chef to head up the kitchen of the popular downtown seafood restaurant. Angling for "a fresh approach" in DC Coast's 10th year, Jeff Tunks says he's asked Brendan Cox of Circle Bistro in the West End to infuse his menu with some new ideas.

Aside from a few signature dishes, "nothing is sacred for us," says Tunks, whose current chef, Travis Timberlake, is leaving after Restaurant Week.

Cox, 33, hopes to bring "a real market-to-table sensibility" to DC Coast, where he expects to feature ingredients culled from his prime pool of small purveyors. He's not wasting any time, either. The chef's last day at Circle Bistro is Friday, Sept. 12; the following Monday, he'll start at DC Coast.

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Excellent pickup for Tunks. I haven't even considered going to DC Coast in years, and this move puts it squarely back on my radar.

Gosh - I have always thought DC Coast's pork chop dish (with that sweet potato mash and cherries)was the best in DC. And I love their caviar service, and they have a damn good chile relleno. But getting Brendan is an awesome move.

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Gosh - I have always thought DC Coast's pork chop dish (with that sweet potato mash and cherries)was the best in DC. And I love their caviar service, and they have a damn good chile relleno. But getting Brendan is an awesome move.

DC Coast always put out good cuisine (at sometimes inflated prices), but as soon as Cork, Central, and a certain wine-focused restaurant in Penn Quarter opened up, it got phased out of the dining budget. This addition is enough for me to find a way to force it back in there :lol: .

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RW review: noisy, crowded room with uncomfortable straight-back chairs. Almost too loud for conversation. Good service. Superb cuisine, esp the crisp, crusty, savory main-course scallops (with pasta squares), which my companion compared favorably to those he'd had at a famous seafood place in Vancouver. The pound cake dessert was something of a concoction, with fruit, syrup and ice cream. If you're going to go over the top, I say, do it at dessert. They've got the RW spirit -- lots of choices, generous portions. This visit was an incentive to return at a less hectic time.

I've been to two restaurants now, after six weeks of medically-induced hibernation. It's a great world out there!

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I was here last night for restaurant week as well. The service was very attentive, but while I enjoyed the wide array of menu choices, I wasn't as big a fan of the food. I seem to be having a bad run of luck as of late with softshell crab tasting only of batter and nothing of crab. But the crab cake on top was pleasant with a more mustardy flavor than most, and the succotash underneath was rich and fresh tasting. I do wish I'd ordered the balsamic shrimp rather than the somewhat bland gazpacho. Maybe I had overly high expectations, but based on this experience I think I prefer Acadiana or Ceiba over DC Coast in the world of Jeff Tunks.

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It had been a couple of years since I'd been to DC Coast, but Brendan's move prompted me to return last night.

The bar here is one of the most pleasant 'dining bars' in the city, and I'd forgotten how much I like it. When I opened the menu, I was jarred into thinking exactly what I thought on my last visit here: If any dish cost $1.00 more than it did, it would be priced $1.00 too high. As it stands, everything is seemingly priced exactly as it should be, at least in terms of how the menu "reads," the location and atmosphere of the restaurant, etc. Part of me wants to say Passion Food competes with Great American Restaurants because both companies seem so efficiently run, but in terms of quality, there's no comparison - Passion's restaurants are a lot better (and more expensive).

DC Coast's menu is still in flux, but the Kabocha Squash Soup ($9.00) with toasted pumpkin seeds and kabocha squash ragout will be served for the duration of autumn. I got a brief glimpse of the squash ragout - presented in the bowl with the pumpkin seeds - and really appreciated how finely diced things were. Within seconds, my server poured a pitcher of the squash soup over it, and it was gone. This is a large bowl of comforting soup, but it's extremely thick and served very hot, so much so that I felt the squash ragout was lost, and I couldn't really tell it was there; the pumpkin seeds seemed purely textural because of the heat and viscosity.

After many years, the Hong Kong Style Whole Crispy Fried Striped Bass ($28) with Asian cucumber salad and garlic-soy dipping sauce is coming off the menu next week. I'm told this is Jeff Tunks's recipe, and I remember having this dish the last time I was here - I liked it then, and I liked it just as much last night. It's a beautiful, timeless presentation that I will miss. Yes, the fish can be a little dry on its own, but that's why it's sitting on a pool of broth (along with the ramekin of dipping sauce). I'd love to see this served with a small bowl of plain, short-grain white rice, but it's a moot point since it's coming off the menu. However, I hear that Cliff Wharton is serving a similar presentation with flounder down at Ten Penh.

I thought I'd quietly slip in for a quick dinner last night, and then be on my way. Brendan saw I was there, and brought out a small sample of his amazing lobster boudin blanc (which I factored into the bill) - this isn't on the menu yet, but it's apparently coming soon, and if it does you should order it because it's a terrific boudin. The perils of sending out special tastes: A gentleman sitting next to me saw it and wanted one too - can't say I blamed him!

There isn't yet a super-strong Brendan Cox signature here (and there may never be), but small changes will apparently continue over the next couple of weeks, and I suspect DC Coast will be different three weeks from now than it is today. A good dinner at one of our city's important dining establishments.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I finally had lunch at DC Coast for the first time. It was excellent -- the fried oysters in particular were superb. The scallops were also worthy of note. One of my colleagues had the gnocchi appetizer that clearly would suffice as an entree for many people. Desserts looked interesting but we were all too stuffed.

Only down note: They were out of lemonade so I couldn't have an Arnold Palmer. :lol:

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After many years, the Hong Kong Style Whole Crispy Fried Striped Bass ($28) with Asian cucumber salad and garlic-soy dipping sauce is coming off the menu next week. I'm told this is Jeff Tunks's recipe, and I remember having this dish the last time I was here - I liked it then, and I liked it just as much last night. It's a beautiful, timeless presentation that I will miss. Yes, the fish can be a little dry on its own, but that's why it's sitting on a pool of broth (along with the ramekin of dipping sauce). I'd love to see this served with a small bowl of plain, short-grain white rice, but it's a moot point since it's coming off the menu. However, I hear that Cliff Wharton is serving a similar presentation with flounder down at Ten Penh.

Every time I've tried a whole fried fish at one of these fusion restaurants (so far, Ten Penh, DC Coast and the Source), it sucked cause the fish itself is dry and has no flavor. In a chinese joint, the sauce would've poured over the fish itself so that it wouldn't be dry. The secret of course is the sauce itself. When I was at the Source, I saw a table of 6 order two of these. Neither of them were able to finish the fish. I didn't finish mine either. Whole fish should be served family style. That's just my perspective.

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An out of town friend picked DC Coast over BraBeck for dinner to my chagrin last night. I've never been to BraBeck and would have loved the opportunity to check it out. At 7 PM, DC Coast was pretty packed but the service didn't suffer but the noise was fairly loud. I ordered 3 appetizers, of which two were safe. The steamed mussels were fine, the fried oysers were light, crispy and wonderfully seasoned (they've woud've made excellent po' boys), and the crab boudin was fabulous. I believe our waitiress said the boudin is made of shrimp and scallop paste, which is then wrapped around chunks of crab meat. I got a $50 parking ticket for staying past 9 PM a block away from the restaurant, doh!

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An out of town friend picked DC Coast over BraBeck for dinner to my chagrin last night. I've never been to BraBeck and would have loved the opportunity to check it out. At 7 PM, DC Coast was pretty packed but the service didn't suffer but the noise was fairly loud. I ordered 3 appetizers, of which two were safe. The steamed mussels were fine, the fried oysers were light, crispy and wonderfully seasoned (they've woud've made excellent po' boys), and the crab boudin was fabulous. I believe our waitiress said the boudin is made of shrimp and scallop paste, which is then wrapped around chunks of crab meat. I got a $50 parking ticket for staying past 9 PM a block away from the restaurant, doh!

My office is right between DC Coast and Beck, so we go to both. Life is rough. I agree that the fried oysters are excellent. That boudin sounds great! We are having a lunch at DC Coast next week and I will be looking for that among the apps. DC Coast is definitely a good place for making a meal out of apps.

Definitely give Beck a shot when you get the chance. The mussels (I prefer the classic white wine preparation) are great. The fries (with three dipping sauces) are superb if you like your fries thin and crunchy and the bread is fantastic -- esp. for dipping in the mussel broth.

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Lunch at DC Coast was fine today. I love their soup. Today's Gazpacho was red AND had melons in it...interesting. It was a bit spicier and thicker that most but nice. The scallops were seared to perfection and perfectly well cooked inside (as in almost opaque in the center). I am not sure what they were sitting on (something red) but I liked the fresh peas as well.

Finally, the noise level was lower than I last remembered, which is an improvement.

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perhaps just for late summer, i cannot say fersure, but the bar menu is now half-priced from 3-6p (and has been revamped). note that this excludes the pork-lobster-foie dumplings [WTF!] and the cheese plate with humboldt fog.

this is all well and good, but i already miss that shrimp quesadilla. it just wasn't the same yesterday while taking in another drubbing by tricolors (mex2-1usa).

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Surprised to see that no posts have been made about this popular place for about 18 months! So ... I will, having eaten there this past Sunday. For starters, we had the Autumn Squash-Porcini Mushroom Soup (Squash Ragout, Black Truffle-Pumpkin Seed Emulsion), Dayboat Scallops (Parsnip, Young Spinach, Porcini Jus), and Fried Chesapeake Oysters (Smoked Onion and Apple Slaw, Violet Mustard ... yes, it's purple). We added an order of Kennebec Frites (Parmesan, Truffle Oil, from the bar menu ... with the chef's consent) for the table. For entrees we had rockfish (Shiitake Mushrooms, Charred Red Onion, Black Truffle-Pumpkin Seed), yellowfin tuna (Braised Leeks, Shellfish-Lemongrass Emulsion, Maiitake Mushrooms), and goat cheese gnocchi (Autumn Mushrooms, Roasted Rumba Squash, Sage). All these had very good flavor, were well prepared, and are recommended, as most people should like them. However, if playing the role of being more critical, I'd add that the truffle flavor of both the Squash Soup and the Rockfish was more subtle than I would have liked .... the goat cheese flavor of the gnocchi was not too strong, which is good in my book ... the fries were tasty and had good truffle flavor, but if held up to Belgian level standards, could have been crispier with less burnt bits. The desserts, chai creme brulee and mixed berries were good, but nothing special. While it was a Sunday evening, no noticeable drop in quality noticed. Our party of 3 ate well for about $72/person, incl tax & tip, for 3 courses and a bottle of wine.

It's been several years since I've last eaten here, and if my memory and perception stands correct, the food is not quite as "flashy" as it was back then (i.e., I recall several dishes as having unusual flourishes), which is not entirely a bad thing. Also, we sat in the balcony because we wanted to converse easily. Up there, only the two tops have a view of the main floor. The larger tables have a nice view of the outside. Some people might find the upstairs a bit confining, others might find the downstairs too busy and louder.

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Kliman on Brendan Cox leaving DC Coast...and Washington DC here.

Frankin Square's loss is Pittsboro's gain. I have enjoyed several delicious meals at DC (the deliciousness has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't had to pay for any of them) since starting my current job in May of 2008. Hopefully Jeff Tunks will fine someone who can keep things going.

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Frankin Square's loss is Pittsboro's gain. I have enjoyed several delicious meals at DC (the deliciousness has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't had to pay for any of them) since starting my current job in May of 2008. Hopefully Jeff Tunks will fine someone who can keep things going.

Passion Food will have no problem filling Brendan's shoes at DC Coast - Brendan was both overqualified and underqualified for this position: overqualified, because he's too meticulous of a craftsman for such a high-volume restaurant; underqualified, because he doesn't have the natural instinct to crank things out when crush time arrives, sacrificing quality for quantity. This is not an indictment of DC Coast which I think does very well given its high volume; it's a lament for the loss of a great artisan, but ... we'd already lost him when he left Circle Bistro - now, we'll be able to find him once again (we'll just have to travel to do so). I'm sad for us, but I'm happy for him.

If there's one thing I'll remember about Brendan, it's when he was at Circle Bistro with Barry Koslow as his sous chef - this is before I knew Barry as well as I do now. Brendan leaned over to me and whispered, "Can I tell you a secret?" I said sure. "Barry's a better cook than I am," he said. That's Brendan in a nutshell: a humble talent.

And I'll also say that there was not a better poissonier in this city than Brendan Cox.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Grabbed a quick lunch here today, and ordered the softshell crab BLT. The crab was crispy and flavorful, the bun was nicely fresh and buttery in a brioche-y kind of way, and the sandwich was an overall treat. However, the accompanying fries were flaccid and oily, as if fried at too low a temperature.

The web site does not accurately reflect the lunch menu. Just a nit-pick, but keeping the web site current is a good idea, and reflects a solidly managed restaurant empire.

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Anyone been here recently?

Yes, was here not this past weekend but the weekend before for a graduation dinner for my SIL who just got her masters. The menus were personalized for her and that was a nice touch. I started with the tomato and white bean soup which had essence of bacon somehow without having crispy bacon that I noticed. Just beans and a not to thin, but not super thick soup, it had the right texture for me and taste of tomato as I don't like very many tomato soups and WILL NOT EVER eat it out of a can. It was really good, especially because I had a cold. I then had the lobster entree with crispy spinach (like the Rasika spinach) that I really enjoyed, as well. The lobster was cooked perfectly and paired nicely with the crisp gingery veggies of carrots and cabbage (I think that was it on the veggies in the dish but could be wrong). It had a lot of flavor and texture, but worked really well together.

Was there for a big family dinner and everyone seemed to enjoy their meal immensely. I thought it was a bit loud, but it may have been the cold having clogged up my sinuses. Service was really good though, nothing went unnoticed even folding of napkins when you left the table.

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Breezed in to the DC Coast the other night, early evening, for a post-work meetup with an old friend. Seeing most bar stools occupied, we sat at the bar facing the dining room, our backs to the "real bar". I was at first disappointed we could not sit at the main scene, but the location turned out to be a wise choice. Unlike patrons at the regular bar, my friend and I were able to continue conversing comfortably and had the best view for people watching when the area soon became crowded and happening with lobbyists and staffers.

Bee's Knees ($13, comb gin, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, lemon twist) hit the spot, masterfully blended without a whisper of wayward ice. From the regular menu, Pork and Surf ($13, described as crispy pork terrine, charred octopus, petite lettuces, sauce gribiche) turned into Surf & Surf, due to an outage of terrine. We delighted in this dish, tender and flavorful, octopus grilled honorably. We also shared an arugula salad from the regular menu ($13, local lettuce, Benton’s country ham, salt roasted beets, candied walnuts, fig vincotto) and crispy mushroom dumplings ($6, with ponzu and asian slaw) from the bar menu. Major bonus points for incredibly quick food delivery, less than five minutes from order to arrival, including an unobtrusive, nearly ninja-like, delivery of silverware.

Tip for future happy hour patrons: Even at this aesthetic and price point, and on a busy weekend night, there are no servers supporting the bar area. This makes business sense, ordering through the bartender enables more rapid turnover in a high-demand situation. Bar service was prompt and professional, but the layout made for challenging logistics. Try to sit where we did, your back to the main bar and next to the mermaid statue, unless you want people (like me!) walking up behind you to order all the time. I met several fun people this way, but still felt guilty for encroaching on their space, and there was no other way to make it work.

Tip for the venue: Especially before you turn the music up at 5:30, encourage the friendly host to avoid pencil-tapping to music only he can hear. He may not know it, but the acoustics transmit his actions directly to bar patrons. That sound was driving us just about bonkers, and we were on the edge of mentioning it to him, but then 5:30 hit, the turned up music reached our ears, attendance suddenly skyrocketed, and all was well in the listening world.

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Breezed in to the DC Coast the other night, early evening, for a post-work meetup with an old friend. Seeing most bar stools occupied, we sat at the bar facing the dining room, our backs to the "real bar". I was at first disappointed we could not sit at the main scene, but the location turned out to be a wise choice. Unlike patrons at the regular bar, my friend and I were able to continue conversing comfortably and had the best view for people watching when the area soon became crowded and happening with lobbyists and staffers.

Bee's Knees ($13, comb gin, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, lemon twist) hit the spot, masterfully blended without a whisper of wayward ice. From the regular menu, Pork and Surf ($13, described as crispy pork terrine, charred octopus, petite lettuces, sauce gribiche) turned into Surf & Surf, due to an outage of terrine. We delighted in this dish, tender and flavorful, octopus grilled honorably. We also shared an arugula salad from the regular menu ($13, local lettuce, Benton’s country ham, salt roasted beets, candied walnuts, fig vincotto) and crispy mushroom dumplings ($6, with ponzu and asian slaw) from the bar menu. Major bonus points for incredibly quick food delivery, less than five minutes from order to arrival, including an unobtrusive, nearly ninja-like, delivery of silverware.

Tip for future happy hour patrons: Even at this aesthetic and price point, and on a busy weekend night, there are no servers supporting the bar area. This makes business sense, ordering through the bartender enables more rapid turnover in a high-demand situation. Bar service was prompt and professional, but the layout made for challenging logistics. Try to sit where we did, your back to the main bar and next to the mermaid statue, unless you want people (like me!) walking up behind you to order all the time. I met several fun people this way, but still felt guilty for encroaching on their space, and there was no other way to make it work.

Tip for the venue: Especially before you turn the music up at 5:30, encourage the friendly host to avoid pencil-tapping to music only he can hear. He may not know it, but the acoustics transmit his actions directly to bar patrons. That sound was driving us just about bonkers, and we were on the edge of mentioning it to him, but then 5:30 hit, the turned up music reached our ears, attendance suddenly skyrocketed, and all was well in the listening world.

Read this, please.

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How did Miles Vaden end up here? I thought he left Eventide to go to Fiola, but he apparently replaced Matt Kuhn (who went to Ardeo) who replaced Brendan Cox (who moved to North Carolina).

It would make my life so much easier if our larger chains (NRG, Knightsbridge, Passion, Think, etc.) would flip me an email (donrockwell@dcdining.com) whenever there's a Chef de Cuisine or General Manager change - not so I can write about it; just so I can title the threads properly. I would very much appreciate it if anyone reading this would pass this onto your publicists - I don't generally get a chance to read other publications, so I can easily miss major staff changes. Thank you! Rocks

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