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Seasonal Pantry, 9th and N Street, Shaw - Chef Dan O'Brien's "Underground" Tue-Sat Dinners - Closed


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Did anybody have dinner at Dan O'Brien's Seasonal Pantry? What did you think?

http://www.washingto...tic-review.html

We had dinner there recently. It was very very good and I am ready to go back. Started with warmed-up herbed melange of olives served in tiny round containers under a glass cap, that was followed by a salad that was drizzled with infused olive oil -- had I been at home, I would have picked up the plate and licked it. It was that good. Actually every bite of everything I had that evening was memorable. Having lived in both Italy and Taiwan I have eaten tons of calamari and octopi, but I can honestly say that chef O"Brien's served on top of sliced grape size potatoes were best of the best. I was a bit surprised that the menu had "rack of pork" and the pork appeared on my plate pink. It melted in my mouth. I ate every morsel sans some of the fat. The chef had only ten people to serve so you got your food the moment it was plated. Bread rolls were OK, but not as good as the rest of the meal. The chef apologized, apologized and apologized explaining the reasons.

It would be fun to go there as a group with people who know each other and enjoy food. Reservations are hard to get. Perhaps, if we get 10 people we could just block one dinner. Dinners are served only 3 days a week Thursday through Saturday. Anybody interested?

http://seasonalpantry.com/clubs.html
Skipper

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I haven't been to any dinners but have bought items made by Dan and they are damn good. His pork rilletts and smoked salmon are superb but the real stand out was his basil ice cream. You've got to love basil to enjoy it but if you do it's worth the drive to this random part of DC. (Getting a sandwich at Sandevich around the corner adds to the good excuse.)

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I'll admit my bias in that I'm a huge fan of Dan's cooking. Given that Seasonal Pantry is right around the corner from my job I probably pop in once a week on the way home to grab something to spice up my dinner. So far the highlights include:

*Housemade Bacon - gives the bacon from Bar 3 a run for the money, so wonderfully smokey and tasty, makes a fantastic amatriciana sauce.

*Pickled Cherries - spectacular with cheese, green, and pork

*Ice Cream - all of the flavors were delicious, my favorite so far has been the balsamic, which was almost caramel in flavor.

*Any of the pasta - seriously, do yourself a favor and get some, I don't care what shape. I haven't had pasta this good since Roma

What might be the best part is how personable Dan is when you're in there. He's extremely gracious and knowledgeable, when I was asked him what to do with them and he explained to me how to use them in cooking swiss chard....I cooked chard for 3 days in a row using the cherries. It was that good.

I hadn't been able to actually EAT at Seasonal Pantry until last night though as they had been sold out for several weeks following the Post review. Needless to say I was excited when they offered a "Dine and Dash" 3 course menu for $30 (or $40 for wine). I went with two of my coworkers and snagged a 9:30 dining time. You had the choice of:

1st Course: Pate de Champagne or peperonata

2nd Course: House made pasta with either: A) Smoked tomatoes and eggplant or B ) Rapini and italian sausage

3rd Course: Roasted Peaches with mascarpone and honey

We all went with the peperonata as our appetizer, you could taste the hours of roasting that went into the stew of of peppers and onions served over some great bread that was made in store. The pasta was wonderfully al dente, with nice bitter morsels of rapini and bites of sausage that popped with flavor. I was equally impressed with my vegetarian friend's pasta dish, which had these wonderful little smoked tomatoes scattered throughout the dish. It was nice to see that someone took extra time and care to make sure that the vegetarian entree was just as composed and interesting as the rest of the menu. The peaches with honey was divine, I contemplated licking the plate to get every drop of the creamy, sweet emulsion of the cheese and honey.

Given the price and quality of food, that would be enough as it is. But you have a really intimate experience at the place, the people serving you the food are Katie's parents. It just makes for a great time for all, both of my coworkers thanked me repeatedly for telling them about Seasonal Pantry.

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I live in Reston. I can't just "pop in" because it is around the corner.

They are not making it easy to contact them. The phone number that is listed leads to a personal answering machine. I am having quite a bit of difficulty with a restaurant like this: how do I contact them? No, don't tell me e-mail. I want to talk to someone now, not tomorrow, certainly I want to hear a voice who responds to me. What do I do if I want to cancel a reservation at the last minute-is there a number I can call?

No, I don't want to cancel. Actually I want to make a reservation but there is no one I can call to ask if they are open on Sunday (website says yes), no one to call if their tasting menu would be available on Sunday.

Whatever happened to restaurants making themselves available to those who want to eat at them?

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I live in Reston. I can't just "pop in" because it is around the corner.

They are not making it easy to contact them. The phone number that is listed leads to a personal answering machine. I am having quite a bit of difficulty with a restaurant like this: how do I contact them? No, don't tell me e-mail. I want to talk to someone now, not tomorrow, certainly I want to hear a voice who responds to me. What do I do if I want to cancel a reservation at the last minute-is there a number I can call?

No, I don't want to cancel. Actually I want to make a reservation but there is no one I can call to ask if they are open on Sunday (website says yes), no one to call if their tasting menu would be available on Sunday.

Whatever happened to restaurants making themselves available to those who want to eat at them?

Real problem with this. There are some restaurants I will never go to. This is one.

You are viewing this place wrong. I assume you have never seen it. It is not a normal restaurant that you can just pop into. There is one table with ten chairs and barely room to walk around it. There is one guy, a great guy named Dan, and maybe a helper. View this as going to his home to eat, or like a blind sedate with a few new friends. Go to the website, click on supper club, look at the menus and book (paying via PayPal when you get the reservation) if there is availability for a night that you like the menu.

No, they are not open for dinner on Sunday. In fact there is only one day in which they currently have availability, June 21st, for a Menu Roulette (i.e., whatever Dan feels like cooking). If you want to book in the future, sign up for the emails and jump when something looks interesting. I dont know what would happen if you cancelled, but I would assume that you would lose the whole cost of the meal, as Dan would personally be out for almost that whole amount. If you don't like the system, don't go, but it is what it is, and many of us think it is awesome.

Also, if you want to talk to someone, stop in and see Dan sometime, he is a great talker and has been there 49 out of the 50 times I have stopped in. Buy some bacon and pasta for later and eat a sandwich from Sundevich before going home.

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I am not going to "stop in." I live 20 miles away. Their website clearly states they are open on Sunday:

Contact Us –

MON closed TUE/WED 2–8 THU/FRI 2–7 SAT/ SUN 12–7

1314 ½ Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 — Click for map

All I did was attempt to call to confirm that this was, in fact, correct. I changed my post above when I stated that I would never go. But after reading your post and recalling exactly what their website says above: I won't go. I don't care how "personal" a place is; answer the damn phone. Ten seats, twenty seats, a day in advance or a year in advance-ANSWER THE PHONE or, at a minimum, leave a recording telling me what time I can call and talk to a human being.

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I am not going to "stop in." I live 20 miles away. Their website clearly states they are open on Sunday:

Contact Us –

MON closed TUE/WED 2–8 THU/FRI 2–7 SAT/ SUN 12–7

1314 ½ Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 — Click for map

All I did was attempt to call to confirm that this was, in fact, correct. I changed my post above when I stated that I would never go. But after reading your post and recalling exactly what their website says above: I won't go. I don't care how "personal" a place is; answer the damn phone. Ten seats, twenty seats, a day in advance or a year in advance-ANSWER THE PHONE or, at a minimum, leave a recording telling me what time I can call and talk to a human being.

The website is for the store, which is open during those hours. Click to the Supper Club and you will see the hours. It is physically impossible for both the restaurant and the store to be open at the same time, the table would not fit. Is the man not allowed to go to the bathroom or deal with a customer or have another call? If you want to talk to him, leave a message. Or, just skip it, but you really are asking too much to demand that he answer the phone every single time it rings during business hours. He is as communicative as possible if you let him be (in person, updated website, updated emails, updated Facebook, etc.), but like most of his generation, phone may not be the easiest method of contacting him.

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This is their website:

Thank you for your interest

in Seasonal Pantry!

Click here for the new Supper Club menu...

A new theme for the adventurous type!

Keep up wit the latest SP news...

icon-twitter.png Twitter icon-facebook.pngFacebook

envelope-icon-red-web.pngTo keep up with what's happening at Seasonal Pantry and upcoming clubs, sign up for our newsletter.

MON closed TUE/WED 2–8PM THU/FRI 2–7PM SAT/SUN 12–7PM

Phone 202.713.9866

_________________________

like most of his generation, phone may not be the easiest method of contacting him." Again, I called for clarification and originally posted because of what I thought/think is ambiguity and an answering machine. For your response to me: fascinating answer. Really not worth either you or I spending any more time on this.

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Seasonal Pantry is the store. Supper Club is the restaurant. The website is very clear, which I think he should be commended for as so many places have flash-driven, outdated sites.

Click the link in your post, and it will answer your questions about Supper Club. Click Contact Us, and it will tell you the best way to contact them (hint, it doesn't list a phone number.

And yes, very few people in my/his generation use the phone anymore. It is generally too intrusive for personal calls and too inefficient for business purposes.

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And yes, very few people in my/his generation use the phone anymore. It is generally too intrusive for personal calls and too inefficient for business purposes.

________________

The phone is "too inefficient for business?" Are you serious? "too intrusive for personal calls?"

I must tell you: I've travelled heavily for over thirty years on business which I am now retiring from. Daily, I missed my wife's voice. Daily, I called her. A half dozen times each day. And we would talk. I valued her words but I valued her voice saying them more.

I lived for her personal calls. Hopefully she cared about mine. Twitter, print impressions, part of a chain of sorts on Facebook-none of these take the place of the life of a human voice on the other end of the phone. Whether it is my wife or a restaurant I am trying to make a reservation at.

Or cancel if I am considerate enough to call.

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I don't disagree, there is a huge benefit to the human voice, but phone calls to all but the closest people should now be scheduled. Otherwise you may be interrupting as work hours are no longer set and people carry their phones everywhere. I still talk on the phone quite a bit, but only a very few people are now on my impromptu call list. For anyone who would have a problem saying, I'm too busy, bye, a pre-call text is preferable. It is the same as how you should call before visiting someone's house.

For business, yes, it is generally (although not always) inefficient. An email can be composed, and the recipient can collect files and thoughts before responding, thus ensuring that the correct information is communicated, and a record is created. There are times when a call works better, but often that is because you don't want a permanent record.

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Maybe pictures might help clarify some of the descriptions but I think everyone might want a good old-fashioned or g&t to cool off in your corners. I see yall are frustrated. Pls be a bit on topic. Pretty pls? See the hot weather foods thread for further assistance....

[double post sad face]

I did not think that this veered very off topic at all, and I have to say that, especially with the "double post sad face," whatever that means, this creates a very chilling effect. Are we not supposed to post about logistics in restaurants anymore and how they might be affected by outside factors (such as the changing views on technology)? I thought that was exactly what this website was for, discourse instead of simply posting trite reviews of a single meal. Maybe it has changed since I was last active. That is sad, as I really loved what it was, but the message is clear. Bye.

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Provided there are no personal attacks (and there have not been thus far), I don''t see a problem for individual members discussing whether or not they like how a restaurant chooses to set up its customer outreach. The topic, to me, is worth exploring (no difference here than the R24 contract kerfluffle).

**Now, to get completely off topic, I received a call from a researcher at a major university asking me to participate in a study of how I used social media to recruit new employees.The short answer was, we don't, at all. After a 1 hr Q&A, I realized that there are a vast network of young, educated potential recruits out there that I have NO IDEA how to contact or communicate with.

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Provided there are no personal attacks (and there have not been thus far), I don''t see a problem for individual members discussing whether or not they like how a restaurant chooses to set up its customer outreach. The topic, to me, is worth exploring (no difference here than the R24 contract kerfluffle).

I agree with this. I think moderation is a fine line, and applying a heavy hand there (particularly when there are no "attacks") is really to the detriment of the board as a whole.

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Provided there are no personal attacks (and there have not been thus far), I don''t see a problem for individual members discussing whether or not they like how a restaurant chooses to set up its customer outreach. The topic, to me, is worth exploring (no difference here than the R24 contract kerfluffle).

**Now, to get completely off topic, I received a call from a researcher at a major university asking me to participate in a study of how I used social media to recruit new employees.The short answer was, we don't, at all. After a 1 hr Q&A, I realized that there are a vast network of young, educated potential recruits out there that I have NO IDEA how to contact or communicate with.

I was very interested in hearing others' opinions on the issue. But, now that likely won't happen. I think that it is insulting to assume that this would turn into a series of personal attacks. I don't believe that either Joe H or I have ever devolved a conversation into personal attacks (with anyone), and I know that we have had several disagreements (and agreements) in the past. I respect his opinion very much, and I believe that his insight and passion (i.e., willingness to express disagreement) is one of the greatest things about this site. I am sorry that this type of discourse is no longer encouraged out of fear that disagreements sometimes devolve. If we use this criteria, however, meaningful conversations become impossible.

Edited to reminisce: Joe H's empassioned opinions are actually what hooked me on food boards in the first place. The first post that I ever made on a food board was on chowhound in May of 2002. My father was going to take me to Galileo to celebrate my graduation from law school, and I asked if there was anything in particular I should try. Joe H told me not to go (ironic considering his love of all things Donna, but true). He said that it was resting on its laurels and that I should go someplace else. If I recall correctly, I was pretty upset about this because I had made it clear that I was going there and that it was someone else's choice. My blood boiled for the first time about these types of issues, and I was hooked. I have since made many of the same such comments, and Joe H has been a go-to for me as a trusted resource because he was right. Although we have disagreed about many things in the past, it is always about the minutae. I trust his opinion on food more than anyone else I can think of on this board, especially as it was he who led me to my absolutely fabulous first (and only for a long time) meal out after my daughter was born, at Rue Dumaine, outside of Dayton, Ohio. Thank you, Joe H.

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[Time out!]

I was reading through this discussion beginning with Joe H's 8:36 PM post, and thought it was quite interesting. The back-and-forth was a fascinating generational contrast, and made for good reading; then, all of a sudden, the train got derailed. Here are some lessons:

* Please let ME do the moderation! I know what I'm doing. Really.

* double post sad face means "I accidentally double-posted, and edited it to say 'double post sad face.'" There's nothing "chilling" about that.

* Extrapolating a single member's (well-meaning, but ill-advised) interjection as representing a sinister change in board policy is incorrect.

* I alone set board policy, I moderate with an extremely light touch (always have), and I had no knowledge of this until just now.

* Anything written here at 12:30 AM, by anyone, is forgivable. :)

[Time in. Carry on with the discussion as you see fit.]

And now everyone sees why I cannot take a vacation. :mellow:

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It's true. I often misread things. I can admit it, and with the fact that I am particularly sensitive nature as a whole, words tend to multiply ten fold. All someone has to do is say, "hey, goodeats, you misread," and that can be that.

My posts are not meant to discourage any type of discussion, argument, discourse, white paper, etc. It is mainly sometimes to say, "hey, are you sure you meant to write what you wrote?" Plus, what you wrote, lackadaisi, just meant you disagreed with what I wrote, and I happily accept that.

Sadly, replying on smartphone tends to lead to double-posting for me, and I can't delete that. So I tried to make it funny, which failed, in this case. My apologies for misleading anyone.

My intentions are good, but it seems like they are mistaken. I think it's obviously time for me to go into a hole, given some of the feedback I have been getting. Thanks.

With that, I am horribly off-topic, other than the slight comment of, "Oh, I should really try this place based on what people have been writing!"

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I would prefer to be able to go to a restaurants website, see the reservations available, and book it right there (as you can do with Dinner Parties) rather than endlessly speed-dial at 9:59 am 30 days to the date I want to eat at (insert name of fancy tasting menu restaurant here), only to be told that it is mysteriously full at 10:01am or the only time available is 9:30pm. :angry:

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It's true. I often misread things. I can admit it, and with the fact that I am particularly sensitive nature as a whole, words tend to multiply ten fold. All someone has to do is say, "hey, goodeats, you misread," and that can be that.

My posts are not meant to discourage any type of discussion, argument, discourse, white paper, etc. It is mainly sometimes to say, "hey, are you sure you meant to write what you wrote?" Plus, what you wrote, lackadaisi, just meant you disagreed with what I wrote, and I happily accept that.

Sadly, replying on smartphone tends to lead to double-posting for me, and I can't delete that. So I tried to make it funny, which failed, in this case. My apologies for misleading anyone.

My intentions are good, but it seems like they are mistaken. I think it's obviously time for me to go into a hole, given some of the feedback I have been getting. Thanks.

With that, I am horribly off-topic, other than the slight comment of, "Oh, I should really try this place based on what people have been writing!"

I misunderstood the double face sad face as expressing particular disappointment with where the conversation had gone. Sorry to have dwelled on that.

Back on topic, it really is an interesting place, but it is neither a traditional store nor a traditional restaurant. Seasonal Pantry, despite being a non-traditional shopping destination, has been a boon for our neighborhood. It is exactly the type of business that we want here, a small, owner-operated neighborhood focal point. When we first moved here, people barely called this area a neighbohood, but it now has a very strong sense of community that is only growing. Much of that is due to Seasonal Pantry and a few other businesses of this type. Although they provide a very good quality product (I don't know what I would do without my weekly bacon fix!), I most appreciate the way that it has helped this neighborhood to gel, and this is mostly because of Dan's amazing communication skills - he really is a huge focal point for the neighborhood, and I now couldn't imagine it without him. It is great to be able to drop in, see a friendly face, and get a rundown of all the new developments, and he does a great job of keeping up so many forms of information in real time (white board, facebook messages when he won't be in the store, updated website on menus and availability, frequent but not overfrequent emails...). His role really can't be overstated, and the place is awesome too. I highly suggest that you stop by before it expands as it really is a sightto see such a great little upstart in its nascent stages.

I have not had an opportunity to try Supper Club yet due to schedules, bookings, babysitting, etc., but I am looking forward to doing so; it is high on my to do list.

I think a picture is a good idea. This is my first attempt at uploading, so hopefully this one works. This is the entire place. This is the store, the restaurant, the kitchen, the prep area, the register, and that is Dan. The photographer is standing in the entrance, possibly half-way out the door. The only thing you don't see is a little case for cheese, and a little case for pasta and ice cream. The wall on the right is covered with an up-to-date white board that has Dan's personal to-do list, future menus, and other upcoming events.

post-133-0-42554900-1339601075_thumb.jpg

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I would prefer to be able to go to a restaurants website, see the reservations available, and book it right there (as you can do with Dinner Parties) rather than endlessly speed-dial at 9:59 am 30 days to the date I want to eat at (insert name of fancy tasting menu restaurant here), only to be told that it is mysteriously full at 10:01am or the only time available is 9:30pm. :angry:

Me too. Even with regard to normal restaurants, I would much rather book online. I want to be able to see all the available options, present them to my potential dining mates, and then book, without long delays between steps (better yet if I can then instantaneously get it on everyone's outlook so they don't forget). Often these decisions are made late at night or it is last on my to do list, so the restaurant may not be open or may be busy. Also, I feel like a heel when I call between 11-2 or 5-9, so that really only leaves a few hours, and often they are my busiest.

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The supper club has been very successful at putting bums on seats, but we managed to snag tickets due to DC's usual December exodus.  The food was all around terrific "“ unfussy but also quite innovative, interesting, and delicious.

We'll definitely be back.

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We went here twice but not in the past two years. Loved it both times but I'm a little surprised he's still operating since 1) he has had good success and 2) I thought the goal was to use it to raise enough capital to open a more traditional 6-day restaurant. Seasonal Pantry was initially a lower cost way to put out a shingle.

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Can confirm (as Don already did a couple of posts upthread) that Dan is absolutely "filling his seats" now in his 5th year with SP. Stopped in today and picked up a few items (spices, beautiful castelvetrano olives and a couple butt-kicking chocolate chip cookies).

To me, Dan and SP are exactly the kind of chef-owned business that should be much more prominent on this site than it is. I think it a good example of an unfortunate emphasis on latest and greatest that infects any online gathering place. Chef O'Brien cares about food, cooking and his role as a teacher to an exceptional degree. The market alone (which I'd forgotten about) reflects this. SP is exactly the kind if place which the unique DR constituency should be supporting--and reporting on!

We'll be supping here again soon and really recommend it to others. Need to plan ahead as the seats tend to book up quickly (but, hey, no Rose's-like lines!) SP won't be here forever as some interesting new ideas and possible,next steps are percolating. While the getting is still good, this is absolutely wonderful food made by a serious chef and priced more reasonably than oer spots of like quality.

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Summer in DC has its perks - the locals leave and while the tourists pour in they gather in places we don't care to visit (i.e., Carmine's and Clyde's). You can thus score some impressive last minute tables. Earlier this week I randomly checked the Seasonal Pantry website and saw seats available the Friday dinner. Despite only hearing good things, Seasonal Pantry is a place we've only thought about going to but never have until now. After a good and well prepared but expensive and not particularly memorable meal we are in no rush to go back unless we booked out the whole place and had more control over menu and wine.

To begin two really irritating things:

1- we arrive and immediately learn that Dan O'Brien isn't cooking that night. He's out of town.  I get it, at many restaurants I won't know or care if the chef is cooking that night. But this place is tiny, they cook in front of you and very chef driven. If we had known he wasn't there we wouldn't have bought seats for that night.

2- They put two carafes of wine on the table - a French Sauvignon Blanc and a Grenache. The premise is red and white table wine family style, but why not in the bottles? I  like to know what I am drinking. All that is fine except the wine was totally mediocre.

Then the food starts to come out. You can't find a menu online and some research based on recent Yelp reviews and Instagram gave us some hints of what to expect in terms of menu.  But I think our big surprise was that unlike past menus, we weren't served a "meat" course. Totally unclear if this was a function of Dan O'Brien being gone that night or if this is the menu they've been serving.

I'm struggling now to make a list of what we had to eat- will edit if I suddenly remember something. Should have taken photos.

1- Radishes with homemade butter - Oddly, we were the only people at the table who weren't confused by the combo. Also the radishes are locally "foraged" - which begs any number of questions.

2- Asparagus Soup with Crab Salad Cracker - Cold asparagus soup served in a demitasse- very lovely but a little salty. Crab salad was tasty. Homemade cracker that held up well.

3- Homemade Cornbread with Schmaltz and Gribenes - Another course that confused the table. I thought it was really good. But I'm Jewish.

4- Coddled Egg over Spring Vegetables - Perfectly cooked egg, nice vegetables

5- Fried Green Tomato with Roe and Shrimp- Perfectly fried tomato topped with some stuff that didn't need to be there.

6- Pasta - Agnolotti in a black walnut cream sauce. Pasta was overcooked and the whole thing was overly rich, heavy and mushy

7- Scallops with Snow Peas - Three seared scallops over snow peas, mushrooms. Well cooked scallops but the rest was meh.

8- Pot de creme with Rhubarb Compote - Or something like that. It was way too sweet. Rhubarb should have a sour bite, this didn't. The vanilla creme was also sugary.

9- Salted Caramel

10- Chocolate Chip Cookie - The grease from the cookie bled through several layers of wax paper and left a mark on the butcher block table. I won't say it wasn't good or that I didn't eat it.

FWIW, I wouldn't consider this ten courses, it was more like eight with two "extra" desserts. Makes me wonder if I am forgetting something but I don't think I am. Also, they have no ventilation. Cooking in a room full of people, the place smokes up occasionally. If you have sensitive lungs, this could be a tough venue.

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also of note, as of jun 1 the shop part is closed for good and the dinners are expanding to also include Tuesday night. :sigh: I liked the shop. Oh, well.

That's on their facebook June 3, I imagine they meant July 1?  The white board and items for sale when I was there last week made it seem that the market was still open.

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also of note, as of jun 1 the shop part is closed for good and the dinners are expanding to also include Tuesday night. :sigh: I liked the shop. Oh, well.

That's on their facebook June 3, I imagine they meant July 1?  The white board and items for sale when I was there last week made it seem that the market was still open.

More info from Tim Carman. Looks like they may be selling off what is left of their inventory and any extras that Dan makes as well as doing pop-ups on Saturdays. But the days of stopping by after work on Friday to pick up duck legs or meatballs or whatever other delicious goods for dinner are gone.

That's too bad. The market has had a special place in my heart since the time I came down with a mysterious illness back in 2011. I didn't have enough energy to cook and eating out was also energy (and bank account) draining, so I frequently stopped by Seasonal Pantry for lasagna or soup. It really saved me from having to make Chipotle a dining option.

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To begin two really irritating things:

1- we arrive and immediately learn that Dan O'Brien isn't cooking that night. He's out of town.  I get it, at many restaurants I won't know or care if the chef is cooking that night. But this place is tiny, they cook in front of you and very chef driven. If we had known he wasn't there we wouldn't have bought seats for that night.

This issue came up again on the Washingtonian food chat yesterday and it was damn near unanimous that this was bad form for the place to either not inform guests that the star chef wasn't there or charge less because of it.

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I have been remiss in not posting. I went to SP the night before lekkerwijn and had the same courses, but a very different experience. All in all I thought it was a really fantastic meal and a good value. I am eager to go back in the fall when there may be more meat dishes.

Key comments:

- I too was disappointed upon being told that the chef wasn't there. Had I felt differently about the quality of the meal at the end, I think my disappointment would have been much greater. Having read the comments in that chat and given it a bit more thought, I do think that given the format and O'Brien's own description, he should note next to the dates when you purchase tickets that he won't be in the kitchen and possibly lower those prices slightly. When we return in the fall, I do plan to call in advance to make sure he will be there as I would be much more upset if it happened twice.

- Wine: people seem to have drastically different feelings about the wine service here. I enjoyed both of the wines, particularly the white, which went well with many of the dishes. However, others in my group wished there were more, didn't love one or both, or felt pressured to drink less because they didn't want to appear greedy to the other parties at the table. One made the suggestion to just make SP BYO, which I think is a fantastic idea. They could lower the ticket price, but still allow enough to cover wine service costs, which would, let's face it, be minimal.

- Salt: My one and only complaint of the meal was the salt level. My friends and I have a joke from a drunken NYE meal where a friend made some particularly salty salted ice cream. Another friend cried out "This is salty for salt!". That comment was tossed around more than a couple of times during this meal. The breadsticks that started the meal, the asparagus soup, and the scallop dish were the biggest offenders, really pushing the limits on the seasoning. It didn't make the dishes unenjoyable for me, although by the scallop dish I was so full that the saltiness made it that much tougher to finish, but I mostly mention this as a warning to those who are more sensitive to the seasoning level. It did make it quite amusing though when the salted caramel was brought out to finish the meal. :P

Of course, I suppose this begs the question - was the heavy hand with the seasoning because Dan was out of the kitchen? I don't know. I would really love for him to pop in here and comment.

In any event, again, I really loved the meal. The asparagus soup, the coddled egg with spring vegetables, lamb bacon, & carrot puree, and the fried green tomato dish I would happily eat again and again. I would probably say the same for the scallop dish if I hadn't been so full by then, but the sear/cook on those scallops was beautiful. Everything on the menu outside of the cornbread with schmalz (loving this rendered fat as the new butter theme I'm seeing) and the pasta dish (which was perhaps overly rich but otherwise delicious) sung of spring. Only the dessert underwhelmed a touch, but I was so stuffed at that point it would have taken a lot to wow me. And I have to say that there's something to be said for having already paid for your meal in advance. I felt the meal was a good value, but that feeling can only have been aided by the fact that I didn't have to pay when I was done. :P

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I finally took the plunge and procured tickets to Supper Club for MichaelBDC and myself. A former co-worker is a friend of Dan's and gathered a group of twelve to buy out the place this past Tuesday. I can't remember all the dishes but they were all very good with a few being superb. I left stuffed, and I am a big eater! Some of the highlights were:

  • A cold soup (cauliflower?) with crabmeat
  • Coddled egg over summer vegetables with perfectly cooked pork belly cut up into lardons
  • Drunken "Noodles" which is like the Thai dish except softshell crab tempura were acting as the noodles
  • Paccheri pasta with rabit sausage in some delicious sauce that ended in me almost licking the bowl
  • Vanilla custard with roasted peaches for dessert

The one dish that was a bit of a disappointment was the duck. It was perfectly cooked, but the cherry sauce overwhelmed the duck. I was incredibly full by this point, so that might have played a part as well.

I enjoyed the wine more than I thought I would although I think some "reserve" wine had to be brought out. We are big drinkers.

Honestly, I was really skeptical that the dinner would be worth the $140 price tag but I was wrong. The dinner far exceeded my expectations and the whole experience was very enjoyable. I left really appreciating what Dan is putting out/trying to do with the Supper Club concept and the work that was put into the whole meal by Dan and his staff.

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