Jump to content

IndeBleu, 7th & G Streets, Verizon Center - Closed.


Recommended Posts

[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Sitting at the corner table this evening, looking out through the window onto 7th Street, I saw a juxtaposition of expensive, thick, shimmering draperies, the Chinese-language sign for OBA Bank on the wall of the building just outside, and the bright, flashing lights of the Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Stadium 14, all within my purview and framed and layered like some kind of Franco-Cino-American Visual Napoleon.

Then turning towards my left, looking across the expansive, elegant, empty dining room where, for two hours, I was the only customer with a minimum of a dozen staff working the area, I felt like I was the central character in a Fellini film.

And so it is with IndeBleu, a bizarre combination of Zaytinya (large, hip, faux-ethnic), LeftBank (all things to all people), Kinkead's (many ingredients per dish), Nora (attention paid to raw ingredients), Heritage Dupont (Indian fusion ) Zola (swank, MCI-Center digs), Komi (young, polished, genuinely friendly and caring service), and Maestro (a hard-working, hand-selected chef brought into Washington from overseas.

I had a really nice dinner tonight at IndeBleu - five courses, all ranging between $9 and $12 (entrees are in the $20s and $30s) - the meal included a demitasse of potato-marjoram soup as an amuse-gueule, excellent fresh-fired oiled-and-herbed mini-naan throughout the meal, and a little tray of mignardises after dessert. The food tended to be bit heavy and busy for my taste, but I'm fairly certain the ultra-modern exotic nature of this restaurant, coupled with its proximity to the MCI Center, will have a far-reaching appeal to tourists just like that of Zaytinya. It's always difficult to judge the service when there's a 20-to-1 waitstaff-to-diner ratio, but everyone I met, downstairs and upstairs, was fabulously friendly and wonderful, including the quietly charming Chef Garg.

Good luck to IndeBleu - I look forward to going back and trying it again.

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After months of indulging my guacamole addiction at Rosa Mexicano, I have found another bar food worth obsessing about:

On IndeBleu's bar menu, there are short rib samosas served with a bleu cheese dipping sauce. Authenticity be damned. These fried morsels are rich and magical, particularly after a few glasses of Champagne. :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a somewhat accidental dinner at IndeBleu last night. Accidental in that I suggested it to friends who were in the city from Crofton, MD for drinks and when I wasn't looking, the man of the couple got us a table upstairs. I had mixed emotions about that move given that 1. I know the place is expensive and 2. it's not easily confused with any of DC's more serious dining establishments.

After a drink and a snack (short ribs for me again - no doubt! lamb lollipops for my friends which they enjoyed), we moved upstairs to the main dining room.

Between the decor, and the smooth moves of the servers, the restaurant seems significantly more formal and serious than the bar and lounge downstairs. That's probably not news to anyone, but as someone who has spent plenty time at the bar, it was a jolt dining at IndeBleu for the first time.

My friend got the three-course tasting and her boyfriend (aka FBF) got the four. I didn't feel all that hungry, but got strong-armed and also ordered the three-course.

I thought a lot of the food was very, very good. Note: I'm working from memory to avoid the restaurant's super-high-tech-super-annoying web site menu. My first course, one giant gnocchi stuffed with veal and chanterelles, was spectacular. It was rich and comforting and delicious. My friend was swooning over her tuna tartare, and FBF's beef and lobster carpaccio was excellent. Fresh flavors with a zingy vinaigrette that had a little heat toward the end.

FBF, for his second course, had a wild mushroom dosa with blue cheese gratin. I had contemplated ordering this, but in the end was glad I did not. In my mind, I had pictured a dosa composed of mushrooms surrounding the blue cheese. Instead, it seemed like rather ordinary phyllo dough (huh?) filled with mushrooms. The blue cheese was surprisingly not a big presence. FBF loved it but my friend and I were kind of "eh."

Our main courses were tasty, but overshadowed by the first courses, IMO. FBF and I both had the rack of lamb, served with a side of "mojito sauce." Syrupy and sweet, I had one taste and pushed it to the side. I ordered the lamb medium and it arrived rare, but I didn't send it back. If the error had been toward well-done, I would have. The flavor was good, and the meat was tender. I liked the accompanying green lentils served atop a portobello mushroom. But for some reason, I just wasn't blown away. Perhaps I was too full.

And yet we had more food coming: dessert. My dessert, menage a trois of apples (ugh to the name), was truly phenomenal. I liked all three preparations, but their take on tarte tatin was my favorite. Friend wasn't crazy about the oreo kulfi profiteroles. The 'orgy' or what have you of chocolate was very good.

A note on the service. After all of the talk about "movement training" and other bs, I was prepared to mock our server relentlessly. But the guy was great. His food recommendations were spot on (see: veal gnocchi) and I was extremely impressed by his knowledge of the wine list and his observation that I was squinting from the bright street light (he closed a curtain without a word, only a brief glance confirmed that it was me he was attempting to please).

FBF picked up the tab, however if I had to guess, I'd say our dinner, with cocktails to start and a bottle of wine, fell somewhere in the $350 range before tip. When I'm at IndeBleu on my own dime, I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the bar menu, however the meal, for the most part, was a pleasant surprise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yet we had more food coming:  dessert.  My dessert, menage a trois of apples (ugh to the name), was truly phenomenal.  I liked all three preparations, but their take on tarte tatin was my favorite.  Friend wasn't crazy about the oreo kulfi profiteroles.  The 'orgy' or what have you of chocolate was very good.

I hope ALL the desserts aren't named after some sort of group sex.

Circle jerk donuts, anyone? :P

Edited to add - Cool, that's both sex and fusion related.

Edited by bilrus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had lunch with my new boss today (reorganization) at IndeBleu. We sat upstairs and I have to say, the setting is beautiful and very spacious. I like my job because we eat at a lot of restaurants, so I can test them before laying out my own cash. I started with the Masala Mary (a bloody mary with garam masala). This was, um...interesting. I like bloody maries, I like garam masala. This was not a winning combination. The waiter noticed I wasn't slurping it down and offered to exchange it for another drink. I chose it, so I wasn't sending it back. There wasn't anything wrong with it per se, just not my thing. Boss had the Big Easy - Southern Comfort, Cointreau, ginger ale, and something else god awfully sweet in there. Not my thing either, but he enjoyed it.

I had the tandoori shrimp on cauliflower "risotto" for an appetizer. The shrimp were properly cooked, but nothing outstanding. I read the menu too quickly and thought I was actually going to get a grain of some sort with cauliflower in it. What I got was diced cauliflower sauteed in spices. Not very satisfying. Bossman had a gazpacho like creation. He seemed to enjoy it. It looked more flavorful than my appetizer.

I had the gunpowder dusted monkfish. It was nice, but again, nothing earth shattering. Boss had the "dosa" which he said was adequate. I prefer real dosas like at Amma's, as this was super crisp on the outside and he said was a bit heavy.

I finished with a mint ice cream with cardamom fudge, with no discernable cardamom in the fudge. It was a bit of a let down for $9. Boss had some sort of cakey thing with lemon sauce.

All in all, a decent meal, but certainly not one I would be running back for. The staff were very friendly and professional at the same time.

Damage was $121 before gratuity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had dinner at Indeblue last night. Admittedly, the selection was slim to none, and none of the mains piqued my taste buds. However, we couldn't pass on the appetizers and desserts, which sounded wonderful. So off we went.

Arrived for our early reservation (5:45) and were seated immediately. Our server wasn't overly gregarious, but pleasant. We ordered the duck samosa, mushroom dosa, ginger salmon, chicken confit, and one of each dessert. The appetizers tasted as good as they sounded; only complaint being there wasn't enough of either! With the small appetizer, I was anticipating horribly small RW entrees. I was however, pleasantly surprised as both dishes were decently sized for a restaurant such as Indebleu (you know the type). We guessed that the non-RW portions were one and the same. The chicken confit was good, not a wow, however the accompanying sausage was light and delicious, as were the beans. The salmon had a nice glaze, and was *perfectly* cooked, served alongside a tomato-onion (?) mash (not what was on the online posted menu). Finally, dessert. Portions were a good size, and the taste was delicious. The chocolate mint ice cream had a cool crisp flavor, not like your typical mint-extract variety. Although subtle, the cardamom fudge was a nice addition. We both found the peppermint bark to be of poor quality however. The highlight was the rosewater panna cotta. Great texture and wonderful rose flavor. The mango ice cream had good taste, while the foam was.. well, foam. Somewhat passé if you ask me.

Overall, we were very happy with the choice. Although the menu *is* limited, I would highly recommend to anyone if you think the choices will appeal to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still feeling residually hip for having been at IndeBleu last night. That's assuming that hipness is infectious, as all of the employees, and many of the patrons, of IndeBleu were carriers, while I was uninfected until I walked in. This is not, by the way, a criticism. In fact, I note the "cool" factor of IndeBleu to tie it into the fact that unlike some other restaurants (ahem), IndeBleu does not sacrifice food for atmosphere.

We were greeted by a host unironically wearing a t-shirt under his suit jacket. I had a moment of silent satisfaction when I realized that I recognized the electronica song thumping through the bar, until I realized that everyone else knew the song, too, because it was Moby.

I ordered my date a blackberry mojito at the bar, paid the equivalent of a new CD for it, and waited for our friends to show up. Once they did, we were immediately seated. The hostess that led us upstairs was French; our server was British.

One of my dining companions asked for the same drink that my date had carried upstairs with her, the aforementioned blackberry mojito. The waitress explained that, due to an earlier private party, the restaurant was out of rum. This was inexplicable in light of my date's 10-minute-old drink, but my friend moved on and ordered champagne instead.

The flatbread that starts the meal is outstanding. Mini-naan is the best term for it, and it has just the right measure of melted butter and garlic on it. The bread is delivered by a roaming staff member with a pair of tongs.

All four of us did the Restaurant Week menu. We tried all three appetizers. The bleu cheese mushroom dosa was the least-well-received. The dosa lacked the expected crispness, and the cheese was barely to be found. The mushrooms were, however, warm and pleasantly subtly flavored. The salad (shaved vegetables, orange lemongrass dressing, and spiced cashews) was competent, but neither the contents nor the dressing clearly traced their roots to India or France, at least not by taste. The spiced cashews were spicier than expected, which was a pleasant surprise.

As an aside, my salad arrived devoid of the cashews, and I had to mention to a runner that my salad lacked the promised nuts. She was more than gracious in promptly retrieving a small side of said cashews. On that same trip, she also brought one of my dining companions the correct appetizer, the duck samosa, as they had erroneously brought him the mushroom dosa at first. But this was no big deal, and it was a nice gesture for the server to go ahead and leave the extra appetizer on the table for us to split.

I did not try the duck samosa, but my dining companion said that he thought it was the best part of his meal.

Two of us ordered the vegetarian entree, which consisted of two hockey-puck size circles of fried, shaped green plantains. They had a wonderfully complex, slightly spicy flavor, a crunchy exterior, and a soft interior. The braised vegetables on which the plantains were perched were fine, but nothing special.

The chicken confit dish consisted of a small chicken leg (presented vertically), a sausage, and a stew of white beans. The only person that got that dish said his preference, in descending order, was the sausage, the beans, and the chicken. He had no complaints, but he also did not find it memorable.

I had the ginger-glazed salmon filet, which was just big enough that one could not complain about its size, but small enough that it did not threaten dessert. I have nothing but good things to say about the dish. The sauce was rich but not overpowering, and did not obscure the perfectly roasted salmon, which fell apart under my fork. The accompanying tomato-onion mash was spicy and reminded me of my favorite Indian dish, baingan bharta, which adds eggplant to the mash.

The desserts were uneven. The rosewater panna cotta was a flan with an understated flower flavor. The serving was barely bigger than a thimble. Really. It tasted fine, but it's not caviar. They should bump the serving to the size of, say, a ping-pong ball. The accompanying mango ice cream was amazing, but, again, the serving size was incredibly tiny. Melted, the ice cream would have filled half of a shot glass. Maybe. The mango foam was, as noted in another post, mango foam.

One of us chose the chocolate mint ice cream with cardamom hot fudge sauce and peppermint bark. Now, I used to work at Baskin-Robbins back in high school, and I can tell you that I could not stand mint chocolate chip ice cream (though it scoops well). IndeBleu's chocolate mint ice cream, though, is an ice cream connoisseur's dream. The ice cream is a smooth white, the chocolate has a rich, medium flavor, and the mint only hints, as opposed to searing your mouth like Scope. The fudge and the peppermint bark were nice complements, though neither were integral to the dish.

We left thinking that IndeBleu struck a perfect balance between good ambience and good cooking. And that may have been Moby I heard on my way out.

Edited by Demvtr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night I was a guest of La Chaine for their dinner at IndeBleu. Since I know they sample courses in the planning phase of these dinners, I am always assured that these dinners will be decent.

The dinner party started by with all of the guests meeting in the lounge for Champagne and Canapés. Stuffing around fifty people this small space did not work very well. Most of the guests were forced to stand in the walkway or in what seemed like the black hole of Calcutta between the lounge and the bar (the walls were painted black).

The canapés were Tuna Tartare with pickled beets, Fried Plantain with Tamarind chutney, and Constant Bliss Cheese with Fruit Chutney. The Tuna Tartare was very fresh, however, I could not pick-up the beets because it had way too much white truffle oil on it. The tartare was placed on top of a cracker, that I cannot describe, I would like to but, the chef decorated serving trays with a good amount of raw lentils. These stuck to the cracker and even to portions of the tuna. I am not sure if people actually like to eat raw lentils, but it was not one of my culinary highlights. But the trays looked really cool.

The Constant Bliss was nicely served in porcelain spoons with an adequate, but not overpowering dab of chutney. It passed muster with Jill “The Cheese Lady” Erber, so that should say enough about it. I did not taste the Fried Plantain, so I cannot report on that canapé.

With these we were served the Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve. This is one of my favorite big house Champagnes. It has a wonderful toasty flavor, and a wonderful splash of acid. The Pol Roger was a lovely wine to start a party.

We retired to on of the rooms in the upper section of the restaurant. The room was a strange orange marmalade color, but it was not too annoyingly so. Our first dish was a Demitasse of Bell Pepper and Ginger Veloute. This was my favorite dish of the night, it was simple but effective. It was warming, but not too rich. It was also the least sweet dish of the night. The veloute, was a creamy soup of roasted red peppers with just a suggestion of ginger. I should point out that the red soup clashed with the orange on the walls.

The next dish was a Lilliputian Tower of Lobster and Lump Crab with marinated mango, pine nuts, curry oil, and a plantain chip. This is a hard dish, individually the flavors were not very impressive, the mango was just sweet, the crab and lobster was under seasoned, the curry oil not much there to describe. However, when taken as a whole with a bit of the plantain chip, it was very nice, but the real key was not to get too much under seasoned seafood in the bite or the other flavors were lost. This dish was served with a 2003 Landmark Damaris Reserve. I am not much for overly oaked chardonnay, but this more exotic than buttery, and worked wonderfully with this dish.

Following this was another seafood dish. This time Cumin Dusted Scallops with orange-braised chichory, crispy pancetta, and micro basil. This did not work for me. The scallops were a bit gritty, and the cumin was evident as a coloring of the scallops, but absent from the taste. The real problem with this dish was the very sweet sauce that was served over it. It was almost like eating candied scallops. The highlight of this dish was the wine, which was a 2004 Domaine le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray. The wine has a slight sweetness to it, but when served with candied scallops, the acid shows beautifully, and the pear flowery nature of this wine comes through. If the object of this dish was to show the wine at its best, I would say it succeeded, however, the goal was for the wine to highlight the dish.

Next we had Seared Muscovy Duck Breast on pickled red cabbage asafetida gnocchi and pomegranate gastrique. One of the things I really love about a seared duck breast is taking a bite of the crispy skin, and the rich meat together. That was not possible with this dish. The breast had been sauced with the overly sweet and lacking sufficient acid pomegranate gastrique, so the skin had become soft, and rather unpleasant. Having never had asafetida, I was interested in what it would taste like, I am still wondering. The gnocchi did not taste any different than the rubbery frozen type you find at most restaurants, but from its shape I could tell that someone took the time to hand make these little super balls. The cabbage and pomegranate matched very well. I would have received this dish more positively (except the soggy skin) if the previous dish had not also been so sweet. The wine for this course was the 1999 Domaine Maillard, Corton Renardes. Without food this was setting me up for another Burgundian heartbreak as it lacked any discernable flavor or body, but it awoke when matched with this dish. The body did not improve dramatically, but hints of cherry that were not evident before started to come out.

The last of the “savory” dishes was a Seven spice dusted tenderloin of beef with braised young vegetables and port glazed madras onions. The beef was a whole tenderloin that had been dusted, then roasted and sliced. The problem is that the very small surface area lightly dusted with spice made it superfluous, and then any hope of finding the spice was lost with the addition of the overly sweet port glaze it was drizzled with. The baby vegetables that accompanied this dish were not braised, but blanched, and still a little too crunchy for my taste. We were treated to a wonderfully juvenile 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This was almost infanticide drinking this wine so young, and with little time in a decanter. I can see this maturing into a very fine wine with more age on it, and when the tannins begin to calm down.

Our desert was a Coconut Chiboust with pineapple sage soup. So what is a Chiboust? Yeah, in this room filled with foodies no one else knew either. It is a cream named after a French pastry chef, named well Chiboust. If the rest of the meal had not been so sweet, this dish would not have been so cloying. The Chiboust was more like the filling from a lemon meringue pie, with a hint of coconut than a cream. The soup was a think syrupy sauce with nary a hint of sage. On their own they were not very impressive, however if bites were taken with pieces of the pineapple chip that adorned this dish it came together. The chip still had plenty of acid to balance the sweetness. We enjoyed a wonderful but still too young 2001 Chateau Puy Servain, Haut Montravel. The wine was sweet enough to stand-up to the dish, however, after so much sweet food it was a bit much.

All around I cannot say that I was blown away by the cooking at Indebleu. The dishes did not exhibit much balance between the sweet and any other element. Also, I was hoping for more spice, I expect to be hit with the taste and smell of cumin in a dish called “Cumin Dusted” or some spice in a dish called “Seven Spice Dusted” but they were absent. Another guest told me that I should give the restaurant another try, and that the dishes were not as sweet as what we had last night. From talking to the person who invited me, after the tasting they asked that the dishes be less sweet, I can only imagine how sweet those dishes must have been if this was not as sweet as the preliminary tasting.

Edited by Sthitch
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All around I cannot say that I was blown away by the cooking at Indebleu.  The dishes did not exhibit much balance between the sweet and any other element.  Also, I was hoping for more spice, I expect to be hit with the taste and smell of cumin in a dish called “Cumin Dusted” or some spice in a dish called “Seven Spice Dusted” but they were absent.  Another guest told me that I should give the restaurant another try, and that the dishes were not as sweet as what we had last night.  From talking to the person who invited me, after the tasting they asked that the dishes be less sweet, I can only imagine how sweet those dishes must have been if this was not as sweet as the preliminary tasting.

That's strange. I don't even think of sweet as being an element of Indian cooking, like you would in Thai. Aside from a touch of tamarind, which I think of as being mare tart than sweet I can't even imagine it working well in that cuisine.

Of course that goes out the window with the ultra sweet desserts - but then I have a major sweet tooth when it comes to desserts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's strange.  I don't even think of sweet as being an element of Indian cooking, like you would in Thai.  Aside from a touch of tamarind, which I think of as being mare tart than sweet I can't even imagine it working well in that cuisine.

Chef Garg came out and explained what he was trying to do with balancing flavors of sweet, salty, bitter, and tart. I did not see the balance in these dishes, they were just overly sweet.

I forgot to mention that the "Mountain Bread" was very good. It was similar to a Naan, with a little oil, onions, and parsley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rumor had it that GM Jay Coldren was going to announce his resignation to the staff last night at 6 PM, after many months of disagreements with Vikram Garg.

erhaps Mr. Coldren eventually grew tired of managing a restaurant that hasn't changed its menu since the opening 15 months ago. Mr. Coldren come from an excellent pedigree and it is sad that he threw in the towel first. Hopefully the service will remain up to snuff.

Edited by Poivrot Farci
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I attended the French Wine Society's Frapin cognac tasting at Indebleu this evening. This was my first time to Indebleu, and it left me with rather mixed feelings about the food.

First pairing -- Napoleon of Tuna Tartare and papadum with pickled beet and mustard relish with Frapin VS. Tuna was very fresh and had lovely flavor, but rendered the papadum soggy in the middle. The pairing REALLY brought out prominent vanilla flavors in a cognac that initially smelled quite oaky -- didn't love the vanilla/tuna combo so much.

Second pairing -- seven-mushroom dosa with blue cheese cream with Frapin VSOP. I would gladly eat this again -- tender, flavorful mushrooms and the cream clearly had blue cheese, but its presence wasn't overwhelming. Unfortunately, don't remember much about the pairing. :)

Third pairing -- foie gras sandwich with rose petal marmalade on garam masala brioche, paired with Chateau Fontpinot XO. I very much liked the garam masala brioche, but found the rose petal marmalade to be a bit too sweet. I have an unabashed love for Chateau Fontpinot, and thought the brioche highlighted its spicy, earthy qualities.

Fourth pairing -- seared muscovy duck breast with asafetidae gnocchi and pomegranate jus, with VIP XO. I tend to agree with Sthich's assessment of this dish and would add that the duck was unfortunately tough. The cognac was wonderfully smooth, and seemed quite a bit fruitier than the previous ones.

Fifth pairing -- Valrhona bittersweet chocolate sorbet (? It was more like pudding, and was not at all frozen) with coconut foam and vanilla caramelized almonds with Vintage 1983. Wow -- the combination of bittersweet chocolate and a light, earthy, 18-year-old cognac was sublime. For me, the coconut foam and almonds were totally unnecessary accoutrements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't seem like anyone there went out of their way to pair special food with the cognacs. The tuna, mushroom dosa, foie gras and duck with pomegranate jus/syrup are from the original openning menu in Dec 2004.

It is far too common, frustrating and deceitful for restaurants to offer guests special tasting menus that are supposed to be paired with wine/spirits/hooch when the starring beverages are most likely not tasted and the dishes are stock "creations". I suppose the same could be said for Gallagher smashing watermellons at every gig. I did however see him make a map of the US with various food items and condiments, so at least he is able to show the depth and breadth of his destructive epicurean genius.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't seem like anyone there went out of their way to pair special food with the cognacs.

That was my thought as well after reading this thread and seeing long-ago reviews of dishes served last night. A couple of the pairings worked well, but the tuna tartare/VS pairing was especially discordant. Each was lovely on its own, but they didn't play so nicely together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was my thought as well after reading this thread and seeing long-ago reviews of dishes served last night. A couple of the pairings worked well, but the tuna tartare/VS pairing was especially discordant. Each was lovely on its own, but they didn't play so nicely together.
Grover and I will be there Wednesday night (a 5 course wine pairing dinner). I'll see if our experience matches yours.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is far too common, frustrating and deceitful for restaurants to offer guests special tasting menus that are supposed to be paired with wine/spirits/hooch when the starring beverages are most likely not tasted and the dishes are stock "creations".

Also common is the practice of charging premiums for these special events when the wine or other paired beverage has been supplied at no cost to the restaurant by the winery or distributor. Not always the case, but common.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband surprised me a couple of weekends ago with dinner at Indebleu. He had been there one night after work with a friend, and really enjoyed it, so he made a reservation for us.

I did enjoy the "Holy Basil" cocktail that he ordered for me at the bar before dinner, although the barstools at Indebleu deserve at least an Honorable Mention in the Most Uncomfortable Barstool category--all steel and sharp corners. :angry:

The dining room is pretty, although the background music was kind of jarring. We both loved the bread, which has been described previously, but we didn't love how difficult it was to get refills.

The menu offered three- and four-course prix fixe options, as well as a tasting menu and optional wine pairings. On my menu, the four-course price was around $62 and the five-course tasting menu was $75, with a $50 or $75 add-on for wine pairings (I don't remember the price, but it was at least $50). I didn't realize it at the time, but my husband's menu was different from mine, showing a six-course tasting menu for a higher cost, and including a foie gras course. In either case, it seemed like a nice way to explore the offerings of the kitchen, so we ordered it.

The food was good, especially the lobster with vanilla sauce. It just wasn't enough. Everyone around us seemed to have ordered the 3- or 4-course option, and we soon realized that we should have done so as well. For instance, my husband had enjoyed the amuse geulle on his first visit and was looking forward to it. Everyone around us received it, but we did not.

Then I noticed that our tartare portions were significantly smaller, by about 1/3, than those being served at tables around us (that was ok, though, because I didn't really want more of that). Where we received two scallops on our plates for the next course, everyone else had three. Where everyone else who ordered the lamb received two double chops, ours were singles. And when the foie gras didn't arrive as my husband expected, he asked the server who explained that the foie gras course is only offered on weeknights; on weekends the tasting menu is shorter and omits that course. :) When she brought back a menu to show him, he realized he'd been given the wrong menu at the start of the meal. The menu he saw first is also the menu posted outside the front door.

But, the bottom line is that our courses, while the same ingredients and essentially the same platings as those of our fellow diners, were a third to half the size of theirs, except for dessert. So, for a somewhat higher price, we were served significantly less food than diners who didn't order the tasting menu.

The wine pairings were OK, but not great. The glasses were brought to the table already poured, so we didn't really know what we were drinking, and the pours were about half the amount we had received when we ordered a glass of wine before the meal. So we had four half-glasses of wine and an espresso each (I would have preferred decaf, but wasn't offered the option) for $50-$75.

Aside from asking about the missing foie gras and being told it wasn't on the menu, and having to hunt down the servers with the bread trays a few times, we didn't make a complaint at the time. I'm not sure what we would have said--"Excuse me, but where is my third scallop?" Our complaints were more with the policies of the restaurant than with aberrations in service or cooking.

To their credit, the restaurant calls diners a day or two after the dinner to ask how things were. After a couple of rounds of phone tag, my husband did get to speak to a representative of the restaurant on the phone and mentioned our dissatisfaction. The person on the phone simply promised a drink each on the house on our next visit.

I do think the food is good, and most of the service is, too. But I do not recommend the tasting menu option. If we go back, we'd order the four-course option instead. There are so many other restaurants I want to try before we do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dont feel too bad, the foie gras course wasnt that special when I had it about a year ago. My general impressions were very close to yours, the food was good but nothing special. I think at that price point (which I can only afford to do a few times a year) my money will go elsewhere. As it has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The glasses were brought to the table already poured, so we didn't really know what we were drinking, and the pours were about half the amount we had received when we ordered a glass of wine before the meal. So we had four half-glasses of wine and an espresso each (I would have preferred decaf, but wasn't offered the option) for $50-$75.

Did the waiter remove the plastic wrap from the glass tableside? Oneological protocol should be that the wine bottle be presented unopened, to the guest, price tag removed (with a razor blade like at the liquor store if need be), opened in front of them, and then the host feigns smelling the cork while discretely comparing the name on the cork to the label on the wine and making it look to their dinner companions that they know what they are drinking about. That might guarantee the guests that, oh I don't know, maybe management is funneling leftovers into "tasting bottles" or cutting the juice with Wycliff Resever 5 Gallon boxes. If they offer to decant the White Zin, decant indeed, preferably by candlelight.

Seems that Jay Coldren's template for wine service has spoiled. The R&D or accounting dept needs to rethink the pricing formula. Conventionally, in western civilization, the price incentive is to buy more for less, like the 40lb baking soda boxes for 23cents less a pound, or drugs.

For the uber frugal, At CP steak you can buy 2 small filets and 1 lobster instead of 2 surf & turfs and save $1.00.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The next time someone asks you to recommend a hip, cool spot for dinner or drinks, don't suggest IndeBleu unless you want to sound like an out-of-the-loop a$$. :) I met my +1 there for a drink Friday night after dinner at Jaleo with a friend. I chose it not because it was "in," but because it was convenient (as I type this I can almost hear you saying "yeah, right").

Wow, how things have changed. It looked like the after party of a Dixie Chicks concert*. Middle-aged dudes in pleated khaki shorts and sneakers and their wives. Notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat. It was at least half-empty. Just trying to help you save face should someone turn to you as their resident nightlife expert.

*Probably because it sorta was. The Chicks performed at the Verizon Center that night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regards a bad experience at IndieBleu:

My wife and I met five friend's (some of whom were from out of town) at IndieBleu for a cocktail (They had a rez for dinner) this past Saturday eve--we arrived there at about 7:15PM. The group: a couple in their seventies, a female couple in their forties and one young girl (Niece, granddaughter). All looked great, well dressed. Well, apparently everyone, but....me. I was in a pair of shorts. In my defense, I was wearing a nicely pressed button front shirt (Tucked in), Nantucket red shorts and white bucks-I was very presentable (if a little preppy) for Washington in the middle of August.

Anyway, the hostess immediately informed us that I would not be allowed in as their "policy" strictly forbid shorts--I casually said that that was fine as we were just going to have a quick cocktail at the bar and then allow the rest of the party to go on with dinner. The hostess still refused. I was starting to get a little miffed at this point. The hostess was very nice and clearly embarrassed as she stated "I'm just the messenger." Both the group and I were embarrassed and my wife and I left after an awkward goodbye.

Thinking back over thirty years of eating out, not only in my home base of DC for 30 years but all over the country (and other countries) and especially after having lived in New York for three years -I could not recall one single incident of being refused service in a restaurant due to my sartorial predilections (a hoity-toity club in NYC ,perhaps once). If I want to drink an over-priced 12 dollar specialty drink, doggoneit, I have the right to be comfortable.

I do understand and respect the fact that there are some restaurants where you just wouldn't go in and eat in shorts: La Cirque, The Four Seasons (NYC) Citronelle, Roberto Donna's joints, Inn at little Washington, 1789 (though I have had a drink at the bar in shorts) to name a few.

I don't think that I am being un-reasonable here.

I just don't get it. I realize that a restaurateur has the right to refuse service to anyone--And, perhaps, in that neighborhood he has people in shorts issues (which he should have been aware of when he signed a lease) but in my opinion, when you alienate your demographic you are doing your business MUCH more harm than good. Not only will I never go back--I will do my best to steer groups of people away that suggest going there. It must be nice for him that in the weakest sales month of the year for restaurants he can afford to turn a way business.

Further, this policy seems related to other service/attitude issues that are well-posted on several blogs/boards. As some other poster mentioned on another site: So much for a place that promised "no pretense, no attitude" when it opened. Yeah, so much!

Heck, I'll just have to spend more time at Cafe Milano and drink those 16 dollar glasses of wine-they don't mind if I'm wearing shorts and they'll even let me wear a baseball cap as well, if I feel like it.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. The party that we were with that actually got in said had a lovely (if somewhat expensive) meal. They were seated right next to a "hipster" with a ratty black t-shirt and "scruffy" jeans on--figure that.

Thanks for letting me rant!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will never understand the willingness of some restaurantuers to turn away business based on the apperance of a customer. This will probably be deleted or moved (to it's own thread I hope), but I just had to weigh in on this. When I look out at our dining room, I realize that it appeals to a certain demographic, it was built that way on purpose, that's the asthetic we wanted to achieve. That said, we have people from the neighborhood who are out walking their dogs in shorts and t-shirts have dinner or drinks; we have people dressed to the nine's come in; we've even had a man in a sweaty tank, shorts, radio headset and rollerblades sit at the bar and have brunch, it is what it is. A customer is a customer. If you want to sit in our dining room and have dinner in a t-shirt, god bless you, be comfortable, enjoy your meal etc. To me your money is damn fine...and if that's how you choose to dress when you spend it, good for you!! I just don't believe in being f*ing snooty for snootiness sake. Sure I want to appeal to a certain demographic(s), that's what we advertise for, but am I going to turn away the customer now in hopes for the customer(s) of the future. Once you lose that dollar, it's gone. Lastly, having worked for Jeff Buben, I can safely say that customer satisfaction should always be paramount in a restaurant of any caliber. Jeff always said and I still say, if it is in our power to satisfy a request then we should do so...end of story. Just my two cents. Sorry this is so off topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the board arq. Thank you for the thoughtful and thought provoking first post. The whole topic of appropriate attire has been a perennial favorite around here. And, of course, the subject of arbitrary and/or inflexible management is always fair game. Their OpenTable reservation page says the dress code is "business casual" but there's no mention of the "no dress shorts allowed" policy there, or on their website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the board arq. Thank you for the thoughtful and thought provoking first post. The whole topic of appropriate attire has been a perennial favorite around here. And, of course, the subject of arbitrary and/or inflexible management is always fair game. Their OpenTable reservation page says the dress code is "business casual" but there's no mention of the "no dress shorts allowed" policy there, or on their website.

I wish scruffy jeans and a ratty t-shirt (black or other color) were considered "business casual". I guess the preppy look was not good enough for them. Hmmm, maybe we need an on the whim outing with everyone wearing shorts. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd have to say I agree with the following: if there are any limitations on the dress code, it cuts on the customer aggravation to have them out in the open with as much advance notice as possible. Almost every night, I would get to voice over the following:

"Hi, what's your dress code?"

"We don't enforce a dress code, but most people will be wearing business or business casual."

That lets the customer know what the surroundings will be, and lets them make their own decision.

That said, I have no problem tactfully suggesting people in gymwear to go change (although that happens incredibly rarely.) I also understand that someone who dressed up for an hour in anticipation of having dinner at the Citronelle or ILW will be majorly put off by a scruffy skank on the next table. Wouldn't you be?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In anticipation of a thread split, I will chime in that I like the dress code at Eve. Imprinted on the front door is a statement to the effect "Proper Attire Required (gentlemen, please remove your hats)."

Seems to me that the word proper leaves a bit to interpretation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems to me that the word proper leaves a bit to interpretation.
I interpret it to mean that they don't consider any attire improper and that they only ask that gentlemen remove their hats. Of course, that admonition only applies to "gentlemen." Other than that, the only requirement would probably be some sort of pocket in which to keep your money.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Nadya did touch on one thing, while it is up to individual interpertation, how comfortable is someone going to be when they are obviously underdressed? If you have a very explicit dress code, like Citronelle, then fine, enforce it. But the people who book reservations at Citronelle are usually very informed as to the dress code requirements and are also informed of them when making their reservation. Our dress code says business casual but as I've said I've seen all types of dress in the dining room. Most people who chose to dine at restaurants of a caliber put alot of thought into what they are going to wear. However, restaurants in the tier below the rarefied air of Citronelle, 1789, Eve's tasting room etc... should expect alot of their diners to come from the surrounding area ie neighborhood, and be open to various forms of what is "appropriate". If you open a restaurant across from the MCI center, with its sporting events, concerts and conventions would you reasonable turn away a huge crosssection of that available business for the sake of being 'hip' or 'exclusive'. If you want to open a restaurant like that, you shouldn't open it across from a sports arena and then wonder why your half empty. We opened a restaurant in a upwardly mobile, revitalized neighborhood. We appeal to that, we covet it, we don't turn them away....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The interactions my husband and I have had with Indebleu (described above) suggest that their emphasis is not on customer service.

I don't think it is fair to trash IndeBleu, then to get 'miffed', because they enforced their policy-perhaps they should have lent you a pair of pants?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In anticipation of a thread split, I will chime in that I like the dress code at Eve. Imprinted on the front door is a statement to the effect "Proper Attire Required (gentlemen, please remove your hats)."

My younger son, who always wears shorts, Birkenstocks and an Hawaiian shirt and I, at the time dressed in a business suit, ate at Eve's Bistro without any problem, but we were the first people there immediately after it opened that particular day, and it was a week day, maybe a Tuesday. (We were celebrating the last day of high school, ever.)

He felt very underdressed after the restaurant began to fill up but they said in the Bistro it wasn't an issue, at least not at that time.

Unfortunately there was nothing on the menu he wanted to eat but that's another story. He's not a sweetbreads or foie gras type. Personally, I enjoyed it very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Nadya did touch on one thing, while it is up to individual interpertation, how comfortable is someone going to be when they are obviously underdressed? If you have a very explicit dress code, like Citronelle, then fine, enforce it. But the people who book reservations at Citronelle are usually very informed as to the dress code requirements and are also informed of them when making their reservation. Our dress code says business casual but as I've said I've seen all types of dress in the dining room. Most people who chose to dine at restaurants of a caliber put alot of thought into what they are going to wear. However, restaurants in the tier below the rarefied air of Citronelle, 1789, Eve's tasting room etc... should expect alot of their diners to come from the surrounding area ie neighborhood, and be open to various forms of what is "appropriate". If you open a restaurant across from the MCI center, with its sporting events, concerts and conventions would you reasonable turn away a huge crosssection of that available business for the sake of being 'hip' or 'exclusive'. If you want to open a restaurant like that, you shouldn't open it across from a sports arena and then wonder why your half empty. We opened a restaurant in a upwardly mobile, revitalized neighborhood. We appeal to that, we covet it, we don't turn them away....

Antonio,

I cannot wait to try your establishment--I truly beleive that everything trickles down from the top (especially with regard to hospitality)--and you have an attitude that is in such short supply nowadays.

I think that you hit the "nail on the head." And that is: if you are, in fact, across the street from a sports arena, then you should except some amount of patronage from the patrons of said venue.

Adding a little footnote to my original post--We came to be at IndieBleu because we met the group at the Potrait gallery for a drink and as some of the group was from out of town we were merely trying to extend, by small measure, the time we were able to spend with them (or, not spend with them), by trying to have a cocktail with them at IndieBleu, before their dinner there.

ps-For those folks who were unaware, the Potrit gallery (on the 2nd Floor) has a lovely portico, which sells alchohol--not the greatest view or anything, but lovely nontheless (as my wife said, "how long do you think it will be before this turns into the purfunctory first date location?").

arg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The interactions my husband and I have had with Indebleu (described above) suggest that their emphasis is not on customer service.
I don't think it is fair to trash IndeBleu, then to get 'miffed', because they enforced their policy-perhaps they should have lent you a pair of pants?

Whoa, Danny--my issues had nothing to do with attire, but with overall lackluster service and misrepresentation of their menu. I laid it all out in a post upthread, after my husband attempted to discuss our problems with management.

Their food is good, if expensive, but they advertised one prix fixe menu out front and offered another, briefer menu when we got inside. Also, when they hosted that cognac tasting, they simply served their standard dishes, without demonstrating any attempt to pair the food with the cognacs.

However, I agree with Antonio, that turning away paying customers who are dressed reasonably (and I saw some eclectic attire among patrons on my visit) not only deprives the restaurant of their dollars that night, but probably ensures those folks will not return and may tell some of their friends who will stay away as well.

It's very easy to generate bad word-of-mouth publicity, and hard to undo that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...