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Teddy & The Bully Bar, Chef Demetrio Zavala Fills In For Departed Chef Michael Hartzer


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Dame Edna and I met another couple here last night. Teddy's advertises itself as a "small plates" kind of place. OK.

The place occupies what used to be Sam & Harry's on 19th Street, NW--just above M Street, which made it quite handy for all of us to get to on foot.

The GOOD:  Most of the food was quite delicious. We ordered several appetizers, all of which were good. I ordered the "Chopped Summer Salad" which was truly delicious: Bacon, watermelon, blue cheese, candied pecans (!), greens, etc. I suspect this won't be on the menu a whole lot longer because of the seasonality of it.

The duck confit with potato puree and a balsamic (?) sauce: close to the goodness of Tom Power's version. Highly recommended. Also a real standout was the Halibut, which was served with a citrus gastric that added a touch of sweetness. The pork belly was also fine, but I didn't eat any of the roasted Rockfish--which won raves by the ones who did. Also ordered was a side of green beans with eggplant, which was very good--especially the eggplant.

They have a "Rickey" on tap that was quite interesting: Green Hat Gin (!) with a reduction of bourbon--giving the drink a nice, but not cloying, sweetness--topped off by a lime foam with lime zest. Rickeys are supposed to be an air conditioner in a glass, and this one passed that test.  There was also a nice selection of beers in the bottle and  a few wines by the glass. As usual, I got whatever is bubbly--in this case a nice Spanish cava. There is also a wine by the bottle list, but none of us were in the market for one of those.

We shared two desserts: the Brioche Bread Pudding and an Apple Sorbet. Just delicious, but the pudding came in a very hot container, making it difficult to pass around.

The ODD: A lovely breadbasket appeared with a selection of things--one biscuit, one brioche roll (?) and a long, flat piece of something that resembled lavash.  Problem was: how do you divide up a biscuit into four pieces? We ordered a second basket and it was taken away before we could ask for the remainders to be boxed up. It just seemed an odd selection to serve four people.

Also odd was the way the salad was plated. It was piled high on a rectangular plate and, instead of being tossed together, the bacon was all on one side, the watermelon in the middle, and I forget what was on the end. If I had tried to eat the whole thing myself, it would have been very difficult to keep half of it from landing on the table (or in my lap). Since we shared it, it meant trying to scrape some onto a too small plate in a way that everyone got some of everything. Nevertheless, it was very good and I brought the remainder home.

The BAD: An order of sauteed greens that was so salty as to render the dish inedible. It was taken away and off the check.

Also BAD is the NOISE! Part of the restaurant is the Bully Bar--a long bar with a large TV--which on a Friday night was pretty full. The Dining Room is separate, but not totally. There were glass and wood-framed doors that could mostly keep the rooms separated, but the doors on both ends had to kept open. While not as ridiculously loud as the Jack Rose dining room (which can leave you deaf), it was a relief to get out of there onto the quiet of downtown streets.

The BOTTOM LINE: All that food, plus once cocktail, one beer, two glasses of wine, and a generous tip came to about $52 a person. I've paid a lot more for much lesser food,  I just wish they could solve the noise problem. Or, at least create a quiet "Geezer's" section for those of us who actually want to hold a conversation with the people we are with.

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While not as ridiculously loud as the Jack Rose dining room (which can leave you deaf), it was a relief to get out of there onto the quiet of downtown streets.

The BOTTOM LINE: All that food, plus once cocktail, one beer, two glasses of wine, and a generous tip came to about $52 a person. I've paid a lot more for much lesser food,  I just wish they could solve the noise problem. Or, at least create a quiet "Geezer's" section for those of us who actually want to hold a conversation with the people we are with.

Color me dim, but I had *no* idea that Michael Hartzer was here (are you aware that he came from Jack Rose?)

When will Michael Hartzer have his breakout? Chef de Cuisine at Citronelle (back when it was really good, too), and then ...

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Color me dim, but I had *no* idea that Michael Hartzer was here (are you aware that he came from Jack Rose?)

When will Michael Hartzer have his breakout? Chef de Cuisine at Citronelle (back when it was really good, too), and then ...

Yes, i knew he was the original chef at Jack Rose and had departed there some time ago; and, I also knew he is at the helm at Teddy. One of our party spoke with him directly, earlier in the day. He certainly is turning out some very good food at Teddy. But, if the emphasis stays on the hipster vibe and entertaining the young folk, I'm not sure how much that will matter in the long run.  As it is, this isn't a place one would be likely to take the 'rents or ILs--much less entertain clients, IMHO.

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I'm somewhat heartened that Barbara's meal seemed ok.  A foray soon after opening was such a mess that -- because I've had a drink or three with Hartzer (back in the the day) and he seems like a good guy and -- as I recall -- opened Ray's the Classics -- that I went against type and posted nothing.

i will say that the decor is awful and has not a damn thing to do with Teddy Roosevelt on even the most strained metaphorical level -- unless he was a lady who lunched, in secret -- and, like Barbara, I found the noise somewhat intolerable.

"If you don't have anything nice to say, go ahead and sit across the room -- your voice will echo off all the hard surfaces and I'll hear you anyway."

-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

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Is this place not owned by the gentleman that I have trouble spelling (let me go look it up) who used to own Felix?

I liked Felix when it first opened, but it was loud and got louder over the years, and the food was good and got weaker over the years, and the same for the service, and the upselling was astounding, and it got dirtier and dirtier as time went on, and....

Yes, it is the same gentleman - Popovsky.

So I hesitate to go there, having had such bad experiences with his other places.

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Is this place not owned by the gentleman that I have trouble spelling (let me go look it up) who used to own Felix?

I liked Felix when it first opened, but it was loud and got louder over the years, and the food was good and got weaker over the years, and the same for the service, and the upselling was astounding, and it got dirtier and dirtier as time went on, and....

Yes, it is the same gentleman - Popovsky.

So I hesitate to go there, having had such bad experiences with his other places.

Alan Popovsky is not without his detractors.

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I'm somewhat heartened that Barbara's meal seemed ok.  A foray soon after opening was such a mess that -- because I've had a drink or three with Hartzer (back in the the day) and he seems like a good guy and -- as I recall -- opened Ray's the Classics -- that I went against type and posted nothing.

i will say that the decor is awful and has not a damn thing to do with Teddy Roosevelt on even the most strained metaphorical level -- unless he was a lady who lunched, in secret -- and, like Barbara, I found the noise somewhat intolerable.

"If you don't have anything nice to say, go ahead and sit across the room -- your voice will echo off all the hard surfaces and I'll hear you anyway."

-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Given that Alice Roosevelt Longworth lived around the corner at 2009 Mass. Ave., one would expect a bar named in her honor, where a lady could get properly lubricated.

No buffalo on the menu.

No mention of TR coming in last so often in the Nationals Presidents race.

Really, I do hope this place finds some theme and reason to exist. Downtown DC is still suffering from the decline of "big steak" and end of boys club expense account dinners.

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Haven't had time to post but Mr. S and I were the "other" couple. Lunch is not nearly as loud, and I can see entertaining clients easily at that time. Dinner, not so much. One day I'm going to get over there for the raw bar. Thus far I've only had a salad to go--doesn't sound like much but the shrimp on top of my salad were quite tasty and impressive.

I concur with everything Barbara wrote about our dinner--not much to add, except that I also had the opportunity to dine at Lincoln this summer. The food was also surprisingly good there but the din was deafening. Fortunately we sat in the back room with the doors closed, but as it got later even that did not totally help. I'd say that both restaurants are equally loud, neither one has the edge in that regard. Which is a shame.

Michael Harzer is a talent--do go and try it out for lunch if dinner is too loud. I understand they've just started brunch on Sundays as well. Don't hold the Popovsky ownership against him--give it a try.

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We went for drink and appetizers two weeks ago. I love the barrel-aged Manhattans, and they will put you on your a**.

I guess, one not so much as when you get to the third and fourth. New place, don't get out much = gotta try them all, right?

Yes, it was busy, bustling, vibrant. I loved the vibe of the place, but it made me a little sad inside: you could never, ever, open a joint like this in Bethesda.  :mellow:

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