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Leopold Kafe + Konditorei, Austrian Cafe on Cady's Alley in Georgetown


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By now, everyone in this forum has read Sietsema's review of Leopold's Kafe & Konditorei in last Sunday's Post Magazine. This was clearly the horrendous service to which Mr. Seistema has been alluding in his last four chats.

Was I the only one who found it inconceiveable that a restaurant with "manequine like managers" and "clueless servers" can be granted a single star? My understanding is that one star is given to restaurants that provide a "satisfactory" dinning experience. Has the bar of satisfaction dropped so preposterously low that entrees can arrive atop appetizers? Who could find satisfaction in being ignored by three staff members when trying to order? Mr. Sietsema even reffered to the managers as 'human peacocks' more concerned with their own dinner on a Saturday night than the pleasure of their guests.

While not entirely surprised by the awarding of a star to Leopold's - Beacon Bar and Grille was also heavily criticized for their service and earned a star - I am offended as a restaurant professional.

I have not been to Leolold's and I am in no way trying to criticize them. I wish their ownership and management team the best of luck.

However, this review describes as satisfactory service that would make me walk out if I were a guest, and that I would not tolerate in my restaurant. It makes me want to grow hair on my bald head solely for the purpose of tearing it out. .

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I hadden't read that, but thanks for the announcement! Reading now. That's almost dissapointing...I was hoping, in that sour-grapes sort of way, that it was someplace big and established. Not some brand-new mere cafe in the corner of Georgetown.

Edited to realized that in the context of recent discussions I'm going to get totally spanked for that, but come on...so were you! :lol:

Food does sound good, though. And you're right, must have legitimately BEEN good to snatch a star out of that. I've been meaning to try Leopolds for a while, and I still intend to!

Edited by shogun
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from the Washington Post Dining Guide's rating guide:

"* (1 star) Satisfactory : Restaurants that are useful to know about if you are nearby; they may have only a few dishes or a single quality, such as a view or scene, to distinguish them. "

Seems pretty much like a summation of his review of Leopold's.

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from the Washington Post Dining Guide's rating guide:

"* (1 star) Satisfactory : Restaurants that are useful to know about if you are nearby; they may have only a few dishes or a single quality, such as a view or scene, to distinguish them. "

Seems pretty much like a summation of his review of Leopold's.

Brian,

I can understand how one could reach your conclusion. However, would you not agree that a meal would have to be superlative to overcome service that as described was grossly incompetent? Mr. Sietsema’s descriptions of the food did not ring as suplerative in my mind.

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Perhaps he thought the quality of the food outweighed the train-wreck service.

I guess train-wreck service is better than train wreck on a plate. (sorry!)

What surprised me most was the lack of real mention of the pastries. After all, one half of it IS a Konditorei....

Supposedly Tom goes on the average of three times to a place, but only the lemon and apricots were barely mentioned, pretty much as an afterthought. Originally, I understood this place to be only a pastry shop, but then other food was added to make it a cafe. They even imported a pastry chef from New York (Nancy Kirshner) to oversee the dessert offerings.

I keep hoping for some word on this place. I guess I'll have to drag myself there.

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Brian,
I can understand how one could reach your conclusion. However, would you not agree that a meal would have to be superlative to overcome service that as described was grossly incompetent? Mr. Sietsema's descriptions of the food did not ring as suplerative in my mind.

I stopped by a couple weeks after it opened and found the service then to be every bit as bad as described in the review. But the spaetzle were excellent, the coffee was great, and the meat plate was worthwhile (except for the nightmare olives). Endive salad, eh. Didn't have time for dessert, unfortunately. I'm at the design stores in Cady's Alley quite a bit (job related) and it certainly is a good place to stop in and take a break rather than heading up to M St. Next time I go I'll sit at the (very expensive but not right for the space) bar stools and hope for decent service, which would make this a great place to go.

As it stands, it's a place with some very good and somewhat unusual items on the menu, a nice light setting away from the crowds of Georgetown, and a handful of $3000 chairs. Even with bad service, as long as the food gets to my table it's worth a star.
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Actually I took my young cousin there after watching the new Star Wars flick a few weeks ago for dessert. I thought it was pretty good. We sat at the bar, he had milk and one of the pastries, I had cognac(s) and also a walnut chocolate cake that was delicious. The bartender was friendly and helpful -- the hour was post dinner and the place was not very busy. It's open from breakfast til late in the evening and the menu looked good for light dining. The wine list is exclusively Austrian -- which I think can provide some good wine finds. Anyway I plan a return visit and will see if it was my first experience or Tom's that was a quirk.

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Actually I took my young cousin there after watching the new Star Wars flick a few weeks ago for dessert.  I thought it was pretty good.  We sat at the bar, he had milk and one of the pastries, I had cognac(s) and also a walnut chocolate cake that was delicious.  The bartender was friendly and helpful -- the hour was post dinner and the place was not very busy.  It's open from breakfast til late in the evening and the menu looked good for light dining.  The wine list is exclusively Austrian -- which I think can provide some good wine finds.  Anyway I plan a return visit and will see if it was my first experience or Tom's that was a quirk.

Hopefully service changes will be made after they read Tom's review. Either way, we will know what it means...

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First time poster here. Been lurking since Tom mentioned this place during his chat about a month ago. Figured it was time for me to chime in:

My wife and I had lunch at Leopold about a week and a half ago. One star strikes me as about right.

As appears to be the consensus, the service was bad. Oddly, our server was not urban chic, but rather farm girl naive. I'll cut her a break because she seemed to be real new at the job, but she clearly needed some more training. My wife ordered chilled pea soup. Waitress comes back two minutes later to tell us, "No chilled pea soup for you." Waitress comes back two minutes later to tell us, "Hey, we found some chilled pea soup." The chilled soup was finally served about five minutes before my food, but, hey, at least we didn't have to worry about it going cold, right?

The one place where we did run into some urban obnoxiousness was when we asked for just plain old tap water. Sometimes, we like a little lead in our water. Is that so wrong? "You want plain tap water? Plain tap water?" Yes. Cold, please, not luke warm. Thankfully, there is perhaps hope here. I did notice a manager-type working with his servers throughout our lunch there.

The food was good, but not great. As with Tom, my wife enjoyed her soup. I had a trio of tea sandwiches--one with smoked salmon and what I assume was cream cheese, one with grilled asparagus, and one with roasted tomato and mozzarella. They were presented with a small side of greens, and they looked quite nice. They tasted quite nice as well, although they were very dense. Three dense tea sandwiches made for a hefty meal.

We split a pastry for dessert. The pastry was above average, but nothing spectacular. Coffee was very good.

A few other observations:

-I thought the menu was short on lunch options. They had a decent number of salads, but a few other sandwiches would be a good addition, I think. The tea sandwiches were about it. The only other option was to step it up to a "real meal" at real meal prices, which I wasn't really in the mood for. It is a cafe, after all, and it seems like they could have had more inexpensive, cafe-like lunch options. (Don't bite my head off here. I know it's an Austrian Kafe, and I'm not asking that every place in town have a grilled chicken sandwich. That's not what I wanted at all. But, if they're going to have a bratwurst on the menu, it seems like they could offer some more creative light lunch options.)

-From the looks of it, they have a tiny kitchen. At one point, I noticed about eight servers huddled around the door to the kitchen. One thing the manager appeared to be working on was choreography, which I could see as being critical to a place with a small kitchen.

All in all, I say I'd go back for dessert and coffee. My father, a dessertaholic will like this place, but I can't say we'll be rushing back for a full meal.

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I think that 1 star is quite generous. My wife and I have given it a try twice for breakfast, both times were very disappointing. The service was as bad, if not worse than what Tom described. The six cups of coffee all arrived at our table less than hot (ranging from warm to cold). Both times we ordered a patry basket. I would think that filling a basket with pastry would take maybe a minute or two. They seem to want to make a career out of each basket. Yeah the pastries are good, but not worth the insanely long wait.

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I think that 1 star is quite generous.  My wife and I have given it a try twice for breakfast, both times were very disappointing.  The service was as bad, if not worse than what Tom described.  The six cups of coffee all arrived at our table less than hot (ranging from warm to cold).  Both times we ordered a patry basket.  I would think that filling a basket with pastry would take maybe a minute or two.  They seem to want to make a career out of each basket.  Yeah the pastries are good, but not worth the insanely long wait.

Looks like they are trying to beef up the staff:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/ret/80235518.html

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I went to this place a couple of months ago, around when they first opened. The service was as bad as everyone has said. (E.g., to get someone to give me my check I had to go up to the gaggle of staff by the bar.)

I happened to stop by today as I had to visit the library at GU. I walked in. And someone actually came up to me to seat me. I sat down. And someone came by my table within two minutes. I ordered. And I got my pastry and coffee in about six or seven minutes. The service worked. (Maybe, though, they just thought I was really ugly and wanted to get me out of there.) Not so much the chocolatenfondant (or something like that--I'm terrible with German), which I thought was a bit too sweet and bland, though very pretty.

Edited by foodandreason
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The Golem

I went into Leopold this morning to order some carryout, and there were six diners at tables and two people ahead of me at the counter. About ten minutes later, after fumbling around with the espresso machine, the cash register, and the cartons of skim milk behind the now-empty counter, it came to life.

Turning toward me, it said:

"May I take your order?"

I ordered an olive pissaladiere and a crab-corn-salad tea sandwich to go.

It began doing something with the cash register again, then a manager interrupted it, and then it turned back toward me a second time.

"What did you order again?"

"A pissaladiere and a crab-corn-salad tea sandwich."

It walked over to the display case, put something into a bag, and then walked over and placed the bag in front of me before going over and doing something with the espresso machine and the cartons of skim milk. I looked into the bag, and saw ...

a plain brioche.

I called over toward the espresso machine, and told it that I ordered the crab-corn-salad tea sandwich, not a brioche. It turned toward me, and said:

"and something else too, right?"

"Yes, a pissaladiere."

It went back toward the display case, removed a pissaladiere, and walked into the kitchen before returning to the cash register a few seconds later. Slowly pressing the keys, it turned back toward me, and said:

"What did you order again?"

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I have now been to Leopold's several times, and I really like the place. I was hesitant to go at first due to all the negative reviews, but I was forced to go to a baby shower there. It was quite pleasant, the service was fine, everything was served at the correct temperature, and the food was excellent. So, I tried it again. Each time with the same results. The service is not spectacular, but there is nothing awful about it. The food is always amazing (especially the little sandwiches)! I find myself wanting to go back again and again. Hopefully, my experiences are reflective of a change in attitude and will continue.

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My family has been to Leopold's several times. My kids like it because it reminds them of the cafe at the Bijenkorp, a department store in Amsterdam. Except, that cafe is self-service - maybe that would help things along at Leopold's.. It is funny about the cash register comments. Twice I went to buy their over-priced but delicious cakes and the experience took almost 15 minutes as the server fumbled with the cash register, one time (several months ago) even resorting to writing my receipt by hand. That said, we will likely return, as we like the bright location and patio - most places that serve schnitzel are like caves.

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I bellied up to the bar Sunday night, an emergency exit from the sweat bath outside. I was mostly thirsty so I settled on a supersize Pilsner Urquell, a little frisee salad and a side of herbed fries. The frisee came with a poached egg that was covered in some sort of reddish oil and sesame seeds. Some bacon was strewn into the lettuce and there was a dollop of olive tapenade to moisten everything. It wasn't anything memorable, however I enjoyed it.

That is... until I nearly broke a tooth on a god damn piece of an olive pit.

The $5 herbed fries were a little toastier than I'd like, but tasty enough and not overly salty or greasy. I really don't have that much room to complain with the bill coming to just under $20. It was a pretty big beer that I drank.

True, the service is extremely rough around the edges, but no one offended me directly or kept me waiting. I felt a little rushed (if subconsciously) at quarter to 8 when they were rallying to close the kitchen and the chef popped out and asked one of the servers for his rum and coke. But otherwise it was a relaxing atmosphere and pretty much what I was looking for that moment in time. I can't say for sure if I'll go back.

It's a huge statement that Leopold's website is a text free page with a small layout of architectural photography. What about food and drink? It's all about economy and design like a rich man's IKEA Cafe . But if this is Leopold's message then why don't they apply the rule to their outhouse? There are probably more sanitary, better maintained restrooms at any given subway station in Manhattan.

And actually that does reflect on service.

So...has anyone been to Chez Mama San yet?

PS: I have an enormous amount of respect for The Economist, but how did they get such good service?

Edited by Meaghan
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I assume the writer was admiring the tortes, and not the torts. :P

Once you exhaust yourself with this survey of chairs, light fixtures and nouveaux textiles, head to Leopold's Kafe + Konditorei, an Austrian café with gorgeous torts (pictured) and a surprisingly extensive menu (Fruehstueck, anyone?). Alcoholic drinks are also available, and the service is impressive.
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After hearing from a number of people who assured me that the service issues have been resolved at Leopold, the wife and I decided to give it another shot. It would not have taken much to improve our other experiences there.

We arrived and were promptly seated, with menus arriving as we sat down. OK, that was a dramatic change. The waitress came right over to greet us, and did not look as if she was doing us a favor by talking to us. OK, another big and positive change. The coffee not only arrived promptly, but also was hot. Things are certainly looking better. The pastry basket showed-up a minute after the coffee, sure beats the 15 minutes on other visits. The waitress actually came by the table several times to check on us. Holy crap, someone taught them how to serve their clientele.

Not only was the service drastically improved, but the quality of the pastries had as well. The pistachio filled croissant was orgasmic, only ever so slightly better than the marmalade and almond cream version. I am very happy to see that they have taken care of their problems because I always wanted to like this place, and if they keep this up I will begin to love it.

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We were headed for an early dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso this evening, but decided to try Leopold's instead. I am happy to say that the service was fine and the food was great. I had the schnitzel, which was a huge portion of buttery, crisp, crumb-coated pan sauteed pounded veal with a coarse-grained mustard sauce, pickled onions and mache with lemon vinaigrette and a side of potato salad. Jonathan had bratwurst with wonderful warm sauerkraut and fingerling potatoes, and ms. veggie-teen had a wild mushroom tart and a frisee-mache salad with pine nuts, pears and ricotta salata. Jonathan decided that next time, he will get the schnitzel, which was superb. But I thought the brats were flavorful, well seasoned and juicy. Portions were generous. The consensus best dessert of the three we ordered was the Dobosch Torte--multiple super-thin layers of cake with dulce de leche between them and caramelized sugar on the bottom. The others were Paris-Brest, a cream-puff circle with hazelnut mousse inside, and an apricot-pistachio tart. Coffee was strong and hot, in generous sized cups with refills. The decor is stylish, the glasses and other tableware classy and modern. And that showcase full of jewel-like pastries is awe-inspiring! A real can't-wait-to-go-again experience. Haven't had one of those in a while.

Edited by zoramargolis
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I went for lunch today Rocks convinced me that based on a recent meal he had there I would have a much better meal than at Chez Mama San which I wanted to try. He described the smoked fish plate as "better than I would get at any deli in DC" and said I should order it. Sounded good. Emphasis on the word sounded.

The fish plate came with two types of salmon, thin slices similar to nova and diced chunks with that I think were topped with a dressing. We couldn't taste anything. The sliced salmon was exactly like the salmon I had at my mother's house recently when I went for brunch. She got hers at Costco. The third fish was a smoked whitefish of some sort. It hadn't been boned so we spent the meal picking bones out of our teeth. Thank god I wasn't on a date! The fish was bland and dry. We salvaged the dish by asking for some lemon and added it liberally.

The highlight of the fish plate was the bread. It was lightly toasted and had more flavor and body than the fish. When my mother asked for, and this is a direct quote, "Could we have some more of the bread that accompanied the fish?" We got a basket of three rolls that tasted fine. At this point we were not surprised.

We also split the arugala, ricotta salata and date salad. The arugala was old. The arugala didn't have any flavor. The arugala was limp. The cheese was bland and added sparingly to the salad. The highlight of the entire meal was the dates. Actually it was one date cut in a half and a little dry.

The service still needs work. At one point our waiter was walking towards us with a pitcher full of water. Since our glasses were empty, silly us, we assumed he would come and fill them. Sigh. He looked at us and went the other way. Later I asked for water and he replied "right away."

Apparently, at Leopold "right away" really means after I chat with the manager, and begin to reset the table next to ours, even though there were plenty of other empty tables and no one waiting. As he reset the table I asked him again for a water refill. This time it came.

We asked the manager for the check. Our waiter brought it over and asked if we would like a refill on the water. We both shook our heads no and said "No thank you." A minute later he returned with a pitcher of water and promptly refilled our glasses.

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Jlock and I were at Leopold's for lunch today too, and we had the opposite experience. I had the veal schnitzel (sp?), and he had the mussels with herbed frites. Both were excellent (although the mussels were not as plump as the steroidal mussels that we had at W Domku earlier this week). We split the Sacher torte and the lemon merangue tart with our friends, and both were great. I actually preferred the Sacher torte, which is uncharacteristic for me because I don't typically go for dark chocolate.

The service that we had was perfect! Rob, the manager, went out of his way to make sure that we were able to have a table that was large enough to deal with the baby that was in our group. The waitress was always there whenever we needed a refill. And, the check arrived promptly when it time for the baby to leave.

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I saw you there <_< (My mother has baby sonar and can find them anywhere we go.) We were at the tables at the front of the restaurant. You all received twice the service that we did. It's a shame because since my mother had to help support my sister when she was a waitress, she tends to tip at least 30% on small checks. But after the service we received I had to talk her into her standard 20%.

Edited by hillvalley
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Anyone been here recently? How's the service and food?

I'm thinking about going for lunch today.....

I haven't been in nearly a year (very much enjoyed my meal then), but I sent a friend and her visiting-from-out-of-town mother there last week, and they had nothing but good things to say.

ETA: I don't remember precisely what we ate back in April, but if my memory serves, we enjoyed some sort of Austrian cheese/fava bean crostini and a smoked fish dish of some sort... No idea if those dishes are still on the menu, nor any memory of what else we ate. I also had a nice glass of gruner veltliner.

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I went there back in the fall when the weather was beautiful and sat in the courtyard outside. But, other than the nice atmosphere, and good people watching, I really have nothing good to say about this place. The service was haphazard, they were either all over us at inopportune times or impossible to find, and the food was pretty bad. A lot of people stated that we just ordered the wrong things, but should there ever be any "wrong things" at a good restaurant!?

While I cannot remember exactly what we ate that day, I do remember getting an assortment of tea sandwiches, I think we had all six that they offered that day, and they were all awful. Soggy was the one word that I would use to describe them with flavorless being a close second. I also remember getting the hot chocolate and being surprised that it was so watered down. I couldn't imagine that a place like this would use water to make their hot chocolate, but they must have, no way that there was any milk in that thing.

Anyway, I know several people that have gone there and had a good time, so we could have just shown up on a bad day, so don't let my bad review keep you from going. But, I would probably take some time to read what other people said tasted good and order those items as opposed to going out on a limb and being disappointed.

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I was just there yesterday and had a great meal, which echoes the other experiences I've had there in the past. I had a smoked fish platter, which was very tasty, and an Esterhazy for dessert, which was delicious. The four others I was with had nothing but good things to say about their food as well (which ranged from tea sandwiches to bratwurst). I know there have been issues with service in the past, but our waiter was very attentive!

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Thanks to everyone for the super-quick responses!

I did end up going for lunch today and I'm surprised to say that I had a very enjoyable time.

First off, the service was attentive and very personable. The decor was interesting and hip (before we left, we tried out every one of the funky chairs and found them all to be quite sit-able -- who knew that small wood pieces cobbled together to make an arm chair could be so comfortable?) The food was decent, the drinks were great, and the desserts were lots of fun.

We (myself and two others) started with some lovely gruner veltliner and the crostini that MBK referenced (fava beans/creamy cheese) which was very flavorful. We then went on to have some of the tea sandwiches, a croque madame, and some mussels and herbed frites. The tea sandwiches were cute and pretty good (not soggy), the croque madame was very heavy on the ham and prosciutto (not necessarily a bad thing) and had 2 perfectly cooked over-easy eggs that oozed when cut into, and though the mussels were probably not the best choice, they were not awful.

We then went on to the desserts which all looked great, though I had been warned that they might lack flavor. But again. I was pleasantly surprised. We tried a spiced linzer tart that reminded me of gingerbread (cake not flavorless cookies). The Sacher Torte, which was as it should be, dense and very rich. The Valentine Dessert Special -- Ma Vie en Rose, an oversized strawberry macaron filled with pistachio cream and fresh strawberries (and topped with strawberry fruit leather!) which was very pretty, but a leeeetle on the overly sweet side.

Overall, I spent a very pleasant and relaxed afternoon at Leopold's and will definitely be going back for their breakfasts (served until 4pm every day), their warm cocktails (grog and gluehwine anyone?), and whenever I get stuck in Georgetown and need a place to hide from the shopping madness.

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We then went on to have some of the tea sandwiches, a croque madame, and some mussels and herbed frites. The tea sandwiches were cute and pretty good (not soggy), the croque madame was very heavy on the ham and prosciutto (not necessarily a bad thing) and had 2 perfectly cooked over-easy eggs that oozed when cut into,

This place is now my go-to brunch spot. I love their grilled asparagus and frisee salad! YUM!! :o

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A quick report from an out-of-towner...

I actually enjoyed the stylish interior and somewhat awkwardly shaped room, but I wondered to what degree these details belied priorities other than the food.

My worries were in vain. My sister, a DC resident who was treating me to lunch, highly recommended the bratwurst (though she admitted little currency with brats). I was leery of ordering a $16 brat for lunch, even if I wasn't paying. And I will say, no matter who was paying, I probably wouldn't do so again. BUT, this was a very fine plate. Two 5-inch pork-veal brats, pan-seared and cooked through were very good. Excellent texture, not too fine, not too course, with a delicate flavor balance. The celery sauerkraut served on the side and three smartly roasted fingerling potatoes rounded out the plate. Oh, and a healthy helping of a very potent Dijon mustard.

If this plate were $12, say, I'd be order it again no question. It's weird how $4 makes such a difference. But to put this in context, my sister's special (for a mere $2 more) really blew the brats out of the water.

She had a pork tenderloin, perfectly, I mean absolutely perfectly cooked pork tenderloin, glowing a nice pink medium rare in the middle, juicy throughout, well-seasoned all around and served with some absolutely terrific complements. On the one hand a sweet smooth butternut squash puree; on the other, a beautiful, purply-tart apple puree. Wow, this dish blew us both away. There was some green stuff (spinach, arugula, whatever) thrown in for your vitamins, but wow, what a terrific dish. You should hope this makes its way onto the menu.

I was jealous, certainly, but she shared. As a point of reference, my sis has eaten her way around quite a bit of DC, including a recent meal at Maestro, Citronelle, Jose Andres places, etc., and said this was the second best meal she'd had in DC behind one (of two) meals at Roberto Donna's Laboratorio. Was it the heat of the moment? Maybe. Still...

We also ordered as an appetizer, the olivenpissaladiere which was very tasty, though not strikingly unique.

The menu is full of interesting sounding German items (Geraeucherte Bachforelle auf Blattsalat, Dorsch Baccala) and it couldn't be an Austrian cafe without a large pastry case, which looked terrific but we were too full to sample.

Our service was not fast, but it was fine. I wouldn't let service concerns keep you from going to this place.

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[Hi Aaron!

This was a great first post, and I'm especially happy to hear about restaurants from an out-of-towner's perspective - not because I want us to go global (I'll go postal before I go global), but because you're going into the meal with an untainted haze about you.

(Can everyone please PM new users and welcome them to the community (yeah, yeah, I know, that sounds like such Barney-commie crap-o-la - fine, welcome them to the Hell-hole) when they write such a thoughtful first posting as this?)

Cheers!

Rocks]

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This afternoon, a rich double espresso and dry, mealy Sacher Tort amid all the beautiful people at Leopold's in Cady's Alley, Georgetown. Disappointing since I had fond memories of their pastries from my previous visit a year or so earlier. What's the consensus on the food and desserts here?

After a brief hiatus, I feel delighted to be posting again. I dined at Kafe Leopold recently (within 3 weeks). I friend suggested that I try their coffee. When I arrived I decided to splurge by ordering a salad, steak frites, an espresso [in addition to coffee], and of course -- dessert.

The steak frites were "honorable" meaning that the cut of beef was flavorful, above average, not bad, but not spectacular. The establishment featured a relish on the frites (aioli or mayonnaise? -- my memory fails me on their specific terminology); however, most of it melted away.

The salad dressing on my salad was sour and overpowering. I tried, but was not able to continue eating the salad. I told the staff member and he "comped" my dessert.

The verdict on the coffee? O.K. Not as good as Tryst (Adams Morgan) in the greater Washington DC area. [i'm not in a position to explain my coffee knowledge, but I'm very well qualified in this area.]

;)

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Marcus- I am with you on the coffee- it is fine but nothing special. I have recently discovered this place and I have a had a few really good meals there (mainly brunch). The standouts were truffled/parm. grits, which were incredible and lemon souffle pancakes- the flavor was spot-on and they would have been perfect if only they were as light as their name implies. I also like to stop in for a quick lunch- they have a great grilled salmon served on a bed of dates, walnuts, and cucumbers that is perfect for a healthy, filling week-day lunch. I have yet to try a pastry...

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Leopold's Cafe looks modern and chic with its white tables and seats, however, I noticed the bad seating arrangements when I was browsing the delectable deserts. The only passage through the restaurant was the path right in front of the display case. The couple of minutes that I spend to pick out my desert, I got at least 10 "excuse me" from different waiters and patrons. This was extremely annoying and couple with the fact that most of the servers were cold and unwelcoming, left me with the feeling that maybe I should have dressed up for a cafe?

Now onto the deserts. I liked my macaroons. I got pistachio and chocolate and of the two, I liked the pistachio more. However, I have never had a French macaroon before this, so I have no way of comparing. Somebody please share the info if there are other pastry shops in DC that make good macaroons . :P I also got something called esterhazy. Five layers of hazelnut cake filled with a light buttercream and toasted almonds. At $7.00 per slice, I was not impressed. I couldn't taste the layers and the almond flavor seemed artificial. I am willing to give this place another try before I scratch it off my togo list.

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Praline (on Sangamore in Bethesda) and Patisserie Poupon (Wisconsin and (westbound) Q in G'town) are where I go for Parisian macaroons. On the whole I like Praline's better, but they don't always have almond (and Poupon does).

I like Leopold's for breakfast (in the garden or on a weekday), but I'm not impressed by their pastries.

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Many times I've gone to G'town on weekends and only managed to stare at the fabulous kitchen/bath fixtures through glass windows in Cady's Alley. Why aren't stores like Anne Sacks and Waterworks open on weekends? Is it because the working stiff can't afford their products? Anyway, I took yesterday afternoon off so we can check out tubs, sinks, faucets, tiles, etc. that aren't available at your local Home Depot. Afterwards, we had a very early diner at Kafe Leopold.

I do like the space at Kafe Leopold - very modern and clean. We started with the olivenpissaladiere (olive, onion & manchego cheese tart), fish platter (cubed salmon, strips of smoked salmon, & smoked trout), and 3 tea sandwiches consisting of chicken salad, tomato basil & mozz., and gruyere with truffle butter. My entree was the branzino fillet and my wife had the steak salad. Everything was good but nothing was particularly exciting. I would definitely get the olive/onion tart again and the tomato basil & mozz tea sandwich. I prefer my branzino with head, tail & skin. The fillets, while nicely cooked, weren't very moist. The smoked fishes weren't very flavorful (had to use creme fraiche to kick it up a notch). I didn't try the steak but the dogs devoured the leftovers heartily. The service definitely wasn't an issue.

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I met a friend here for lunch yesterday, the second outing in my "Woo-hoo! I work in civilization and have actual lunch options!" exploration of Georgetown.*  I had a cafe latte and a croque monsieur, both of which were quite delightful.  The croque monsieur ($12) was the perfect thing for a chilly, rainy afternoon -- crisply toasted and warm -- and came with a ring of grainy mustard around the plate and a small frisee salad with a few cornichons.  I feel a potential addiction coming on.  My friend had the beet salad (also $12) and freshly squeezed lemonade with mint, both of which she enjoyed.  Service, at least after our initial arrival, was mostly absent.

* Sorry, Federal Center.  I do not miss your dearth of good non-chain options.

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Mom and I needed a quick dinner before a concert at Gypsy Sally's last night.  (I know they serve food, it didn't look that great on the menu) So we hopped down to Leopold's Kafe.  There aren't many options in that part of town.  Malmaison is right beside, but it has super weird hours and menus.  Anyway, we had a steak salad and a trio of tea sandwiches- a mini chicken croissant, salmon and cucumber and apple, walnut and cheese.  We both had glasses of wine.  The food was fine, nothing at all bad, nothing exceptional, but a decent meal before the concert.

On a side note Gypsy Sally's had a much more limited beer list than I ever would have thought.  But we listened to Swampcandy from Annapolis which was a fun high energy band, then my friends Caleb Stine and The Honeydewdrops went on as Joy America and had a great time regardless.

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