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Convivial, From the Owners of Mintwood Place - 8th and O Street in Shaw


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45 minutes ago, Tweaked said:

As I said, i also found the flavor to be lackluster.  The plate is set in front of you and its covered with this colorful rich looking glaze and you expect this big burst of flavor...and there wasn't.  Above Mark mentions smoky bacon flavor in the sauce, nope didn't get that at all.  Add some very stringy, like strands of white meat, and the dish just didn't add up.  At least my order didn't.

Would you want "smokey, bacon flavor" in a côq au vin? Depth of flavor, sure, but a "big burst" of flavor, no.

(There's no right or wrong here - I'm just prodding you all, trying to figure out exactly what you didn't like.)

Côq au Vin is a finesse dish, so much so that it's traditionally made with an entire bottle of Charmes-Chambertin (and yes, that *IS* actually supposed to matter, even though we all know it's complete bullshit). :) Nevertheless, I have a friend who insists on using one each time he makes it.

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I had arrived at Convivial early - way early - thinking that I'd be able to nab a seat at the bar at 5 PM, and have a drink while waiting for the restaurant to open at 5:30. Bad assumption: The bar op

Twas a few nights before Halloween.  Our prior visit to Convivial did not support the raves we had heard about Convivial.  Thus our hearts were filled with fright and trepidation.  But like Scooby Doo

The fried Coq au Vin is no longer on the menu.  The chicken dish is the Poulet Rouge for two.  It is one of if not the best roasted chickens that I have ever eaten.  Except for the drums it is deboned

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Count me as another who loves this restaurant but did not rank the chicken in my top 10 favorite dishes there. I think precisely because coq a vin is a "finesse" dish, as you say, it doesn't translate to the blunter instrument of fried chicken. It is definitely not a bad dish, or even a mediocre one, but with the strength of that menu it's odd that that has been deemed the standard bearer. 

It may just promise too much, as I recently ate at Au Cheval in Chicago and had a riff on General Tso's that shared many similarities to the Convivial dish, but had big hit-you-in-the-face flavors and heat that matched boldness of crunchy fried chicken. 

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For our final night out sans kids we dined at Convivial last Thursday evening. I hadn't been to that part of town in ages and was surprised by the development, It looks really well done. We appreciated the ample amount of parking right next door and that they validate your parking. Definitely a bonus. 

After looking through this thread and talking to other folks who've had an excellent experience, I think I'm going to chalk this night out to poor ordering on our part and give it another try sometime soon. We started with the latke (celery root and dry cured lamb) as recommended by our waitress. The lamb was excellent but the celery root slaw and crostini bottom didn't really add anything. I could have had the lamb as a carpaccio and skipped the other elements. 

We ordered two cold dishes and two hot dishes, again at the recommendation of our waitress and I appreciated her help here, it was the perfect amount of food. I got the veal tartare and my husband had the cured arctic char. I thought the veal tartar was great. It was the first time I'd had veal in tartare form and I have to say, I loved it. The arctic char was beautifully executed and tasted fine but again, there was more slaw than char and seemed unnecessary. 

For our hot dishes, my husband had the fried chicken "coq au vin" and I had the grilled white perch, octopus and crab bisque. I had a bite of the fried chicken and really enjoyed it, it was certainly the best over all dish. I thought the perch itself tasted fine, and again, thought the presentation was well done. I love octopus but usually have it grilled so I fully admit that maybe this was less of a mistake and more of a style I don't care for but the octopus was both slimy and rubbery; I didn't enjoy it. The play on crab bisque was fun and I thought went well with the perch. 

The other highlight of the night was the key lime pie. I'm not really a desserts person and often key lime is too tart for my taste but this was perfectly done. The base was crumbly and delicious and the key lime was just the perfect amount of tart. Its topped with thin slices of kiwi which paired perfectly being naturally sweet and not overly sugary sweet. Considering we almost didn't order dessert at all, this was the best thing we had. 

The cocktails on their menu were summery classics.  Because we were ordering different wines we got a couple of glasses instead of a bottle. Mine was ok, but nothing outstanding. I did appreciate seeing Elizabeth Spencer's Sav. Blanc on the list. It is one of my favorite vineyards and its rare to see it on anyone's wine list. 

All in all if this were in my neighborhood I'm sure we'd come back sooner. That said, we both felt we should come back after a better study of the menu on this thread.  I saw several of the duck egg beignets coming out from the kitchen over the course of our meal and they looked amazing. I was kicking myself for not ordering one. Next time for sure!

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I have been carefully considering my review but am feeling far too lazy to put much work into it.  Convivial underwhelmed at every turn even though I used this thread as ordering guide.

The entire time I was dining, I kept thinking "Chaplin's around the corner was so much cheaper and far more interesting in concept..."  also "Why are we not at Corduroy?" (because I Didn't make the reservation).

The deep- fried duck thing is good because it is deep fried.

The coq au vin is like described up-thread; General Tao's chicken.

I did have a fish and beet dish that were very good, very very good but the online menu is not pulling them up. I'm tempted to delete this poor excuse for a post...

 

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This has become our go-to spot for brunch.  The white fish tartine is one of the most beautifully presented brunch dishes I've seen, the side of potatoes are deliciously crunchy on the outside and well seasoned, and my companions raved about the fried chicken and waffles.  Plus the cinnamon bun is to die for. 

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On 8/9/2016 at 9:20 AM, NolaCaine said:

I have been carefully considering my review but am feeling far too lazy to put much work into it.  Convivial underwhelmed at every turn even though I used this thread as ordering guide.

The entire time I was dining, I kept thinking "Chaplin's around the corner was so much cheaper and far more interesting in concept..."  also "Why are we not at Corduroy?" (because I Didn't make the reservation).

The deep- fried duck thing is good because it is deep fried.

The coq au vin is like described up-thread; General Tao's chicken.

I did have a fish and beet dish that were very good, very very good but the online menu is not pulling them up. I'm tempted to delete this poor excuse for a post...

I've been consistently underwhelmed the several times I've been at Convivial.  Everything seems a few dollars too expensive for how the dishes taste.  I think I just don't get it (other than that beef heart salad I raved about a few years ago, I've never really LOVED Mintwood Place, either).

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Just now, Gadarene said:

I've been consistently underwhelmed the several times I've been at Convivial.  Everything seems a few dollars too expensive for how the dishes taste.  I think I just don't get it (other than that beef heart salad I raved about a few years ago, I've never really LOVED Mintwood Place, either).

funny--i've LOVED Convivial every time i've gone, but feel the exact same way about the Dabney that you do about convivial.

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7 minutes ago, funkyfood said:

funny--i've LOVED Convivial every time i've gone, but feel the exact same way about the Dabney that you do about convivial.

Heh.  Different strokes, then...I find the atmosphere and sceniness of the Dabney off-putting, but I've really enjoyed all the dishes I've had there.  Granted that their prices do also twinge my annoyance meter, but I've found it better value.

Maybe in part it's that few things on the Convivial menu ever tend to jump out at me as appetizingly must-try the way they do at Dabney or (as I just mentioned in another thread) Hazel.  I went into Convivial a few weeks ago with the intent of getting something fairly light at the bar, since I was snackish but didn't want an entree or anything too heavy.  The only thing that jumped out was the Heirloom Tomato Salad, but the pricetag ($13) and the fact that it was, generously, at the tail end of tomato season dissuaded me.  (Looking at the menu online now, it looks like the same one I was given then -- surely they're not still serving the heirloom tomato salad? -- I also considered one of the pickled/cured/crudo fish dishes, but I remember having the rockfish before and thinking it was, while tasty, a pretty tiny portion for $16, so instead I just got a glass of wine and left.) 

Again, it's more than possible that I just don't mesh with this type of cooking.  The dish I remember liking most out of the two or three times I've been to Convivial was the Leeks Dijonnaise, but while I really enjoyed it, there's something about the sense-memory of it that has kept me from ordering it again.  I'm sure I'll give Convivial another shot at some point; the rainbow trout on the current menu looks tasty.

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On 11/2/2016 at 3:20 PM, Gadarene said:

I've been consistently underwhelmed the several times I've been at Convivial.  Everything seems a few dollars too expensive for how the dishes taste.  I think I just don't get it (other than that beef heart salad I raved about a few years ago, I've never really LOVED Mintwood Place, either).

You mention price to value ratio (more or less) in your two recent posts. While I do not discount that is always on everyone's radar whether we ourselves realize it or not, it seems to make an impression on you possibly more than the food itself. Not putting words in your mouth at all, but is that changing your perspective? Meaning, if someone treated you there at Convivial for dinner, gratis, would your perception change? Maybe, maybe not. Just fascinating to think about no?

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40 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

You mention price to value ratio (more or less) in your two recent posts. While I do not discount that is always on everyone's radar whether we ourselves realize it or not, it seems to make an impression on you possibly more than the food itself. Not putting words in your mouth at all, but is that changing your perspective? Meaning, if someone treated you there at Convivial for dinner, gratis, would your perception change? Maybe, maybe not. Just fascinating to think about no?

I don't think so.  Good food is good food. But I'm going to expect more out of a $25 entree from a well-regarded restaurant than if I got that same dish for $14 at a random hole in the wall.

And I really, really did not like the coq au vin fried chicken when I had it; it would have been gloppy and mediocre at half the price.  But the fact that it cost what it cost is sort of extra-galling.

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On 11/5/2016 at 7:14 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

But like Scooby Doo and Shaggy always do, we soldiered on, except we didn't get stoned first.

I think this is quite poetic and well-written.

On 11/5/2016 at 7:14 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

The second dish was Pickled Rockfish with green papaya, avocado, passionfruit, and watermelon radish.  The waiter explained that the fish wasn't really pickled, which didn't actually sound appetizing to us. Instead, this is more like South American ceviche meet Southeast Asian (papaya salad).  Interesting and pretty tasty.

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Is the Rockfish visible in this photo, or is it buried underneath? One filet, or scraps? (I figured I might as well allude to Scrappy-Doo.) What is the cole slaw-looking substance in the bottom-center of the plate?

Trivia: Scooby-Doo has various obscure relatives named things such as "Yabba-Doo" (brother), "Whoopsy-Doo" (cousin), "Ruby-Doo" (sister), "Howdy-Doo" (brother), and "Yankee-Doodle-Doo" (ancestor), and attempted to engage in incest with his cousin, "Scooby-Dee," the actual fornication, if it came to pass, most likely occurring <<en levrette>>. Give me some credit for demonstrating a degree of modesty and discretion.

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Friend is having a baby so we decided to book a last-minute big brunch for our group of friends to celebrate.  Just called--Chef Maupillier answered the phone himself and squeezed us in for a party of 10, this Sunday, during peak brunch.  Can't think of any other high-end place in this city where the chef is answering phones and taking reservations.  Great restaurants don't fall far from the tree.

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We had a very nice dinner there this weekend. the cauliflower and the leeks were, as all have said, wonderful. i was also pleasantly surprised by how good the smores dessert was--very chocolatey with a hint of salt, and hot and cold and soft and crunchy all at the same time and the perfect size to share. Overall we liked the appetizers/cold plates better than the mains--husband found the coq au vin chicken good, but not amazing, and while i enjoyed the squash vadouvan, especially the olive cake, next time i think i'd opt for  second app/cold plate instead. 

 

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I stopped by to pick up some cinnamon rolls to take home for brunch Sunday.  Even at brunch, Cedric was there (as he ALWAYS seems to be), working the room from the front of a house with a big smile.  I cannot think of one single other chef at high-end restaurants in DC that consistently shows his/her face on the floor.

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5 minutes ago, sandynva said:

i was also pleasantly surprised by how good the smores dessert was--very chocolatey with a hint of salt, and hot and cold and soft and crunchy all at the same time and the perfect size to share.

Plus one for the smores dessert except I ate mine all by myself. :-)

2 minutes ago, funkyfood said:

Cedric was there (as he ALWAYS seems to be)

Also saw him on the floor, although for me it was a Friday night so maybe not so noteworthy.

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Extraordinary dining experience by Cedric Maupillier!  

On March 4, 2017, I arrived at 5PM at the beginning of dinner service and enjoyed the following:

  1. Crayfish and foie gras Velouté soup, black truffle
  2. Zucchini Roulade, tomato, goat cheese, sumac, pine nuts
  3. Bouillabaisse, blue catfish, clam, mussel, prawn, crab, squid, daurade, octopus
  4. Key Lime & Speculoos pie

***Zucchini Roulade and Key Lime & Speculoos pie were on the Happy Hour menu (5PM to 7PM)

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I continue to love this place.  We went Saturday for an early dinner on the patio and shared some delicious beef tartare, the leeks dijonaise, the daraude with calamari and the fried chicken coq au vin.  Everything was great, especially the oyster leaves on the beef tartare, which have been mentioned previously.  I was simply blown away at how much they tasted like oysters.  Pretty remarkable.  

I didn't like my Hemingway daiquiri very much unfortunately--not sure if it was made incorrectly or if I just don't care for the tartness.

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1 hour ago, funkyfood said:

I didn't like my Hemingway daiquiri very much unfortunately--not sure if it was made incorrectly or if I just don't care for the tartness.

Convivial used to have an outstanding bar program, not sure where it is now.  Hemingway was a diabetic, and when I think of "tart cocktails", the Hemingway Daiquiri/Papa Doble is at the very top of the list.  I would lean towards you didn't care for the tartness, in absence of any further information.

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Aunt, uncle, and their friend were in town from California so @MichaelBDC and I took them to Convivial for a fun -- dare I say, convivial -- last meal in DC. We hadn't been back in a while, and left wondering why we don't go more frequently.

Started the night off right with a round of cocktails. I had a perfectly made Paloma to start while @MichaelBDC ordered the French75. The bar made virgin pina coladas for my aunt and uncle, which they really enjoyed. Their friend had a beer.

For appetizers we shared the esgargot in a blanket, the pickled rockfish, and the leeks dijonnaise. All three were very good, but the pickled rockfish was my favorite of the bunch. I ordered the beef nicoise and chard ravioli for my entree and am glad I did. It was my favorite dish of the night and I savored every bite. @MichaelBDC enjoyed his fried chicken coq au vin, a dish he always looks forward to ordering when we go here. I had a bite of my aunt's braised lamb and parisian gnocchi, and thought it was good though I preferred my ravioli.

We had a little bit of everything for dessert. All were wonderful. I was impressed by the floating island but especially enjoyed the key lime and speculoos pie and the hot sticky toffee pudding. 

I have more family coming in town throughout the month, and am thinking of taking them here as well. Don't want anyone to get jealous. 

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I went to Convivial for the first time during Restaurant Week and enjoyed an exceptional meal at the bar. We were given the choice of three courses for $35, choosing one item from three of the five different categories. From the first section, I ordered the brandade, a rich, satisfying starter of salted cod, potatoes, creme friache and rustic bread tuile. My friend had the confit duck gizzards with puy lentils and a duck egg. We shared these dishes, and I loved them both. If I could only have one, however, I'd order the confit.

For the second courses, I had bouillabaisse (with sea bass, prawn, crab, scallop, clam, mussel and  octopus), and my friend ordered the daurade, with sauteed squid, celery root and sofrito. Again, my companion edged me out with his ordering skills. The bouillabaisse was fantastic, but the daurade was by far my favorite dish of the night. Unfortunately, my blurry photo does not do justice to this wonderful dish.

We ended our meal with two cheese courses--actually the cheese ended up in a take-home bag as we were already stuffed when it arrived. The tasting menu would have been the perfect amount of food for us, had we not ordered one extra item from the nibble section--the latke, two portions each of celery root and dried lamb, and whitefish salad and golden caviar. This dish was good, but not necessary with all of the other courses that came after.

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5 hours ago, DIShGo said:

I went to Convivial for the first time during Restaurant Week and enjoyed an exceptional meal at the bar.

Convivial did Restaurant Week as well as any restaurant that I've ever experienced - the entire menu was available (with very few supplements), and that Fougasse on the left (served fresh from the oven in that paper bag) is fantastic - Cedric Maupillier is a great chef (and Dawn Swaney, who was also there, is a great Sous Chef). It's a shame the photo of the Daurade didn't come out, because that might have been the Dish of the Night - it was executed, as fish is so rarely executed: with a perfectly crisp sear on the outside, and a barely-warm stringiness on the inside - it's hard to convey how great this fish was, because it just looks like a blurry piece of fish (note also the celery root purée). One thing's for sure: This was not cooked sous-vide, not unless there was Divine Intervention.

Those Latkes ($12) with celery root and dry-cured lamb, whitefish salad, and golden caviar - might not look like much, but they were a fantastic way to start the meal (we added those on as an extra course to start with a French 75 and a Gimlet).

I had high expectations going in, and they were surpassed. The place was *packed*, too.

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21 minutes ago, KeithA said:

I read through the thread but have never been to Convivial and now am bringing a large group of 17 for a business dinner in a couple of weeks. What are the best dishes/drinks/desserts to not be missed?

Convivial prepares fish - especially Mediterranean fish - really well. I'm in a minority of one when it comes to their Fried Chicken Coq au Vin - I think it's gimmicky, and I don't like it, but wouldn't you know it's their best seller.

Even though that picture is blurry, the daurade up above was the dish of the night

Definitely revel in the free fougasse you get at the beginning of the meal.

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* I didn't dislike the fried chicken, however it was disappointing to me after hearing it lauded as one of the best dishes in DC : I think it was Washingtonian's dish of the year, and also featured on the Post's list. 

My meal overall there about a year ago left me a *tad* underwhelmed but in fairness it was at Sunday 9:00PM on the second week extension of "restaurant week" in the middle of the Super Bowl... I certainly need to check it out again under more normal circumstances.

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The fried Coq au Vin is no longer on the menu.  The chicken dish is the Poulet Rouge for two.  It is one of if not the best roasted chickens that I have ever eaten.  Except for the drums it is deboned and pressed with something heavy while cooking.  This produces a skin with an incredible crispy and crunchy texture.  The tarragon vinegar sauce rounds the dish out nicely. 

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On 3/14/2018 at 9:35 AM, DonRocks said:

Convivial prepares fish - especially Mediterranean fish - really well. I'm in a minority of one when it comes to their Fried Chicken Coq au Vin - I think it's gimmicky, and I don't like it, but wouldn't you know it's their best seller.

Even though that picture is blurry, the daurade up above was the dish of the night

Definitely revel in the free fougasse you get at the beginning of the meal.

They've eliminated the free bread unfortunately

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9 hours ago, funkyfood said:

They've eliminated the free bread unfortunately

Bummer.  But worthwhile bread speaks for itself as does retaining and compensating a capable bread-making employee who can passionately turn humble ingredients into something people crave.

And then there are the purists to remind bread enthusiasts that certain breads demand considerable dedication to otherwise simple elements.

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A group of 10 or so former co-workers gathered last Sunday to reminisce and catch up. It was a moderately scattered and loud affair and Convivial handled it VERY well. 

I couldn't resist ordering the pickled rockfish again, one of my favorite items on the menu. The plating has changed (instead of cubes or rockfish, they were neat little filets) but the dish remained as refreshing and delicious as I remembered. I couldn't resist ordering the Moulard Duck Breast with cherries, turnips, and mustard greens for our entree. The size of the dishes were very generous and It was too much food for me, but it was all so good!

My former colleagues seemed to all enjoy their meals too and we had a great time. 

Thanks to Convivial for accommodating our lively bunch. I would definitely recommend for a large group. 

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It was our type of place.  This was a very good meal.  The red wine we ordered was a bit overpriced and undergood for what we wanted ($60 - I believe it was a Languedoc Carrignan/Syrah blend from Domaine du Pas De L'Escalette 2013) but the food was outstanding.  We started by ordering the garlic bread with a tomato based dipping sauce that was really good and really garlicy.  Nice.  The "escargot in a blanket" app. that Ginny ordered was not what was expected & was a major winner.  The escargot were chopped and wrapped inside more of a thin egg roll shell, crispy and non-greasy.  Four pieces.  My more traditional smoked Herring app w/potato salad was also excellent and the potato salad was a solid inventive component of the dish as opposed to simply a dollop of a usual style.  Ginny's duck slices were served with alternating slices of turnip and she loved it enough that I never got to taste any.  My bouillabaisse was  comprised of shellfish, a large head on shrimp (prawn?), some potato slices and 4 fillets of various fresh tasty fish.  All very good and unexpectedly generous.  The broth was not very rich and not a stand out, but the dish overall was a winner (yes, a piece of hard bread w/roux was there as well).  We split a 3 cheese plate for dessert and all were perfect.  With tip, we were a little over $100pp, putting it in the "new normal" range for a good meal in a moderate NYC place.  However, the food here was better than that level and we'd go back if/when we return to D.C.    Only 3 blocks or so from Dino's, I can easily see eating in both places (very different, but both very notable) regularly if we lived in Shaw or surrounding areas.

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Another family trip means another dinner at Convivial. At this point, my family thinks I am playing favorites if I don't take them to Convivial when they come to visit. 

Our group of four started with the leeks dijonnaise, pickled rockfish, and beef tartare. All were excellent, and my family really liked the leeks dijonnaise. Just realized while typing this out that we ended up with all cold appetizers. No wonder everything tasted so refreshing! We then split three entrees: roasted Parisian gnocchi, moulard duck breast, and steak with kale au jus, blue cheese, walnuts, and crispy onion. The duck breast was my favorite dish of the evening. The duck was cooked perfectly with turnips and mustard greens. @MichaelBDC loved the gnocchi, which was a bit crispy and served with mushrooms mousseline and fricasse. My aunt remarked that the crispiness of the gnocchi reminded her of tater tots. The steak was a favorite of my aunt, a beef lover. I really enjoyed the blue cheese that came with it. To finish off the meal, the four of us split the celebration profiteroles with the sparkler. Five profiteroles total, definitely enough for us to split.

As a side note, @MichaelBDC and I ran into Cedric at the host stand when we checked into dinner and @MichaelBDC used this opportunity to express his disappointment that the fried chicken coq au vin is no longer on the menu. Cedric said that about 40% of the people who ordered it were upset with the dish because they were expecting coq au vin, another 40% expressed disappointment that it wasn't truly fried chicken, and only about 20% of people liked the dish. 

 

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The chicken explanation seems right on target & I would’ve been the perfect example of the problem.  I love chicken & eat quite a lot of it. Not Wade Boggs level (he reportedly ate it for dinner every day), but pretty damn regularly.  So, having read about it but before knowing that they’d taken it off the menu, I had already decided I’d order it when we were there.  However, I’d already wondered if the chef wasn’t going to disappoint me by failing to provide either coq au vin or fried chicken, but serve a too cute Frankenstein creation that goes amok.  In a way, I was glad it was gone, allowing me to order something else.

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Guess who doesn’t read this forum?
 
Quote

Q.  Hi Tom! The last time I had coq au vin was at Balthazar in NYC around December 2015. It was a memorable and dreamy experience I’d like to try and replicate now that the temperatures are dropping in the district. Have you had the dish locally? Or do you have a personal favorite meal you prefer for colder evenings?

A.  It's not traditional, but the coq au vin as prepared by chef Cedric Maupllier at Convivial is definitely delicious. He fries the chicken instead of braising it, then flavors the entree in classical fashion with mushrooms, carrots and lardons. 
 
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A very nice brunch was had at Convivial, in fact I would elevate it to one of the better brunch choices in DC.

We started with a tasty burrata and greens dish.  It included a wedge of roasted winter squash, which seemed unneeded. 

The roasted cauliflower was also good, even if the pureed beet sauce was oddly sweet.

The yard long slice of quiche should definitely be considered.  Served on a bed of dressed greens, the pastry crust is buttery rich and the eggs soft and custardy.

Convivial also serves a very good bloody Mary.

Cedric was in civilian clothes at the host stand and keeping an eye on the floor.

We walked out into the sleet and rain happy and full.

Convivial Burrata.jpg

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Despite there being a rally today, we went into the city for dinner.  Gotta take advantage of warm winter days to eat outdoors!

We started with escargot and tarte flambee.  For some reason the kids thought the snails are gross.  I'm thinking maybe I should disown them.  But everyone loved the flammekueche, other than it's pretty small.

What drew us was the special for 2!  Duck Paella à la Française with Muscovy duck 4 ways, (1) pan seared foie gras, (2) confit duck thigh and wing, (3)cognac & duck sausage, (4) roasted breast aiguillettes, and hen of the wood mushrooms, all served over rice.  There were 4 slices of foie, 2 confit thighs and 1 wing, maybe 2 sausages, and a nice hunk of breast meat sliced.  This is a duck lover's paradise.  I'd go back and eat it again!

 

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Christmas Eve dinner from Convivial, our second Convivial to go dinner during the time of COVID and this dinner was phenomenal. 

Chestnut & Foie Gras soup and the Duck & Armagnac Country Pate to start and both were very very good. The soup was the best soup I have had in a while and the pate came with a generously large and tasty baguette. It didn't seem like a generous portion but after our appetizers, @MichaelBDC and I were so full we ended up splitting the cassoulet. There was a lot of pork and sausage to go with the perfectly al dente beans. After all that food, I managed a bite of my dessert, the Paris-Brest, a hazelnut praline mousse in a pate a choux. Perfect ending to a great dinner. 

Our second entree, the coq au vin de champagne sat in the fridge for two days and we dug in yesterday. This freaking blew away my Julia Child copy of coq au vin. That was good stuff. Hoping to polish off the rest of my Paris-Brest and the key lime pie tonight.

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