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A Rake's Progress - Co-Owners Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka at The Line Hotel in North Adams Morgan

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What is the story behind reservations at this restaurant?  Phenomenal popularity? A secret? For the next month, they show availability for only a handful of weekdays, for seatings near closing time. I have encountered a similar roadblock at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, though at the opening bell it is not that difficult to find something in the bar area. It's discouraging, though. (And making the journey to Spike Gjerde's award-winning kitchen is expensive and not always quite as transporting as it used to be.)

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I assumed it was the Sietsema review. My friend asked if I wanted to go and suggested the first two Tuesdays in March. This was the day before the Sietsema review ran. I took a couple of days to get back to her, and when we looked for a reservation on those Tuesdays they only had very late reservations available. She said when she e-mailed me before the Sietsema review they had 7pm reservations available on those days. We ended up making a reservation for the third Thursday in March at 7:30pm. There was very little availability at that point.

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On 2/14/2018 at 9:35 AM, giant shrimp said:

What is the story behind reservations at this restaurant?  Phenomenal popularity? A secret?

Don't forget, this is a hotel - they're undoubtedly holding reservations for their overnight guests.

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On 2/14/2018 at 9:35 AM, giant shrimp said:

What is the story behind reservations at this restaurant?  Phenomenal popularity? A secret? For the next month, they show availability for only a handful of weekdays, for seatings near closing time.

They’ve since opened up a lot of reservations at more reasonable times in March. Lots available now 

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We had drinks Saturday night at the bar and asked as I had not had any luck getting a reservation.   We were told that the Hotel holds a certain number of reservations for guests.  They release them at 4:30 each day so suggested if we wanted a day of reservation, we should try after 4:30.

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We had a nice evening and a great meal at A Rake's Progress over President's Day weekend. We got the reservation a couple weeks in advance, but they were very flexible when we called the night of to see if we could eat a bit earlier.

I'm a huge fan of Woodberry Kitchen, so I've been excited for Spike's DC restaurant to open. A Rake's Progress is more formal than Woodberry, but maintains much of the family feel. The staff seems to buy in to what Spike is doing, which is a big part of what I've always enjoyed about my visits to Woodberry Kitchen.

We started with 1/2 dozen Chesapeake Oysters, which are served with miniature bottles of cocktail sauce, mignonette, and hot sauce. The oysters were decently sized and very good.

Next was the ham board with 3 different types of aged ham, arranged from oldest to youngest. I wasn't taking notes and it has been a couple weeks, so I don't remember exactly what was served. It was delicious and the small sweet potato biscuits, gougeres, and peach jam served with it were fantastic.

Next we ordered the Bacons & Greens (aka Greens & Bacon) from the Small Plates section. Our server explained that the dish's name was an homage to the poem "Bacon and Greens" by Bakus Huntington. This dish involved kale, pork belly, and pork rinds with pot liquor poured over the plate at the table. I would highly recommend ordering this if it's on the menu.

We shared the Kilt Salad with a hot bacon mustard dressing, served with an egg and crisped ham. It's brought and presented tableside and then taken to a central station to be tossed. The salad was more than enough for two to share. The salad was slightly overdressed, but very enjoyable.

Finally, we finished with a Pork Porterhouse, supplied by Parts & Labor in Baltimore. The meat was very good but to my surprise the star of this dish were the sides. The whipped sweet potatoes and grilled brussels sprouts may have been the best bites I took all night.

As many have noted, the dessert menu is quirky and endearing. We opted to skip dessert, but they brought us a very miniature cake since we were there celebrating a special occasion.

I can't find a drink menu online and didn't snap a photo, but I had a rum punch that featured the verjus they're using as a citrus substitute, which was ok. The second cocktail I had was made with egg whites and fish peppers--it had some spice to it--fantastic. I so wish I remembered more details but will update this if I find a drink menu!

Overall, I really enjoyed my first visit to A Rake's Progress. The prices will probably keep it from being a frequent destination for me, but I'll certainly be back and may have a new favorite place for a special occasion meal. I'm very curious to eat at the bar where the food is a bit simpler and more affordable.

 

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Here's a somewhat tardy report from a few weeks ago.  

The space is large, open, and airy.  Despite alot of commotion, the sound dissipated so it didn't seem noisy and I could hear conversation.

The menu at the time was basically what you see at the washingtonian story:
https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/02/08/a-rakes-progress-line-hotel-dc-spike-gjerde/

Tried the fried quail with gochujiang for a starter. I was expecting something like a cross between Vietnamese fried quail and Korean wings, but this was quite different.  Meatier, without the tiny bones, and tasty.

Shared both the potted black bass with crab fried rice, and the hearth-roasted chicken.  The chicken was my favorite of the night, perfectly roasted, juicy and fragrant. The side of potatoes was delicious.  A server presents it to you at the table, before its carved up and brought back.  The bass was tasty too, but this was mostly devoured by the rest of my party while I was distracted by the chicken.

Everything is local, including the liquor - so if you are accustomed to a particular mass-market vodka in your martini, you might have to branch out!

Overall a very nice meal indeed.

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On 3/1/2018 at 2:31 PM, Mandy Delk said:

We had drinks Saturday night at the bar and asked as I had not had any luck getting a reservation.   We were told that the Hotel holds a certain number of reservations for guests.  They release them at 4:30 each day so suggested if we wanted a day of reservation, we should try after 4:30.

Are menu provisions not available at the bar?

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22 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

Are menu provisions not available at the bar?

We were eating elsewhere so I did not even ask.  

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On 3/24/2018 at 2:02 PM, monsterriffs said:

Haha, why is anyone surprised? Has no one been to Woodberry Kitchen or Artifact Coffee, where you are destined to eat nothing but root vegetables during the entirety of winter.

This is a very good point and note to self.. wait until late summer to try it.

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<Emerges from the fog> Celebrated NuttyBuddy's birthday here last night. I really like Woodberry Kitchen, so I was really looking forward to this. It's a really good restaurant. Food (Tuna tartare/Kilt salad/DuckDuckGrits/charcuterie plate/lost potatoes) was delicious, service was exemplary (great systems - take a note of the dance of the oval mat on your table), setting is lovely, scored an extremely quaffable Liquid Farm rose that is not on the wine list. A really good (if very expensive) experience. If I had one obvious complaint it would be that for a place that sells itself on being all about Mid-Atlantic provisions, the wine list is laughably short of local wines.

On the whole, a very positive experience, but there was something that just didn't come together to make it great, and then I read the Ann Limpert piece linked above and it made sense. This is the most self-satisfying restaurant I have ever visited.

PS - Neither of us got hugs

</Emerges from the fog>

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1 hour ago, JPW said:

<Emerges from the fog> Celebrated NuttyBuddy's birthday here last night. I really like Woodberry Kitchen, so I was really looking forward to this. It's a really good restaurant.

<Cue Lawrence Olivier from "Marathon Man">

Olivier: "Is it twee?"

Olivier: "Is it twee?"

Hoffman: "You talking to me?"

Olivier: "Is it twee?"

Hoffman: "Is what twee?" 

....

 

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Thoughts on this place:

1. The food was great.

2.  The meal was interminable.  More than 3 and a half hours for our party of 6.

3. The place is too fuckin' twee.  Even with the food, I had a headache from rolling my eyes so often.

Not rushing to go back

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New record for most expensive chicken in the city?

image.png.632c165c3a44e6637cece3f958f5a5a8.png

BTW, Convivial' s $41 poulet rouge, which comes with a delicious tarragon sauce, veggies and some fancy mashed potatoes is excellent. Not QUITE kinship-good, but cheaper and almost as good.

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On 4/5/2018 at 12:00 PM, funkyfood said:

New record for most expensive chicken in the city?

image.png.632c165c3a44e6637cece3f958f5a5a8.png

BTW, Convivial' s $41 poulet rouge, which comes with a delicious tarragon sauce, veggies and some fancy mashed potatoes is excellent. Not QUITE kinship-good, but cheaper and almost as good.

For a point of reference, three nights ago I had a filet of Bresse chicken from Le Devant Farm at Pakhuis (in Ghent), and it wasn't even *close* to being as good as what you get at Kinship or Convivial - we might not be able to easily get Bresse chickens in America, but preparation is almost as important as the breed, and these two restaurants take a back seat to no one (okay, okay, maybe La Côte d'Or back in the day, but there we were talking hundreds of dollars).

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I had dinner here on Monday with 4 friends, and despite having read the comments on this board, didn't find the place nearly as 'twee' or overwrought as some would make it out to be. It's possible they've dialed it back, or we had a particularly good server, but all in all, it was an enjoyable fine dining experience.

We started with the iced oysters (with which they bring a bottle of Woodberry Kitchen-branded Snake Oil hot sauce, along with three other mini bottles of cocktail/hot sauces). Would have liked an explanation on the different sauces, along with a better delivery system (the sauce barely came out of the bottles with a good hard shake). 

Next two small plates, the grilled ramps and radishes over , and the 'lost potatoes'. These seemed small for the price but were both quite tasty. The ramp dish was more fully realized, I felt the potatoes were just sliced roasted potatoes with seasoning that did not nearly warrant the price. Didn't really get much of the trout roe/other accompaniments in the flavor.

Next the winter lettuces salad, which added some filler to the meal but wasn't really remarkable in any way. 

The stars of fhe show were the entrees, we split the crown of duck and the rockfish. The crown of duck was plenty for four people, with both sliced duck breast, fried legs, and a substantial amount of cassoulet. The rockfish was perfectly cooked and balanced with its accompaniment. Our fifth diner had an order of rockfish to herself as well.

We had a bottle of the Gruner and an Oregon Pinot Noir which the sommelier helped us with (more for identifying a 'budget' white that would pair well). Let's just say none of the restaurant is very 'budget'.

Finished the meal with the baked alaska, which had tableside flambe. 

The space is very impressive and definitely the centerpiece of the hotel. I'd go back but given the prices, would probably return more quickly for one of the other dining options in the hotel.

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Sthitch and I checked out the Line tonight.  I was wondering how they could squeeze 2 restaurants and a hotel inside a church.  As it turns out, the church only houses the lobby of the hotel and the restaurants.  The hotel rooms are in some nondescript brick building in the back.  And you could book a room for $179.

A Rake's Progress is upstairs.  It encircles the lobby below.  There's a bar on one side, and the tables are scattered circularly.

The menu was sealed in wax!  And the bread was already buttered and salted! (too salty actually)  I felt like medieval royalty.  Honestly, the service was friendly, caring, but not over-bearing.

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We went for 5 small plates and the tower.  It was a miserly tower for $68.  A dozen oysters, half a tiny lobster, rockfish tartare, and tuna crudo (on pickled cukes).  Refreshing though, it was.

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Next we had the grilled castelfranco (fried oysters and greens) and cavatelli & scallops.  Both the fried oysters and the seared scallops were incredibly tasty.  I just wish there were more than 3 oysters.  The greens however, were overly salted.  Inedibly salty and tougher than your rocket launcher carrying babushka.

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We also had fried quail which tasted like gochujang, and none too tender.  The duck duck grits was some tasty but slightly dry duck confit, duck egg, and grits.  The last dish was ramp and asparagus - $15 for a relatively small serving of bad greens.

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