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Cafe Tropé, In The Old 21P Space - Closed.

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Walked by this place, which has a "NOW OPEN" sign out front. Anybody tried it?


My partner and I stopped by here for dinner on Friday night--it was a warmish night, so we took a table on the unheated enclosed patio, which worked out fine. I was a bit skeptical when I looked at the plates on the tables around us that the portions would be very substantial, particularly for the price point. Our server assured us that they serve "medium-size plates," and that most people order 2 to 4 items for their meals. He noted what he called his favorites in each category (at first it looked like he was noting the most expensive item in each, but he went for cheaper items on the meat and seafood side).

We each decided to go for two dishes each--Bob had the tuna and beet tartare and the adobo duck, I the squash/mushroom pilau and crabcake, and we each had a glass of red wine. The dishes came out blazingly fast--ahead of the wine, in fact--and we were relieved to see that each portion was reasonably generous. I wish I could be as positive about the food itself, however. Nothing was bad, but neither did anything really stand out. The tartare (cut in a dice and molded into a good-sized round) didn't shine with any particular flavor--the tuna was more texture than taste, and the beets were equally bland. The duck was nice and juicy, but didn't have the tang one associates with adobo. My pilau was molded similar to the tartare, but was sort of blah. The crabcake itself was probably the best dish--good meat, little filler--but the accompaniments of avocado-corn salsa and mustard sauce clashed with each other, and the salsa was almost devoid of corn. The rolls they serve the meals are tasty, though; wine was unmemorable.

Service was friendly and brisk, though the dish wranglers tended to auction off the plates. They are promoting a $50, five-course meal, but the server didn't push it hard, thankfully. Still, at the end of our fairly brief meal, we had a $69 bill, to which we added a $11 tip, but I didn't feel like I had eaten a meal that earned my $40. Again, nothing terrible, reasonable size portions, but it still felt overpriced and not meriting a return visit. The tasting menu might actually be the best way to go right now to get the best buy, but that might be just three more courses that don't really deliver what they promise, if the choices are anything like what we had. :mellow:

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For a long time it was a piano bar called Friends.
Better late than never. I don't believe this is correct. Friends was at the other end of that row of buildings, by the alley that led to the Frat House -- unless it occupied different premises at different times, which I don't think it did. Friends was at 2122 P St. (Google can confirm this). The space at 2100 P St., which has been home to 21P and Beduci and this latest closed place, was the site of Donna Adele restaurant, back in the day, whose kitchen was at one time headed by the illustrious Enzo Fargione. I have no recollection of what might have been there before Donna Adele, a restaurant I ate at once and was astonished by how expensive it was. At any rate, both Donna Adele and Beduci lasted there for quite a while, so I would hesitate to call it cursed. How about the space on the northwest corner of 18th and Columbia, where there's now a Starbucks? Now, that space is cursed, for restaurants anyway. Starbuck's may be doing okay.
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