For my wife's birthday I took her to Vidalia in DC and it was one of the top 5 fine-dining meals I've had. The food was excellent as ever, but the service really knocked my socks off. Made the res through opentable.com, painless, mentioned that it was her birthday in the "comments" field, figured what the hell. They have totally redecorated/renovated since my last visit. The wine bar area is indeed very pleasant, and we beached ourselves there after dinner for a little while. But I am getting ahead of myself. We sat down and were given a few minutes to look over the short winelist, and our server appeared, I am sorry I forgot her name, but she was excellent. Ordered a martini for me and a glass of Cava for Tracy. They appeared in short order, waitress asked if we would like to see the full winelist, which we did. It is pretty impressive. The sommelier was present and offered help, but I am not a wine afficianado by any means, and we wound up just drinking martinis and cava, but, hey, drink what you like, right? So, on to the menu. Notice the birthday wish at the top. :toot: That's a nice touch. Funny thing, a young couple was sitting near us, seated about 15 minutes after us, same thing, girl opens menu..."wow how did they know??" *gush* Anyway, so only the entree part of the menu is in the pic, I don't have the other half. But we got: Starters: her: fois gras in onion broth me: baked oysters The ribeye (above) Venision loin (above) And we love mac and cheese, so we could not resist ordering the side of goat cheese and truffle mac. Interestingly, it was only $8, but it was $14.50 on the online menu. :toot: I guess it didn't sell at that price. Anyway, on the service, without going into too much detail, it was efficient, unobtrusive, and appeared effortless. I did 10 years in restaurants, both front and back of the house, and I know good service. This was fucking scary good service. So good, in fact, I asked the waitress if the mirror on the wall behind us was a one-way mirror, because there is no god damned way they could appear at the exact right second that many times in a row, and not ever when they weren't needed. The sommelier just passing our table sees my just-emptied martini and takes it and my order for another, and the waitress is there with it not three minutes later, and I didn't even see them talk to each other! I notice these things. Later, Manager/partner? Mike Nevarez came by to wish Tracy a happy birthday and I gushed to him about the service. (Never hurts to help out your server with the boss, right?!) Anyway, he gave some detail on the renovation and how they had done the first interior all themselves, but had pros do it the second time. The interior is very comfortable and pleasant indeed. It was before, but it looks even nicer now. Ok, the food. Keep in mind, this was an excellent meal. Fabulous in every way, and utterly delicious. Any criticism should be taken with a grain of salt, as I smoke, I drink martinis during dinner, and I don't even drink fancy wine. This is just how things were to my palate. Poached fois gras with onion/oxtail broth Stunningly good. The fois was cut into pieces similar in size to a half-stick of gum. With a spoonful of the broth, put that in your mouth and just gently press the fois against the roof of your mouth with your tongue and it just melts. This was on the special/tasting menu, and we asked the server for an opinion on that vs the fois terrine on the regular menu, and she recommended this one. Excellent. Baked oysters I don't remember what they were called, but they were lovely oysters smothered in crab, lobster, and cream and given a little topping that baked up like a quick bread. Utterly rich and delicious. Ribeye Really just the eye part of the ribeye, delicious and meaty. Perfect med-rare, of course. Crust was a little hard to cut with the knife provided, but tasty indeed. The braised oxtail in phyllo was a neat little cylinder looking thing with the most delicate beef barbecue you ever tasted inside. The dauphnois potatoes looked like little tater-tots, which was cute. Everything on this plate was excellent. Venision loin This loin was the mildest venison I ever tasted. This is where I am thinking my palate might be fucked, because the ribeye tasted "meatier" than the venison, and usually I find those two to be opposite. Regardless, it was perfectly cooked and tasty, and tender as can be. The huckleberry-horseradish thing was tasty but I could only barely detect the horseradish. The venison/wine reduction was much more flavorful, and with the various carmelized onions, I enjoyed this plate very, very much. Whole being much more than the sum of the parts. The chestnuts were nice, but not really necessary, I thought. Truffled goat mac To fucking die for. Ridiculously good mac and cheese, nice little crust on the top and black truffle shavings throughout. The only thing I could complain about is it was a little too truffle-y. The truffle overpowered the goat cheese. That's pretty hard to complain about though. Lemon Chess pie Their signature dessert. Just perfect. Little drops of meringue on the plate, each impossibly just barely browned on the top. Raspberry coulis for contrast in a little artistic smear, and a diamond-shaped piece of some other kind of jelly that was tasty and really sharp in the presentation. All in all, a fabulous god damned meal. After we ate, we retired to the wine bar on those comfy leather couches to have a cocktail and try to get jazzed up to go out. Someone appeared as we were sitting and relaxing with a complimentary selection of house-made petit-fours, again for the special occasion. Best petit-fours I ever tasted. They were nice and much softer than chocolates that come from a box, because they don't have to be made strong enough to travel! Especially enjoyed the one that tasted like it had an expresso ganache inside.