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Everything posted by asundstrom

  1. Joe, have you had Christina's in Cambridge MA? It's way better than Toscanini's, close to the perfection of the now defunct Denise's in Somerville. If the Thomas Sweet ice cream served by SweetLicks on R street is representative of the stuff generally, I found it utterly flavorless by comparison with most Boston outfits, and rivaled only by the incredible shittiness of Larry's on Connecticut. In general I am very depressed about DC's ice cream - even the farmer's market stuff I've had is bad - but I will give Two Amy's a try.
  2. I'm in NO - so far, Jacque-Imo's has been the biggest disappointment. Great alligator cheesecake and deep-fried po boy, but mushy fried chicken, way too salty "paneed rabbit", bland blackened redfish. Desserts were absolutely inedible. 2 hour wait on a Saturday. Of the other meals I've had so far, Mr. B's and Elizabeth's are the highlights. The barbequed shrimp had a really delicious sea flavor. The strawberry french toast at elizabeth's was excellent, as were their shrimp and grits. Upperline had excellent roast duck and creme brulee. Central Grocery's muffalettas were great. Cafe du Monde's beignets were way too starchy-tasting - maybe the fact they're made from a mix is bad? Nowhere near as good as what i've had in France. One thing that surprised me a bit about new orleans is that excellent specimens of N.O. cuisine in Boston (Magnolia's Southern Cuisine) and Washington, D.C. (Johnny's Half Shell) are as good as the New Orleans versions at the places i've tried.
  3. Anybody know what restaurants around DC do good or interesting things with bone marrow, or, failing that, know the best place to purchase such bones for home cooking?
  4. Best Hunan, slightly north of City Lights, is good for traditional Cantonese stuff - steamed chicken w/ ginger and scallions, good noodles, etc. Much much better than City Lights. Meiwah is disgusting.
  5. I was a basic customer, w/ no connection etc. I was treated very well, invited back to the kitchen for a conversation with Kinch, and served excellent food. Much better than merely "tasty" amuses. Didn't drink wine or order a la carte - the latter doesn't seem the point of the place. With the exception of the desserts, much much better than anything I've had in SF, Gary Danko being the best of that lot. An hour and a half? Come on.
  6. I ate at Manresa on the 27th. It was slightly different: monkfish instead of mackerel with the salmon roe, a truly amazing ricotta ravioli with swiss chard, etc. I won't bother repeating earlier praise of the savory courses, and it was one of the best meals I've had in a restaurant. Many thanks for the recommendation. The desserts, however, I found completely unimpressive. The gap between the desserts and the rest of the meal was reminiscent of Blue Hill in NYC, and the cloying green apple sorbet was quite similar to one I had there. The pineapple soup was exactly the same as drinking the dregs from a can of pineapple juice. The pineapple cake was dry, and the accompanying sorbet (which I can't even remember!) was too sweet. The souffle was also too dry, maybe 10th percentile for restaurant souffles. The pecan tart was nothing special. The petit fours were good, although I liked the black olive better than the chocolate - the former was creative, the latter perfunctory. Maybe it was just an off night, but although the meal overall may have bested, say, Per Se, I didn't feel the desserts were in the same league. Great, great dinner though.
  7. Thanks, sangiovese. I'm actually staying in Big Sur, and was just thinking of catching Manresa on the way back to SF. To dine at both, I would have to go to Sierra Mar and Manresa on consecutive nights. I would like to make my student budget stretch a *bit* farther than that (at least to Chez Panisse et.al. over the weekend). So if anyone has a good sense of which meal would produce more lasting food memories, lemme know.
  8. Has anybody been to both Manresa and Sierra Mar? Am going to the area next week and want to pick one. I understand that Sierra Mar has a teriffic view, but am mostly interested in sheer food quality.
  9. asundstrom

    Per Se

    JDPenach, I think my girlfriend and I were sitting next to your party yesterday (based on the tray of 3 salmon / 1 tomato cornets I noticed them delivering you). We just had the chef's and the vegetable tasting; I asked about the extended tasting and was told it would be 18 courses each, but rather than completely different courses we would each get a variation on the same basic foodstuff. Anyway, not to clutter up this thread with any more superlatives about the place, but, yeah, probably the best restaurant meal I've ever had. Toque! in Montreal was as good, but nothing else has been. I did think the chef's tasting was better than the tasting of vegetables. The vegetarian menu was the only one with a dud (a terrible, astringent baked eggplant dish) and I disliked a few elements of the other dishes - the bland fried tomato and overly sweet basil sorbet in the toybox tomato salad and the boring gnocchi in the otherwise spectacular seared romaine/radish/truffle dish. Everything else we tasted was perfection. My favorites were the hen of the woods mushroom (I'd love to know how they managed to cook every little stalk so well, with that great olive oil/pepper mixture), the pate w/ peach marmalade and pickled peaches, the rabbit terrine with tangerine coulis, the veal, the lobster... but having to just use vegetables is a pretty limiting constraint I guess.
  10. Yikes... Ok, fine, it takes the other business lunch options by the hand and gently shows them how to make foie gras good.
  11. Haven't seen too many posts about Gerard's on here. The lunch I just had there was one of the best meals I've had in DC, probably tied with Citronelle for the top slot. Started with the veal sweetbreads with chanterelle mushrooms ($18) which were pretty much perfect. Pancreas, not thymus, just slightly crispy and with a very clean flavor. Better than the ones I had in the slaughterhouse district of Rome. Had another appetizer instead of an entree (the entrees range from $23-38 at lunch I think) - the seared foie gras with warm peaches ($22). Two big lobes of Hudson valley deliciousness, again just crispy enough, and the peaches went together with them so wonderfully... The best thing, though, was the fruit souffle ($11) I had for dessert. Perfect texture and ethereally light - I think I inhaled part of it in my enthusiasm. Just the right fruit flavor, with lots of grilled pineapple. I tried someone's valhrona chocolate tart with raspberries, which also captured the possibilities of warm fruit added value perfectly. I'd say this sodomizes any other DC business lunch option, although Galileo might give you better value. Only downside was the shitty bread service - stale-ish baguettes, no butter knife. I wouldn't go with the $30 prix fixe lunch - the food on it is several cuts below the regular menu stuff.
  12. asundstrom

    Per Se

    So $500 buys you and a partner 30 different courses, as opposed to 18 for $275? I'd rather just do the latter, I guess, being on a student budget and all...
  13. asundstrom

    Per Se

    So one can get a regular + vegetarian tasting menu for $250, but a regular + a different regular is $500? Is there a good reason not to opt for the former?
  14. Oriental East isn't just the best dim sum in the area - it rivals the stuff in Toronto. Definitely better than anything in Boston, which has a billion times better Chinese food in general. The har gow - steamed shrimp dumplings - are always extremely fresh and crisp, and the ba la bao, the buns covered in a crusty exterior, are filled with amazing custard that beats 90% of dedicated Chinese bakeries.
  15. Just got back from a comically bad dinner at Tosca with my girlfriend. RW 3-courses, no wine. I'd canceled our Vidalia reservation and lateraled over after reading the posts here earlier today. First thing we noticed was brusque hostility from the waiter. I wouldn't have thought that this would happen, since their whole menu is available for restaurant week, but there it was. He also refused to recommend anything. Then came a 30 minute wait for our appetizers. We didn't much mind, and the maitre'd came over to apologize. But when we got the appetizers, the waiter told us that we'd have to eat them quickly because the entree was coming right out. I've never had anything like that happen before. Even worse, he came back after a few minutes and reminded us to hurry because the entrees were coming quickly. After we finished our appetizers, we waited 15-20 minutes for the entrees to show up. The appetizers themselves - duck agnolotti and seafood spaghettini - were both excellent, definitely the highlights of the meal. The agnolotti were bursting with really moist, finely chopped duck, and the spaghetti was really well spiced and perfectly cooked. The entrees, risotto w/ rabbit sausage and lamb chops - were pretty bad. The sauce for the risotto was bland, the grains were too chewy, and the rabbit sausage was very dry. The lamb was a 3 oz portion, max, and was about 75% fat. For dessert we had the warm chocolate cake - which was also pretty bland. My girlfriend had had two Balance bars for breakfast and ranked it somewhere between the two Balance bars in quality. The warm strudel was very good. After we got the check, we noticed that when these same desserts were brought to the table next to us, they included big scoops of gelato, which our desserts had both lacked. I probably wouldn't have said anything, but we really like gelato, and our waiter had been fawning over the adjoining table (no surprise, they bought two bottles of wine) all night. So I complained, and asked for a couple of scoops of gelato. At this point, our waiter became borderline livid, and entered that hyper-sarcastic "Is everything all right sir?" "Have a good night!" mode. The kitchen sent out an unsolicited/unwanted second chocolate cake - with gelato this time, although almost completely melted. We picked at this for a little bit. After 10 minutes, our waiter brought out two bowls of gelato - also 90% melted. Thus ended our Tosca meal. This was my first DC restaurant week meal. I couldn't help thinking back to lunch at Gramercy Tavern last NY restaurant week - perfect, gracious service, and not one indicator that it was RW until the bill arrived. I'll certainly take many a train to GT before I get within 100 yards of Tosca again.
  16. Re: the environment for dissenters, has anyone else noticed the negative meal reports on Citronelle over at chowhound? Not much of that here at all... coincidence perhaps.
  17. Yeah, I've been a few times so far, and the food is quite excellent, especially the saag paneer and the raita - better than the other places I've tried so far in the area (Indique, Bombay Club). The service is completely bizarre, however. For one, I've had to wait about 15 minutes at odd times - once at the front of the restaurant, where the hostess had absented herself, and once after being seated, before receiving water or any attention from a waiter. For another, the waiters are some of the most socially awkward people I've encountered in the service industry: "Oh, I'm Frank [or some similar name], by the way," says one waiter awkwardly after taking our order, pausing periodically to stare creepily at me and my girlfriend. Two different waiters keep serving us, asking if someone else has taken our orders for various courses, and openly yelling at each other and the other staff when the food is slow coming out of the kitchen. The whole thing is just way too David Lynch. The food IS great though.
  18. Just a heads up, I think it's Lulu's (?) at 22nd and M, by Blackie's - they've had a banner up for a while which advertises a June 11 event featuring cicadas cooked by the chef at Blackie's, as well as a cicada eating contest. So if you're disappointed by their exclusion from the Farenheit menu, this might be something to try.
  19. Their chinese smoked lobster is also great, with those crispy greens that quite literally melt in your mouth...
  20. Was it just too bitter? I've cooked with the stuff, and you're supposed to salt it to draw out the bitterness for some period before cooking. It's usually pretty inoffensive, and even delicious.
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