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Everything posted by Nadya

  1. To build on this, and considering the unfortunate trend of chefs putting down other chefs, is there anyone in this town whose cooking you admire? Secondly, would you give any advice to someone who would like to become a more sophisticated wine drinker? Now, if I could only have some tips on increasing my tolerance for alcohol...I seem to be useless after two glasses, and it is hurting my social standing
  2. Nadya


    This indeed raises all kinds of questions about public vs. private discourse, bias and journalistic integrity. If he were writing about a discussion that occurred in real life and not online, would he be expected to contact the people in question to clarify, comment or otherwise explain what they said? This leads me to believe we need to open a new sticky-note type thread "To Members of the Media Wishing to Quote This Forum".
  3. If I'm in town, either date works with me, 14th, 7th, or 21st.
  4. Alberto's pizza on P St.? Soho's coffeehouse on P & 22nd? Of course, this may fail to meet the decency standards...but it's calories of some sort.
  5. Are y'all serious about a field trip? Brunch or dinner? We could probably arrange it with little hassle. By the way, I took a look at the website, and although the owner looks like a very accomplished individual, I was a bit at the "brand new concept of the hospitality industry" - wiredbistrolounge, aka WiBiLo. WiBiLo? It would be fun to have a contest at the most descriptive version of what WiBiLo can stand for...Wistful, Bitter, Lonesome?
  6. A quick report on two other RW experiences over the past two weeks. Last Saturday two girlfriends and me dined at 1789. First, let me just say that the first floor dining room is gawgeous in that Old-World fireplace-and-dark wood style that is rather unconvincingly imitated by most bed and breakfasts on the East Coast (and England, too, for that matter.) We made our reservations about 10 days in advance, and the room looked full when we sat down. We were seated with no wait at all. The menu selections were quite generous – the only items that called for surcharges were cheese plate on the appetizer list and lamb and sirloin on the entrée list. Our waiter was charming, and we decided we liked him even before our second glasses of wine arrived. I went with seafood selections for both starter and main course. My soft-shell crab was very nice – served tempura-style with sesame vinegar dipping atop some sort of sprouts (two other ladies opted for greens – someone had to). For main course, I had Summer Gathering – a concoction of scallops, crab and lobster with sweet corn and potatoes in saffron broth. It was beautiful, especially the scallops – incredibly juicy and sweet-tasting, cooked perfectly. Two other choices at the table were, predictably, lamb and beef. Lamb got thumbs-up from my Scottish-born and raised friend, who said it’s the best she had in Washington. Beef received similar accolades, and I had a bite of both, and JUICY was the word of the night. Is there another way of saying “juicy”? My thesaurus feature seems to be disabled. We finished quite amiably by way of a peach crisp, a chocolate thing and a melba. Much fun has been had by all, to the tune of $60 per lady with tax, wine and tip. By the way, I think 1789 must be one of the few places where "career waiters" can still be seen - one of the guys in the dining room must have been eighty, at least. The night rolled along in Mie and Yu – but I’d rather not talk about that. Last Friday, it was Butterfield 9 with another girlfriend (it’s not what you think). We started at the bar with inimitable Spencer, who plied us with bubbly by the glass. I was convinced, yet again, that research skills are an underestimated virtue. What I mean is that when you know the owner of the place (who I never met before) is called Umbi Singh, and when the gentleman who escorts you to the table looks middle-aged and is wearing a turban, it’s only natural to say to him as a wild guess, why, how are you, Mr. Singh? Much smiles, compliments, and a purrrfect banquette for two ensues. Starters: crab cake for her and seared duck breast for me. They were out of crab cake and offered a soft shell crab replacement, which she happily took. The waiter was smooth and obliged us by offering Spanish conversation classes tableside…all that I recall were amor, pasion y muchos besos. I also think I received a proposal of marriage at the end of the meal. Both appetizers were very good, cooked lightly and unfussy. Entrees were pork chop for me and rack of lamb for her. Pork is usually not my first choice, but I loved mine – came with barley salad, peaches and cherries, overall taste is hearty and down-home good. Her lamb was a bit on the fatty side for my taste, but she loved it. My dessert was amazing. I am a chocoholic, and by definition it makes me sad to see good chocolate misused – this was not the case here. A little chocolate cake with almost molten-cake filling of dark chocolate, cinnamon flavor and a scoop of heavy cream on top. Wish that licking of plates was okay in fine dining places. It caused me unbearable sadness to see that it is not offered on the regular dessert menu. We finished at the bar, right where we started. At this point we were pretty tipsy and let it be known that it was my birthday! Darling Spencer obliged by witty conversation and a flight of port and wouldn’t take our money! I think I want to marry Spencer instead of our waiter (who was very good, and smooth, just not my type.) A bit of gossip gleaned from Spencer, who bartends at New Heights as well: Bobby Beard, formerly of Pesce, has left New Heights last week. He was executive chef there for maybe a couple of months, and apparently it didn’t work out. Will keep an ear out for more developments. All in all, two delightful experiences of great food, wonderful ambience and charming service – at very little money. RW rocks!
  7. I'm in! As long as it's not Wednesday or Monday (please? please?) - usually my working nights.
  8. How's that chicken you're serving at the restaurant, John? It's great. Crisp skin, juicy. Stoppit - some of us are having lunch at office desks, washing down Lean Quisine with Vin De Watercooler. (Okay, it's my lunch of shame...overslept today.) One more word about this chicken of yours and I'll throw my plastic dish at the wall and cry..
  9. Vidalia had a wonderful melon soup for Restaurant Week, but I just checked, and it's not on their regular menu
  10. Okay, I'll jump in. Short version: Ridiculous poppycock. Long version: another sign of a major paper granting legitimacy to a never-ending quest for Things One Could Ask to Comp. If your steak is not done to your liking and you send it back to the kitchen, do you expect a free replacement? Or just another steak done to your liking served with profuse apologies? Grrr.
  11. Um, but it doesn't hurt, right? I'm a sucker for pancakes and lasers. This place sounds bizzare. So....field trip? --C.S. "Celebrating His 100th Post" It shouldn't hurt, and even if it does, you know what they say - if you didn't get bruises, you didn't have fun! I'm a sucker for blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning myself, so it hurts my feelings when someone toys with my dream by screwing them up. A field trip sounds like a grand idea, but we will need a notebook to discreetly make notes about various acts of weirdness occuring around us. Anyone up for that? To be fair, I had a scrambled egg sandwich there once and it was fine.
  12. Left Bank, Left Bank - lemme tell ya... I've been there three times for brunch, and for what that's worth, my experience has been weird and underwhelming. I need to say outright I"ve never been there for dinner, so I don't quite know what the scene is like in the evening. The place wins on the "unusual ambience" - boothes and cafeteria-like tables for six or four. Don't think I saw a deuce in the entire joint. Sushi bar in the back, smoking bar in the middle - weird, no?? Large and light, has a loungy feel about it. Now to the underwhelming part. Whoever is in charge of training or supervising staff needs to be taken to the back and shot. It is obvious to me after three visits that there is no procedure in place for handling patrons at all (as in, you meet, you greet, you show to the table, someone comes by to take orders, etc.) The hostess looked baffled by our request for a table. After we sat down, at least three different people came by to ask if they can get us anything. When our waitress finally got there, I needed coffee and a mimosa in my system pronto - you know, the way your body asks for stuff on a Sunday morning after the night before...After about 15 minutes it got there, at which point she took our order - pancakes and an omelette. Twenty more minutes went by with multiple coffee refills - fine by me. Then - she comes back and greets us with a sunny "hi, how are you?? are you ready to order??" Gaaaa. While I can appreciate that being cheerful and perky on a Sunday morning is Hard Work...please...how hard can it be to pass the order to the kitcnen?? Not good. By the way, omelettes are dished out from a cart that is being wheeled around the room. An interesting concept, but I wonder how efficient it is. When my pancakes arrived - and I was looking forward to them because I enjoyed them on my last two visits - they were done, let's say, on the rare side. Pale as my face! That upset me. It's not like one needs laser-guided precision tools to evaluate the doneness of pancakes! A simple visual assessment will work. Brown - good! Pale - needs a minute more on the griddle! I should have sent them back. Oh well. So, my verdict would be: don't go to Left BAnk for the food or service. Go to enjoy a light-filled room with a nice atmosphere if you want to lounge your Sunday morning away with a paper when you are in a mellow mood and not in a hurry. If that's not your sort of thing, I wouldn't bother.
  13. Nadya


    Just to add to the seating debate: I am a hostess in what I consider a posh Washington restaurant, and we were trained to offer a first arriving guest of the party a choice between waiting for the rest in the bar/lounge OR at the table. FYI, about 75% choose to wait at the table, unless they are young. There has never been a policy of "no seating unless all members of the party are here." Why would we want to punish one person in the party for his poor choice of friends (read: habitual tardies)? Now, don't even get me started on the subject of two people showing up as part of the party of 8 on a busy Saturday night, being seated by yrs truly at a (round) table set for 8, ordering food, and informing me casually as they are tucking into their steaks, "oh, by the way, there will only be two of us...the rest decided not to show up."
  14. One more voice in praise of Eve. Went with a friend last Saturday night. First, I have to say that getting a reservation is Hard Work - I honestly don't know many eateries here that you have to call on Tuesday to make sure you get in on a Saturday night in the middle of summer. But I sort of knew what I was in for, so no complaints from me! Now, I have to disclose that I work at the restaurant where Cathal ran the kitchen before he and Meshelle opened Eve, but in a very unimportant capacity (part-time hostess). I don't think this had any role in the quality of food, or the ambience, only in how we were treated First, I LOVED the decor. Very warm, homey but sophisticated, and soooo cozy. Bar is a bit crowded, but not in an annoying way. Unusual setup of bar with the counter and couches along the wall makes the place feel very social and home-like. Service was very nice. Now, I am not a high-maintenance diner and I generally like my servers as unnoticeable as possible - tell me about the special, deliver the food, answer a random question and bye-bye. Our guy was very good - on hand when I needed him (not often) and not hovering when I didn't. Now, the food. I understand now why legends of Cathal are still alive at places he used to work. It's awfully good. I have no claim to expertise in judging food except bits and pieces gleaned in the course of late-night tequila-shootin' with the sous, bu the man is seriously good. Appetizer was baby beets and goat cheese salad. Anyone who hails from Russia has ideas about beets, mainly about how to avoid it when mommy insists. But this dish was really very good, clean, great ingredients shining through with minimum fuss. I had my mind made up about entrees before going (I know I know..idle hands with Internet access...will have to think about something to put on timesheet) - pork belly for me. But the duck special sounded too good to pass, so I went for it. So good! Can one make duck medium rare and incredibly tender at the same time? Yes yes, that describes mine. Garnished with a very earthy, garlicky-tasting mushroom (something o'woods?) with no trace of garlick ON it, must be some clever basting technique at work. But now I have to come back for my pork! Dessert was chocolate mojito - brick-shaped thingie of mousse crossed with flourless cake structure encased in chocolate glaze with mint Jello scattered about. So good. My friend had a peach granita that was quite good, too, I am just not a white chocolate fan. I can't wait to try the tasting room! Meshelle told me they are going to start "Industry Nights" on Mondays in August - I am officially on a mission to get all kitchen folks from our place to go already. Oh, and she was so very gracious and wonderful to us - stopped by, like, three times in the middle of a Saturday night rush (I know what that's like!) Just a delight to be around. Face it, being cheerful can be very tiring when it's a part of your job description - we've all had these moments at the end of a busy night when you look at your guests and think, oh would y'all just go cluster!@#$ yourselves! But she was grace under pressure personified. Made for a great night for us.
  15. Had a mellow, satisfying dinner at Komi last week on Thursday. Getting a reservation was a bit of work, i.e. "can't take you at 8...how about 8.30?" but when I came in, the place was at 50% seating capacity. Things of this nature happen, though, so I wouldn't hold a grudge. Love the decor. So many people are doing the Asian-inspired fusion thing these days, but I really liked the spareness and comfort of the dining room. Bread was an assortment of crispy flatbreads with apricot chutney. Had to restrain self from loading up on the bread before food arrives. Amuse was a thick cauliflower-almond soup with a touch of curry. Now, ordinarily I am not a soup person, less so of a cream soup person, and even less so a cauliflower soup person. But this was enjoyable, and the mini-pitcher presentation was (I thought) hilarious. Appetizer was cuttlefish with squash blossom. I am a huge fan of cuttlefish, and for this reason I don't like it to be too cooked in the oversauced sort of thing, but this was just to my taste - done lightly with a flavor, but not physical presence, of garlic. Squash blossom goes fine with ricotta filling, but the sauce could use a bit more tang. Main dish: lamb with lentils and spinach and sour cherry glaze. Loved it loved it. Lamb was just seared, crunchy lentils went nicely with spinach, and cherry sauce offset the lamb flavor very well. Skipped dessert. Check for two people (two glasses of sparkling each, appetizer and entree was $99 - a giggle-inducing number by the end of the meal). Why I loved Komi: 1. Classy food in the neighborhood that cries for some. I mean, come on - this is Dupont Circle, allegedly the land of artsy galleries, funky shops and people in designer jeans, that's supposed to have all kinds of food options, so why did I have to either eat ghetto sushi at Taro or haul bottom to North Dupont? Nice ingredients, well-presented, nothing revolutionary, but I didn't want any. Just a place with taste and good food. 2. Manageability of portions. For me, as a European transplant of five years, that's very important, as I will never forget how I was brought to tears when I first saw the size of my salad in Houston, TX. "I have to eat dessert, too?" Komi portions are enough to satisfy the palate and feel the flavor, but do not leave you stuffed, and why would you wanna be stuffed, anyway??? Just my 0.02c.
  16. Another Old Russian: "If life hands you lemon...respond with hand grenades." For trimming kitchen staff on a less-than-busy night..."If you can lean, you can clean." Meaning, if you are standing around lollygagging and discussing the last night's excesses with your fellow grill man, you may as well pack it and call it a night. Also, my ever-so-cheerful GM warns me of an upcoming busy night in this fashion: "We be bobbin' and a-weavin' tonight, Miss Nadya."
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