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Everything posted by bmiller

  1. I will, but not until I have someone smoochworthy in my life. I could, though, go for a really good roast beef sandwich. bmiller, did you enjoy yours? ← It was fine. It ate a bit more like a cheesesteak, but it was alright. I couldn't suggest it if you're looking for a great one. Really, I want to like this place, as it's the closest sit-down lunch option from my office. The $18 unlimited champagne brunch on an upcoming Sunday could convert me...
  2. I’ve been a couple times for lunch, once in the bar, once in the downstairs dining room. Had a decent but unremarkable barbecued duck sandwich the first time and a roast beef sandwich the second. Good piping hot McDonaldsesque fries. I would steer clear of the specialty cocktails. The downstairs dining room feels good but bland, a bit of a Zola ripoff on a budget (which Tom should have caught – the aligned stainless steel portholes between the full-height booth dividers are a bit more than an homage). The bar area is quite beige, with nice light fixtures and an airy feel. They’ve got the obligatory color changing lights behind the bar. I’m guessing the “smooching booths” are the semicircular booths along one wall of the bar area, though I can’t imagine them making anyone feel romantic. I’ll go back, but it’ll be more due to proximity than destination.
  3. To maximize value during Restaurant Week (and people wouldn't be dining out during RW if that wasn't an issue), remember that some of the places offer deals year-round as good or better than the RW specials. CP Steak does the same $20 3-course lunch and Cafe Atlantico's 3-course pre-theater menu is cheaper than the RW menu.
  4. I don't know if I'd call H2O and Local 16 places that shifted focus from food to bar - I think both were always intended to function more as bars, despite what the license or opening press releases may claim. I'd throw Mie N Yu into that category, too - all three were opened by owners with other nightlife establishments but not other restaurants (with the exception of the underrated Dragonfly in Local 16's case). They all billed themselves as upscale restaurants to help insulate themselves from ANC protests. IndeBleu seems to be a different animal, though, heavily hyping the chef and food through the whole process. If I had to guess, though, I'd say a good portion of their business plan relies on capturing the high rollers both pre- and post-MCI Center games. Will they have bottle service? Minimum charges at tables in the lounge? Maybe not when they open, but there are going to be a lot more people that want to come there than there will be that want to have a full meal, guaranteed. If they get the hype they're shooting for they'll be a victim of their own success on weekends and MCI Center event nights - the restaurant portion will work fine for crowding with the nature of the place, but the lounge/bar will either be overcrowded or they'll have to put up a velvet rope to control the number of people coming in - and it doesn't seem like they're looking to do either.
  5. I'll second Mark's Wine Specialist suggestion and add Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits - although they're better known for the beer selection, they've got a fair number of infrequently seen single malts.
  6. I consider it a bit odd that 15ria has miniburgers <I>and</I> a regular burger on their bar menu. Neither option is good, but they've got the midas touch with anything battered.
  7. <B>The Smithsonian Associates Presents “Meet the Chef” With Thomas Keller And Michel Richard at Citronelle</B> Tuesday, November 16, 2004 <I>After a warm up at the bar, I had my name checked Smithsonian’s list and headed down the stairs, spotting Keller and Richard at the chef’s table. I was directed to the combined private dining room, which was set up to seat about 60, and wandered around for a while before settling in (I was dining solo, and didn’t want to disrupt the seating plans of lager parties at the round 10-tops). </I> Laurent Perrier Brut Reserve <I>Champagne was poured, introductions were made, small talk ensued. Keller was signing Bouchon cookbooks in a nook in the hallway – unaware guests may have been somewhat surprised to pass by him on their way to the restrooms. A few minutes later, a voice came out of the speakers introducing Keller, at which point everyone in the room swiveled their heard wildly, looking for someone who’s tall enough that he shouldn’t be that hard to find. As he began to speak and applause came through the speakers even though the tables were quiet, it slowly dawned on us that he was in another room entirely. This led to an awkward phase in which people had to decide whether to keep staring at the speakers, look at each other without interrupting the speech, or (my choice), intently read and re-read the menu and hope to hell the night would get better. It did. Keller, Richard, and Jeffrey Cerciello (I believe) of Bouchon came in and talked about the cookbook, the recipes they’d be preparing from it, and fielded questions from the audience.</I> <B>Tapenade, Olivade, Salmon Rillette, Rabbit Rillette with Prunes</B> Viogner, Miner Family, Napa Valley, 2003 <I>These were introduced by Keller and passed out in a variety of ceramic and glass containers, a vessel of every one at every table. They were served with a heaping basket of thinly sliced baguette toasts, and we were instructed to pass them around and generally make it social. We did, and it was my favorite course of the night. The communal aspect worked wonders in breaking the remaining ice at the table and the basket and jars made the rounds until everything was gone. The tapenade was incredibly rich, and the olivade (olives & fromage blanc) tasted remarkably similar to taramosalata. The salmon rillette was made with two combined preparations of salmon (I couldn’t make out what they were), and the rabbit was served with a layer of prunes across the top. The salmon was quite stiff and adhesive in nature, which made for some tense moments as people tried to fling it from spoon to plate with increasing force. It was already a lot of food and it quickly became clear that each piece of bread was going to have to count, shuttling an inordinate mass of spread between plate and mouth. I was feeling much better about the meal.</I> <B>Butternut Squash Soup with Nutmeg Crème Fraiche and Fried Sage</B> Vacqueyras, Domaines Perrin, 2001 <I>This was a bit of a lost course – it came out without introduction, the crème fraiche looking like a poached egg in the bowl. The soup was ladled over it and everyone started eating, but no one at my table really had anything to say about it. It was served a few degrees too cold, and the quantity of crème fraiche seemed much too large for the modest soup serving.</I> <B>Lamb Ribeye with Winter Roast Vegetables, Perigord Truffle, & Lamb Jus</B> Cabernet Sauvignon, “Modicum” 2000 <I>Prefaced by a lengthy Keller description of the source of the lamb, it was served as a gently seared cylinder atop thin winter vegetable slices. The truffle shavings were substantial, but had perhaps sat too long after being cut as neither the scent or the flavor was as intense as I would have expected. The elements were good but I was really looking for a change in texture at this point, as the only things in the meal so far that weren’t soft and rich were the toasts and the bit of fried sage. The wine with this course was pretty amazing, a cabernet sauvignon developed by The French Laundry and shortly to become available outside California. It was enormous, enough so that a glass of crianza I had a couple of hours later tasted like rosewater. </I> <B>Valrhona Chocolate Tart</B> <I>This was a Michel Richard take on one of the Bouchon recipes, and it was excellent. The chocolate sat in an inverted shallow pyramid of crust with a pool of liquid chocolate over it, and my only wish is that I’d held some of my wine from the last course in reserve. The company was great. Some of the food was great. But, much like my experience at Bouchon Las Vegas this spring, I left feeling that the ideas behind the meal and experience didn’t make it all the way to the plate. Looking back at the menu, it makes sense that the program was called “Meet the Chef”, as it seems that the dinner wasn’t the thing people were there for. I’m glad I went, but I can’t see myself doing something like it again. At least until I see the next listing that looks too good to pass up.</I>
  8. Les Halles could be a pretty safe bet, especially in the front seating area.
  9. That's my hope. The menu that I was mailed a month or so ago didn't wow me, but it also looked as though it had been worded by a Smithsonian staffer rather than someone on the food side ("Red and white wines").
  10. I'm heading to the Thomas Keller / Michel Richard dinner at Citronelle tonight. I'm a little nervous that, as part of a Smithsonian program, it won't necessarily show the best of either chef, but I certainly can't imagine it going badly.
  11. Congratulations to Johnny, Sebastian, and the rest of the crew on Komi's 1st anniversary!
  12. The caramel lightbulb wasn't on the menu when I went last Friday, but it was the best of the four times I've eaten there. New additions (esp. the melon ravioli) and refixes of some existing items (new presentation of the guacamole, a cigale-based variation on the sardines) have convinced me that it's not just hometown pride that's made me enjoy minibar more than Moto or even WD-50.
  13. Even after the opening of RFD and the attendant shift in attention, there’s still no place better than The Brickskeller to sit with friends for a good four or five hours. There are enough tables available that there’s rarely a wait (and tables are the way to go here – the bar’s far too small and in too tight a space), if you steer toward some of the american craft brews in 12oz bottles the prices are very gentle, and if you get a good server it’s going to be a great night. The server’s often the issue – this place has more staff turnover than anywhere else I’ve seen. But they do train them all to do a proper Paulaner pour. The constant beer outages are a problem, but I don’t think it’s any better or worse than before RFD opened. You’ve got to order with a plan B, C, and D in mind, but if you’ve got a good server they’ll come back with replacement suggestions for the one they’re out of – much better than playing a 20 minute game of Beer of Fortune with the bad servers. I’ve got the number on speed dial – now I ask if they’ve got Brigand before heading over.
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