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Everything posted by sara

  1. Hi I would definitely check out the corner back should I find my way back there this summer. I agree that there's a fair number of politicos there, but what I noticed was some segregation--sweaty family tourist types in the dining room, more yuppie types at the bar (probably only there for happy hour). My guess is that those more in the know just go for happy hour, and skip the dining room. Don't like Kumamotos huh? Wow. If you prefer N.O. oysters to those, then you'll probably like Long Islanders and Pemaquids too; check em out! Damariscotta Maine has a Pemaquid festival every summer. Never been, but hope to make it sometime.
  2. Now THIS we agree on. Exactly. Why is it that larger DC doesn't 'get' it yet? The preponderance of corporate credit cards holding us back?
  3. Hi The best place for your first oyster is the place you're most comfortable trying new things in; and of course a place where they're guaranteed to be fresh. If people like noisy scenes, sure Old Ebbitt would be a good starter. But if you need a little quiet when mustering effort to try new things, try Johnny's. Plus, a first timer probably won't be looking to eat large numbers of oysters, so cost is less of an issue. Me, I've downed 3 dozen in a sitting, so price-yeah, it matters. As for Swann, I've been 3-4 times before. It's great, casual, pristinely fresh West Coast seafood served by sweetly gruff men. You have to wait on line, and be prepared to drop $35-40 on lunch. I adore the place. Acme is somewhere I used to enjoy more. It's still good, at the bar itself, but the last time I went I felt the oysters weren't as good-- and I think it's because my tastes have turned to the smaller, briner oysters (usually West Coast) over the big, meaty, less flavorful New Orleans kind. You can only get those in New Orleans--they aren't generally shipped across the country to be served in major cities, and there's a reason for it. When you eat those, you're not worried about overpowering them with large consumption of alcohol, making them a good New Orleans food. But that's because they lack subtlety. The best oysters should be accompanied by little more than a light white wine, or maybe a beer, IMO. I prefer Uglesich or Cassamento's to Acme when in New Orleans--the oysters are served colder, at least-- and Ugle's bloody mary goes great with them.
  4. Is that what's called the "Corner Bar?" I don't think they do the oysters there. Not positive tho. The front bar goes around to a back area, but no additional room there yesterday.
  5. Went yesterday with friends. Yes, the oysters, clams and shrimp on that walrus platter are quite good, very fresh, nice price. However, it was very hard to find a seat (arriving at 5:45 on a Wednesday during summer), and you need a seat because you need a place to sit your platter. The bartenders weren't attentive, and one was actually kinda rude. And there are no drink specials during happy hour. More importantly, the atmosphere is lousy--a total tourist trap, threadbare carpet, less than clean bathrooms, lines out the door, plenty of sunburned kids and parents in shorts. BUT, if you can ignore all that and leave work early enough to find space at the bar, yes, it's the place for seafood happy hour in DC.
  6. I think "neighborhood" restaurants have increasingly become "destination" restaurants partly as the result of a fetishization of such places-- in other words, these places have become "cool" in the same way that the louder, pricy, splashy places were in the 1980s. (I'm thinking of that movie American Psycho--is that it?--at the moment.) I agree with putting Blue Hill and Django, and Chloe, Barbuto, and Spotted Pig for that matter, in this category. I also agree there's diversity within the label of 'neighorhood' restaurant--diversity in terms of attitude/approach primarily, while actually, I don't think the variation in the primary outcome (the food) is all that different (among the highly acclaimed of this category). Nectar and Blue Hill strike me as fairly similar, as do Django and Chloe and Barbuto. With regard to intimacy levels--sure, they can be achieved in any setting, largely contingent on who you're with. I know some don't think Nectar is intimate--and I don't agree. The Inn at Easton, which I wrote about recently, surely is intimate--if you want it to be. But is it a neighborhood restaurant? No, I really don't think so (tho I don't live in the neighborhood)--it's a special occasion destination. Not sure I've gone much beyond agreeing to a difference in semantics here Steve, but it's an interesting discussion, at least to me! What is the goal of Eve, as seen by the owners? Who is their ideal clientele? Foodies? How price-accessible do restauranteurs really want their places to be? Is one ideal to bring great food to people who might not be able to pay $25 entrees? Or has that ideal translated/transmuted into a plethora of chains who think they're doing just that?? Located in neighborhoods near you, everywhere... ps. Having a tasting menu at all-- as Eve and Blue Hill do-- definitely sets a restaurant into a different sub-category, I think. Hugo's in Portland seems to conceive themselves as a neighborhood place, offering three different menus as does Eve. I'm going there in August and will report back on how well they pull it off.
  7. Steve, Glad you thought the conversation was worthwhile. I will certainly be more careful in the future about describing states and timings and levels of intoxication! Regarding the neighbhorhood designation, I think to me, this is a *really* high honor. In NY, my favorite restaurants are what I'd call neighborhood-- ie. Prune, 71 Clinton, Tasting Room, etc. In my opinion, these somewhat smaller, slightly more casual joints offer great food at reasonable prices --and I feel this is lacking overall in DC. We're dominated by big corporate-esque hotel-esque establishments, like DC Coast, 15 ria, Galileo, Kinkead's...sprawling places that lack a true sense of intimacy with chef and owner. Sure there are exceptions, and I'm hoping for more of them. Happy to be a rabblerouser in my remaining days before I leave you all for the Midwest!
  8. We're doing dinner at Vidalia. Hoping they'll give a big selection again.
  9. Does OG follow the same hours as the restaurant?
  10. Well, pastrami, not under my control. But at the same time, these things can be illuminating and productive for others to see. If anyone disagrees, our moderator can deal with it.
  11. Meshe Thanks for your response. No, I'm not in the business currently, tho I waited tables in the area for years. As for the terrine, my suggestion is to use more black pepper, garlic and thyme--to punch it up a bit. Of course, I'm no chef, so this is just a guess as to what might fix what I perceived as blandness. Regarding bar service, I must admit it might be quite disappointing to some of your customers to discover that on any given night the bar might stop serving food, simply because it's too busy. I understand the dilemma, yes. But it might be easy to deal with if it was a simple Friday/Saturday nights, no bar menu, policy that people could be made aware of. Price and convenience are two reasons people order off bar menus, and if one traveled all the way to Old Town to try the food, at the bar, and couldn't, I can imagine a bad reaction. I think I was actually pretty tolerant and understanding of how busy the bartenders were the night I was in there. The thing was that we never really received any recognition from them that there was a problem. Yes, the bartender said "sorry" after spilling the drink, but she never offered us a cocktail and offered to comp it-which I've seen done elsewhere. And one bartender took our food order, and then 15 minutes later asked us again what we'd ordered, then proceeded to enter it into the computer--sure a sign of busy-ness, but again, no apology for the forgetfulness. Perhaps my complaint is more about attitude, or performance under duress? Not sure. Anyways, I've not sworn off a return visit by any means! We'll try to find our way out there again.
  12. ps. I see from this that you may have thought I was drunk before starting to eat. Not the case; it was just after all the dinner, wines, dessert and dessert wines that I forgot to take a menu. Without the menu, I left out the sweetbreads when I sat down to post the first time; but I did not forget their taste at all, and actually complimented that dish, right?
  13. Hi I think I'm being addressed here, tho I'm not sure... First, I was there Friday, not Saturday. Second, what makes you think I was intoxicated by the time I ate (I had only one drink prior to my meal), drank, then posted? In fact, I posted nearly a week after my meal. I sat, thought about it, then posted--a well-considered strategy I think. Third, I did have the mustard with the rabbit terrine. Sure, spicy mustard is a good thing, and it always picks up bland food. But ultimately, you're enjoying the mustard, not the terrine, yes? Fourth, you didn't necessarily 'lose a customer.' I never said that. ps. I'm going to try and not take offense at the idea that my tastebuds were compromised or uneducated, just because I didn't love the food.
  14. Don, I know you recently gleaned some insights into this chicken process, please do share... For the rest of you, I really crave this chicken quite often, but am not too chill with doing takeout from Palena. That said, sometimes I want a takeout chicken. Suggestions?? I live in Upper NW-- Conn Ave. I'm a big El Pollo Rico fan, but it's too far away. How's the chicken place in Bethesda? Any places open late (i.e. past 9?)??
  15. Ok, I just had a bit of the pork and green peppers reheated for lunch--better the second time around! The flavors have intensified a bit, and I drained off the bunches of oil at the bottom of the takeaway container. Yum!
  16. Oh DAMN! Yes, the sweetbreads. How could I forget??? Really. Those were lovely. They're not on the online menu and I was too intoxicated to recall to bring home a printed menu so I left those lovelies out of my first post. FABULOUS--order them. Really, order the more unusual meats--sweetbreads, pork belly, veal liver...those were the strengths of my meal, IMO.
  17. I wanted to love Eve. I wanted to title my post "All About Eve." But some misses in the dishes, and some slips from the servers, have deterred me. That said, Todd Thrasher shall be crowned King of cocktails. Yes, along with Derrick at Palena. My cantaloupe and prosciutto champagne celebration was outstanding, I'll never forget the bite of the meat, the foam of the fruit, delish. His tomato water bloody mary is also to be added to the list of best BM's ever. The food hits were the pork belly and a special veal liver. Both rich and well-executed. But there were more misses than hits, at least in what I got to try in one night. The oxtail in the ravioli was overly dry, a bit stringy. The rabbit terrine was a bit bland, BDC does it better at the moment. The sabayon was an alcoholy slippery mess. The blackberries on the funnel cake were a nice touch, but the funnel cake overall didn't rise up and bounce with sweetness like the best can. And the birthday cake, while as sweet and buttery as I like them, made me feel like a child--but I couldn't forget the slightly off/acidic taste from the strawberry frosting--make this cake vanilla or chocolate frosted and it'd be improved. Service fluctuated--from polite, to rude and a bit chaotic. For some periods of time, we sat drinkless and foodless in the lounge, and people passed us by repeatedly. Another time, the bartender spilled a big glass of water straight down Liam's pants-- the only saving grace was the bright idea to provide a black napkin to mop it up off his black slacks. Neighborhood restaurants don't have to be perfect. This one isn't, and that's ok--it'll grow. But it's simply not in a neighborhood I can frequent often enough to watch it grow, and be tolerant. Were it a bit more accessible, a bit closer to home, I think I'd be there. edited to correct 'spilled' down his pants, not 'slipped'!!
  18. Enjoyed a fabulous 4th of July lunch on the docks in Hyannis (Cape Cod)--fried scallops, steamers, fries, and lemonade. Delish!
  19. Definitely go to Bennington Potters--really reasonable glassware too!
  20. Had a completely overwhelming dinner at CS tonite. Overwhelming largely in terms of the sheer number of dishes my cousin (who used to live in China and speaks fluent Mandarin) ordered for the four of us diners-- five appetizers, six entrees. She's a BIG fan of CS, and just wouldn't stop. Jeeezz...I am still reeling. The food is indeed hot, just the way I love it, rivaling the heat of great Hunan dishes I've had in San Francisco. The colors were incredible, bright bright red chilis, dark deep greens, nearly black sauces, and that yellow oil everywhere. Now, here are some memories--the abundance of leftovers in my fridge might inspire a few more writings later....Like others before us, we had the Scallion Pancake-- but unlike others, I was largely unimpressed, even tho the puffs were large. I found them oily, and fairly boring after the first bite. Unlike Don, ours didn't come with any veggie amuse, or peanuts. Fish with Sour Mustard is nothing like its name except, well, there is fish. It's hot, stewy, and wonderful. Shredded Pork with Green Pepper -- I think the group consensus was that this is a missable dish, not much special there. Baby Wontons with Chili Oil Sauce, on the other hand, was a great starter--tender wontons, plenty of heat, just be sure to ask for little empty rice bowls to eat them in. Spicy Emperor Duck also rocked, as did another pork dish (bone in, came in a silver pot over a sterno, name I forget, so sorry). Now I get fuzzy on the names of two good apps, but one was bean curd, another was thinly sliced pork--both had interesting textures and lotsa heat. We had a fried eggplant dish that's better skipped, and string beans with chilis that everyone loved. We arrived at 5:30 (it's a Monday), place was empty; we left at 7, the place was full. Service is very spotty; we waited for drinks, for rice bowls, for the sterno to be put out (and they put it out by dumping water on it!)...but hey, we stuffed ourselves for $100 and all went home with at least 2 lovely meals of leftovers. Not bad. And, if you venture out that way, you can hit Trader Joes across the way (that branch has wine), the indie film theater next door, and AC Moore. All in all, worth an occasional trip out from DC. ps. Anyone know if CS is using MSG?? From my immediate headache and exhaustion afterwards methinks so. Tho that could be from my family members!
  21. Well, I'm more a raw bar freak in general, than a DC-area freak per se (tho I've been to raw bars at Johnny's, Oceanaire, and Black's), but generally I prefer my oysters small and briny. I'm definitely a Stellar Bay girl more so than a Wellfleet, Pemaquid, New Orleans, or Long Island chick, but then again, I've not met many oysters I didn't like. My most common beef with raw bar happy hours is the lack of choice--i.e. at Black's it's just locals that are on sale, so Old Ebbitt's larger selection sounds good. Best raw bar deal I've had is at Ocean Ave Seafood in Santa Monica--1/2 doz of your choice (and they have at least 6 kinds daily; mostly West Coast) plus a flight of 3 matched wines, for...wait for it...$7.95!! Rock on!!! Delicious, high quality, price probably doable thanks to popularity. I hope to check out Old Ebbitt before I leave DC (a challenge only because of the early ending time of the first happy hour each day), but am greatly looking forward to an upcoming trip to San Francisco for oysters at Swann, and new happy hour at Hog Island in the Ferry Terminal--$1/pop.
  22. Giorgio's of Gramercy, surprisingly, makes a great bolognese.
  23. FYI, I had good chopped liver at Kuna--chopped liver on crostini, thickly spread. Not enough onions in it to rival my grandma's, but still good stuff.
  24. sara


    Went to Kuna tonite with Liam and Mazman. Loved the wine tasting at the bar, very casual--overall the atmosphere was quite laid back, very chilled, which I liked. Had eggplant bruschetta, very nice, chicken liver crostini, I think I was the only fan of that, and risotta pancake, which Liam loves. I tried the sea urchin pasta--overrated. Not enough urchin, not fresh enough urchin, overall the dish lacked flavor. Liam had the penne with calamari and tomato cream sauce--he liked it, I thought the calamari were boring (little rings) and the sauce could've used more pepper. My fig and chocolate gelato in a martini glass was delish. At $15 entrees and $5-10 apps the prices aren't high. Service is friendly, wine list reasonably priced, and they allow BYO at $14/bottle, max two.
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