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Mark Sommelier

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Posts posted by Mark Sommelier

  1. Hi,

    I was reading Amy's (smallword) blog and I noticed she uses butter and soy sauce as a flavoring in broiled seafood dishes. Is this a common technique in Japan? Amy used it when making scallops. What else could I use this on? I'm really intrigue since so me they seem like two seperate worlds coming together. Most asian cuisines I know of do not use dairy so I wondered if this was something new. Thanks :)

    Soy and butter are my favorite way of flavoring Brussel Sprouts!

  2. OK, here's a challenge.

    Every year I take my French colleagues out to lunch during our professional meeting and then they treat me in France the whole rest of the year (not a bad deal, eh?)  I try to show them food they cannot get in the hexagon and that is typical of the region - Cajun in New Orleans, Crabs in Baltimore, Mexican in San Diego, Soul in Atlanta, hot dogs in Chicago, etc.

    However, I'm stumped when it comes to thinking about a cuisine that is DC's own; reading several topics and my own preferences (Cafe Atlantico, Les Halles, Red Sage, Lebanese Taverna, etc., reveals that DC is really international, but they can get all that back home, except maybe great Mexican and Peruvian chicken.

    So what is DC cuisine and where do we get it (reasonably)?



    I have lived here and worked in the fine dining business for 30 years. I read all the responses after yours yesterday and confidently say that they are all wrong. There is no indiginous cuisine here that is unique to DC. Crappy, greasy half-smokes are available in every direction for hundred of miles. Shad and shad roe are a greater Chesapeake-James River specialty and are enjoyed in Richmond and Baltimore, too. Washington has changed so much and so often in the past 50 years that it's impossible to say what local cooking is about. The only consideration anymore when dining out in DC is : is the food edible and the service half good? Sorry to sound so negative. The local eatery that satisfies your criteria: Old Glory in Georgetown. Chinatown has some good places but is scary at the same time. Go to Peru for Peruvian chicken, please.

  3. At Washington-Dulles IAD itself

    Vino Volo, @ Dulles itself, Terminal C, 703-661-1999, open daily 11am - 10pm (no reservations but they’ll accommodate you quickly).  For complicated reasons we had to get to Dulles at about dinner time although our plane left at 10 PM.  A couple of weeks ago we’d scoped this place out and asked if at 8 PM they’d have seats – “sure!”  The welcome and service were exemplary, especially in a place that cannot see many regular customers.  The setting is minimalist and stark but they have yet to figure out how to configure it to accommodate folks more quickly - too many tables are occupied by one person (at a two-some) or two (at the four-some).  The food was quite tasty but huge portions for those used to European-sized dishes; we had lentils, salads and a pork mole taco; the duck confit is available only in the Baltimore location which disappointed me.  Also a bit silly is their corkage fee of  $12 per bottle, which added to their cheapest offering ($18) really is too much for a fast-food, tapas/wine bar-type place but truth be known, the wines are intelligently chosen (but annoyingly described in winetalk) and of a broad variety.  The bill with one bottle of wine and no coffee = $65.65.

    Go again?  Probably if stuck under similar circumstances.

    If you aren't flying business class, where the booze and snacks are FREE, this place is a good alternative.

  4. No tipping the wine staff - they get their pay from the check gratuity.

    Not always the case.

    Then move to a restaurant where they do.

    The wine staff must have an incentive to sell, upsell, or just get out there on the floor and push product - Lord knows that they also do a lot of related work before, and after, service. The wine staff should get, in pay, 10% of all wine sales - we've done it that way for thirty years.

    Damn! I wanna work in a place that pays 10%!

  5. I, too, found the interior to be charming and really enjoyed my tartine (as well as a nibble of the one ordered by my SO). 

    As for the apple almond tart we ordered...eh.  Wasn't impressed. 

    But I enjoyed the rest, including the acacia honey I bought to take home with me.  I say give the place a chance.  It's only been open a few days and probably still needs to work out a few kinks.

    I discovered that "tartine" is French for "really skimpy sandwich". You learn something new everyday!

  6. This whole argument is a straw man. Why are these chefs "celebrities"? Because the media writes about them often and a lot. How bizarre to help create these celebrities and then complain that that's all you read about. I guess that's how things work these days. I am annoyed every time I see or hear about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and I still don't know who the hell Lindsay Lohan is or why I should care about her.

  7. Okay, I have a trip to DC starting tomorrow.  So I'm reading this forum to find places to eat.  I put Komi on the list. Today I get my Food and Wine.  And here is the chef, best new chef 2007.  Does this mean I won't be able to get a seat at the bar for dinner for the next couple of days?


  8. Just some observations:

    1.  Things that need to be watched/stirred constantly while cooking take twice as long when you REALLY need that bathroom break.

    2.  Place an order for some desperately needed item or ingredient, ordering a few other things to make up your minimum.  On delivery day the only item your supplier shorts you will be whatever thing you based your entire order on.

    3.  If a freezer or fridge is shared by cuisine and pastry, one group will feel they need more  fridge space and cover any free space with their mise.

    4.  Customers that request to speak with you personally or on the phone will assume you have ALL day to talk to them.  Of course this will happen mostly when your coworker is sick and you are working alone.

    anyone else got any?

    You obviously work in a really small restaurant, right?

  9. (The current new guy at Komi is Derek Brown, who most recently at Citronelle.  Don't know who you might have seen at Komi that's now at Richard's place, but it's easy to imagine that a gig practicing the craft with the great Mark Slater is in demand around here.)

    Adam came to Citronelle from the Inn at Little Washington by way of Komi. Derek and Adam swapped jobs about 3 months ago.

  10. IIRC, the last couple of years, Slater and his list have been conspicuously absent from Washingtonians occasional analysis of the quality wine programs around town.

    Charles, you are right. The reason is that I stopped providing them with the list to "analyze" because they got so hung up on the pricing and downplayed the selection. I had some very heated email exchanges with the former food editor and his wine writer.

  11. Okay - I'm having lunch today in another Italian restaurant and hear that Galileo is closing for renovations as of September 2nd (does this mean Sept 2 is the last day or is that the day it no longer operates????) and that Chef Roberto Donna is moving over to Crystal City until sometime in 2007?????!!!!!

    From google searches and looks at other foodie websites, it appears to be true.  But this is what I want to know:

    I bought a gift certificate for my parents to dine at the Laboratorio complete with wine tasting and tip.  What happens if they haven't used it by then?????

    The building that Galileo is in currently will be gutted to the frame starting in early September. The restaurant is moving to the space where Oyamel was in Crystal City. You'll have to call them about your gift certificate.

  12. Snake River Grill is considered the best in town. Go for dinner. You should have a lunch at Amanganni. It sits on a ridge overlooking the valley and has stunning views of the Grand Tetons. If weather permits, you can sit outside. The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is a hoot. Very busy bar with a band doing covers in the back. Lots of local color.

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