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Ginger Reef / Ginger Cove


tastedc
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Just had dinner last night at Jimmie and Sharon Banks new place - Ginger Cove and my friend and I had an excellent meal! Things to note: it's really 2 restaurants in 1, we ate upstairs at the "casual" and "funky" Cove, but downstairs is the fancier Ginger Reef - visually, the downstairs is a stunner, real high ceilings, modern furniture and a really eye-catching layout. But Cove upstairs is way-cool too! On to the food: I had the Caribbean(?) Surf and Turf which was spicy grilled jerk shrimp with shredded pork and really good fried plaintains, and my friend had the Snapper Hellshire "whole frish crispy fried with spicy tomato vinaigrette, topped with choyote salad". Both were great, sort of Caribbean comfort food served in a really cool setting! I forgot the names of the drinks we had, but they use really fresh ingredients - and it's way cool to eat at the bar.

What's really unique is that it is truly 2 separate restaurants: upstairs is more barsy/neighborhoody and downstairs is more fine dining/loungy. Jimmie told me the menus are different, BUT there are also 2 separate kitchens and 2 different chefs (I had this picture in my head of Sharon running up and down the stairs between the kitchens - not a pretty scene/dream!).

BTW, Jimmie looked real good and I think he's going to try to make this one work for awhile. He's got a huge following, but there didn't appear to be any "foodies" in the restaurant, it was more "partiers" and "hipsters" - and this was on Monday night!

Only fear - it's such a cool place in such a Hot area, I'm hoping the trendy/bar crowd doesn't overwhelm the foodies and scare them away...

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  • 1 month later...

I've had a few lunches in the upstairs restaurant, and I've always enjoyed myself. The seafood fritters appetizer and the lamb roti (?) are both excelllent.

Haven't tried downstairs yet though.

I let Jsmeeker tell me where to eat in Vegas.

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Only fear - it's such a cool place in such a Hot area, I'm hoping the trendy/bar crowd doesn't overwhelm the foodies and scare them away...

Based on 2+ experiences there, it will not be the trendy bar crowd that scares the foodies away.

Tricia, you're a major talent right in the middle of what is fast becoming erroneously annointed mediocrity: will Poste become an oasis for weary travelers, a salt lick for thirsty horses, a real destination restaurant for thoughtful lovers of fine dining in this desert of bad food, or must we go out to the suburbs of Matchbox, Ella's, Andale, Paradou, 701, to get anything original, worthwhile, or perhaps even great?

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Tricia Cominsky, you're a major talent right in the middle of what is fast becoming erroneously annointed mediocrity: will Poste become an oasis for weary travelers, a salt lick for thirsty horses, a real destination restaurant for thoughtful lovers of fine dining in this desert of bad food, or must we go out to the suburbs of Matchbox, Ella's, Andale, Paradou, 701, to get anything original, worthwhile, or perhaps even great?

Rocks –

I can assure you that those of us foodies and restaurateurs in the Penn Quarter area are well aware of our competition within the surrounding blocks. At Poste, we are building and/or rebuilding everything we feel is important to provide an overall terrific guest experience. This includes our service, our wine list (including by the glass) our beer selection, the feel and energy of the restaurant, and of course, our menu.

Although we are in a transition period right now as it pertains to the Chef position, we have support from some of our other properties taking us through this time. We are making small changes, baby steps if you will, to become a true destination restaurant. Will it happen overnight? No, but I can honestly say that with the passion of the staff we have, it will happen.

Best,

Tricia

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hmmm…is it good? I can only relate a recent experience that won’t have me returning to Ginger Cove/Reef anytime soon.

Tired of the same old places, a work colleague and I decided to give the Ginger Cove/Reef a try for lunch. We arrived around 1:30, the place was empty except for the sidewalk and we were seated upstairs near the bar.

We looked over the menu for a few minutes before the server appeared. I inquired about an item on the menu and she informed me that the kitchen was out of that. I asked about something else. “We’re out of that too.” She also informed us that several other items on the menu were 86ed and that lobster bisque was the soup of the day. I ordered the bisque and the lamb shank and my friend ordered the vegetable curry.

When the soup came out, it was a beautiful bowl of creamy orange liquid. I commented that it was awfully orange for lobster bisque. Funny, it didn’t taste much like lobster either. My friend tried it. Nope, not much lobster flavor. Still the soup had a pleasant, slight curry flavor. Then I realized the chunks we thought were lobster were actually mussels. We called the server over and pointed out the error. “Let me see what’s going on” and she headed back to the kitchen. When she came back, she informed us that the kitchen had run out of lobster bisque. Whether she made a mistake or the kitchen simply subbed out the bisque with the mussels, I don’t know but whatever.

Then our entrees came. My friend’s $12 vegetable curry was more like a $12 vegetarian’s consolation prize: a mound of rice surrounded under-spiced curried lentils and overcooked veg. It was a lovely shade of beige.

My lamb shank, well, my lamb shank didn’t look right. In fact, my lamb shank was baby lamb chops. We summoned the server again and pointed out the error. “Let me see what’s going on” and she headed back to the kitchen. When she came back, she said “the kitchen has switched over to the dinner menu”. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon? “Obviously, you’ll only be charged for the lamb shank” she reassured me. Gee, err, thanks.

I’m generally pretty easy on restaurants. My thinking is you got me in the door, now show me what you can do. Execute it well and don’t make me feel like I got ripped off in the process. As long as you meet that standard, you get an A. Snootiness, overpricing, bad food, a pattern of carelessness or stupid mistakes, etc. and you'll get marked down.

Ginger Cove, hmmm... I should say the food wasn’t horrible, just nothing special, just “eh”. Well, the veg plate brought to mind food consumed by people who don’t mind martyring themselves for their vegan ideals. Couple that with poor service and communication breakdowns between front and back of the house and I’m not likely to return. There are other places willing to take my money that work a little harder and do a better job.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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Interesting, Monkey2000, very interesting.

I had a similar experience when I went for lunch a few months ago -- I arrived around 12:15 but still ended up needing to ask what they were not out of after my top three choices were 86ed. This was just a couple of weeks after the restaurant had opened, so I kind of assumed those sorts of kinks would get worked out. Evidently not.

In fairness, the dish I had, steak tips, was just fine -- tender and nicely seasoned.

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  • 4 months later...
Anyone have updates?

I'm guessing the answer is "no" because good or bad, you guys probably would have posted, but it can't hurt to ask.

Does six-weeks-old count as an update?

The service is wonderfully friendly (both Jimmy and Sharon Banks are uber-charming), and families with children are treated with respect. There are no better tropical drinks being served in all of Washington than here. The small plates upstairs are good and satisfying, in a gloppy fingery sort-of way, and the short ribs are obligatory.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Went to Ginger Cove for the first time tonight. It was quite empty - a little surprising for a Thursday night. It's nicely decorated should have potential. But, no. My vegetarian friend was very disappointed in the selection - and she didn't particularly care for the salad or the veggie curry. I got the steak tips and fries - which was good, but nothing special. The drinks were good, but probably not enough to bring us back.

The service was attentive - they were also out of the chicken (and this was at 7pm). I agree with Monkey2000's assessment from Sept - the food's not horrible, but nothing special - and given the competition in the neighborhood, there's a bunch of other places I'd rather goto in the same price point.

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  • 1 month later...

From Bon Appetit's 50 Hottest Tables:

"There's a division in the capital these days, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of just one restaurant, host Jimmie and chef Sharon (they won't reveal their last names) opened two Caribbean spots in the Penn Quarter. GINGER COVE features a long bar and small-plates menu; the downstairs GINGER REEF is more formal. Specialties: seasonal tropical punches; seafood and corn fritters; braised oxtails in red wine. Entrées, $13 to $28. (822 E Street, N.W.; 202-248-6007 for the Cove; 202-248-6755 for the Reef)"

How weird they wouldn't give their last name...?? And how weird that this got picked (along with CityZen and Fahrenheit) as one of DC's hottest tables. I've been twice and enjoyed the food, but the "island time" service has kept me from going back.

Edited by oliveDC (log)

Amanda

Metrocurean, a D.C. restaurant and food blog

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And how weird that this got picked (along with CityZen and Fahrenheit) as one of DC's hottest tables. I've been twice and enjoyed the food, but the "island time" service has kept me from going back.

That's what I was thinking. I would rank at least thirty places as "hot" above that usually empty spot.

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Wow. Was Bon Appetit your acquaintance's source perhaps? For some reason, I'd be very surprised if they had a legit publicist, but then again how else did they get into Bon Appetit. I do like their rum drinks...

Amanda

Metrocurean, a D.C. restaurant and food blog

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Wow. Was Bon Appetit your acquaintance's source perhaps? For some reason, I'd be very surprised if they had a legit publicist, but then again how else did they get into Bon Appetit. I do like their rum drinks...

Restaurant hyping publicists are nothing new. A friend of Mrs JPW does it in Atlanta.

If rbh's experience in seeing it empty on a Thursday is not an isolated thing, a publicist may be a good investment for the owners if this is actually what is going on.

In addition to placing blurbs, most publicists rely on some guerilla marketing.

This one has probably started going through his/her rolodex of DC hipsters and placing the pitch.

Edited by JPW (log)

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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