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1789, Georgetown


ozgirl06
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I hadn't seen much posted on 1789 - perhaps because it's been around for quite some time. But, this past week I had such a lovely experience there that I felt good things rather than a gripe (as often seen on the washington post site) should be shared.

Two friends and myself went out to celebrate a successful defending of a friend's PhD dissertation. To sum up the ambiance, service and food were all wonderful. We all enjoyed our meals greatly, but it was the waitstaff that made the evening spectacular.

To start off the evening right, we had a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne. Ummm, bubbles. :raz:

We started with an amuse of duck cofit, stewed red cabbage, and gorgonzola cheese. A really nice combination of textures, flavours, and colours.

For starters there were: a salad of frisee, red grapefruit, proscuitto, hazelnuts, & cheese; a foie gras with grapes and a muscat reduction; and a mushroom tart. The mushroom tart, although a little too oily maintained its light and cruchy crust while the mushrooms were meaty and woodsy. There was a layer of a "stinky" cheese, although I couldn't discern which one (and I'm not recalling it from the menu). The foie gras, paired with the fruit was rich (as foie gras is) and was plentiful enough to tide one over through the rest of dinner -- although we went on to eat more. Of the 3 dishes we agreed that the salad, while good was the weakest of the 3.

We continued on with the Wild Rockfish broiled with lemon crust and served with Lyonnaise potato and caper butter sauce; Rack of Lamb with creamy feta potatoes, garlic spinach, and rosemary-Shiraz sauce; and Winter Vegetable Gathering potato and cabbage strudel, wilted greens, goat cheese flan, honeyed sweet potatoes, and wild mushrooms. The lamb was cooked to perfection as was the fish. The vegetable medley was a great mix of tastes and textures. Much like the vegetable plate at the former The Mark, I was thrilled to have a vegetable plate that demonstrated creativity in a wide variety of ways - it certainly was not sauteed carrots and peppers with an obligatory starch.

The wait staff during service was engaging and informative and attentive. During dessert they really went above and beyond the call of duty. As a very kind gesture on the restaurants part, they brought us an additional 1/2 bottle of Veuve Cliquot and a dessert on the house. The dessert was an apple gallette with a caramel sauce and sour cream ice cream. The gallette crust was rustic and dense with a texture somewhere between a cake and a cookie, the apples soft and caramelized. It was the perfect warm dessert to a cold March night. Personally, I loved the sour cream ice cream - full of vanilla flavour upfront, with a mild tanginess at the end. Really lovely.

Irregardless of the restaurants generousity, we couldn't have asked for a nicer dining experience. It was worth every penny and nicer things couldn't be said about our wait staff who were personable, informative, helpful, and attentative. We couldn't have asked for a nicer evening.

Debbie S. aka "ozgirl"

Squirrel: "Darn nuts! How I long for a grapefruit." - Eddie Izzard

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My wife and I dine at 1789 for our anniversary every year (we had a memorable and enjoyable rehearsal dinner in the Middleburg room). It may not be the hippest place in town, but the atmosphere really lends itself to a special occasion. For our anniversaries, the restaurant has always recognized the event in a thoughtful but low-key way, e.g., a complimentary glass of champagne before dinner. While I would not call the menu cutting-edge, we have never had a bad meal; among our favorites has been the pecan- (or was it pine nut?) encrusted chicken. The only even slightly negative experience in all of our visits: One time they ran out of our then-favorite dessert -- chess pie -- just as we ordered it, so we had to watch the guy at the next table eat the last piece! Needless to say, that did not diminish our very high opinion of the place.

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reservations needed? probably. better safe than sorry. :wink:

dress code: for men a jacket is required (though not necessarily a suit). for women any nice dining out outfit will do (dress pants, skirt, dress - the options are endless.)

Debbie S. aka "ozgirl"

Squirrel: "Darn nuts! How I long for a grapefruit." - Eddie Izzard

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  • 10 months later...
Reservations are available at OpenTable.com.

Are there any signature dishes for which 1789 is known?  Any "don't miss" items?

Scallops are always good, and the champagne and oyster stew, I love. But I haven't been in a long time.

People talk about the lamb as well.

I need to climb those Excorcist stairs soon again.

Edited by morela (log)

...

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The rack of lamb is the sigature dish at 1789, best I can tell. It's certainly the one Ris Lacoste has promoted the most often, and having sampled it I can safely say it's one of the best lamb dishes I've tasted. Those cheesy potatoes that come alongside don't suck, either.

I really enjoyed her crab cake when I had it a few years ago. It was the first time I sampled Maldon sea salt, which certainly enhanced the experience.

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I've never dined there and, as I have a joint birthday celebration to plan, this might be the place. A couple of questions: What is the corkage policy and does it matter where one sits in the restaurant? There will be six of us.

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I've never dined there and, as I have a joint birthday celebration to plan, this might be the place. A couple of questions: What is the corkage policy and does it matter where one sits in the restaurant? There will be six of us.

From Tom Sietsema's Dec 1999 Washington Post article about the best seats in the house at various Washington standbys.

Georgetown's venerable 1789 spans five dining rooms and as many moods; habitues gravitate to Tables 32 or 33 in the animated pub, 26 or 27 in the Civil War-inspired Manassas room and 2 or 7, both corner spots, in the dignified main room, which is warmed up with a fireplace.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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Are there any signature dishes for which 1789 is known?  Any "don't miss" items?

The Rack of Lamb is 1789's signature dish and should not be missed. Be sure to order it Hannibal Lecter style or, at least medium rare! Wash down with a nice Oregon Pinot Noir and you are in business.

I am so glad to see 1789 Restaurant getting the credit it deserves. It has been one of my all time favourite DC restaurants for 18 years and still counting. The reasons:

1) The staff has always been thoroughly knowledgeable about the food and wine.

2) The food is superlative! The wine list is excellent.

3) Despite the dress code (jackets required), there is simply not a shred of arrogance or pretension about this place. If fact, you are made to feel genuinely welcome and treated so well throughout the experience that you can easily "forgive and forget" in the far fetched (and I really do mean far fetched) case should your food or order be off.

Edited by Minister of Drink (log)

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

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Well, you guys have inspired me to have my Valentine's Day dinner (which we will be celebrating on the 19th) at 1789. My wife is a big fan of lamb so I'm sure we will thoroughly enjoy our experience there. As for me, I will choose one of the other recommendations since "I can't eat a poor little lamb".

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Omy. I dined at 1789 a dozen years ago, as a kid in high school (on one of those D.C. civics-immersion trips, eek). The parents of a friend of mine on the trip invited me, and our U.S. History / Civics teacher, who was also in town.

Dinner was delicious. :biggrin:

And there was no quiz from our teacher afterwards!

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  • 3 months later...

Has anyone dined at 1789 recently? It's been about a year since I was last there and am going again this weekend. Any suggestions on what to get (besides Rack of Lamb)?

Edited by Minister of Drink (log)

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

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I have not been there myself, but Ris Lacoste did a chat on washingtonpost.com yesterday, and the item she mentioned as the #1 not-to-miss was the scallop margarita.

Oh, and there's this:

Washington, D.C.: Hi Ris, Congratulations on your nomination! I'm planning a visit to 1789 soon ... what some of the dishes you recommend me trying?

Ris Lacoste: You must have the scallop margarita, the ham and egg salad, and the rack of lamb, the spinach salad, the snails, the grouper. all deeeelicious! thanks.

Edited by jm chen (log)

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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  • 7 months later...

James Beauchamp, previously Chef de Cusine at Restaurant Eve, has been named replacement for local legend Ris Lacoste at 1789 (who was belatedly awarded her third star in Washingtonian Magazine this month).

Based on my most recent visit to 1789, he has some big clogs to fill.

Based on my most recent visit to Eve, he'll fill them well.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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For those of you who missed the brief announcement of RL's departure in the Post, do note that she's planning to open her own restaurant.

You'll still find her most Sundays at the farmer's market at Dupont Circle, if not loading up a pick-up truck at least for a while...

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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