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Vidalia, 20th & M Streets NW


Malawry
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Get the macaroni and cheese, too, willya?

The onion soup with duck stock, duck confit and cheddar spoonbread during Restaurant Week was awesome too.

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DH & I are celebrating an anniversary at Vidalia shortly.  Never eaten there -- menu looks lovely, I was wondering if any 'gulleteers had any favorite dishes to recommend?

Thanks!

Veal cheeks and grits.

Order early and often.

So here's my, um, naive question for you....is a veal cheek literally what it sounds like? Part of the calf's face?? Also reading it described as "gelatinous", not sure that is something I can put in MY face :wacko:

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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DH & I are celebrating an anniversary at Vidalia shortly.  Never eaten there -- menu looks lovely, I was wondering if any 'gulleteers had any favorite dishes to recommend?

Thanks!

Veal cheeks and grits.

Order early and often.

So here's my, um, naive question for you....is a veal cheek literally what it sounds like? Part of the calf's face?? Also reading it described as "gelatinous", not sure that is something I can put in MY face :wacko:

Yep, it's what it sounds like. And, properly prepared, it's delicious. Try it.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Veal cheeks are just that, meat that comes from the cheek, as opposed to meat that comes from the leg, or breast, or shoulder or rump. As fror gelatinous, think braised short ribs, just a lot more delicate and tender and unctuous.

Yummm, braised ribs :rolleyes:

So many knowledgeable e-teers can't be wrong! Thanks for the advice everyone.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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Get the macaroni and cheese, too, willya?

The onion soup with duck stock, duck confit and cheddar spoonbread during Restaurant Week was awesome too.

Heh, I ate there a few weeks ago and had the exact same thing. Great stuff.

The shrimp and grits are straightforward but still very good too.

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Veal cheeks are just that, meat that comes from the cheek, as opposed to meat that comes from the leg, or breast, or shoulder or rump. As fror gelatinous, think braised short ribs, just a lot more delicate and tender and unctuous.

As much as I like veal and beef cheeks, pork cheeks are the ultimate. Gerard Pangaud used to make them. Haven't seen pork cheeks in a while. Veal cheeks were at one time a specialty cut and very cheap. Now that they are so trendy, the price has gone up quite a bit. When braised properly for several hours, cheek meet is fork tender and full flavored. Think pot roast.

Mark

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"Grits and grillades" are a smash hit - I am a big fan. For entrees, I lurve their roasted hen and sweetbreads. Pecan pie is a darling of desserts. I am sure you will have a swell experience, the food is honestly quite good no matter what you order.

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Veal cheeks are just that, meat that comes from the cheek, as opposed to meat that comes from the leg, or breast, or shoulder or rump. As fror gelatinous, think braised short ribs, just a lot more delicate and tender and unctuous.

As much as I like veal and beef cheeks, pork cheeks are the ultimate. Gerard Pangaud used to make them. Haven't seen pork cheeks in a while. Veal cheeks were at one time a specialty cut and very cheap. Now that they are so trendy, the price has gone up quite a bit. When braised properly for several hours, cheek meet is fork tender and full flavored. Think pot roast.

I have to ask...

Is there any part of animal X that is superior in flavor to the same part of pork?

I think I'd prefer pork tail to lobster tail any day o' the week.

And can be further extrapolated:

Starburst fruit chews vs. porkburst pig chews

otterpops vs. porkpops

and so on.

Edited by John W. (log)

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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Is there any part of animal X that is superior in flavor to the same part of pork?

true true. but does porky come with hanger steak? or is he confined to the species regrettebly for us, fortunately for them, that do not have this fabulous fibrous tender and delicious cut?

there is no love sincerer than the love of food

- george bernard shaw

i feel like love is in the kitchen with a culinary eye, think she's making something special and i'm smart enough to try

- interpol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, I have waited years to go to Vadalia. Finally had a chance tonight and my companion and I agreed that IT SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had the seared Foie Gras, which was a cheap cut of meat which they over cooked and the afore mentioned veal cheeks.

Both dishes were over salted and just plain bad. I take it back, the veal cheeks themselves were good, but not worth the rest of the meal.

One of the dishes, I think the Foie Gras but at this point who knows, had the worst greens I have ever tasted. Good heaven they were awful. There is nothing pleasant to say about them, try as I might. They were a vinegary over salted mess. I love good greens and these were awful. What's more, they literally left a bad taste in your mouth.

The grits that came with the cheeks had the most potential BUT in the middle of fresh herb season they used dried rosemary and thyme. Come one folks, if you can't use fresh herbs at the end of the summer then don't bother. (Thank heavens we did not have anything with tomatoes.)

Even though my wine taste buds were tested we both enjoyed good glasses of wine, but they could not make up for the rest of the meal. The whole meal was just plain disappointing.

The only highlight was the bread basket. What a tease. The brioche was as good as it gets in the US, buttery and rich, and that cornbread and foccacia, well I would go back just for the bread basket. But not much else. They set such high expectations that the rest of the meal did not live up to.

A total disappointment. There are much better meals in the city. Especially for a James Beard winner, even if it was 5 years ago.

Edited by hillvalley (log)

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Alright, I have waited years to go to Vadalia.  Finally had a chance tonight and  my companion and I agreed that IT SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had the seared Foie Gras, which was a cheap cut of meat which they over cooked and the afore mentioned veal cheeks.

Both dishes were over salted and just plain bad.  I take it back, the veal cheeks themselves were good, but not worth the rest of the meal.

One of the dishes, I think the Foie Gras but at this point who knows, had the worst greens I have ever tasted.  Good heaven they were awful.  There is nothing pleasant to say about them, try as I might.  They were a vinegary over salted mess.  I love good greens and these were awful.  What's more, they literally left a bad taste in your mouth.

The grits that came with the cheeks had the most potential BUT in the middle of fresh herb season they used dried rosemary and thyme.  Come one folks, if you can't use fresh herbs at the end of the summer then don't bother.  (Thank heavens we did not have anything with tomatoes.)

Even though my wine taste buds were tested we both enjoyed good glasses of wine, but they could not make up for the rest of the meal. The whole meal was just plain disappointing.

The only highlight was the bread basket.  What a tease.  The brioche was as good as it gets in the US, buttery and rich, and that cornbread and foccacia, well I would go back just for the bread basket.  But not much else.  They set such high expectations that the rest of the meal did not live up to.

A total disappointment.  There are much better meals in the city.  Especially for a James Beard winner, even if it was 5 years ago.

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Alright, I have waited years to go to Vadalia.  Finally had a chance tonight and  my companion and I agreed that IT SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had the seared Foie Gras, which was a cheap cut of meat which they over cooked and the afore mentioned veal cheeks.

Both dishes were over salted and just plain bad.  I take it back, the veal cheeks themselves were good, but not worth the rest of the meal.

One of the dishes, I think the Foie Gras but at this point who knows, had the worst greens I have ever tasted.  Good heaven they were awful.  There is nothing pleasant to say about them, try as I might.  They were a vinegary over salted mess.  I love good greens and these were awful.  What's more, they literally left a bad taste in your mouth.

The grits that came with the cheeks had the most potential BUT in the middle of fresh herb season they used dried rosemary and thyme.  Come one folks, if you can't use fresh herbs at the end of the summer then don't bother.  (Thank heavens we did not have anything with tomatoes.)

Even though my wine taste buds were tested we both enjoyed good glasses of wine, but they could not make up for the rest of the meal. The whole meal was just plain disappointing.

The only highlight was the bread basket.  What a tease.  The brioche was as good as it gets in the US, buttery and rich, and that cornbread and foccacia, well I would go back just for the bread basket.  But not much else.  They set such high expectations that the rest of the meal did not live up to.

A total disappointment.  There are much better meals in the city.  Especially for a James Beard winner, even if it was 5 years ago.

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Ah, Hillvalley!

I wrote something similar about L'Auberge Chez Francois and Kinkeads. (SP?) It is S-O-O-O disappointing to have a bad meal at a place everyone else raves about.

Intellectually I know that it is close to impossible to turn out miraculous food on a daily basis, what with the human factor and all; however, the price is the same whether a dish is good or bad. Then there is the issue of service (human factor, again). If you are paying with someone else's money, that's one thing--but your own hard-earned bucks being spent on a lousy meal is something else entirely.

I'll repeat myself (from another thread) about the reason restaurant critics visit a place more than once, and at different times, just to make sure a bad meal or rotten service wasn't an anomaly. Restaurant critics, however, don't pay for their own meals.

There is no solace I can offer--but I can thank you again, publicly, for arranging the Colorado Kitchen feast. We KNEW the food was going to be good but the price was ridiculous (at least in terms of the owners, not the eaters).

Wishing you nothing but fabulous food,

Barbara

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I wrote something similar about L'Auberge Chez Francois and Kinkeads.

Vidalia, L'Auberge Chez Francois and Kinkead's mentioned in the same thread: three of the numerous reasons why Washington DC has a national reputation as a second-rate restaurant town.

Tourists come to these-and-other nationally publicized "landmark" restaurants and expect something glorious. They often get an over-salted, ill-seasoned, gummily-sauced ham-fisted yahoo-assed meal, then walk out of the restaurant wondering what they don't understand, and then they remember that simple little teahouse in Greenwich Village that they enjoyed so much more.

This is not to say you can't find good or even great items on the menus at these establishments - you sometimes can - but world-class restaurants they ain't, and it's amazing how many people think they are.

Maybe about time someone called a spade a spade?

Rocks.

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an over-salted, ill-seasoned, gummily-sauced ham-fisted yahoo-assed meal

Don, this has to be the most concise and expressive restaurant review I ever encountered. I will commit this to memory effective this evening.

Resident Twizzlebum

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Don, this has to be the most concise and expressive restaurant review I ever encountered.  I will commit this to memory effective this evening.

I am sure, given a little time, that an on-line dictionary definition for "yahoo-assed" will appear. It did not take long for "ventworm nut" to show up.

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Ate dinner last night at Vidalia....definitely was not yahoo-assed IMHO :wink:

Started with the grits & grillades as recommended by John W. and others. Yes, it was great -- meat was really tender w/ very nice cheesy grits and an incredibly rich sauce, thank goodness the plate was only a few bites! Husband got the foie gras, I had a bite but didn't try the greens. Nice but I liked my veal cheeks better. Oh yeah, and the bread basket is amazing! That cornbread is to die for.

Entrees -- me: halibut over mixed veggies (cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes etc) with lobster; great flavor, very nice piece of fish. Husband: special - rack of lamb with polenta "napolean" (layers of polenta, goat cheese, and mushrooms). This was the winner in the entree category, the lamb was incredible.

Dessert -- we shared the pecan pie w/ praline icecream and a Cragganmore 12 year old. The combination of pie & scotch was pretty amazing, unfortunately I was so stuffed at this point that I could only handle a few bites!

The one flub of the evening though was that it took about 45 minutes after ordering to get our entrees! We did have appetizers in the interim but still... The waitress apologized profusely as did one of the wine guys (there were 2 last night), and when the food finally did come out my husband's lamb wasn't cooked the way he'd ordered it. Oops. It was actually rarer than he usually eats it though, so I think it was better than what he'd ordered (well-done, I know, yikes)

Other than that, I was very happy with the overall experience. Not sure when I'd go back as there are still a zillion other restaurants on my "must try" list, but wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place to a friend. A friend with a fat wallet and no cholesterol problems.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is there any part of animal X that is superior in flavor to the same part of pork?

I think I'd prefer pork tail to lobster tail any day o' the week.

And can be further extrapolated:

Starburst fruit chews vs. porkburst pig chews

otterpops vs. porkpops

and so on.

a bit off thread, But John, did you see there may be a plentitude of porktitude in the US soon, with the arrival of acorn-fed Iberico swine descendents

On the Trail of Fine Ham

I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

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  • 3 months later...

We hit Vidalia last Saturday for a tasting menu to use a gift certificate that management magnanimously bestows on us every Christmas. It's good for either Vidalia or Bis, and seeing as I can eat at Bis anytime I want at employee prices, I usually pick Vidalia. I haven't been in a while and was anxious to check out the new chef, R. J. Cooper.

Amuse guele: an espresso-sized butternut squash soup teaser with a hint of curry. Very smooth and not overly creamy, which is a big deal for me.

And so I begin.

Heirloom Beet and Seafood Terrine with frisee, hazelnuts, truffled goat's cheese and blood orange emulsion. A very clean and streamlined dish that is easy to appreciate. The goat's cheese in particular was rish and melty. Paired with Gruner Veltliner, Hiedler, Austria '03.

Dry Vermouth and Oyster Soup with saffron, smoked bacon, fried oysters, crisp celery and pink peppercorn dust. Once again, my dislike of cream-based stuff disappeared when faced with this artful preparation. Really strong flavor of saffron, paper-thin slice o'bacon that you can peer through, crispy sprig of celery and two hefty but delicately crumbed oysters on the bottom. Really enjoyable. Paired with Garganega/Chardonnay, Anselmi San Vincenzo, Italy '03.

Next came the star of the evening to which all other dishes must bow. Heirloom Peppercorn Crusted Swordfish with a ragout of beluga lentils, red wine braised beef short ribs, aromatic vegetables and black trumpet mushroom consomme. All ingredients work together beautifully to deliver a kick-ass taste and smell. Who would have though to combine short ribs and swordfish in one recipe? A nicely grilled juicy piece of swordfish rests on a bed of lentils mixed with fork-tender braised tendrils of ribs, and the entire business was surrounded by a generous splash of a perfectly clear consomme with tiny flakes of trumpets. I oohed and aahed until it was gone. This was a major delight, and I would gladly order it off the regular menu. Paired with St. Laurent, Sattle, Austria '03.

Satiation was setting in when the next dish came. Wisconsin Grain-Fed Prime Beef Delmonico with peruvian sweet onion compote, watercress, heirloom carrots, bone marrow croquettes and bitter chocolate-red wine glace. I wish I was hungrier to better appreciate this hearty, studly dish. I really enjoyed the thick onion compote that almost a creamy consistency and were it not for the rules that govern behavior of young ladies in fine restaurants, that glace would have been licked clean from my plate. Apart from a nicely prepared beef, the delight of this dish for me came from bone marrow croquettes. So airy, delicate, sweet-flavored and viscous in your mouth once you penetrate an impossibly thin layer of crumbs. I would gladly order a basket of this for my regular meal. It's protein, no?? Paired with Cab Sauvignon, Provenance, Napa Valley'02.

Warm Granny Smith Apple Turnover with cinnamon stick ice cream and cider reduction. Just a really good, well-done take on the old classic. Paired with Baumard, Coteau De Layon, Chenin Blanc Loire '03.

I was glad to see that the new chef is settling in so well and delivers beautiful and well-composed plates that are a delight to the stomach and the nose. Do go and check him out. Don't forget to confer with sommelier and manager Mike Navarrez, who stopped by our table frequently to deliver amusing tidbits, witty conversation and dead-on wine comments. This man knows his grapes. Thanks to RJ, Mike and the waitress (Reina? this must be misspelled) for a wonderful evening.

P.S. Cannot believe that forgot to mention their bread basket!!!! Oh, the cornbread and focaccia, so creamy, so rich, so crumbly. One is in serious danger on filling up on these (come with butter and sweet onion marmalade) before the real ammo arrives. And it's not like I don't know what's coming, but time and again I keep falling into the focaccia trap. If these babies were replenished during the meal, I would seriously consider filching them and bringing them home in my purse.

Edited by Nadya (log)

Resident Twizzlebum

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  • 1 month later...

A Sunday night visit to the bar at Vidalia was both quiet and relaxing. We sampled some spectacular new dishes on the menu. Cornmeal breaded oysters were perfect. Southern Style Cassoulet was hearty and quite delicious: braised pork shoulder, pork belly, sausages and a sprinkling of beans in a delicous savory sauce. Calotte of Beef was off the charts. The Calotte is the cap of the rib-eye. Deeply flavored, great texture. The Mac and Cheese finished me off. A special compliment to Doug for the great work he has done on the winelist. Beautifully arranged and full of interesting selections, plus a huge assortment of wines by the glass available in tasting and regular pours.

Mark

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I went to a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs event there at the beginning of Feburary and was knocked out by what RJ Cooper had been able to do in his short time there. The food was superior to what I had there just six months prior.

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