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21P - Chef Mark Sakuta's new place set to open


morela
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I'm bummed that they're replacing BeDuCi - it was a great spot for visiting parent dinners.

I thought I started a thread on 21 P. Anyway, can't find it...

This place opens on Thursday night and the menu looks great!

You won't miss BDC, I mean BeDuCi....

...

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As it happens, I just talked with Mark--who as we all know was the chef and driving force behind the wonderful SBC Cafe in Herndon--and he's planning to "pre-open" 21P, very informally, for his SBC regulars and eGulleteers who want to stop by next week--he's thinking he'll be ready for Tuesday. He's planning 50% off food, it'll likely not be a full menu, with wines regularly priced, but I'm sure his markups will be gentle. I'd call ahead to confirm--but my guess is Mark will appreciate some savvy early feedback and the opportunity to work out some kinks before an official opening. Some things are still tied up in customs, so I wouldn't go in expecting the decor to be settled either. As a diner, it's a good chance to see something early, when all the BOH/FOH pieces aren't yet in place, and then see it develop over time.

I know what I'll be ordering first: his shellfish tamale, and the veal cheeks with that garlic flan.

FYI--if you're new to eG, have not been to SBC nor heard of Mark, here's a link to Tom Sietsema's review of SBC:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?n...=2&type=keyword

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I'm bummed that they're replacing BeDuCi - it was a great spot for visiting parent dinners.

I thought I started a thread on 21 P. Anyway, can't find it...

This place opens on Thursday night and the menu looks great!

You won't miss BDC, I mean BeDuCi....

That menu is all over the place. And it is huge. Kind of scares me.

Mark

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he's planning to "pre-open" 21P, very informally, for his SBC regulars and eGulleteers who want to stop by next week--he's thinking he'll be ready for Tuesday.  He's planning 50% off food, it'll likely not be a full menu, with wines regularly priced, but I'm sure his markups will be gentle.  I'd call ahead to confirm

Is anyone interested in trying this out "on a whim" on Wednesday evening if they are open?

Further discussion of that can go on here.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Hard to believe I'm the first to post on a meal at 21P, but I stopped in tonight to have a solo bite at the bar. The bar was full, so I ended up at a table ahving a full-ledged meal - not that there's anything wrong with that.

I ended up ordering a braised appetizer and a braised entree. I guess if they had had a braised dessert I would have been in the mood for that too. Appetizer of beef cheeks with a garlic flan-type thing. I liked the texture of this - not completely melt in your mouth but very tender nonetheless. Entree was a cilantro braised lamb shank served with white bean raviolis. Loved the flavor of the lamb (of course - what lamb is really bad) and the cilantro cream dabbled on top. The ravioli were nice, but a bit of a strange texture - mostly pureed beans with some whole beans mixed in. For dessert I had a bread pudding that was gooey and crusty and sweet.

Service was friendly from everybody - including several people who recognized me from frequenting SBC Cafe even though this was my first visit here.

I'd always enjoyed SBC and am glad they have a space that matches the cooking and doesn't need to be prefaced with "Despite what it looks like - the food is really good."

Bill Russell

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  • 1 month later...

Dined at 21P last night and we had a nice time.

Olives, olive oil with rosemary focaccia was a nice starter. I enjoyed the tuna tartare and the pan seared rockfish, both were very nice. Wife had the lobster bisque and a blue corn tamale. Service was good, space looks beautiful, I think they've done a nice job.

A welcome addition to Dupont's restaurant scene.

Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar

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  • 3 weeks later...

A good time has been had at 21P last Saturday. Because I really, really, really disliked BeDuCi, I was anxious to like 21P.

Stepping in, I felt ready to trill like one of these deranged supersocial ladies, "I love what you've done with the place!" Decor is really quite enjoyable - blond wood across navy blue walls, glassed-in facade, orange daisies in turquoise glasses, very nice, nod of approval from Modern Living. Note that no delay in seating ensued with no reservation on a Saturday night.

The bar gets a special vote - we only spent a few minutes there, but it seemed both inviting and strangely unpopulated. Wide barstools on which the bottom rests comfortably, same dark blue color scheme, and a counter facing the street. I can think of worse things to do on a weeknight than to toss back cocktails and watching Dupont go by.

The food was...it reminded me of Princess Diaries or another movie where the plot revolves around a timid, unpopular and rather homely girl that through some twist of fate needs to Get Gorgeous, and soon. Twenty minutes later, after appointments with Antoine The Hairdressing Arteeste, posture tutors and unlimited accounts at Emporio Armani, she's a younger Elizabeth Hurley. Then, to stifle a fit of welling jealousy, you remind yourself that she always had good bones and pretty eyes to begin with.

The food at 21P needs Antoine The Hairdressing Arteeste. Good bones and pretty eyes are there, they just need to be polished and presented.

The ambition of the owners is clear when you take in the decor and some menu items. Now all they need is polish.

My veal cheeks appetizer was gorgeous and prettily presented on a square plate (note to ambition.) My friend had a rather serviceable green salad with candied walnuts, so good I charmed and guilt-tripped him into feeding me most of them.

The entrees were a step down. My cilantro-braised lamb shank was fork-tender and falling of the bone, but please. Does it need to be floating in the (tasty) sauce to the point of needing a swimguard? It takes a lot of sauce to sink a big ol lamb shank. Accompanying bean raviolis were yummy and with a bit of saucing on top could have warded off the dryness that distracted from how yummy they were. My friend's coffee-dusted steak (note to ambition) was okay and the sides of haricot vert and mashed potatoes (declined to taste) looked good.

Desserts were a crash. The pastry department is either still putting its act together or is an afterthought of a busy kitchen. Flourless chocolate cake that looks like a strip of fudge. Strawberry bread pudding with heath bar crunchies in some manner of sauce. Both taste and look as if they came out of a glass case in a corner store. Provide a sugar rush, yes. Demonstrate ambition and finesse clearly present or attempted elsewhere? No.

I think 21P is a great addition to the 'hood and I will continue to go - most certainly to the bar. My sincere wish is that they give the food a critical look to showcase its strengths a little better - which in most cases will require just a few tweaks. Antoine the Hairdressing Arteeste will be proud of this one when it emerges as a swan, and I sincerely hope it will.

Resident Twizzlebum

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Interesting - it looks like you had the exact same appetizer entree and dessert that I did.

I like sweeter desserts so I really liked the bread pudding, but it was very, very sweet.

Bill Russell

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Interesting - it looks like you had the exact same appetizer entree and dessert that I did. 

I like sweeter desserts so I really liked the bread pudding, but it was very, very sweet.

It's not that I didn't like the taste of bread pudding; my dismay was caused largely by how slophouse and pedestrian desserts were in presentation and plating compared to apps, entrees and ambience.

Edited by Nadya (log)

Resident Twizzlebum

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was here on Saturday night for the first time. The space is quite nice. After spending a little time at the bar, our party of 9 was seated in the back. Even though I heard a lot of noise in the place, there was really no problem having a discussion, or feeling like you were bothering other tables.

There was a replacement steak tonight - instead of a NY strip, they had hanger steak - same presentation - coffee crusted with mashed potatoes and haricot vert. Me and a friend had that. Medium rare - came out probably a bit closer to medium but I was quite pleased with how juicy and tender it was. The coffee was not overwhelming. I would definitely get this again, but I kind of wonder if we lucked out with hanger steak instead of a NY strip. The mashed potatoes were also excellent. I started with the conch chowder. I never had it at SBC cafe so have nothing to compare it to.... but it was flavorful, a little more watery then I care for, when I think of chowder.

Other starters at the table included the curry crusted scallop w/ coconut grits and pineapple chutney, the olives, olive oil, and foccacia. There was another appetizer which included rabbit, but I can't recall all the details. Also, the smattering of salads. Everyone seemed pleased. The other main courses included the duck with strawberry sauce and mushrooms (I didn't get any of that), the cajun meatloaf (or this), porcini dusted rockfish, lamb shanks, and lamb chops. The lamb was good, but I admit I'm not a big lamb fan....only once in awhile. The rockfish was very good - not overdone, good sauce. I guess after I had a bite of my hanger steak, everything else paled in comparison.

One of my friends had ordered the Cantonese Beef Stew, but it wasn't until the food was almost ready that the kitchen realized they didn't have enough for a full entree. To their credit, the waiter came out, apologized profusely and asked my friend if he'd like something else (which ended up being the meatloaf). But then they brought out the remains of the beef stew to tide him over (while the rest of us were served) and then a few minutes later brought him the meatloaf. Then they took the entree off the bill, which was a bit of a surprise, but was certainly appreciated.

Desserts - I did not partake...... 3 folks ordered the flourless chocolate cake. I agree whole heartedly with what Nadya said..... I would've expected more from a meal that had gone so well so far. Cake did look like strips of fudge..... everyone ate it and was pleased but I'm kind of glad I didn't have any. Wasn't tempted at all.

Wine selection left a bit to be desired. We had 2 bottles of 2001 Chateau Souverain Cabernet and 1 bottle of Pinot, I think it was the 03 Avila. Passable, but not at about $40/bottle.

But overall a great time. Service was attentive but we never felt rushed. We had 830pm reservations, so we were among the last ones out at about 1100p.

Will definitely go back. It's a nice addition to the area in a price point with cooking that doesn't feel dull and like it's being done in the immediate neighborhood.

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Had dinner at 21P last week and was pleasantly suprised - though I do agree with Nadya. And while nothing overwhelmed me with wonder and joy, nothing disappointed me either. I was content.

And sometimes content is all you're lookin for.

Called 20 minutes before we walked infor reservations for two, and there were no problems or wait time. The decor was as clean and zen as everyone else has descibed, so I'll leave that alone. The server* was friendly and knowledgeable, although after we ordered it was a little difficult to get bread. But he answered all of my questions and was polite and professional yet warm and comfortable. Not too familiar and not too stuffy. Just the way I like it. (Why do I suddenly feel like Goldilocks?)

So after I asked about 15,873 questions, I ordered the Kajiki tartare** with wasabi aioli to start. It was my favorite dish of the evening - so simple and light and fresh, and had the most satisfying texture. You know, when you have a good tuna sashimi and your teeth just kind of slowly sink into the pink flesh? Yum.

For my main course I had another app - the curry-crusted scallops with coconut grits and pineapple chutney. Again, quite tasty. Though it was a small dish in comparison to the tartare, the flavor and quality of the scallops was excellent, and the coconut grits were perfectly cooked and seasoned. However, the curry flavoring on the scallops was a tiny bit too overpowering - they could have used a dash or two less. My man had the meatloaf which I didn't taste. He said it was decent, but didn't finish it. He said the dish was definitely too much food, and this boy eats a lot. Now that I think about it, all of the entrees I saw go by did look much larger in proportion to the apps and desserts.

What made me happy, though, was that for once I won. Usually he picks the better dishes and I get jealous. But this time, I did. Heheheheheh.

Oh, and I had a glass of Schlumberger Riesling from Alsace that was delish. A great complement to the spice of the scallops and creaminess of the grits.

For dessert, I had the bread pudding which was eh, and he had the chocolate mousse with white chocolate mousse. First of all, it wasn't so much a chocolate mousse as it was a chocolate pudding, and the white chocolate mousse was more like a whipped cream. In addition, it was served in an espresso cup so it was teeny. And I am not a fan of huge portions, but this was ridiculous. However... it was good. Comfort food-good. So we ordered two.

So we left sated and content. Not blown away, and not disappointed. The total bill was about $75 before tip, and there are many places in DC that will charge you that much and serve you slop, so we were pretty happy. Bottom line, for me it is not a destination, but if you live within 10-20 minutes its a good neighborhood restaurant to keep in your pocket. And I imagine that in a few (weeks? months?) Antoine the Hairdressing Arteeste will have that girl ready for the big ball.

The (I-Can't-Believe-My-Post-Has) Footnotes:

* I feel bad for saying this, and I'm sorry Dorian if you're reading this, but our waiter introduced himself by name, and neither my boyfriend nor I could place how we knew him. Had one of us worked with him? At what restaurant? Had we gone to GW with him? Aargh, how did we know him? Then 20 minutes later, out of nowhere, my boyfriend calls it - he's Kuramo's boyfriend from the Real World in Philly.

So we thought it was hysterical that we were being waited on by a slightly-famous extra on a reality show, and that he probably got recognized so often that he had to move from Philly to DC. Which is probably very untrue and we are bad people for laughing about it. But for all of you who are young and stupid enough to watch the Real World - Kuramo's boyfriend was our waiter!

**Kajiki is also known as Pacific blue marlin and tastes similar to tuna. I didn't know this before eating it and neither did anyone at the restaurant where I work. So don't feel bad. And you should feel extra-special smart if you did know it. Yay, you!

Eat.Drink.DC.

...dining in the district...

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.

- Orson Welles

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