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DC Restaurant Week Summer 2005


Malawry
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Corduroy does RW better than any restaurant out there, until someone can convince me otherwise.

The only bummer was when Ferhat told us that the sea scallops weren't available (NOOOOOOOOO!!!). I've had them enough that I wanted to go a different route, but I'd been talking them up so much that jenrus had her mouth set for them.

No problem - Chef Power only substituted the best tasting Alaskan Salmon I've ever had - a jewel-colored red orange, moist, so fresh and flavorful and almost gamey that it made you appreciate the fact that salmon does actually exist in nature. It worked just as well with the traditional scallop presentation of mushrooms (this time chanterelles), potato puree and chardonnay sauce.

Of course the soups were great, especially the sweet, creamy corn soup. And rather than fighting over who would get the most bites from the "Michel's Kit Kat bar" (I still like it bettter than the original - sorry, Chef Richard), we both ordered our own and added on a pistachio bread pudding for good measure. When I was a kid I was grossed out by the idea and texture of bread pudding - now I can't get enough of it.

The restuarant was as full last night as I've ever seen it, including several previous restaurant week visits. I hope all those presumably new visitors keep coming back. But why wouldn't they, with the kitchen turning out food as good as they do every other night of the year.

Bill Russell

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Went to David Greggory for dinner Tuesday. There were lots of menu choices for RW which was great. We had-----

Appetizers:

Truffle Pizza. The flavors of the cheese and leeks were good but the dough was soggy

Tostones. (mashed plantains formed into large chips served with black beans, salsa and crema) Heavy but addictive. Great texture from the plantains.

Entrees:

Seared halibut in a seafood broth--- a solid dish, the fish was delicate and the broth had lots of calamari, clams, and mussels.

Crabcakes-- lots of lump, a good mango sauce to accompany it

Now for the not so pleasant portion of the evening...

The server (not the one who took our order) puts down our desserts. We thought we'd ordered a piece of chocolate cake and a piece of coconut cake. He brought out two pieces of chocolate cake. We said we ordered one of each. He took one of the chocolate cakes away.

Our server, Isabelle, who took our order comes back slams the coconut cake down and says, "just so you know-- you ordered two chocolate cakes" in a not so pleasant manner. It is perfectly possible there was a miscommunication/misunderstanding but was that comment really necessary? My guest and I both thought we had ordered one chocolate, one coconut.

When we ordered our drinks we asked for recommendations from the cocktail menu and our server said "I don't drink those, I'm a bourbon girl" Usually I wouldn't pay attention to a comment like that but then combined with the rude comment with the cake. It was too much. I hate complaining about service because my family is all in the restaurant business. But getting yelled at by our server was not sitting well with us.

We talked to the manager and he was great. He said he appreciated us telling him and even though we did not want him to take anything off the bill he took our drinks off the bill. He handled the situation well and I even said I know it's restaurant week and you're slammed. He said that's no excuse.

So the food and the manager were all great as for Isabelle- hope she was just having a bad night

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OK, went to Galileo for the first time ever for dinner the other day. Note for men: I saw lots of business casual and not many jackets. Perhaps they relaxed the rules during RW?

What we ordered:

Le Capesante

Sautéed Scallops wrapped in Bacon served with a Ragu of Cherry Tomatoes, Pattypan Squash, Chiceri Beans and Asparagus in a White Wine Clam Broth

Linguine Con Molecche

Linguine tossed with Soft Shell Crabs, Marinated Tomatoes and Basil

Il Grosso Rombo

Sautéed Filet of Halibut Dusted with Porcini Mushrooms served with a Ragu of Chiodini Mushrooms, Fresh Peas and Fennel Lobster Sauce

Il Manzo

Tower of Grilled Beef, Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Local Tomato served with Potatoes Dauphin and Beef Jus

Carpaccio di Ananas

Carpaccio of Pineapple with Passion Fruit Dessing and Mango Sorbet

Napoleone di Pesca

Chocolate Mousse Puff Pastry Napoleon served with Peach Salad

I really enjoyed the antipasta and pasta that we had. The scallop was well prepared and cooked exceptionally well. The pasta was very light and reminded me of food I had in Italy.

The fish was great - definitely get that if you go. The sauce was delicious - very intense. The beef was alright, I felt it needed more salt to bring out the flavor of the meat (why are there no salt shakers at upscale restaurants? I know why, but c'mon...) and the chocolate dessert was a tad too sweet while the sobert was a good palate cleanser.

Overall, I wasn't impressed. I had high expectations b/c it's Roberto Donna's restaurant and all that jazz but honestly I was, to use Al Dente's words, just whelmed.

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Went to 1789 restaurant last night with my mom-

you all were right!! The 'rack of pork' was amaaaazing... mmm... and I don't know about you guys, but we felt that the grilled peach and the garlic swiss chard were really good (the beans were fine)

Also, the scallop "margarita" (really a scallop ceviche, come on guys and own up) was really good. The texture of teh scallops were amazing, and the avocado helped to calm down the lime flavor. Nice presentation.

Other highlights were the bread basket (love). Sort of oniony-topped foccacia, served with butter drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. Sprig of Rosemary. nice touch.

I had never been to 1789 before, but now i'm glad I have. I'm pleased that it's pretty much exactly what's advertised. Really good, simple american/french food. Reasonable but not extravagant portion sizes. Attentive service.

Hmm... does 1789 normally do an amuse? I thought they probably did but maybe since it was RW they were skipping that one.. our total bill including 2 glasses of wine, coffee, "san pellegrino", tax & tip was about $100. Not bad?

Friday is TenPenh, and sunday Kinkeads

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Smith & Wollensky on the menu for last night. I'd definitely go there again for RW. We had great service and great food. There was none of that "red-headed stepchild" feeling you get at some restaurants during RW. We weren't rushed (in fact, it took us quite a while to get the bill settled!) and our server was gracious.

I had:

-Blue Point oysters

-Casear salad

-Filet mignon (served w/ wild green and matchstick frites as sides and Béarnaise sauce)

-Cheesecake

My gripe: slim menu selection. I wish there was more to choose from for the apps than just 2 salads and pea soup. The desserts were carrot cake, cheese cake or fresh fruit. It would've been nice to mix it up a bit and have some originality but the filet made up for it...a bit.

The filet was very good & tender - suprising considering you'd expect restaurants to skimp on the quality of the meat during RW. Perhaps we didn't get the center cut filet but whatever cut of filet we got, it was great.

The oysters were good - large and fleshy. Are Blue Points supposed to be more "earthy"? (In a good way!) I like my oysters briney and salty with a crisp finish. Eh, it's just me.

Tomorrow, Ten Penh and Saturday Cafe MoZu.

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Had a nice but FAST Restaurant Week dinner a Tosca tonight. Arrived at 8:20 for an 8:30 reservation and was out the door at 9:30. They were turning and burning the tables tonight.

That said, they do offer their entire menu and even give you some flexibility in choosing a pasta for your appetizer or your main or even for both courses if you are so inclined.

The risotto with smoked scamorza, figs and rosemary. This reminded me a of an eposide of Frasier where Gil the food critic described something as a "fromaggian delight" and Martin said, "Yeah. Cheesy." But the fig made it something more than cheesy. The subtle sweetness cut through and complemented the strong cheese flavor from the saucy risotto and the pieces of barely melted cheese scattered througout.

The raviolis we both had as appetizers - a ricotta and raisin in a butter sage sauce and a veal and spinach in red wine and butter sauce were both as rich and as refined as pasta can be. Neither of these are some southern Italian peasant dish.

Only a penne with crab and olives in a red pepper olive oil sauce underwhelmed. Too subtle, almost bland, but at the same time too many flavors competing with the crab, which should be the star of the dish.

Jenrus' dessert was a watermelon granita that was simple - a little too simple? Maybe. On the other hand, the strudel of blueberries and peach with vanilla gelato was summery and more importantly, didn't feel like a dish they created for Restaurant Week, but a dish they created because it was in season.

I want to return to Tosca when it isn't Restaurant Week. I want to savor the full effect of this place. And I'm not sure you can do that in an hour and ten minutes.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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Time to diet! We hit four restaurants during RW. As most people have discovered, our feelings about RW relate to how much of the routine menu is available. Here's the rundown:

Tuesday -- Colvin Run Tavern: This continues to be one of our favorites whether for RW or non-RW -- a distinction admittedly related to the fact that it is the best food that's only a ten-minute drive from our house. The RW menu includes approximately six appetizers, six entrees, and three desserts. The RW menu is the only one in existence during the promotion; there's no two-tier system in effect as in Taberna del Alabardero. The RW menu is a mixture of dishes from the regular menu and unique options. For example, my flounder with artichokes and tasso ham is a dish I've enjoyed other times we've dined there, but my husband's short ribs were unique to RW. Perhaps the sheer number of choices avoided the step-child vibes that some RW menus give off. Taberna's meal certainly felt that second-class citizen. Reading the options at a RW meal at Melrose didn't excite anyone in our party last summer, although the taste of every dish turned out to be great.

Wednesday -- Ten Penh: We've done DC Coast during a previous Summer RW and Ceiba, and Ten Penh during Winter RW. I recommend the promotion for any of the sibling restaurants. At all three restaurants, patrons are handed the whole menu, but given a verbal explanation that the promotion has limits for the appetizer and dessert course with an upcharge for one dish among the entrees. At TenPenh, my husband and son loved their authoritatively spiced calamari salad, and I would thoroughly enjoyed the lumpia, particularly the three dipping sauces that accompany the order. My husband and son think the lamb prepared three ways was one of the best dishes they've ever eaten. I have less charitable feelings about my entree course because I wasn't served for about fifteen minutes after their food arrived at the table. Then, I was served primarily because I took action. I corralled a runner who had brought food to a nearby table. Whether or not he alerted our waitress, I don't know. She came over a couple of minutes later and asked, "Where's your dinner?" I replied, "Good question." A manager arrived shortly bringing my softshell-crab entree, apologized profusely and walked away. I took one bite of the crabs, tasted the overly sweet teriyaki sauce, and wondered whether I should return the dish entirely. Instead, I scraped off the sauce and continued eating. The manager returned and, this time, informed us that my meal would be free.

Thursday -- Ceiba: The best experience of the week. Last winter, I don't recall any of the ceviches being included in RW, but this time the shrimp cevice was offered. Our friend enjoyed that, but it was at the limit of his tolerance for spice. The rest of us ordered the golden gazpacho, and it was simpy the best gazpacho we've ever eaten. The addition of crab and the spiced tomato sorbet made for a wonderful play of flavors. All the entrees -- the combination crab cake and softshelled crab entree, the skewered shrimp, and scallops -- were excellent.

Friday -- Taberna del Alabardero:We hadn't been to Taberna for a little over a year, so we decided to visit again during restaurant week. The RW week promotion is very, very limited, and nothing on the special menu also appears on the regular menu. Appetizers consist of two: cream of potato soup or a tossed salad with duck confit and sliced pears. The three people who ordered the soup, loved it but found that it filled them up. Two people thoroughly enjoyed the salad. One of the two entree possibilities -- mahi mahi with mushrooms in white wine -- was a success. The other choice -- flank steak -- was declared tasty enough but too chewy. The service was as polished as always, and the table was ours for the night. We lingered talking over our coffee, and, eventually, asked for the check. Although we had a perfectly enjoyable dinner experience, I wouldn't bother going during RW again.

We had reservations for dinner last night at Bistro Bis with friends, but they had to cancel, and my husband and I decided we'd had enough so we cancelled, too.

KSPS

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I've been following this topic to get ideas on where to go for RW, but ended up picking Blackie's and Butterfield 9. Mostly because my dining partner is more of a steakhouse person than I am, and we both picked one restaurant. We also got a late start, so we also chose from what was still available.

At Blackie's, I had the rotisserie Long Island Duck with lemon-ginger glaze that was wonderful. I really enjoyed it. My dining partner was not as impressed with her pork porterhouse. She felt it was a bit overdone. But I would definitely return for the duck. I also really enjoyed my first course of chilled tomato soup with avocado, mango and grilled corn relish. It is a dish I'd like to try to duplicate at home. We both sampled each of the two desserts, chocolate mousse cake and strawberries melba. Both were quite good, but nothing extraordinary.

Last night we went to Butterfield 9 and neither of us had any complaints. It was a fabulous meal. We both really enjoyed our day boat scallops (Seared Day Boat Scallops, roasted garlic, summer squash pistou, basil emulsion) for our first course. I had Hawaiian Escolar (Hawaiian Escolar, artichoke barigoule, sweet garlic puree and piment d'espellete) and she had spice dusted pork chop (Spice Dusted Pork Chop, tempura squash blossoms, cherries and pancetta sauce). Both were wonderful. I tried the tempura squash blossom that came with the pork and could have eaten an entire plate of just squash blossoms. The creme brulée and Mexican chocolate soufflé cake were perfectly simple and elegant endings. We also indulged in the optional wine pairings. The dessert wine pairing was particularly notable. It was Moscato d'Asti M. Chiarlo "Nivole" 2004, Piedmonte-Italy that I plan on incorporating into my own repetoire. I was not as impressed with the Chardonnay that they served with my Escolar. But I'm not a Chardonnay fan. The chenin blanc that was served with the scallops was wonderful as well (Chenin Blanc Indabo 2004, Western Cape-South Africa).

BTW, Butterfield 9 has extended their RW for another week until the 14th. Their menu is on their website.

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