Ten Penh lobster
If you're splurging and want something great, go to Ten Penh (10th and Penn NW...)-- a pan asian trendy hot spot. Make a reservation and order the lobster. It is $30 so you should be feeling flush but it is WONDERFUL. Spicy and pungent and a little sweet, served in its shell but cut into pieces that can be easily extracted with your chopsticks. Best of all it is served on a bed of stir fried vegetable (spicy pungent etc but crunch too) and crispy deep fried tiny baby spinach leaves. Heaven. I'm a lobster purist and generally eschew the tricked-up, but my gracious this was good. The wait staff knows their wines so take their recommendation.
Had wonderful albeit slightly too lemony sauteed calamari, as well as clever shrimp and scallion dumplings with the tails still on. Again, expensive but worth it if you order correctly.
Four of us ventured Ten Penh last night and I would say that while the meal was a success, it didn't knock my socks off.
Certainly a very handsome place and quite comfortable, we had a nice quiet table in a corner and after they turned down the air conditioning, it was fine.
As for food, the appetizers were stellar....I had tuna sashimi with asparagus flash fried tempura style which was inventive and very tasty. There was a delicious Thai style chicken soup served in a coconut shell--the lemon grass accents transported one back to Thailand; spring rolls that were a tad greasy, but crispy and served with three outstanding dipping sauces, and the dumplings with the shrimp mentioned in the previous note--well executed, but not outstanding.
Main courses were less favorably received although there was nothing particularly wrong with them. My halibut with a panko and macadamia crust was slightly overcooked but tasty; it was served a bed of delicious snowpea pods. The large portion of salmon was served on a nice mound of wasabi mashed potatoes; also sampled were a duck breast and leg (very tender and tasty) were served with Asian risotto, and a grilled beef tenderloin--the beef was judged okay.
We ordered one side of Szechuan green beans, made with very slender haricot verts; they were spicy and tender and thoroughly delicious.
We drank a couple of bottles of Alsatian Pinot Blanc from Pierre Sparr...a nice value at $24 a bottle (also available by the glass).
The only dessert consumed was a warmed Thai black rice pudding with coconut cream--not your typical dessert (the waiter described it as like hot cereal); I liked it but no one else wanted to taste it.
It all came to about $220 for the four of us, including tax and tip--not bad for a high quality meal.
Would I go back? Probably, but as I often say "For that kind of money, we could have gone to Kinkead's".