What can I expect from Jeffrey's at the Watergate?
I've never been to the Watergate so when a friend asked me to join her at Jeffrey's this Friday to take advantage of Washington's Restaurant Week, I said, "certainly!" Any suggestions? I'm from New Orleans, love to eat, and have had my most memorable meal in WDC at Gerard's Place over the holidays - amazing pork cheeks! Any input would be appreciated.
I had the three-course $20.01 lunch at Jeffrey's over the holidays and thought it was quite good. Be sure and try the signature fried oysters if they're available. They were outstanding. Early reviews in the Post and elsewhere indicated severe problems with the service. We did not find that to be the case. On the contrary, we thought the service was competent and professional.
You know that this place is a spinoff of W's favorite place in Austin.
I had lunch there this very day. I was quite happy with the fare. I started with their trademark Gulf Oysters, which were petite, bedded in peppers, etc., and mildly spicey. Then the tomato-crab soup, which was outstanding -- I recommend it highly. It is smooth and subtle with layers of complementary flavors. The main course was the quail, small and somewhat over-fruited, but beautifully presented on the plate. For dessert, I had the chocolate cake, which was dense and chocolatey enough for any addict. My companion's lemon tart (which I shared), named after Condoleezza Rice, looked like an Arabian village, and was light, just tart enough and, along with the soup, the highlight of the meal. To drink, I had a "mangorita" (house special -- not particularly distinguished), a capuccino, and an Armagnac Cles des Ducs Millesime. Since it was lunch, I shied away from something as heavy as the steak, although I'm told that the combination of Texas livestock and French cooking make some of their beef courses worthwhile.
All in all, I enjoyed the experience. The place is original, they do innovative things with high-quality ingredients, and the view of the river is compelling.
I've eaten as well or even better in New Orleans (where I lived as a child) but you guys have a whole culture backing you up. Jeffrey's will be at something like that stratospheric level if it makes it through the early years.
I'll relate my recent experence at Jeffrey's which--while the food was good--really colored my perception.
I went for dinner with a group of 4 other woman before a performance at the Kennedy Center. We had their pre-fixe theatre special which was about $30. (you were allowed to have the signature fried oysters as an appetizer with this menu--and they were wonderful).
HOWEVER, imagine our surprise to be presented with a bill that required each of us to pony us $98. for our $30 pre-fixe dinner! Turns out that one of our party, when asked by our waiter whether they prefered bottled or tap water, had responded "bottled". I myself had specified tap. Unbeknownst to us this somehow gave the staff carte blanche to start pouring bottled water for the entire table. At the end of our meal we had the added bonus of a tab of $55 for bottled water!
In our hurry to make the opera we did not take this up with the staff, but just paid our bill.