My coworkers and I tried 100 King in Alexandria for lunch today. It's an upscale Mediterranean-American place. The space is very welcoming, a sleek comfy contemporary in dark wood tables, pale gray and sage walls, stainless steel bead curtains/room dividers, and gray-green translucent chairs. We didn't check out the bar, but a glimpse showed dark woods, deep orange-y reds, stainless and a sexy curve to it. Lovely space. And not overcrowded with tables, and the tables are big enough so you don't feel cramped. China is creamy white and most pieces are square-shaped. Square glass vases with black river rocks and a floating orchid were on each table.
The RW menu is limited. Three choices of appies and entrees for both the lunch & dinner menus, and one dessert per (although they traded out our lunchtime pistachio creme brulee for the dark chocolate gateau & gelato served at dinner, since we ran out of time and had to get back to the office).
Lunch appies were butternut squash soup, a no-lettuce salad with a lemon/olive oil/garlic dressing and feta & greek olives, and a goat cheese pita pizza. We each got a different one and all enjoyed them thoroughly. Food was obviously very fresh and treated with care, even if it wasn't very adventurous.
Entrees were a chicken panini with gruyere, hangar steak with a zin sauce and pommes frites, and grilled salmon with olive oil mashed potatoes. We got two steaks and the salmon. Everything was cooked perfectly, the mashed potatoes were excellent, the pommes frites were hot and crispy when they hit the table -- but unfortunately soaked up a little too much of the zin sauce that I would have rather stayed with the steak. Again, not adventurous cooking but very nicely done.
Service had a few minor flaws. We had to remind the waiter about our beverages, and to bring another fork when one diner relinquished hers with the empty salad bowl. It was unfortunate that we had to get back to work, as it rushed the end of the meal a bit, but that wasn't the waiter's fault. The food was being cooked to order and we were given time to enjoy each course.
I think the appetizers were the same for the dinner RW menu, but I can't remember what the main courses were, but I think the salmon was one of them.
I would agree with the positive review of Tosca. Two of us went last night, and it was a pleasure to be able to pick from a large number of dishes. The only upcharges were for the lamb and serloin, a great deal. The three course menu allowed you to pick the pasta as either a first or main course, which was nice, as it allowed us both to try the pasta without missing out on the entrees.
I had the pasta with seafood, which the waiter explained was not served with spagetti but instead a house made pasta, as the chef wanted people to try the house made version, but assured us we could substitute the dry stuff if we wanted to. We also had the veal ravioli, quite nice. For mains, had the sea bass and the fish of the day -- swordfish. I thought the swordfish was the better option, a nice sized portion and very well cooked, just simply grilled with a hint of lemon and olive oil. For dessert, we had profiterols (yes, I can't spell), and the tiramisu. The tiramisu was almost too smooth and creamy, it would have been nice with a little more texture. The profiterols were filled with a cappuccino cream, so an interesting twist.
All in all, a great meal, esp for RW. Service was excellent, though obviously quicker than a normal meal would be. But to get out of there at such a reasonable price but being able to try the items we actually wanted to try was great. There didn't seem to be a sacrifice of quality in the meal. I would highly recommend Tosca for RW.
Did Ceiba on Monday night.....they offered a choice of all their entrees (with an extra charge for 2 of them), but the apps were limited to a few salads/soup/one ceviche, and only a few desserts (and their "signature" Churros were left out). We ended up just ordering off the regular menu so we could chow down on exactly what we wanted and spending more.....but it was good.
I ate at Ceiba Monday night too and while there were some appetizer and dessert limitations, I was content with the choices and thoroughly enjoyed my meal (as did my friends). Had the conch chowder, crabcakes (I love theirs, and the slaw on top - I could eat a whole bowl of that), and the guava bread pudding. Tasted the coconut sorbet on top of the chocolate cake dessert and that was quite good too. Also tasted the scallop entree - anything with bacon tastes good to me, but they also expertly cooked the scallops. I often find that many restaurants overcook scallops and these were perfect.
Going to Tosca tonight - looking forward to it after reading the previous posts!
I went to Ceiba for lunch; I work around the corner and always felt like trying it. The restaurant week menu was pretty limited--a couple options from each section, only one ceviche. I got the shrimp cocktail ceviche and thought it was pretty good. It was nicely tart with lemon and cilantro, it had a slight hint of spiciness in it. They really should give you more than four tortilla chips with it though; that's not nearly enough.
I got the special for the main course: a rainbow trout sandwich with blue potato chips. I really liked the trout sandwich but for some reason I couldn't help thinking "maybe I should have gotten the tilapia." I shouldn't complain or second guess the trout though; it was a great sandwich and trout always brings back some nostalgic memories for me (but I digress) It was the chips that were a bit sub par; they just seemed a bit burned to me.
For dessert I got the chocolate chili cake. Great cake, went really well with the ice cream on top and the caramel around it. But I didn't taste any chili, at least not until the very last bite and even then it was just a hint. It really did taste great, but they could add a little more chili to it.
I ate by myself and my server was as friendly as can be. They were busy but it didn't affect the service at all.
The only Ceviche they offer on the RW menu is a Shrimp Ceviche. I ended up getting the Yellowtail Ceviche (not on the special menu) and it was really yummy...with coconut milk and cashews.
Went to 21P last night and was pretty disappointed. Although I was prepared for that as it's gotten mixed reviews. They had a large menu offering, but alas the food was mediocre.
I had the crawfish bisque which actually ended up being more of a gumbo served with rice. Then the shrimp and grits which had the same exact sauce as the gumbo and the grits were watery. The desserts were our favorite parts which were a chocolate cake that was like fudge and a bread pudding. My dining companions also felt it wasn't great for the money.
The service was indifferent and kind of blah. They sat us in a glass enclosed patio that was freezing and right near the door.
I think the best idea for RW is to book it at places you know are typically pricey - Ten Penh, DC Coast, Tosca etc. But you live and learn and we tried something new.
I went to Sonoma Bar & Restaurant (Cap Hill) yesterday for lunch, and it was lovely. Depending on what you ordered, the portions varied. We started with their butternut squash soup with duck confit (?) on it and that was decent, but not impressive.
My friend ordered the backfin crab salad (I am probably botching the order name), which had a nice big scoop of crabmeat on it, but my order, the penne amish chicken dish was only medium-sized. For dessert, we shared the vanilla panna cotta and the chocolate cake, which the cake was pretty tasty and dense (it came with a coffee creme anglaise, but we didn't really use it because my friend is lactose intolerant).
Don't order the coffee there, it was mediocre at best. Although everything was pretty good, I left feeling hungry (but it could be because I'm breastfeeding -- sorry if it's TMI).
The atmosphere was nice, in a modern style, though the downstairs bathroom is a bit weird (unisex with semi-stalls/walls as stalls). Service was nice though she was a bit lacking in refilling my friend's water glass.
Overall, I think I would go back -- I encourage others to try it, I think.
I just got back from a very nice dinner at Sonoma (friday night). It started off a little slow. My girlfriend and I had reservations for 8:30 and we arrived a little early (about 8:10), so after checking in we went upstairs to sit at the bar.
We had a couple glasses of wine and some cheese. The pipe dreams chevre goat cheese was pleasant and went well with wine jelly that comes with it but I didn't think it had all that much flavor. But the zamorano spanish sheep cheese really stood out. It had a great crisp bite to it and left me wanting more.
By 8:45 we were wondering if the hostess had forgotten about us so I went to check. She was apologetic and said that there were several tables that had paid but were still sitting and talking. Not too big of a deal. We were seated around nine.
For restaurant week we could choose off the entire menu: either a charcuterie (small meat plate), salad or appetizer for the first plate, any entrée, and dessert or cheese. I got the speck from the charcuterie menu and it was as good as I had hoped: nice smoke and salty flavor with a bit more texture than prosciutto. My girlfriend got the backfin crab salad; she said it tasted even better than it looked (and it looked pretty good). I tasted it and thought that it had really nice flavors, but was happy that I got the speck, just a personal preference.
For the entrée I got the braised wild boar shank and she got the seafood stew. The shank was fantastic. It was falling off the bone, succulent, and it went really well with the mashed sweet potatoes. It exceeded my expectations. My girlfriend really liked her stew (although her main complaint was that there was not nearly enough 'broth.' There was plenty of seafood but the liquid level was way too close to the bottom of the plate).
We both got cheese for desert. All three sheep cheeses (ossau iraty, zamorano, and hudson valley camembert) and the bartlett blue. A great way to finish off the meal.
Service was a little slow (still friendly and courteous) but the food was great. I look forward to going back.
Went to Taberna del Alabardero last night for RW. It was awful.
The menu was limited to two choices for each of the three dishes, only clearly Spanish themed dish was a flan dessert. Main dishes were grilled salmon and grilled flank steak. My wife and I tried one each - mediocre at best and served tepid. Service was erratic too.
I have had lunch several times at Taberna del Alabardero with good results. I shall now strike them from my list. Why did they stand for RW and then perform as they did? I should have consulted previous postings on Chowhound and avoided this encounter.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel ... portions and selection disappointing last night ... Nice atmosphere ... good service ... food tasted great ... but didn't make me want to go back anytime soon. And, after the appetizer, main & one glass of wine companion said "ok, so what's for dinner?" ...
Last night three of my girlfriends and I went to visit Agua Ardiente. We were all excited by thet Spain influenced menu and we were also excited to see each other. The company was the saving grace of the evening. Between the four of us, we ordered everything on the RW menu. I had the creamed carrot soup of the day. The soup was served luke warm and it would have been nice if they would have offered cracked pepper on it instead of asking for it. For the entree, I had the grilled salmon and grilled veggies. It wasn't spectacular, and there seemed to be a small pool of oil on my plate after I ate. For dessert I had the rice pudding. It was very good but I found the rice to be a bit larger than normal rice pieces found in rice pudding. Perhaps this is the way it's suppose to be done. I also tried some of the flan which was too sweet.
The service was extremely poor. We gave credit cards and asked the waiter to split it and he did the math wrong. We ended up adding $10 to each credit card bill. We had also ordered coffee, and they served it in a french press. Instead of leaving it on the table, they took it away. We also noticed that the bread they served was stale.
This restaurant has a nice bar in the front for drinks. I would not recommend this place for dinner. I will not be visiting this restaurant again.
Just got back from lunch at Notte Bianche. Limited menu but very tasty. And they have 1/2 glasses of wine - very good idea for lunch.
Had the soup - can't remember the name - that was chicken-based, came with dumplings and chicken liver on crostini. Liked this very much. Lunch options were 1/2 portions of all the pastas (4 on the menu). Had the canneloni and friend had the linguini - both fresh, both delicious. Dessert for me was panna cotta with lovely stewed/macerated/don't know fruit.
Not a ton of options in the selection but I left full. Service was excellent. I'll definitely go back.
We hit Vidalia on Tuesday night. Fantastic--flawless service, excellent food, and a good amount of choices. I had a rabbit sausage with risotto to start, then the Tuscarora pork charcutiere. My girlfriend had the winter salad and the steak. We finished with an apple/sweet onion tatin that was intriguing (onions for dessert? Yes!) and the Georgia pecan tart.
It was a memorable meal, and made us want to go back to Vidalia again.
Tonight we do Mendocino Grille...I've heard good and bad, so we'll see.
We went to Bobby Van's for lunch.
Actually went at 1:30 trying to escape RW. Didn't order off the RW menu but looked at it and wondered why a steakhouse would offer as their only RW "steak" a "chopped steak" aka hamburger patty with gravy. Isn't that old fashioned salisbury steak like in TV dinners?
Seems they should have taken a pass on RW or, if they wanted to give people a reason to try them again, maybe offered a small sirloin (6 or 8 oz) well prepared, even if they only broke even on food cost. That way folks would at least know that Bobby Van's cooks a mean piece of meat.
RW isn't good advertising for them.
(My rib eye was very good. For $38 at lunch, it should be.)
Curiouser and curiouser! We went to Bobby Van's for the August RW and were served petit filets. Consequently, we were delighted with our RW experience. Perhaps the bean counters told the chef he couldn't serve filet again, but surely a smaller portion of a quality steak will do more for the restaurant's reputation than chopped steak.
Kinkead's offered dinner during August RW week for the first -- and so far only -- time by offer small portions of their pricier food. I had a soft shell crab appetizer that consisted of half a crab. Sure I would have liked a bigger portion, but that was a function of its delicious taste. I certainly didn't need the bigger portion to stave off hunger by the time dessert was served. We came away from the meal delighted that Kinkead's had joined the party in contrast to the Bobby Van patrons who are wondering why the restaurant bothered.
Sea Catch Restaurant and Raw Bar
We got there at 5 and enjoyed their great happy hour. 1/2 price drinks and took advantage of the oyster deal as well as some of the oysters not on the HH menu. Delicious drinks and oysters.
Our dinner was amazing. We thought it was a great value even though there was a selected menu. We took advantage of the $15 wine pairing. Each course was paired with a wine. (Champagne with dessert! Very fun!)
The food was delicious. My husband had the seared tuna and I had the crispy calamari. I wish I had gotten a salad because the calamari was quite plentiful in size and really filling! For entrees, we had the seared tuna and the seafood linguine. The seared tuna was very generous portions, and it just melted in my mouth. The seafood linguine was delicious. For dessert we had cheesecake and chocolate mouse with rasberry. Both went great with the champagne.
We found the service prompt and accurate. Our server, was outstanding. We sat near the fireplace, so it made the evening magical and special. It felt like we were celebrating a special occasion. (I guess we could have been celebrating that we picked up our marrriage lisence earlier that day.)
We will definitely go back to Sea Catch to take advantage of their great HH... and have dinner when we need to fix our seafood cravings.
(This dinner makes up for the experience I had at agua ardiente.)
Sea Catch is one of the ignored treasures on the DC restaurant scene, probably because it is neither trendy nor flashy, just consistently top-flight. Wonderful atmosphere, incredibly fresh seafood well prepared, excellent service. The location on the C&O is especially nice in warm weather.
A lot of rehearsal dinners there by the way.
Met a friend at the Majestic Cafe in Old Town for dinner tonight. They've got the full menu available for restaurant week, no upcharges on anything. Between the two of us, we got the red & yellow beet salad with fennel, walnuts and mandarin oranges, the mini-picnic (chicken croquette, sage potato salad, deviled egg & cole slaw) for appetizers, mahi-mahi with jasmine rice, bok choy all with a chili cream sauce, cracker crusted pork chop with mashed potatoes with sausage gravy (best damned sausage gravy I've ever eaten), stewed tomatoes and turnip greens. We both got the day's featured layer cake, german chocolate, for dessert. Portions are big. I still have half my entree and 2/3rds of my dessert for lunch tomorrow. Waitstaff was attentive but not intrusive.
The food was obviously fresh and prepared with care, arranged nicely on the plate. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an upscaled down-home Southern style restaurant.
Hit PS7 last night. Good but not great. The space is fabulous though the sliding door to the kitchen makes it sound like you are on the USS Enterprise :).
There were plenty of choices and you can see the menu online. However my big issue, and maybe this is my personal taste, was that many of the items seem to come with some sort of fruit sauce, reduction....too much sweet through all the courses. Also, the portions were rather small. The goatcheese napoleon I tried was about the size of the video screen on my Nano.
I did like the wine selection and the fact that you can buy it by the half glass. As PS7 has several tiers to their regular menu, half glasses would be perfect.
Usually I use RW as a test. What gets me to come back is if at one point in the meal I taste something and think WOW, this is fabulous. I didn't get that last night.
We went to Zola last night, food was very yummy. I started with the mussels in a curry sauce, then had the mac & cheese with lobster(couldn;t finish), and ended with vanilla ice cream. DH started with grilled flat bread topped with goat cheese and smoked salmon, then the steak, and ended with chocolate bombe. We each had 3 glasses of wine. Service was fine (probably due to our bar tab). The entire menu was available with only several upcharges. We were provided a freebie spoonful of cous cous salad from the kitchen. Would definetly go to them for RW. FYI-we have also dined there during non-RW.
Went to Rosa Mexicano and Neyla the past two nights.
Rosa Mexicano - I have heard bad things, but I had a really good experience. The restaurant week menu was decent, however, it is not that expensive in general, so ordering off of the restaurant week menu is kind of pointless. You might as well order exactly what you want off of the full menu. Their guac is amazing, as are their pomegranite margaritas.
Neyla -- WONDERFUL. First gourse is a choice of two tasting platters with four mezzas included. Three main courses to choose from and each one was delicious.
Went to Cafe 15 for lunch. There was a limited lunch menu. Choice of green lentel soup or duck and pistachio terrine for app, pan seared tilapia or chicken breast for entree and a choice of the sorbet/ice cream trio or some chocolate dish. The terrine was very good. We all had the tilapia, which was perfect and we all had the sorbet/ice cream trio. It was all good.
Also, went to Charlie Palmers for dinner. They have their RW menu online. There was a tuna tartare for an app for an extra charge (but well worth it), an additional entree(pork done three ways) and dessert not on the online menu. I've eaten here before and it is always very good.
Going to Farrah Oliva this weekend
my girlfriend and I went to Ristorante Tosca last night. the food , as well the service was excellent. the bread at the beginning was quite good, and served with a nice quality extra virgin olive oil. i started out with the spinach and veal ravioli, which was the highlight for me. tender favioli filled with veal and a red wine/sage butter sauce. absolutely delicious. she got a mixed greens salad, and seemed to enjoy it. for mains, I had the pepper-crusted ny strip and she had the same veal ravioli i had, only as a entree- so a double portion for her. speaking of portions, my steak was HUGE. it was cooked medium-rare, as requested, and the server didnt even roll her eyes when i asked for a substitution of mashed potatoes (which was on the pork entree) instead of the vidalia onion stuffed with gorgonzola (i hate blue cheese!) for desserts, i had the almond milk custard, which was good, but not amazing - she had the molton chocolate cake with cherries. very nice, but VERY sweet. the service was attentive, but not intrusive. overall, a very good meal.
We went to Dino's and Sam and Harry's.
First, Dino's. I've had mixed experiences with this place in the past. My first experience in Dec. 2005 was great. They had an early bird $20 dinner that was fantastic. I don't even remember what I had but I was impressed (was it mushroom ragu, boar pasta??). The second time was later that month for the special New Year's Eve dinner (you see, I was so impressed by my first meal that I dragged my husband out for the second one). That was terrible and I felt like I threw a lot of money away. I had the worst duck dish ever and my husband's fish was bland. The mushroom tart was too rich and the tart shell was hard and seemed storebought. However, everybody praises them on this board so I gave them another chance during RW. I'm glad I did. The food was really good. I had the burrata, seafood linguini and chocolate cake. All was delicious except for the linguini sauce. It tasted a little odd and non-seafoody so I ended up just eating the seafood, which was great. My friend had 3-cheese plate, venison and chocolate cake. He loved it. So we are now fans again and will return with a vengeance.
For lunch, we tried out Sam and Harry's. I went once to the now closed McLean location and really liked it, so we tried out the Dupont Circle one this time. Apparently, it isn't usually open for lunch but is during RW. It is a very nice looking place. It feels very expense-accounty. The menu was extremely limited; a choice of 2 apps, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts. They even had an RW glass of merlot for $5. That is a steal considering their regular by the glass prices are $10. The food was pretty good. I had the crab corn chowder, beef tenderloin medallions, and lemon mousse. I wasn't crazy about the lemon mousse but others at my table enjoyed it. As a showcase for their food, it didn't make me want me to go back there any time soon, but it was a good experience in terms of trying out a new restaurant.
Was very impressed with the service and the food. The decour is wrong. Will do take out next time.
Went twice this week. Both times food was fabulous and with the exception being desert. Everything can't be perfect
Was expecting more out of this place. First of all we got the "Goodfellas" treatment, having to eat in the back room. Food was very bland. No coffee offered with desert, nor were we offered water options. We were extremely turned off by the waiters "Buon Apputeezo" (yes this is how he pronounced it).
BTW- Since when are peas winter vegetables? We want to try it outside of RW.
TOSCA- tonight. Based on above, we're looking forward to it.
Had lunch today with sister, brother in law, and husband. There isn't much of an ambiance, we enjoyed the food and company. The service was outstanding. I had the spring rolls, wild striped bass, and apple tarte tartin. My husband ahd the lamb. My brother in law had the duck confit. Everything was consistent in quality and tastiness.
Loved Coruroy last night, too. I had the Buffalo Mozzerella Porcupine (yum), the Lamb Sirloin (which I have always thought was gamey, but took the waiter's suggestion), and thought it was fabulous. Plus, those little goat cheese ravioli are amazing. Dessert was the Chocolate Sabyon....Wonderful meal and service.....
Went to Butterfield 9 last night. Nice table in front, overlooking the restaurant. Scallop starter was succulent and flavorful, if slightly salty. Pork entree cooked perfectly and nicely seasoned. Toffee cheesecake dessert was among the best I've ever had. Very decent place. May go back again some day for the regular menu.
We ended RW at Butterfield 9 and came to a different conclusion about future patronage. Nothing about the meal was appalling, but in a town with many good restaurant options, nothing about the experience would cause us to return.
The restaurant appears to use runners to bring the food from the kitchen, but does not use busboys since the waiter routinely cleared the table, filled the water glasses, and replaced silverware. Not suprisingly, there were frequent lags to accomplish these jobs. Our empty cocktail glasses were left on the table until well after our appetizers were served.
As each dish was being served, it was set down in such a way that we each expected to have food land in our laps. For example, a friend who ordered the soup of the day ended up with soup sloshing up to the outermost point of the rim. I wish I could say this is an exaggeration for the sake of the post. The soup was lobster bisque, a thick enough soup that the sloshing left evidence along the rim of the bowl.
Saltiness was a persistent problem. We agree with Biscuit's comment that the scallop starter was much too salty. The braised short ribs were tasty, but, again, the chef had a heavy-hand with salt in the sauce. Happily, the accompanying cheesy grits were sublime.
Another friend's pork entree was undercooked. I know that the new breeds of pork do not have to be cooked as thoroughly as in the past, but pork should not look like seared tuna and should not have a cold center. Even when the pork was sent back to the kitchen, there was little discernible improvement in the doneness.
Among our group, we ordered all the desserts. This was the most successful course.
The experience left me with no interest in trying the restaurant under optimal conditions. I can accept and overlook the lapses in service as the outcome of RW, but saltiness and raw pork has nothing to do with RW.
I went for lunch in January an if I remember correctly there were about 4 options or so in each category. It's not the entire menu but there was enough to choose from.
In all honesty I can't remember if they had a lot of vegetarian options but I know on their regular tasting menu they have a vegetarian tasting menu as well. The last time I was there in April I looked at the vegetarian tasting menu with my boyfriend and almost got it because it looked quite good but then we decided to just share an appetizer and get 2 entrees.
I personally really like Butterfield 9. The first time I went was for RW and have returned a few times after that for regular service. In my opinion that's exactly what a RW menu should make you want to do.
It doesn't seem as if their RW menu is up yet (although you might want to call and ask the restaurant if they can send you an advanced copy or a copy of last years menu) But here is a copy of their vegetarian tasting menu : http://www.butterfield9.com/menus/men...
Btw I've had that gnocchi dish---if that's an option, do yourself a favor and get it. The one I had had fresh peas and it was incredible!