Majestic Cafe - A Review
First time poster, long time reader...
I dined at the newly opened Majestic Cafe in Old Town tonight for my 25th birthday dinner with the SO. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by many things, and only disappointed by a few. Mind you, we are pretty much "traditionalists" while it comes to food--not very adventurous.
We arrived early for our 8pm reservation and had a drink at the bar. I thought it looked exactly the same as it had before it closed, but I had only been there once for a drink in January and could be mistaken. Just an observation. We sat promptly at 8 pm (the restaurant was maybe only half full the entire time we were there) and had a wonderful server assist us. We ordered a bottle of wine she recommended (which we enjoyed) and started with sharing the crab cakes. They were EXCELLENT, and had an awesome remoulade sauce on the side. We also had some miniature "breads" - a mini baguette, cornbread muffin, and biscuit. All excellent. And...with soft butter!!! Having a hard/frozen pat of butter is always a turn-off for me. For dinner I ordered the NY Strip Steak (medium well, I know criticize me--but I find that meat is extremely underdone in the DC area) and the SO had the salmon accompanied by a shellfish risotto. I found my steak a bit red, though I am quite picky. Relatively tasty though. The french fries that came with it were excellent. We also ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes at the recommendation of our server. They came with a lemony type sauce on them, and I found it very overpowering and it reminded me too much of lemon Pledge. The SO was pleasantly surprised at the abundance of seafood in his dish, though he wasn't all that fond of the actual risotto. We closed out with a dessert...some type of layered/wafer/mousse dish with a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on top. I found the dessert average, but I was too full to really enjoy it. The SO had an extremely strong cup of cappuccino, but he finished it all and seemed to like it.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised. The service was incredibly friendly and helpful. One amusing thing we noticed was that the servers all seemed to help each other out--if another's table needed bread, the one who noticed it would bring it, etc. However, that also meant that the bread we were still picking at disappeared off our table, as did our dessert spoons before the dessert arrived. We found it funny, not at all an annoyance. All of the above plus tax and tip came to approximately $125. We hope to try the tempting Sunday dinner special sometime!
Anyone else tried the "new" Majestic? I'd be curious to know your thoughts...
We tried it tonight with mixed feelings. We liked the ambinace: farily small and yet quiet. We could talk without shouting. The wine list is modest but a good selection at reasonable prices. The service was friendly and attentive albeit a bit inexperienced. The bread (corn muffion, herb biscuit, mini baguette) were all served warm and were very tasty; and the butter was soft!
For appetizers we had the fried green tomatoes and the sardines. The fried green tomatoes were the best dish of the night: thick slices, breaded and fried and then stuck under the salamander (broiler) with a bit cheese on top. Served with warm, rough chopped red tomatoes. Reminded us of eggplant parmegian. Exellent. The sardines were also very good (if you like sardines). They were broiled with a light crumb mixture on top with carmelized onion and roasted garlic underneath. Very good but don't plan to kiss anyone afterwards.
For entrees, I had the salmon with seafood risotto. The dish it was served in was hotter than the food, my only complaint. I could see into the kitchen so I know it didn't sit unattended; I am not sure why it wasn't hotter. Plenty of seafood in the risotto; I was pleased. My GF had the softshell crab special, which seemed very popular. It was served over a succotash which was room temperature [that heat problem again]. She ruled it "ok" but nothing special.
Desserts were a disappointment. She ordered an ice box cake described as Mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate wafers." What she received was so-so chocolate mousse layered with chocolae wafers and she was told they the ice cream was too soft to serve. This told her as they set it in front of her. I think that inexcusable. As soon as they knew they couldn't serve what she ordered, they should have told her and offered her an option to choose something else. At least they didn't charge for it but it wasn't worth eating. I ordered the chocolate shake with cookies. The three cookies were served warm (although undercooked) and were quite good. The chocolate shake was far too much. It was a full shake glass, They should cut the quantity in half. It was way too much after a meal.
In summary, it has the look and feel of an upscale cafe. The price is inexpensive ($100 pre-tip) for four glasses of wine, two appetizers, two entrees, and one dessert. We'd go back but next time sit at the bar and order several plates of the fried green tomatoes and have some wine. I hope it is successful and after some growing pains and menu tweeks, it should be even better.
As a fan of the old Majestic, I had nervous high hopes for the new rendition. Mostly, things were very good. The bread basket, fried green tomatoes, and milkshake-and-cookies dessert were top-notch - the bread an improvement over the old basket. I do miss the spoonbread and hush puppies, though.
As a vegetarian, my primary disappointment was that at the old Majestic, there was always a composed, unique vegetarian entree that they rotated frequently. At the new Majestic, there was only a "vegetable plate" that was a mish-mosh of the sides. I hope they can return to the old tradition.