Weekend eats, Sorriso, Neptune, Plough & Stars (long)
Had a chance to do lots of eating with some terrific friends over the weekend and thought I’d share. It’s a bit long, I just can’t find enough good things to say about Neptune Oyster I guess.
Sorriso – popped in on Friday and sat at the bar with friends. We enjoyed a couple mozzarella and prosciutto apps. I still think they have the best buffalo mozz around. So good! We followed these up with spaghetti “Senatore Capelli” and potato gnocchi. The potato gnocchi is served with an oxtail ragu. This dish is outstanding; Perfect light and fluffy dumplings and incredibly addictive ragu. The spaghetti with white wine, garlic and clams was also nice. A good light summer pasta dish but I was honestly too distracted by the amazing gnocchi to pay much attention to it. We also enjoyed very good white sangria. We sat in the bar area at a high top and enjoyed excellent friendly service.
After staying out too late and enjoying too much sangria Friday we needed a really hearty brunch on Saturday. ;) We popped in at the Plough & Stars and were thrilled that it wasn’t the usual brunch mob scene. I ordered the fried chicken and grits for the first time. This should be shared as it’s a huge meal. The absolutely gigantic serving of grits really hit the spot. I was surprised they were as good as they were. Nice amount of cheese and butter; pretty satisfying. The fried chicken was good but a teeny bit greasy for my taste. I’d prefer it with some crunch on the skin. I stole a few bites of my DC’s pork hash and poached eggs and it was really savory and yummy per usual, I usually order this when I’m there for brunch. A couple Guinness went down well with our hearty hangover brunch. Service at the bar was wonderful. (I just love the guy who tends bar during lunch and brunch.)
Wound up at Neptune on Saturday night. Six of us only had to wait 10 minutes for a table around 8 p.m. This meal was really the highlight of the weekend. We started with a couple orders of mussels and clam chowder. I love the mussels prep with walnut pesto. The pesto was super heavy on the garlic, which I enjoy very much, but was overpowering for some. I’m not sure why I noticed this but every single shell was open. I can’t recall the last time I had a bowl of mussels that were all open… As luck would have it all six of us ordered different entrees, which was fabulous because I got to try things I hadn’t had there before. My entree was their signature salmon with crispy duck, pea tendrils, avocado, ginger and soy. This was spectacular. It’s an interesting combo that just works. It was rich and flavorful. The salmon was perfectly cooked with delicious crispy skin. I’ll be quick on most of the other entrees I tried.
-Cioppino: Nice but not extraordinary. I would have enjoyed a bit more heat. Lovely clams though, plump and sweet.
-Snapper with sweet bread butter, artichokes, mortadella etc.: The snapper was terrific, light and flaky but seemed lost in the middle of such a heavy preparation. It was an extremely rich dish. On a cold night this might be more appealing to me.
-Monkfish & Clams: I almost ordered this and was slightly relieved that I didn’t. The fish is served with green olives, cornmeal and black beans. While the fish texture was really nice I thought the olives overpowered the dish, everything tasted a bit briney. I also thought the fish was really “fishy.” I can’t recall the last time I had monkfish so maybe it’s a “fishy” tasting fish. At any rate, my pal really seemed to enjoy it.
-Tuna special that night was served rare with homemade hummus, long beans, and garlic. This was really good. Great fresh, light, lemony hummus. Tuna was perfect and gorgeous to look at. I enjoyed a few bites.
-The absolute winner at the table was the Marlin Duet. Holy cow! I want to go back this week and get this for myself. The whole table was raving about this one. The tartar was bright and fresh and worked well with the sweet pea crudo. The grilled marlin with carrot mascarpone, chilies and pecorino was my favorite. Sweet and spicy and light fish just melted in my mouth. I have to go back for this very soon.
All in all this was just a wonderful dinner. I feel like I’ve tried nearly everything on the menu now, with the exception of the lobster roll which they were out of. We got a couple bottles of the Sauvignon blanc from Sardinia that was nice with all the entrees and the service was quite nice. My little heart goes pitter patter for this place.
After a short debate we grabbed sandwiches at Café Kiraz rather than from ASSBar on Sunday. They were yummy and a good value per usual. In that neighborhood I think they kill ASSBar as far as consistency and value.