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PS7 - a review

b
bou Feb 16, 2008 08:53 PM

sweetbreads are not all that.

i used to serve it at Ten-O-Six back in my college days. and i always wanted to taste it. Tom would serve it with demiglace...and it would look so wonderfully fluffy and crispy on the outside.

as it turns out. it's way denser than i thought. i imagined it would break apart like scrambled eggs. and here is where the confusion starts. sweetbreads can be the pancreas or the thymus gland. which i imagine is somewhere near the throat. i imagine a pancreas would be denser than a thymus gland, no? so how to tell? 'excuse me, waiter, is your sweetbread today of the pancreas or of the thymus gland'?

anyway back to PS7. one of our folks ran late so we went to the bar for a drink. sb had a snow queen vodka infused with beets that actually was quite nice. the beets cut through the vodka very nicely. i had a gruner veltliner that was quite pleasant and jae had the sidecar. he kept saying it tasted like a yummy long island. i didn't agree...

we got hungry while waiting for 1 member of the party and ordered fried risotto balls. it is of my opinion that fried risotto balls can't be small. because it is already dense. i think bigger will retain moisture. actually bigger because of a hunk of gouda stuffed into it, would be better. these were large marble-sized with a cube of genoa salami inside and a soft gouda cheese dip on the side. the dip was ridiculously good. runny like brie and fragrant.

once our complete party sits, we share 3 apps. braised short rib studded with foie and enclosed in a phyllo dough. it was EXCELLENT with a beef jus and sweet potato puree accompanying it. but i saw no hints of foie WHATSOEVER. we also got a mushroom terrine that was thin mushrooms wrapped around an herb goat or chevre. wonderful and rich for vegetarians. and creamed oysters over leeks (i think)... also a nice touch. all of this was served with 3 little buns per person. i can't tell you how good they were. parker house rolls, i think. there was an amazing biscuit, a wheat-like roll (my fav) and a white roll. served piping hot with a soft sweet butter, and although i generally prefer cold butter myself, i was very happy to slab the butter on and then dip the bread into the various sauces of the apps.

main entrees. i had a veal scallopini stuffed with chestnuts (supposedly) and something with sweetbreads. the veal was nice. but again, this whole not noticing a main ingredient bothers me. sb's scallops were excellent. perfectly cooked as in a crust on the outside but translucent in the center with a grapefruit butter. jae's monkfish was well cooked, but i felt needed more sauce or a heavier one. and chow's pork loin and belly was pork loin and a slab of bacon. both were forgettable compared to sb's and mine. then again, i do have a talent for ordering the best dish on the menu. hehehehehe...

let me say something here for all the restaurateurs and chefs of the world. if you say belly? it should be a chunk. not a slice of bacon. otherwise, just say bacon. it's very misleading and just plain rude. i am a belly fanatic. and had i ordered that....i actually sensed that i'd be disappointed...i would've been pissed.

for the best pork dish ever, btw? if you happen to be in atlanta.. go to south city kitchen for the Pan-Fried Pork Chop crisp smoked kurobuta pork belly, local field peas, green tomato piccalilli, fried rosemary ...

it is my most favorite dish of the last few years. most memorable definitely.

our desert was an apple crisp with brown butter ice cream.

what we got was a deconstructed dessert, which i have no problem with. but for a crisp, it needed more crisp. it was a big scoop of brown butter ice cream (very nice) over tiny diced apples that had been perhaps a quick braise... with walnut cookies (sable), a geleed drop of what looks like candy but is actually a very fresh apple sauce. though golden yellow in color. quite amazing really... and the crisp was tiny dried nuts. THAT'S NOT A CRISP...

all in all, i am quite glad for this meal. i had a good time, and i ate well. and the portions are actually quite fair. in the sense that you will be full.

missing crucial ingredients aside, nothing tasted bad.

but would i return to PS7? i'm not sure. though i notice i am far more reluctant to try new places. if i want to celebrate these days, i go to Wine Market in Baltimore or Colvin Run in Virginia. kinda a shame...i should be more open-minded.... hehe.

PS7
777 I St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 742-8550

  1. s
    sbouldin Feb 18, 2008 09:45 AM

    We ate there a couple weeks back with another couple. We all agreed that the drinks and appetizers were amazing, but the main courses were nothing special. The tuna sliders are amazing. I could've eaten 20 of those. I had the risotto has a main dish, and while it was good, it wasn't great. Our friends shared a trout dish that was pretty ordinary. The side of potatos we got with dinner were downright awful. They were dry and flavorless. I'd go back for apps and drinks, but not for dinner.

    1. d
      dcandohio Feb 17, 2008 05:03 AM

      Thanks, bou, for a review that actually talks about the food. This review is quite informative. The "missing ingredients" piece would certainly cause one to ask questions when ordering certain dishes. I did love the bread at PS7's, but found the food to be hit or miss, often in the same dish!

      2 Replies
      1. re: dcandohio
        b
        bou Feb 17, 2008 08:16 AM

        oh crap, i keep forgetting about Colvin Run closing. *sigh*

        reiflame, i don't know if i liked the place or not. i was happy with the ambiance and vibe. and none of the food was bad. but it didn't grab me like some places have (Vidalia, for example)...

        also, their tasting menu didn't seem like the best deal. the table next to us got it. and it is $65 for four courses, I believe. 2 small plates, 1 big, and dessert. but that is kind of at that price range anyway! AND i noticed the portions of the small plates (at least) seemed smaller.

        i am rather confused about PS7 myself. perhaps i will give them another try. the menu is new. they changed it on Valentine's day. so i'll give them another chance.

        1. re: bou
          s
          Stacys Feb 17, 2008 07:28 PM

          Yeah. They changed the menu on Valentine's Day. Isn't that one of the biggest dining days of the year? BF and I normally avoid restaurants on that day but had tickets to Woolly Mammoth (No Child - wonderful play), so we decided to try PS7 and made reservations a couple of weeks ago. I got there before him and asked the waiter a few questions about the menu while I waited. He said the menu was new that night and the waiters had not had a chance to see or taste anything except two entrees that had run as specials a few days before.

          I thought, hmmm, a new menu on V Day and they didn't let the wait staff see and taste it beforehand. That doesn't sound like a good idea.

          The rolls were just as wonderful as described above. For an app, I had the oxtail soup (a little on the bland side and not as rich as I would have expected) & he had the chopped salad (he said it was pretty good and appreciated the theme (a winter version)).

          And then we waited for our entrees. And waited. And waited. After about 20 minutes, we flagged the waiter down and asked about them. He said the kitchen had a lot of tickets but our food would be ready soon. 7 minutes later, he said that the manager knew we had waited a long time and would like to buy us a drink. We said we didn't want the drinks and if we didn't have our entrees by 7:30, about 3 minutes later, we would have to get the check and go because we had tickets to a play.

          He ran off and came back three minutes later with the entrees. I had the pork. I was ok. Again, a little bland. And I agree that bacon is bacon, not pork belly. The bacon was tasty but the chops were not done. I left about a third of chop's worth of rare pork. He had the bob white quail. He said it was ok, though undercooked. Though he says that, at that point, he didn't think anything would have been more than "ok".

          When the waiter brought the entrees, we asked for the check. He brought the check a few minutes later. All $113 dollars of it - 2 glasses of wine, 1 mixed drink, 2 apps & 2 entrees. I don't go to restaurants expecting to get things for free, but I was surprised to see that when we had turned down their earlier offer of drinks, they didn't take a glass of wine or two off the check.

          I was even more surprised that a manager never stopped by. In fact, I would have much preferred a little concern from management than a free glass of wine.

          After our waiter returned with our credit card, we never saw him again. There was a woman that we assumed was the manager that passed by our table several times but never stopped. During our half hour wait for the entree, the waiter stopped by once when we waived him over and once to offer a glass of wine.

          When we picked up our coats from the hosts, they asked us how we enjoyed everything and we told them that we had a bad experience, waited far too long for our entrees and received them undercooked. They said we were sorry but hoped we would have a good evening. Again, I was just looking for a little more concern than that.

          I waited tables for years and I remember how painful it was when the kitchen melted down. You just want to go somewhere and hide rather than answer questions from your tables. But I expect more than that from a restaurant of PS7's reputation.

          It was obviously a poor decision to premier a menu on that day. We left unhappy and extremely unlikely to ever dine there again. I feel like they had the opportunity to turn a bad situation around but they just didn't have the will. We should have gone an extra step and actually flagged down the manager when she walked by, but that was just a little more effort than we were willing to make at that point.

          We really wanted to like PS7. Lucky for us, there are plenty of other restaurants in close proximity to Woolly Mammoth.

      2. r
        reiflame Feb 17, 2008 04:33 AM

        From your review I can't really tell if you liked the place or not. I was pleased with my dinner there last month.

        I love sweetbreads; they've got the best texture. Done wrong though, and I imagine they'd be quite nasty.

        2 Replies
        1. re: reiflame
          monkeyrotica Feb 18, 2008 05:29 AM

          I've had sweetbreads done wrong; if they're like Sysco cryovac scrambled eggs that have been sitting in the buffet steam tray too long, THAT's sweetbreads done wrong. They should be crisp on the outside and rich/creamy/melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, like those at Restaurant Eve. Any other texture and the chef doesn't know what he/she is doing.

          1. re: monkeyrotica
            e
            Elyssa Feb 18, 2008 06:41 AM

            You go to some fancy schmancy buffets! :)

        2. d
          DCDOLL Feb 17, 2008 03:40 AM

          guess you'll have to be more open minded...i just double checked on line and Colvin Run Tavern closed last Sep....
          We ate at PS7 a few months back and i loved the decor & vibe in there but found the food a little strange. others you might want to try in DC are Tosca, Proof, Bistro Bis.

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