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Help finding a tasting menu

s
surfrider2150 Dec 6, 2010 10:57 AM

Looking for a restaurant in the DC/Northern Virginia area that has a good tasting menu. I'm hoping to be able to purchase a gift certificate to give to my parents for the holidays. Hoping to find a tasting menu in the range of $60 per person. No Indian or Mexican flavors please. Seafood is a +. Any help appreciated!

  1. r
    Raids Dec 6, 2010 11:58 AM

    It's not focused on seafood (although tuna tartare and trout were served, along with butternut squash tortellini, lamb, and pumpkin cheesecake), but I just had Birch and Barley's tasting menu on Friday and really enjoyed it. It's $55/person, although the beer pairings are $22/extra, and the cheese course is also about $5 extra with a $5 extra beer pairing. So if you went all the way, it would be about $87/person. We did the beer pairings, but skipped the cheese course, and they were fantastic - being able to appreciate a good beer pairing is altogether more accessible. The complimentary aspects of the beer and food kind of hit you in the face with a slap of increased enjoyment. In particular, I kind of loathe Allagash, but paired with a gingered tuna tartare, it was transcendent - like a different beer. I thought the apple-bacon chutney was little overwhelming for the trout course (although it paired perfectly with the beer!) but thought all the other courses were wonderful.

    A note: Tell your parents to request tables by the kitchen or the high two-tops in the back of the front room in your reservation - the banquette seating by the door just doesn't work for the tasting menu as the beer sommelier has to wedge himself between the tables to talk to you and it can be hard to hear.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Raids
      s
      surfrider2150 Dec 6, 2010 12:08 PM

      Thanks for the rec. Doing a bit of research myself I came across Vermilion's tasting menu w/ wine which is 70. Thinking about doing this...any experiences with it?

      1. re: surfrider2150
        r
        Raids Dec 6, 2010 12:17 PM

        Personally, I've never been, but given the frequency with which I've seen the restaurant suggested I'm sure someone around here has.

    2. s
      surfrider2150 Dec 6, 2010 01:59 PM

      Also found a place called Vidalia, which seems to be highly rated and reviewed. 75 dollar 5 courses. Think this might be the winner..

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      Vidalia
      1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

      5 Replies
      1. re: surfrider2150
        ipsedixit Dec 6, 2010 02:19 PM

        If you are still open to suggestions, consider Tosca.

        It's an Italian restaurant, but each time I've had their tasting menu it always has at least 1, sometimes 2, seafood dishes. And the food has been consistently superb each time I've been.

        http://www.toscadc.com/index.shtml

        1. re: surfrider2150
          h
          hppyheather Dec 7, 2010 04:29 AM

          Every meal I've ever had at Vidalia has been wonderful! The food is elegant, inventive, and enjoyable. I haven't had one of their tasting menus since they got a new chef. Does anyone have a report on Vidalia's food under the new chef?

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          Vidalia
          1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

          1. re: hppyheather
            s
            surfrider2150 Dec 7, 2010 06:26 AM

            I noticed it was rated at #12 in the washington top 100 restaurants....although, being from san diego, I don't really know if this trustworthy, etc. or not. Does this report have any credibility around the DC area?

            1. re: surfrider2150
              ktmoomau Dec 7, 2010 11:18 AM

              The top 100 is a pretty good list, the only problem is they rated Vidalia when it still had Chef RJ Cooper (recently on Iron Chef) and he is no longer there. I haven't heard a report good or bad since.

              I would also second the recommendation for Tosca and also add Blacksalt. I have never had the tasting menu at Vermillion but their regular menu is very good.

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              Vidalia
              1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

              1. re: surfrider2150
                e
                Elyssa Dec 7, 2010 11:20 AM

                Was it from The Washingtonian (a magazine)? If so it has credibility. Vidalia is very well-known restaurant in DC. I haven't had their tasting menu before. Personally I think their cooking has slipped a little in recent years...my last meal there felt uninspiring. Their famous chef left recently though so the cooking might have improved.

                I'm actually planning on checking out their 3-course $19.90 Anniversary Lunch special deal next week. I'm hoping this meal is better than the last one I had about a year and a half ago.

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                Vidalia
                1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

          2. k
            katecm Dec 7, 2010 12:26 PM

            If they're drinkers, I'd throw out PS7's paired cocktail 7-course menu, which is $77 a person.

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            PS7 Restaurant
            777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

            2 Replies
            1. re: katecm
              r
              Raids Dec 13, 2010 04:11 AM

              Wow, that sounds really interesting. How does that work? Do you get sort of an amuse bouche-sized cocktail per course or something?

              1. re: Raids
                k
                katecm Dec 13, 2010 06:53 AM

                Some are bigger than others. The smallest were probably half-sized, while most were probably 2/3 of a drink. And the drinks are amazing, from the best sazerac I've ever had to this sweet, citrusy concoction that comes with a slice of dehyrated ham. Nibble the salty ham, sip the sweet drink, and it's all just flawless.

            2. Pool Boy Dec 13, 2010 05:20 AM

              It's over your budget but you might consider BlackSalt on MacArthur Blvd.

              And, I had no idea Tosca did a tasting menu....hmmmm

              That all being said, I think tasting menus, in general, have sort of jumped the shark for me.

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              BlackSalt
              4883 MacArthur Blvd., Washington, DC 20007

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