Anyone going to the Joule Preview Night Tonight?
Now that they are fully open, i went with a couple of friends on Monday. The space is cute, clean and modern and the fire pit outside will be awesome when it is not pouring rain (like it was on Mon). The Whale Wins across the hall is very farmhouse kitchen rustic, even more so than Walrus, a little plain to me, so I liked the distressed turquoise wallpaper and decorative elements at Joule better.
I will admit that when I think of Korean food, I think of super spicy (which I love), as my usual experience is to go out for spicy kimchi tofu soup in the U District or up north. I don't associate sweetness with the cuisine, although I guess a lot of the banchan do often have a slight sweetness. I have a low tolerance for sweetness in my savory and thought Korean would have been safe. Also, I have been to the old Joule and Revel once each and wasn't amazed, but this is where my friends wanted to go. Overall the quality of food and execution was high. There were a few unanimous hits, and my friends seemed to really enjoy most of the items. I thought they were all pretty good, but many too sweet, with a few other flavors missing. Service was friendly and good.
beef tartare, asian pear, spicy cod roe aioli - a little over-dressed for me and the asian pear was too sweet (the nature of the fruit), and almost missed the spicy cod roe aioli. The others loved this.
shrimp cocktail, chinese celery, ginger beer - nicely done classic shrimp cocktail, but I'm not sure where the ginger beer was, maybe that was what made the tomatoes so candied-sweet? Not gingery, a little boring.
white stuffed kimchi - kind of like coleslaw wrapped in a cabbage leaf, with dried currants. Lightly sweet, kind of refreshing I guess and an interesting presentation, but whatever, it's cabbage, there are better things to eat.
smoked tofu, honshimeji confit, soy truffle vinaigrette - one of the dishes we all loved. Served cold, with a nice delicate level of smoke. Maybe the truffle was even more delicate or maybe it got lost in the honshimeji confit. It didn't taste truffle-y, but it was delicious anyway.
spicy rice cake, chorizo, pickled mustard green - I liked the chewy slices of rice cake, even though there was a background sweetness to the spicy chorizo sauce. The others seemed a little ho-hum on this one, but finally some spice!
chinese broccoli, walnut pesto - another favorite, what a great way to eat your vegetables! Great walnut pesto.
blackened white mushrooms, bitter green - button mushrooms, delicious
coulotte, szechuan peppercorn sauce - the beef was flavorful and nicely cooked, but we were all hoping for a more intense szechuan sauce. It was just a simple pan sauce, fine, but not enough numbing pepperiness. We would have loved a nice buerre blanc or bearnaise with a lot more szechuan pepper.
mackerel, green curry cilantro crust, black currant - the mackerel was nicely done, but I don't think I got much in the way of green curry or cilantro.
chocolate sesame cake, white chocolate, toffee brittle - a slice of tall chocolate layer cake filled with a light semisweet ganache. There was a black sesame goo, and I think the white chocolate was in the chantilly - I was relieved there was not too much white chocolate. The cake itself was good and chocolatey, with black sesame in the cake layers as well, which I liked. I'm not sure why I wasn't more excited by this - the chocolate-sesame combination was great, not too sweet, maybe I was expecting something sexier than a layer cake?
joule box, pearl tapioca, ruby grapefruit brulee, coconut - maybe the chocolate cake didn't seem exciting because this was so lovely. Tapioca and grapefruit can both be a hard sell in desserts, nice to see them working so well together, and boy do I love coconut. We weren't quite sure what the frozen component was, maybe coconut but maybe also pandan leaf or something almost floral? A hit regardless.
With a few drinks the total came to around $70 each. If I went again I would have to remember to ask my server to steer me away from sweet dishes.
I've been meaning to post this for a while, but we went for my birthday about a month ago, and overall it was great. We had:
*Toast, oyster butter, smoked marrow, pickled shallot
This was a bit greasy for me, but good. I liked the smoked marrow with the pickled shallot, and the oyster butter was good. My dining partner thought the oyster butter was pretty fishy, which, well, it was oyster butter, so yes.
*Beef tartare, Asian pear, spicy cod roe aioli
This was probably my favorite? Maybe a tie, but I really liked it. The asian pear wasn't too sweet, and I loved the spicy aioli.
*Rice noodle, shitake, broccoli rabe
This didn't really do it for me. Like babette, I have a low tolerance for sweetness in my savory (only really acceptable if accompanied by spicy for me), but my dining partner loved this. I think he was about to lick the bowl. It was tasty, I just couldn't eat very much because of the sweetness.
*“that” short rib steak, kalbi, grilled kimchi
This was great! It instantly transported to my grandfather's backyard bbqs where he would marinate tri-tips in soy, coat them with some kind of rub and grill up a mess of them (this was before anyone in Washington had ever heard of tri-tip, we used to bring them up from CA when we would visit). The crust on the short rib was delicious, as was the sauce that it came with, and the funkyness of the kimchi worked well.
My partner wants to go back for his birthday, so I'd go back. He's pretty excited about it.