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Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Look: America Eats Tavern

UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED. 

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Downtown, Penn Quarter
The Setup

A brand new restaurant with modernist cuisine? One that is a sidekick to an exhibit at the place I used to work? And brought to you all by the creative author of some of my happiest meals, Jose Andres? You don't need to say anymore. For this date, I dragged along Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas to both the exhibit, and of course, the meal.

The Vibe
As alluded to above, America Eats Tavern is the sister restaurant to the What's Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit across the street. In partnership with the National Archives, Jose Andres shut down Cafe Atlantico and by extension minibar (probably the forgotten stepsister and crown jewel of the Andres DC empire, respectively), and replaced them temporarily with the new venture. It's also worth noting that America Eats Tavern represents Andres's first DC foray into non-small plates.

The architecture of America Eats therefore is built on the old skeleton of Atlantico. The bottom is a more casual space, with half-booth seating to one side, a small raw bar stand near the windows, and high table seating for fours by the bar area, where plenty of people were waiting even with our late reservation time. The upstairs, connected by a doubled flight of stairs, is a tad more formal, with four-tops squeezed into a space bordered by two-tops. A set of larger tables is on a raised level to one side, and on the other stands the now vacant minibar space (which according to our waitress, has had its reopening date already pushed back a few times).

The decor mirrors the exhibit, and is like some mashup of Pottery Barn and Old Navy. White paint dominates, from the exposed vents to the walls, which showcase plenty of pictures from the exhibit, from wartime posters to a photo of a bibbed pig. The chalkboard menu above the bar now reads "People of America," metal stars hang on the walls, flanking a particularly large mural of an American flag. The furniture is austere, silver brushed-metal chairs standing in stark contrast to the wood floors. In the center of the restaurant, intersecting all levels, hangs a mobile of windows and more pictures from the exhibit.

The Food


America Eats Tavern draws its menu from a number of regional specialties and all-American classics, all with the signature Jose Andres touch. Example: a housemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich... with foie gras. Sadly, our waitress had to inform us that this dish, while well-publicized, was not yet on the menu. Sad city.

The Americanism didn't just stop at food, but rather extended out to the all-American list of beer, wine, cocktail classics. Texas had the Jack Rose (Applejack, lemon, and house grenadine), and I had the Clover Club (gin, raspberry, lime, and egg white). Despite the ingredients of the two, it was the Jack Rose that was surprisingly strong and whiskey-like in taste, whereas the Clover Club was like a frothy fruit punch. Both were nice aperitifis.

As our first course, Texas and I split the grilled butter oysters, which came on a bed of charred seaweed. They were juicy and smooth, with a nice smoky taste to each, provided by the oak charcoal they had been grilled on. Definitely top notch, and recommended.

Texas had the New England clam chowder with poached cod, a dish familiar to me as it was taken right off the minibar menu. A potato chowder with green streaks of cilantro oil, dots of bacon, and chunks of beautiful poached fish alongside briny clams. And that's the thing, the complaint that Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC registered when we had the dish the first time, and again from Texas during this meal: if you're not into briny, tastes like the ocean clams, be prepared to be shocked by this dish. I think it's a nice punch in the face, but I could see how one could be overwhelmed by it. Be warned.

For me, I ordered the Wednesday-only Kentucky burgoo, a meat stew made with rabbit, squab, lamb, and baby root vegetables. Luckily for me, the menu replaced burgoo's old combination of blackbirds and squirrels with more edible meats. Unluckily for me, this dish seemed to suffer from head chef Richard Brandenburg's recent departure; the broth, and by extension the meats, all came a tad bit oversalted. If you could get past that touch of saltiness, then the gaminess of the rabbit and squab was rather pleasant, cooked pretty well with crispy outside and perfect inside. Still, salt.

For dessert, we went with the New York cheesecake, which luckily for us, was the last one the kitchen pumped out that night due to the heat. Instead of a typical New York-style cheesecake, the cheese came in whipped cream form on a graham cracker crust with slices of strawberries alongside it. Oh man, what an amazing taste, delightfully creamy but without the traditional heaviness of a NY-style. We could eat that every day.

The Verdict


A perfect example of a Jose Andres restaurant: wonderfully creative interpretations of simple dishes, with bold flavors. Also, a perfect example of a new restaurant, and one that knows it has an expiration date: unsure, unsteady, with great highs, but also missing on simple things like salt. Still, an overwhemingly fun experience.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Classy Crowd to Suits Scene
Vibe:
Energetic to Noisy
Cost:
$$$$
(out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)

America Eats Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Look: Salt and Pepper

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Palisades

The Setup


Full disclosure: Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC is good friends with the chef-owners of Salt and Pepper, and I know them as well (through her). Because of that, CC has been helping out with the start-up, and invited a bunch of us to a group dinner there, including Official Friends of HR Intern, Yupster, Biz, Rajistan, The Suit, Aaron, and Ledzy.

The Vibe

Salt and Pepper lies on the stretch of Macarthur Blvd where it seems all the wonderful destination restaurants are (Et Voila, Makato, Kotobuki, Blacksalt to name a few). The difference is that Salt and Pepper sits underneath an office building. Up a set of stairs leads you to the restaurant, opening with a small square bar surrounded by a few two-tops by the large windows, and an outdoor patio area. Further to the back is the main dining area, a row of half-booth two-tops, a middle row of two-tops, and then high-backed booths on the other wall. In the rear is an open kitchen with a chef's table, and a chef's bar.

The decor theme is like the old joke about the sunburned zebra: black and white, with red all over. The main room is white paint with black wood accents and rafters, topped by flat red disc light fixtures, while the back room is red walls with black and white photos. Other cute touches abound, from boxes of dressed up Barbies to indicate the coed bathrooms, or the clipboard menus.

The Food


The group of ten or so ordered a diverse set of dishes, so I'll describe a few of the memorable ones. First along was an appetizer of cheesy rice fritters, essentially just a differently-named risotto balls. A wonderful mix of crunchy and creamy, and definitely a great way to start the meal. The other starter/side of note was the grits, a beautifully creamy rendition with butter to spare, but not in an aggressive way. Definitely some of the smoothest and best grits I've ever had, and definitely worth a taste.

Around the table, we start with my pan-roasted cod, which came with a red, white, and blue lobster has, spinach, and a sweet corn sauce. The cod itself was fine, well-cooked but a tad bit fishy and not as pleasant as some other cods I've had. The hash (so named because of the colors of potatoes mixed with the lobster) was the balancing act, providing a nice acid and textural mix, and definitely the winner from the dish.

A similar fate befell the pork chop, where the zucchini pancakes underneath outshone the otherwise simple meat. Then again, this is something I've struggled with recently; how can you really make a pork chop anything other than a simple pork chop? Have I ever had a pork chop that tasted fundamentally different than this one? Still, the sides on the dish stood out more to me than the chop itself.

The winners of the meal were two of the more American dishes. First was the American wagyu meatloaf, served with whipped potatoes, mushroom gravy, and green beans. Look, I will be the first to admit that I grew up spoiled, and definitely outside the normal bounds of conventional dinner. So my knowledge of meatloaf is admittedly limited. But this wasn't dry and boring like the stereotype of meatloaf; rather it was juicy and flavorful, and when combined with the mashed potatoes, a wonderfully warm and homey bite.

The other solid dish was the buttermilk-brined fried chicken with braised greens and mac and cheese. The chicken was solid with a nice crisp on it, and the greens were pretty good, but the mac-and-cheese stole the show, reminding me quite pleasingly of the truffled version at Equinox, where the chefs' lineage comes from. Creamy with a welcome feeling of warmth, this was an absolute pleasure.

For dessert, we picked two options. First, was a fried apple pie, which resembled a much more appetizing and cleaned-up construction of the McDonald's 50-cent version. Crunchy with some gooeyness, it was definitely a perfect and sumptuous treat for someone with a hankering for a better Mickey D's.

The second dessert was a housemade "Boston creme donut," two cakes sandwiching a a sweet cream. It was paired with an equally tiny strawberry milkshake, served in a shot glass. Both were milky and luscious, and definitely fun.

The Verdict


Overall, a pleasant surprise and the kind of restaurant that takes Mom's American classics and makes them that much better. A few missteps, but definitely some amazing high points. Already full of neighborhood residents, will hopefully become a destination restaurant alongside the trinity of Et Voila, Blacksalt, and Makoto.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Classy Crowd
Vibe:
Energetic to Noisy
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)

Salt & Pepper on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Munchies: DC Kabob and Grill

Mere days after I stopped by for lunch at Halal Grill Truck, I found myself out on Farragut Square searching for lunch and stumbled upon seemingly the same, but different DC Kabob and Grill.

Here was a green food truck, previously unknown to me, serving halal food and yet the two seemed unrelated. Still, emboldened by my previous good experience, I ordered a very similar dish to the time before, lamb and chicken over rice, covered in tzatziki-esque sauce with the addition of some sort of bean mix/paste.

I hate to seem like I'm just copying the last review, but the two meals were frankly very similar. In that they were both fairly amazing, considering it was ethnic from a truck. But hey, maybe that's just it: it's the ultimate extension of the "hole-in-the-wall restaurant has the best food" maxim. At gunpoint, the Halal Grill was probably slightly better (if for no other reason than my confusion over the bean paste), but both were solid.

Taste Test: 3.5 Forks
(out of 5)
Perfect for
: Halal food on the go.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cooking Adventures: Duck

About a month ago, needing some vanity books for our dining room, I decided to order a few cookbooks. And not just any cookbooks, but "aspirational" ones. And I spent more money on five of them than I did on my Ikea bed. Yes, I have misplaced priorities. Also between the five of them, there are something like 18 Michelin stars. And yes, I am a huge snob.

So here are some pictures from my first adventures with the Thomas Keller Ad Hoc at Home cookbook: pan roasted duck breasts on braised radishes, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts.

First, I had to butcher the duck first, since the impetus for using this recipe was my purchase of a five-pound duck from the U Street Farmers' Market. I used the instructions in the cookbook for butchering a chicken. Here are three lessons I learned:

1) Ducks are not the same as chickens. They have more fat. Which means that they are anatomically different. Poultry is not the same as other poultry.
2) Butchers' knives are probably fairly useful. Otherwise you'll just end up using a motley collection of serrated bread knives and paring knives to kind of guess at it.
3) Never underestimate the time it will take to butcher something. It took me an hour. Gross.

The marinade from the cookbook called for salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, bay leaves, and orange peel (though I replaced the orange peel with orange juice).

Braising the radishes in butter.

Pan-roasted, and then finished in the oven.

The greens. Substituted chayote for the kohlrabi since I couldn't find it. Steamed the chayote and brussels sprouts, and added shallots.

The final product.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Look: Blackbyrd Warehouse

Neighborhood: 14th Street/U Street

The Setup


When a new watering hole with a raw bar opens up in our neighborhood, it's clear that Official Roommate of DCWD Rajistan and I will check it out. So off we went to two-day-old Blackbyrd Warehouse.

The Vibe

Blackbyrd is owned by Thievery Corporation, the same group that also owns next door neighbors Marvin and The Gibson among other venues. Downstairs is an industrial feel, with an exposed ceiling and vents, painted brick, and grey concrete block walls. Light fixtures are either large silver warehouse ones, or gaslight string lights. In the front of the dining area is window bar seating and a few two-tops, while in the back sits a row of caged booths opposite the long butcher's block bar. Behind the bar is some antique garage shelving and a raw bar.

The second floor is an interlude into a cleaner, classier look. The far wall towards the front windows is a giant bar, while the opposite side is a projection screen which was playing Metropolis when we walked up, overtop a DJ stand. The ceilings are tall, and the area is a lounge with a few leather studded couches and coffee tables.

The Food


Along with a fairly extensively wine list and some craft beers, Blackbyrd is essentially a seafood place, with a raw bar, seafood "plateaus," and a number of pescetarian-friendly small plates. On this trip, I ordered the house smoked trout rillettes, which came topped with trout roe, and served with focaccia toast. The rillette, which came in a small mason jar, was nice and creamy, fatty with some salt.

For his part, Rajistan had the oysters "Rock Creek," essentially oysters Rockefeller with watercress, spinach, bacon, and Pernod. Solid flavor, especially the spinach and watercress, which gave the whole thing a very earthy flavor. Still, the interesting part was the price. Both small plates were $14, and weren't amazingly large portions. The whole menu seemed to be pretty pricey actually; the top end seafood plateau cost a ridiculous $98.

The Verdict


Fun venue with lots of nice date potential, and solid food, but real expensive for what it is. Will definitely drop by again for a drink though.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout to Party in the USA
Vibe:
Chatty to Energetic
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Munchies: Halal Grill Truck

This week's Monday Munchies returns us to the world of food trucks. This time it's the Halal Grill Truck, one I picked on a recent Farragut Friday simply because it had the shortest line; Farragut Friday, for all of its diversity and options, is like a zoo sometimes. Way overcrowded.

In any event, on this trip, I ordered the combo platter, which involved chicken and meat chunks over rice and lettuce with a sauce that is vaguely tzatziki-like.

Oh my god. It was soooo good. Unlike some of the other food trucks, this seemed a little more hole-in-the-wall, a little less polished. On the other hand, like most hole-in-the-wall, brick-and-mortar establishments, the best sorts of ethnic food come from there. Just solid, delicious flavor.

Taste Test: 4 Forks (out of 5)
Perfect for: That Middle Eastern craving.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rice

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: 14th Street/Logan Circle

The Setup


During my homeless stretch, among the houses where I crashed, was the lovely apartment of Official Friend of DCWD Madison. Needing something for dinner, we settled on Rice.

The Vibe

Rice sits in a patch of 14th St where strangely it's the only restaurant on the block, surrounded by a cute real estate shop and the remains of HR-57. Out in front is a small simple patio next to a tan brick facade. Inside is a dim dining area with wood floors lit by light fixtures that look vaguely by canoes. In the front window and the green-tea/brown walls are silver branch candle holders, contrasted on the other side by exposed brick. Seating is mostly two tops in combo, with half-bench seating on one side, and a bar and high tables in the back.

The Food


For a starter, we ordered ginger tempura which consisted of pumpkin, bean sprout, and papaya. I thought the choice of vegetables was inspired, but that the ginger portion was a little oversold. The dipping sauce was the only place the ginger flavor came into play, and it was faint at that. Enjoyable, but not crazy good or anything.

For our entrees, I ordered the red curry duck served with lychee, grapes, pineapple, and tomato, and with a side of black sticky rice. This was almost a duplicate of a dish I had from Teakwood
and similarly, it was amazing. Sweet with the right amount of heat, and nice fatty chunks of duck breast, it was in many ways better than the Teakwood version. One key difference? The black sticky rice which was just downright amazing. I would go back just to order that.

Madison on the other hand had sauteed vegetables and fried tofu in light soy sauce. Simple, though it lacked anything that made it super special. Still after the duck and the rice, why would you need anything else?

The Verdict


Solid Thai food with sometimes great moments. And seriously, don't sleep on the rice.

Food Rating: *** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Quiet Drinks
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing
: Head up to Source Theater or down to Playbill Cafe for this month's Capital Fringe Festival (those two are among the non-Shaw venues).

Rice on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Munchies: DC Noodles

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: U Street

The Setup


Looking for some grub in our neighborhood, Official Friend of DCWD Rajistan and I decided to hit up noodle shop DC Noodles.

The Vibe

We thought DC Noodles would be more of a traditional noodle shop, with more bar seating, but it wasn't. Built in that typical post-warehouse vibe, the decor is funky with mod furniture and bright pink walls. A small six-seat bar sits on the right side of the restaurant next to a door to a women's accessories shop (???), while on the left is a line of two-tops. In fact, it seems as though the only seating options are two-tops, with the exception of two larger tables in the front.

Of particular note is one wall where a giant mural of an Asian chef cooking noodles and a round-faced boy enjoying them. Like seriously, think of World-War II-era propaganda and you have an idea of how audacious this painting is. If the establishment wasn't entirely staffed by Asians, you'd be grossly offended, but as it stands, you're only mildly off-put by it. At least I was.

The Food


For our main course, Rajistan ordered the Burmese kao soi, egg noodles with chicken, shrimp, or tofu with pickled carrots and cabbage. It was warming with a little hint of piquant, and probably the better dish of the two, as it had its own interesting heat and flavor to it. The egg noodles also came crispy on top of the bowl, so there was a nice textural distinction as well.

I on the other hand went with rice noodles in clear soup, opting to combine shrimp and shrimp meatballs with crispy and soft tofu in a bowl with the standard bean sprouts, carrots, cilantro, spring onion, and bok choy. Mine was decent, though a little watered down. The crispy tofu though was nice, and in general I liked the bowl.

The Verdict


Maybe a little bit expensive, but a nice quick soup place.

Food Rating: ** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Quiet Drinks
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)

DC Noodles on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Cajun Experience

UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle

The Setup


The scene is simple: Official Friend of DCWD Texas and I. A media event. A slightly breezy, slightly balmy Wednesday evening.

The Vibe
Cajun Experience, open for only a few months in its current iteration in the fuzzy gray area where Dupont Circle starts to bleed into Adams-Morgan, is actually an offshoot of a restaurant in Leesburg, VA. Brought to D.C. by a husband-and-wife team who grew up and in the South and met at LSU, the restaurant sits in the downstairs portion of a townhouse.

Now I've never been to Louisiana, much less LSU, but this is what I imagine this is what college bars down there would look like. Exposed brick is covered by New Orleans memorabilia, from fleurs-de-lis and beads to framed newspapers of Sugar Bowl victories and national championships, to photos of everyone from Drew Brees to Bobby Jindal. The furniture is simple, and the entire inside, starting with the bar on your left as you walk in and extending to the main dining area, is awash in this yellow and purple neon glow. A small patio sits in back where we sat.

In short, if contemporary Bayou is selling you the Treme version of New Orleans (a cleaned up, jazz-friendly South), then Cajun Experience is selling you a more raucous, and perhaps more neighborhood-appropriate Bourbon Street version of the same city. I don't know if it's date appropriate in most settings, but if you both grew up in the South, then it'd probably be perfect.

The Food


Texas and I had a lot of little bites of everything (though the po' boys were like unicorns during this event apparently). The first things to come were a jambalaya and an etouffee (which I charmingly kept referring to as seafood gumbo). Both came served over white rice and were washed down with Abita Purple Haze (one of those beers that is secretly in my Top 10). Now I have to claim ignorance on all cuisine Southern, having grown up in New Jersey (which if you believe Jersey Shore is the South's spiritual opposite), which is why I always bring more knowledgeable folks with me. In this case, Texas.

Both were good, piquant without being overwhelmingly or needlessly spicy, the kind of spicy that stays on your lips a little after you've eaten it, to steal Texas's words. Of particular note was the etouffee's shrimp, which was soft and utterly enjoyable. Again, my experience is limited, but it was the kind of food that made you at least feel that it was authentic.

The event also happened to be a crawfish boil, so a large pot of the tiny critters was stewing in the back. I've never done the whole crawfish thing before ("You've never been to a crawfish boil before? How have you lived?" was a popular refrain to me), or at least not in the being served them whole version. So this was an interesting experiment for me. At least on my end, the experience was fun, though the actual meat I got out of it was probably negligible considering the mess and the lingering heat in my mouth afterwards. Really solid corn though.

On opposite ends of the spectrum were two of the other dishes being offered: a seafood salad on toasted bread, and grilled gator. The seafood salad was meh, a mish mash of unclear flavors in a weird presentation. On the other hand, the gator was juicy and chewy-in-a-good-way, with clean flavors and that wonderful grill taste, presenting as both gamey and succulent.

At some point, we wandered into the bar to have something more than the Abita and ended up with the bar's version of a Hurricane (or at least something very passionfruit-y), and their version of a Dark and Stormy. If nothing else, they were very pretty drinks, and at least on my end, the Dark and Stormy was delicious.

The Verdict


Truth in advertising: it does present the Cajun experience from food to setting. Definitely a fun little place worth a visit.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Frat House
Vibe:
Energetic
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing
: Take a staycation at the lovely Swann House, a bed and breakfast down the street.

The Cajun Experience DC on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

First Look: Lost Society

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: 14th Street/U Street

The Setup


Normally, I'm not one to venture into new restaurants in the opening month (much less opening weekend), but when a boutique steakhouse opens up in our neighborhood, even pescetarian Official Friend of DCWD Madison was intrigued. So we rounded a group of fellow diners, including Official Friends of DCWD Juju, Swizzle, and Texas, to head over to Lost Society's soft opening for a first look.

The Vibe

For one of the premier spots on the U Street Corridor, the space that Lost Society now occupies stood conspicuously empty for quite a surprising amount of time. And sadly, the downstairs portion now looks like it will be inhabited by a Subway and a Dunkin' Donuts, of all things. But rising above that, Lost Society sits on the second floor and rooftop of the newly renovated building at 14th and U. The entrance opens onto a metal staircase leading up to the restaurant, a main dining area on two, and a bar/patio on three.

The main dining area reminds you of a trendy cleaned-up Irish bar, in that bar booths and lounge seating surround a central wood bar with mounted TVs. Exposed brick is everywhere, and the furniture is classy upholstered and riveted leather. Upstairs is an indoor bar space, and an outdoor roofdeck patio. There's a lot of nice touches, from the crystal chandeliers to blue velvet curtains to the upbeat samba-jazz playing from the DJ stand. Outside, it's two-tops in combination underneath a canopy, with mostly half-booth seating where we were for this meal. It probably compares most closely to Napoleon/Cafe Bonaparte in its 1920s glitzy speakeasy meets Victorian splendor decor. In terms of vibe, it's early yet, but it'll probably settle somewhere between Local 16 and Marvin: a fun and trendy spot for the hip set that loves the roofdeck.

We were a difficult reservation (we had two fours that the hostess was gracious enough to let us combine into an eight), and in that sense they were very nice. And admittedly, it was a soft opening and there's something to be said about letting a restaurant get its feet underneath it. But the service was overwhelmed to put it mildly. Our well-meaning server (who confessed that she was just a cocktail waitress who had been pressed into service) just fell way behind. A request for lemons for the water took so long that one of our friends just got up and got them from the bar herself (the lemons came ten minutes after that). And drink service was a disaster. I asked for a pinot noir with my dinner order; twenty minutes later a malbec that no one ordered was delivered; and by the time the pinot came, I had been done with my steak for ten minutes. This experience happened to half our table.

The Food


Between the eight of us, we ordered basically the whole of the menu. First, of course the steaks. Swizzle and I both went with the bone-in rib eye with morel mushrooms, while another at our table had the filet with compound butter. Here's a fast tip about the menu: get the filet. The rib-eye was fine, with a nice char on the outside, but just underwhelming otherwise. The filet on the other hand was tender and juicy, with flavor that was positively augmented by the butter. All three steaks came with an order of creamed corn, which honestly was the real winner in terms of flavor.

For the pescetarians at the table, there were a few other options. Madison ordered the stuffed lobster, a small portion of tail with tomatoes, blue crab cream, and shitake mushrooms. Texas had the wild mushroom risotto, while another friend ordered the blackened shrimp with wild rice risotto. I think all three could be described in the same way: small portions, relatively well-priced (at $17, $12, and $11, respectively), but all sort of on the same scale of just fine. In particular the risottos were decent, but nothing that couldn't have been made by a decent home chef. On top of that, the platings (which you can see from the pictures) were uninspired.

The Verdict

Overall, the food was hit or miss, and the service was overwhelmed. But it was the opening weekend (so it'll get a little bit of a free pass) and we'll definitely be back to give it a second shot.

Food Rating: ** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Bar Rating:
Classy Crowd to Party in the USA
Vibe:
Noisy
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)

Lost Society on Urbanspoon