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Showing posts with label PS7's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PS7's. Show all posts

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Night Flights: RAMMY Nominees

As we mentioned a few days ago, CC and I were lucky enough to attend the 2010 RAMMYs, the Oscars for Washington DC's restaurant scene. Brand new to the awards was the Mixology category, which selected a restaurant out of five nominees that featured the best cocktails. What was perhaps even more exciting was that each of the nominees was asked to create a cocktail for the party, and so all attendees were able to sample firsthand the best of the best (though the award had already been decided beforehand).

For me, the two clear winners of this showdown were the two restaurants I think of as on the forefront of mixology in DC, Gina Chersevani of PS7's (cocktails of which we've already written about here, and who actually won the RAMMY for Mixology this year), and Todd Thrasher of PX, Restaurant Eve, et al. (CC also enjoyed Tabard Inn's creation, but she also likes gin more than I do). Given how abundantly the drinks were flowing, unfortunately there are no accompanying pictures, so the descriptions will have to suffice. The recipes for the two drinks were as follows:

PS7's "Bittersweet Isa"
1 oz Absolut
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Raw Honey
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 oz rose and marigold tea
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
Shake until frothy. Strain into coup, garnish with edible flowers.

Impressions: Like many of Gina's drinks that I've had, the first thing that hits you is how well it's presented; Gina always puts in an effort to make her drinks look as great as they taste. The service was also fantastic, as the two in-costume bartenders really tried to sell you the drink while dancing to the overhead music; this in and of itself might have won me over (see example at right). That being said, what really is amazing about PS7's drinks (and this one was no exception) is how light the cocktails are. This might be due to her choice of flavors and tastes, but to have a mixologist so conscious about how strong but refreshing her drinks are is itself a refreshing feeling. This drink reminds me of another drink Gina has made me, the Citrus Smash we had at the DC Wine and Food Festival; clean and mild fruit flavors (a product of the tea) but with a nice kick from the cinnamon.


PX's "The Grog"
Mount Gay Extra Old Rum
Lemon Verbena Tea
Lemon Juice
Lemon Bitters

Impressions: I was fully prepared to not like this drink at all, mostly because of my bad service experience, as the bartender carded me (who cards at an event like the RAMMYs?) and then almost didn't serve me because she did her math wrong (I've cleared the drinking age by a few years, but thanks for playing). Still, I wasn't too excited about it until I actually drank it, and then was absolutely thrilled by it. The sourness of the lemons was well mitigated by the rum and the tea, and it drank mostly like lemonade but with an added tang of alcohol at the end. This might have gone without saying given the ingredients, but the simplicity of the experience was in and of itself, fantastic.

Bar Review: 5 Cheers
Perfect for: The first drink of the evening, a celebratory drink
Where to find it: PS7's and PX

picture credit to RAMMYs official photographer. used with permission.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

PS7's

Plaudits: Washingtonian 2010 #66, Washingtonian 2009 #69, Washingtonian 2008 #55, Washington City Paper's Young and Hungry's 2009 Top 50 Restaurants
Neighborhood: Gallery Place - Chinatown

The Setup

After our dinner at Ping Pong Dim Sum, Official Friend of DCWD Olive wanted in on more DCWD dinners. So I told her that CC and I were planning a trip to PS7's for Happy Hour. So we planned on that, until of course the day came around and Olive didn't show, so CC and I plopped down at the bar, and had ourselves a drinks and dinner friend date.

The Vibe

PS7's and I have a rich history. It was the first even remotely upscale restaurant that I'd taken someone out to, in this case a now ex-girlfriend my junior year of college (I'm a late bloomer to the restaurant side of foodie-ism, mostly due to collegiate poverty). So I do have a lot of positive memories of the place which certainly helps. The actual place helps too.

There's a pretty sizable bar area to your right when you enter, black, orange, and dark blue, with some lounge seating and eight or so seats around a crackled orange tile bar. The whole motif of the bar area is waves and curved lines, which is in stark contrast to the dining area, to your left as you enter, which has angular straight lines. With mostly full-length windows, the dining area is split into two levels of seating alternating between some two and four-tops and booths. The whole room is electric blue, brown, and white and is generally a modern decor, something that is epitomized by the fishbowls with live goldfish in the black brick walls of the bathroom (!). Other than that disconcerting fact though, it's a generally very nice and romantic place.

The Food

Reason #1 that we wanted to hit up PS7's is Gina Chersevani. The house mixologist, her drinks are some of the best in the city (vying only probably with The Passenger's Derek Brown and Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve/PX). Put it this way, Mike Isabella (of Zaytinya, and of course, Top Chef) stopped by to have some snacks and drinks at the bar. Which was our plan of attack.

We ordered so many of Gina's delicious drinks that it only feels right to talk about them each as if they were a dish. For our first round, I got the Sun and Sand (Brugal rum, fresh orange, and vanilla in a glass crusted with a root beer sugar), and CC got one of Gina's famous housemade punches (this one was Absolut, Campari, pear, rosebud tea, honey, and cinnamon). Mine was a small portion, but I swear I wanted to lick all the root beer crust off the glass; as you drank it, it melted into the drink and was wonderfully sweet. CC's was nicely mild, with the cinnamon coming in as a nice aftertaste.

For round two, I was tempted into sampling Gina's creation for Artini, the competition where mixologists from around the District take inspiration from an exhibit at the Corcoran to fashion their cocktails. Gina's was called First Position, taken from one of Degas' numerous paintings of ballerinas, and made from Plymouth gin, Pernod absinthe, and topped with absinthe fairy floss (an absinthe cotton candy). The cotton candy made for a perfect sweet touchstone next to the absinthe's bitterness, and it was a pretty solid drink. As for CC, she got the Recession Blues "The Cure," the least expensive drink on the menu, made from Miller High Life, Domaine de Canton (a ginger liqueur), and ginger. I actually liked hers better. Delicious.

At this point, we were ready to call it quits, until I mentioned to Gina that she had made me one of my all-time favorite mixed drinks, at the DC International Wine and Food Festival. Her response, "Oh, I'll make it for you."

Yes.

So for round three she made me the aforementioned citrus smash (gin, Domaine de Canton, ginger, cinnamon, and grapefruit). This time it was a little less cinnamon-y, a little more ginger-y, which was a little bit of a downgrade from the first time, but still very nice. For CC's part, she ordered the Gnome's Water (which we featured before). Amazing.

Oh right, we ate too. As for the food, we went with two appetizers and two entrees off the bar menu. My choice for appetizer was the oxtail tots: oxtail croquettes with hazelnuts and parmesan in an oxtail gravy. I love oxtail, even if others think it's a little gamey or stringy. These were crisp and light. Still both of us were excited for CC's choice: the angel wings, boneless wings stuffed with lamb sausage in a preserved peach gastrique. Unfortunately, the first batch came out way undercooked (like raw in the center), which kind of gave us a bad taste for it, even though the second batch came out alright. Both of us also wished there was more of the gastrique, which was light and sweet.

For the entrees, we went with the buzzed burger, a coffee crusted burger with balsamic roasted onions, wild mushrooms, and Bell's Porter butter, and the housemade Chicago dogs. The dogs were nice, with the horseradish mustard they were served with really kicking you in the face when you ate it. Otherwise a pretty solid dish. The burger was similarly nice, with the coffee providing a great taste.

Somehow CC talked me into dessert, and we got two chocolate covered cheesecake lollipops, with some gold flake on them. These were a really pleasant way to end the meal.

The Verdict

I love the vibe at PS7's. It's hip and its decor is clean (though having never seen the fishbowls in the bathroom before, maybe I should take that back). As for the food, it was solid, but the real treat was the cocktails, which I think bump it up a whole star. Having gone there now both on a precocious date night, and laid back happy hour with a friend, I can say it's pretty versatile and a great date choice.

Food Rating: **** (out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code: Casual to Smart Casual
Bar Rating: Classy Crowd to Suits Scene
Vibe: Chatty
Cost:
$$$
(out of 5) ($50-$75 for two)
Pairing: The time I went to PS7's on date night, we went to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, so that's what we'll go with here. I personally love the permanent exhibits, and it's one of my favorite Smithsonians.

PS7's on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Night Flights: Gnome's Water at PS7's

My love for Gina Chersevani is pretty solid already (see: my tweets from the International Wine and Food Festival about her Citrus Smash [incidentally the cocktail on the left in the picture], and our upcoming review of PS7's [spoiler alert]). But what made me love her even more was a drink we had in Round 3 of our Happy Hour at PS7's: Gnome's Water.

Made with Hendrick's gin, cucumber water, lemon, and lavender syrup, the cocktail tastes like an alcoholic cucumber, which on some level sounds not good, but on every other level is amazing. Like all of Gina's cocktails, it's immaculately presented, with a lot of neat touches to it. But the best part of this cocktail is how refreshing it is, from start to finish. That unlike some mixed drinks, it won't weigh you down or make you feel sluggish afterwards. Quite the opposite. Perfect then for springtime in DC, and especially this weekend of 80-degree weather.

Bar Review: 4 Cheers
Perfect for: Warm spring evenings, cooling off
Where to find it: PS7's

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Munchies: PS7's Tuna Sliders

This Monday's Munchies are the Tuna Sliders at PS7's. I'm pretty sure that I was going to head back to PS7's anyway for the happy hour (house mixologist Gina Chersevani's cocktails are certainly some of the best in DC), or for an actual restaurant review (the last time I went was two years ago), but I couldn't help but mention these sliders now. Even two years after the fact.

The sliders, which can be ordered at the table or in the lounge, come in plates of 3, 6, or 9, accompanied by a light sesame and cucumber salad. Essentially it's a tuna tartare on mini house-made rolls the size of a quarter. Each slider is one maybe two bites, but brilliant ones at that. The tartare is perfect and light, but the star is the bun, which is light but flavorful like brioche; in fact the bread course at PS7's is the best bread course I've had at a DC restaurant in my 5 years here.

I'll take this opportunity to say that all of PS7's bar menu, drinks and food, are worth a taste (just looking at the menu, I'm salivating at the Allagash-steamed mussels). But from personal experience, get the sliders.

Taste Test: 5 Forks (out of 5)
Perfect for: Happy hours, pre-gaming basketball/hockey games at the Verizon Center, light appetizer meals