This fairly new Adams Morgan located bistro was crowded and noisy when we went on a Sunday night. The decor is all rustic farmhouse and the tables are crammed in to fill up all available space like some kind of massive game of tetris. So I was a little nervous when we sat down, despite great reviews, but the attentive service and stellar food soon made me forget the crowd. Here, plates and utensils are cleared and replaced after each dish - service I would expect from a much more upscale joint. A well-stocked and well-priced wine list and unique cocktails (hello, "Farewell to the 20's") are icing on the cake. As usual, I was more excited by/impressed with the small plates, but the mains were very good as well. Some of the dishes are reminiscent of the style of DC star Michel Richard, which makes sense because Executive Chef Cedric Maupillier apprenticed under him.
First up - the beet and goat cheese "mountain pie". This was so delicious - thinly sliced beets layered with buttery lettuce gained depth from shallots and chives, while toasted bread served as the crust for a warm goat cheese and beet tart. I eat beet and goat cheese salads all the time, but this one is truly special.
Bacon and Onion Flammekeuche - an Alsatian style flatbread that seems simple, but is just awesome. Crisp, smoky, creamy - I could have eaten 5 of these.
Lamb tongue moussaka - this was good, but not as good as the other 2 small plates. Part of that may be that it didn't actually taste like moussaka to me. Chickpeas and heavy cumin (as opposed to cinnamon) made it seem more Middle Eastern than Mediterranean. That being said, it was still tasty and interesting; the tongue was very tender and it had a nice subtle heat.
Tagliatelle Bolognese - signature dish, gorgeous presentation. Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of this - heavy fennel made the ragu taste like Italian sausage, which I am just not that into. Sausage lovers - this is for you.
Shad filet topped with shad roe and lardo, over a potato and broccolini hash, with brown butter and lemon demi-glace. The roe topping was not my favorite, but the fish was well cooked and the hash and sauce were excellent. I seriously want more of that hash right now.
Pine nut tart with vanilla bean ice cream. I hate pecan pie, but I love this tart - the buttery pine nuts were so soft and just melted into the sugary base. There was also a creme brulee that I didn't photograph because everybody knows what creme brulee looks like, right?
All-in-all this place was great. I would love to come here for drinks and apps before hitting up Adams Morgan, but I don't know that I would go out of my way for dinner. I would love to try brunch, though.
Mintwood Place Website - for more information