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
Last year we made our first trip to The Inn at Little Washington over Labor Day weekend and we had a wonderful time. This year we were debating whether to spend the holiday weekend at the beach, or return to the Inn. Eventually our taste buds won out and we decided to head to Washington, VA.
Unlike the year before, we decided to stay at the Inn itself (instead of one of the less expensive B&B's nearby) and our room was absolutely gorgeous! We stayed in the Norman House Garden Room with a living room, wet bar, huge bathroom, and private garden - just wonderful! We also upped the ante this year by having 2 dinners at the restaurant - one of which was at the chef's table in the kitchen!
The Cosmopolitan Hotel has lots of great food options which was a nice bonus for staying there. My favorite has to be Holstein's Burgers, which has a huge selection of glam burgers and adult milkshakes. They also have a good bar with a whole menu of drinks based around my favorite liquor - St Germain.
This was my first meal at the trendy burger spot (yes, I went back) - The Billionaire Burger with Kobe beef, foie gras, port onion marmalade, frisee, and truffle mayo. Fan-freaking-tastic. I got it with sweet potato fries and the Drunken Monkey Shake (Reese’s, banana, malt, Frangelico).
The next stop on the Vegan tour of the DMV was Amma Vegetarian Kitchen in Vienna, VA (click here for parts 1, 2, and 3). Amma is an all vegetarian South Indian restaurant specializing in dosas (crepes) with spicy fillings. Unfortunately we quickly discover that Amma was on the Washingtonian's list for being vegetarian friendly, NOT vegan friendly - they cook their crepes on a griddle with butter. After a lot of discussion with the man working the counter (who was very patient and helpful) we discovered that were maybe two options for my vegan friend - a fried bread and a whole wheat bread, both served with (SUPER) spicy potatoes and a vegetable stew.
Set at a six-person bar on the upper level of America Eats Tavern, Minibar is a restaurant within a restaurant. It is also consistently one of the highest rated restaurants in DC - usually within the top 5! It is just as much theater as it is dining while you interact with the chefs and watch them prepare a parade of tiny, one-bite dishes that are clever, whimsical, and above all - delicious.
For anyone who has read Pt 1 or Pt 2, you will know that my Vegan friend challenged me to try the top 25 Vegan-friendly restaurants in the area. This time we decided to two different spots in the same trip. Cafe Green (an all vegan restaurant) and Agora (a Greek spot with a number of vegetarian options and a few vegan ones) are right next door to each other near Dupont Circle.
The menu at Cafe Green is a little eccentric - part Asian, part Southern comfort food; all Vegan, with a large portion of Raw food. I ordered the macaroni and cheese platter based on good reviews, and the fact that I love mac-n-cheese. The macaroni is made from quinoa (which is a super grain) and the sauce had almost a bit of curry flavor too it. Great texture, great flavor - this is a winner. The platter came with a side of lemony kale that was alright and some spiced, candied yams that were AWESOME. I also added on a piece of cornbread that had good flavor but was super dry and crumbly.
We had been meaning to try out Michael Mina's signature restaurant, Bourbon Steak, for quite a while, and when we finally did we were not disappointed - except by the steak.
We started out in the lounge, where we perused their massive and innovative cocktail list. I had the 1919, with aperol, grapefruit bitters, prosecco, and a sugar cube - a perfect aperitif. There were many more drinks on the list that I would love to try as well; we might have to come back for an evening at the bar.
We recently went on a trip to Houston, TX to attend an alumni event at my alma mater - Rice University. The trip happened to fall around the time of our 2nd Wedding Anniversary, so we wanted to have a nice dinner in Houston to celebrate. We chose the Mockingbird Bistro as our location and had a wonderful evening.
We were impressed as soon as we entered by the hostess's greeting: "Are we holding a table for you?" I thought that it was much more polite than the usual "Do you have a reservation?" The manager brought us complimentary Cava in honor of our Anniversary, and they also knew our favorite (and hard to find) cocktail, Pisco sour, so we were quite pleased from the beginning. Once we were seated, we had a chance to look at the decor and layout. The main room is pretty small and divided into a bar/lounge area and a dining area, but there is another large room (which doubles as wine storage), and stairs to a balcony room (both of which are available for private events). The style was very cool - hip, old Paris feel with a bit of a gothic edge - I was instantly in love with it. The cool vibe, old-fashioned cocktails, and stellar wine list (one of the best in the city) makes this a place that I would definitely hang out at - if only I had known about it when I lived there!