The life of an intrepid food blogger is one fraught with stolen moments at work or Saturday mornings and late weeknights at home on the PC typing furiously about the latest and greatest (or not so great) dining experience. As such, there are several memorable experiences this past year that, for one reason or another, did not make it into the HPR (not to mention that I’ve only been blogging for about 6 months). As I reflect back on the year, I wanted to make sure I mentioned some places that I have not had a chance to before.
Here are some “short takes” on several restaurants that definitely made an impression in 2007.
Yannick Cam’s penultimate incarnation simply exudes modern elegance and high style. Oddly devoid of customers the day we went. I guess they didn’t know about the Roast “Maine” Lobster in Sauterne Butter with Grapefruit zest. If they had they would be busting down the doors to get in.
678 Indiana Ave NW
Like a trusted old friend, Kinkead’s consistently delivers high quality fresh seafood in a relaxed yet upscale environment. The menu changes daily to reflect the freshest selections and the presentations are simple and elegant. Service is always top-notch.
2000 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
NY hot-shot chef Laurent Tourondel’s spin on all things “beefy” gets high praise from many of my friends, but not from me. Overpriced and overrated is my take. Still, I know some that swear this is their favorite and I have to admit, the fresh-from-the-oven popovers delivered immediately to your table could warrant a visit all by themselves.
1625 Eye Street, NW
What would happen if you presented Southern Low Country Cuisine in a French tasting menu style? Add to that recipe a drop-dead gorgeous space in Baltimore’s hottest new neighborhood and you have the makings of Chef Cindy Wolf’s Charleston, possibly my favorite restaurant in the DC/Balto area. Choose the number of courses you wish to enjoy (3,4,5 or 6 courses) then order anything on the menu. All of the selections are smaller than a full entrée but larger than typical tapas. Listed in categories such as Hot, Cool, Fish & Shellfish, Meats etc… The Foie Gras is sublime. Shrimp and Grits are a revelation. The desserts are transcendent, especially anything with chocolate.
1000 Lancaster Street
Michael Mina’s SeaBlue
The new Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City feels a little like someone parked a
BMW 760Li in the middle of used Nissan car lot. The place is absolutely littered with original Chihuly glass and offers some of the finest shopping and dining opportunities AC has to offer. I implore you, please walk right past the glitz and fire of Bobby Flay’s Steak and sit your butt down in Michael Mina’s SeaBlue. What part of “Two Pound Lobster Pot Pie” didn’t you understand? If that’s not enough enticement, how about the cleanest and freshest raw oysters you ever tasted or the Tuna Tartare with Ancho Chili and Sesame Oil?
Miso-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with shiitake consommé is also not to be missed. Seafood’s not your thing? Go for the American Kobe Short Rib. For a fish joint they sure know how to prepare beef. Service is impeccable, desserts are a celebration and the cheese course is one for the record books.
Michael Mina's SeaBlue
1 Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Central Michel Richard
Michel Richard is having a little fun at our expense, and to our delight! The maestro behind world famous Citronelle has given us a "whimsy" of a place in his latest, down-market venture Central. Pronounced (Sen-trahl-with the accent over the "a" making it sound very snobby and French). Is it American comfort food gone upscale, or fine French Nouvelle gone downscale? It’s hard to tell, but then who cares? It sure tastes good. Try the “Faux” Gras, a chicken liver version of Foie Gras that doesn’t miss a beat. I found the much touted Lobster Burger to be a little fishy and frankly, not worth its $29 price tag, but the Fried Chicken with mustard sauce is a good example of why Michel Richard is considered to be one of the greatest chef’s working in our country today. Desserts are decadent and creative. Go for the Kit Kat Bar; a play on the popular candy bar that has to be eaten to be believed.
Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Eco-friendly and uber-fresh fish served in a modern yet casual space that typifies the definition of the word shibui. The crudos are a blast. Essentially small bites of raw fish paired with unique flavors and at $3 a pop, they are as accessible and as fun an indulgence as I can think of. Desserts here are nothing to write home about, but my Grilled Arctic Char over Mediterranean Cous Cous was one of the best entrées I sampled all year. I’ve heard the complaints that Hook’s portions are too small, but do what I do. Go with your boss and let him pay. That way you can order more food. We love you Peter.
3241 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007
Georgia is looking a little rough around the edges these days. I think the grand dame of African American southern cuisine could use a face-lift, and at these prices, she can afford one. Service was terrible the day we went (near hostile) and the food wasn’t much better. A pity, when you consider that GB’s is one of the last bastions of upscale African American dining left in Washington DC.
950 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
Swan Oyster Depot
The Swan Oyster Depot simply plucks at my heart strings. A San Francisco institution, the Swan opened in 1912 and has been serving simple fresh seafood ever since. Be prepared to wait in line, the Swan only has 19 stools at the long counter. However, the staff is unbelievably friendly and you can expect to be offered a soda or beer while you wait. Once seated, you can order some of the freshest cracked crab, raw oysters, or fresh fish this side of the Pacific Ocean, but remember, this is San Francisco and Crab Louie Salads are king. Iceburg lettuce, sweet Dungeness crab and Russian dressing served with lots of the Swan’s freshly baked sourdough bread make this the quintessential San Francisco lunch.
Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St
(between California St & Sacramento St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
So there you have it...my final entry of 2007. I guess you can consider this post the equivalent of blog leftovers. I always love leftovers. Thanks for reading and I am looking forward to sharing more dining adventures with you all in 2008!