I had dinner here with my girlfriend Stephanie on 3-3-2017. Oh. My. God. Guys, this might be my new fav restaurant in D.C. Think Rose’s Luxury without all the hassle to get in. The food was outstanding, the servers were so dedicated and while the space wasn’t quite as spectacular as Rose’s, it was very close.
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
Food & Drink: 5 out of 5
From the minute I walked in the adorable hostesses were super friendly and so down to earth. They seated us in a great table in the front window with a view of the entire dining room. The decor is similar to other restaurants in a light wood, mid-century modern, Edison bulb kind of way but it had this whole Caribbean-inspired cool blue theme running throughout. The music was also calm and relaxing. In fact I liked it so much I was shazaaming songs to buy.
The only thing I didn’t love was that the booths weren’t that comfortable and the chairs had a slightly spartan look to them as well. Something about the decor almost reminded me of a slightly dated, yet well-loved restaurant in a college town somewhere.
The servers were so into their jobs without being pretentious it was amazing. We chatted with both our waitress and the food runner at length. They were both so happy to talk about food they clearly loved and very patient answering all of our questions. Stephanie even complimented our waitress on her “artful descriptions” of menu items.
At one point a family with a two-year-old was seated next to us. The servers were just as engaged with the little girl as they were all the adults. This really speaks to the general vibe of this place: laid back, welcoming and intent on making sure everyone just has a great experience.
Left – sparkling water on tap. You know this is plus 1 million points for me. Also the sparkling glasses were tall and the still were smaller, making refills really easy on the staff.
Right – orange, apricot and fennel shrub. This was a drinking vinegar palate cleaner and man was it good. They brought it to everyone upon being seated.
Here’s my lovely date Stephanie enjoying hers!
Carlos Slim (mezcal, lemon, cane syrup, egg white, Chateau Musar red wine float). I obviously asked for a cocktail with egg whites and/or a coupe. I learned my lesson that maybe I should just ask for what the server recommends. This was just not my style. I guess it must have been the mezcal but it had a bitter, smoky flavor that I didn’t love.
Seaweed sourdough (ciccioli, pickled fennel stems). Well I didn’t know pickled fennel stems were going to be my new favorite food but they sure are. They were like super vinegar-y celery and so, so good. The ciccioli was a pork and lard spread that wasn’t super flavorful but had a texture almost like tuna salad. The bread itself reminded me of a rustic country Italian bread in texture, with ribbons of toasted seaweed running throughout.
Stracciatella (chard, dates, apple, shallot). Holy shit-za-moly, as my mom would say. This was fantastic. The milky richness of the cheese was absolutely fantastic. The bites with friend shallots almost had a French onion dip flavor while the date and apple bites had a subtle sweetness. Oh man was this good.
This is also where the waitress changed our share plates (points for that!). I note this in every post because while it’s so basic, it irks me when they don’t do it. These dishes weren’t made to all be eaten as one and, without a clean plate, that’s what ends up happening.
Lamb ribs (oregano, grilled lemon, fig, olive, fennel and onion yogurt). These. were. so. good. Okay breathe Kyley–I get a little verklempt talking about this dish. This was one of the best entrees I’ve ever had in my life. I loved these ribs so much I would go back just to eat them. Apparently the preparation changes periodically but these are always on the menu so you have to get them.
The part that stood out the most was the marinade: it was a smoky, vinegar-y, slightly spicy flavor that was perfect offset by the smooth, cool labneh. The mustard seeds popped ever so slightly in your mouth. The fig puree and tart grilled lemons also added depth to the flavors in this perfectly contrasting yet complimentary way. I brought the leftovers home to my husband and he said they were even good cold. Also after we ate these, the waitress brought us hot towels to clean out hands–such a nice touch.
Carrot and pineapple cake (coconut, pecans, pineapple, brown butter). I’m kind of sad we ended with this because I didn’t love it and the rest of the meal was so stellar. The cake itself was almost salty which would have worked with a really contrasting sweet flavor. Unfortunately the brown butter semifreddo was not that. I’d pass on this next time.
We had an absolutely fanstastic, wonderfully amazing meal here. I wasn’t head over heels in love with the decor the way I was Rose’s, but the food was as good if not better. And man, the service was just great. Honestly if I had to recommend one restaurant, it might have to be Tail Up Goat, if for no other reason than the fact you don’t have to go through all the rigmarole of the line at Rose’s.