Stream of (mostly) Restaurant Consciousness

1 July 2009

I have long maintained the following truths about the brunch scene in Washington, DC:

  • It is largely unimpressive with unimaginative cooking.
  • It is generally overpriced given the aforementioned mediocrity.
  • If I must go out for brunch, I would rather go to the exceptions to the prior two truths (Cashion’s, anywhere Gillian Clarke is cooking) or someplace with inexpensive mimosas because most place’s eggs are just eggs.

So it was that I found myself in a place with inexpensive mimosas and just average eggs on not too recent Sunday afternoon.  I was in the company of a food-loving woman with whom I used to be friends and to whose good graces I wanted to return.  Inevitably, our conversation centered on restaurants and food and I soon learned that she had never been to Restaurant Eve.  With a quick invitation, I returned to good graces…

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Restaurant Eve has for several years been considered, by anyone who knows anything about food, among the top five restaurants in the city and among the top fifty in the country.  Dining there is an exercise in elegant simplicity with a staff that defines superlatives for the region.  I have lauded  them before; the distinction in this mentioning is that I am stating without equivocation that it is the single best bar at which to dine in the area.

Comfortably elegant with reserved décor, Eve’s bar makes it clear that its focus is trained on libation and food.  You can have all of the “bar chef’s” in the world and I’d better serious cash that none of ‘em can make a Manhattan as good as Tammy.  As always, the food was rock-ya-socks good… which was rather important because the date decidedly sucked.…

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The date may have sucked but I did have the asparagus dish which inspired (minor inspiration, but inspiration nonetheless) the most awesomest salad ever

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That was a dish that formed in my head while I was walking through Whole Foods shopping for ingredients to be used later that evening.  It reminded me of a recent challenge on The Next Food Network Star, which got me thinking about my friend/ NFNS contestant, Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s.  I don’t know if it is simply the editing, a mutation induced by the presence of cameras, or an act of desperation to remain before the cameras, but I didn’t recognize the Teddy that I saw on this show.  The Teddy I know is generous, magnanimous, gregarious and a consummate gentleman.  The Teddy on the NFNS is… let’s just say, he’s not that.  This is explained in more (a lot more) detail by a blog post at the Degustation Blog written by one of Teddy’s colleagues at Granville Moore’s…

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Speaking of Granville Moore’s, despite the new crowds that Teddy’s television appearance hath wrought, this place remains one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  A recent date there found the Moules Fromage Blue (Mussels cooked in a white wine, blue cheese, and bacon broth) to still be the best in driving distance as were the Frites.  The horseradish crème fraîche sauce surely has crack as its secret ingredient, and I will never tire of the rustic charm of the diminutive décor.  My internet date on the other hand…

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Why do people insist on including some variation of “as comfortable in a dive bar as a formal occasion” in their online dating profiles?  Besides being a useless cliché, I find it false for most people.

The first sign of trouble for a date that began promisingly enough with drinks in Chinablocks* came when we left to head towards H Street.  As I was trying to hail a cab, I noticed that the bus which would deposit us at GM’s doorstep, and in only seven minutes, was a block away.  My date balked at the notion of riding the bus.

Bowing to her preference, as is a gentleman’s wont, we caught a cab.  As we moved east, her expression began to change as we moved further from her Northwest DC comfort-zone.  Passing Union Station, she inquired “We’re not going to NE are we?”  I should have turned the cab (and the date) in another direction right then.

GM’s is far from a dump but this woman used her cocktail napkin to “wipe-off” her seat before in a move that made me think I was out with a “Female Niles Crane” but without the searing wit.  Sure the décor is sparingly rustic, but it has character that usually takes years to form.  And in my judgmental nature (shocking to no one,) my date’s discomfort with this place showed me that she had no character of her own…

Have a great holiday weekend everybody.  Be well, eat well, drink well, and I’ll see you all on Monday.

*Chinatown in DC is too small to be described as such, therefore, Chinablocks is more appropriate.  Further, I refuse to call it Penn Quarter.