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Suggestions for Rehoboth?

We're spending a couple of days in Rehoboth Beach in late September. We need recommendations for lunch and dinner. Any comments on Blue Moon or Eden?

Jul 25, 2009
Lauman in Mid-Atlantic

Clubby restaurants in DC?

I also grew up in LA, but haven't been to M&F. I think that the Jockey Club in the Fairfax Hotel, at least in its heyday, may have been what you're looking for. It was renovated in the last few years and I have not been there since, so not sure how much of a 'clubby' atmosphere it retains. http://www.thejockeyclub-dc.com/

Jul 23, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Quiet Lunch Near Brookings Institution

The patio at Tabard Inn would be perfect. If your stepdaughter can call ahead and explain the situation and arrange to sit on the lovely and quiet patio, that would be perfect. Indoors there is very loud, even for those with good hearing. http://www.tabardinn.com/restaurant

Jul 19, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Places for an Engagement dinner?

Ray's the Steaks in Arlington?

Jul 12, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant Eve - I wanted to love you

We made our first visit to the Tasting Room at Restaurant Eve last week. I have wanted to dine there for quite some time and I fully expected to love it. Sadly, I did not. In fact, I was surprised by how much I did not love it.

Let me start with the positives. The ambiance of the restaurant itself is lovely. I adored the look, the feel, and the sound of it -- the soft edges – it was a nice change from the hard-edged look and sound of so many restaurants today. This made me want to love it even more. The service was friendly – perhaps too friendly – we learned a bit more than we really needed to know about our server’s budding career as a writer for the Food Network. The gin and tonics, with house-made tonic, that we had to start the evening were far and away the best version of that drink I’ve ever had.

What I didn’t love:

(1) Sadly, the food. Price-wise, Eve has placed itself in the same rarified air as CityZen, Komi, and Marcel’s. We have dined at all 3 of these restaurants over the last year and at each of them we more than loved the food. At Komi and CityZen we were blown away by the food. At Eve, we had the 5-course tasting menu and with the various amuses, palate cleansers, etc. we were served at least 9 different plates. Only one of these plates caused us to gush with pleasure – that was a soup that was not one of the 5 menu courses. The server spoke so fast that I couldn’t catch what it was – it seemed to be a tomato soup with a smoky accent. Of the rest of the meal, my husband really enjoyed the Roasted Whitewood Farm Beef Filet and the palate cleanser frozen gazpacho (I did not, which is strange because I love gazpacho – the tomato portion had a strange taste); I enjoyed the Sashimi of Hamachi – very fresh and enhanced by the Yuzu Vinaigrette. Two of the courses (the Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi and the Wild Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Custard) were over-salted and oddly flavored, though I must say that the gnocchi themselves were very delicate and exquisite; the mushroom custard had the consistency and taste of tofu, not a plus. For the cheese course, my husband’s was excellent (Terrine of Gorgonzola) and mine (Crottin de Chavignol) was wrapped in a phyllo dough that rendered the cheese invisible and tasteless and was not helped by the Sauvignon Blanc Gelee. Desserts were NWTC – not worth the calories (Almond Financier – very dry; Praline Crumb Doughnuts – nothing special). The breads were also a disappointment. Served toward the beginning of the meal, they consisted of a basket of 5 small rolls with a plate of Irish Kerry Gold butter (naturally!). When served, the rolls were so hot they could not be touched – obviously fresh from an oven. By the time they cooled enough to be touched, they were hard and difficult to break open and even the butter could not rescue them from nothingness. (These are nothing like the Parker Rolls at CityZen). Finally, we were served a plate of sweets/pastries with the bill. We both agreed that all of these were horrible. Not just ok, but horrible. Batting average: my husband loved 2 and enjoyed 2 of the 9 plates; I loved 1 and enjoyed 1 of the 9 plates. The rest were either bad or forgettable.

(2) Wine pairings: I had the 5 wine pairings. At $70 for 5, 2-oz pours, I expected to be served some really delicious wines. Not the case. They may have complimented the food, but none of the wines were exceptional and 3 of them were no better, taste-wise, than a factory wine. The wine pairings I have had at CityZen have been exquisite, for about the same price. I’d recommend that people just order a $70 bottle of wine – you’ll get a better wine and more of it.

(3) Service: I said earlier that the service was friendly and that is true. That does not mean that the service was of the professional level one would expect at a restaurant at this price-point. I am comparing the service to that we’ve received at CityZen and Marcel’s. In both places the service was impeccable. It was so finely honed, so professional, it blew you away as much as the food. At Komi the service was also excellent in a more laid-back way, inviting interaction with the server. At Eve, many of the servers seemed inexperienced and seemed to struggle with the menu terms. When dishes were brought to the table they were served in a rather haphazard way across the table rather than from the side, such that I often feared that my wine or water glass would be knocked over. Also, I heard a server at the next table describe a dish in a different way than it had been described to us by our server. Is that fish (sugar toads) from the Chesapeake Bay or from the North Atlantic? The young sommelier (not Todd Thrasher, obviously) really needs to study his pronunciation. As someone who lived many years in Europe, the way he mangled the names and regions of the Italian and French wines was almost painful to me. It was only the next day after I read the names of the wines on the menu we had been given, that I understood exactly what we had been served.

(4) Pacing: Slow. It seemed that we waited a very long time between courses. As we did the wine pairing, the wine would be delivered to the table without description and would sit there for 15 minutes before the next course would arrive. Then there would be a wait for the Sommelier to drop by and identify the wine. Twenty minutes could elapse between courses, during which time I have been sitting with nothing to drink and the wine’s temperature has dropped and so has my enthusiasm.

Considering that the cost of the meal, with 2 cocktails, 1 wine pairing, bottle of sparkling water, plus tax and tip, was over $400 for 2 – the experience was disappointing at best, unacceptable for us.

Jul 12, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Inn at Little Washington - Concern

I have been to the Inn several times since 1990. Our most recent visits were in April of 2006 and 2007. I have to say that on those two most recent visits, the food did not wow me the way it had previously. Now, that could be because my culinary experiences have vastly increased since my earlier visits and thus, it takes a lot more to impress me. And, it’s not to say that the food wasn’t excellent, just not over the top incredible, as the prices would suggest. However, I have to say that my experiences at Komi and CityZen in the last year were better than my last two meals at the Inn.

In all those visits, I have only stayed overnight at the Inn one time; that was in April 2007 and only because we had been given an extremely generous gift certificate that allowed us to stay overnight and have dinner as well. We stayed in the Mayor’s House which is in its own building across the street from the Inn itself. I can say that we found it to be impeccable, absolutely no complaints, and we have stayed in high-end hotels all over the world. And it should have been, considering that it cost at the time $1000 per night! I have no experience with any of the other rooms at the Inn.

Some advice: when you book your dinner reservation at the Inn, be sure to specify that you want an individual table and do not want to be seated on a banquette. Our last dinner there we were on a banquette and I felt like I was rubbing elbows with the woman at the next table. My husband and I felt we needed to whisper in order to keep our conversation private. It was not comfortable, and at those prices, that’s not acceptable. Also, make sure you get a tour of the kitchen – they frequently offer it, but sometimes forget.

Finally, if staying at the Inn is too pricey, there is a wonderful alternative in town called the Foster Harris House. A room there costs about a third of what a room at the Inn costs. We have stayed there several times and it has always been wonderful, both the accommodations and the breakfast. In fact, we both agreed that the breakfast at the Foster Harris House was actually better than the breakfast we had at the Inn the one time we stayed there in 2007. Not that the Inn’s breakfast was bad, not at all! Just that the FHH breakfast was truly exceptional and more personal. Oh, and they had a great young dog, a yellow Lab, who will let you play with her in the backyard, if you’re so inclined.

Jun 30, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Anniversary Restaurants

So sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience. Our experience was far better than what you describe, but then it was 18 months ago. Maybe things have gone down hill since then.

Jun 29, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Taco Cabana in DC?

I had to run an errand near there this morning, so I drove by. There is a Mexican restaurant at that address in a little strip mall called Seneca Park Plaza -- it's on the left as you're drivng south on Clopper Road, just past the intersection with 118. The restaurant was closed at the time, so I couldn't go in to ask questions. It's hard to tell what the name of it is. There's some signage on the front window, the largest of which is the word TACO in large red letters. No sign of the word Cabana. It is not a pink building and there is no patio, it's just sandwiched between other shops.

Jun 27, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Looking for Jewish pickles in DC

I know the original post is a year old, so this may not benefit the OP. Others may be interested.

I recently discovered the best pickles I've ever eaten and I'm pretty picky about pickles. They're Guss's Kosher Pickles (Full Sours) which I found in the produce section at Roots Market in Olney. Bought them on a whim and now we can't get enough of them! They're very spicy with a garlicky taste. Guss's is located in Cedarhurst, NY. I'd love to know where else they might be available locally as Olney isn't very convenient for me on a regular basis. If there are no Guss's pickles in our refrigerator, it's a sad day at our house!

Jun 26, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

One last hurrah!

I did not mean to imply that the food at Marcel's was old-fashioned. Not at all. Quite the opposite. The food is up to date, the ambiance is of a different era. Frankly, I love the ambiance, but it may not be for everyone.

Completely agree with your description of CityZen. However, in our several visits there we've been seated next to the kitchen and the noise level was such that we had a hard time hearing the server describe each dish, as well as a hard time talking to each other at our table.

I know that a view of the kitchen is normally considered a good thing. However, at CityZen, I don't think it's all that. You can't really see what they're doing and the lights and noise are intrusive.

Jun 18, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

One last hurrah!

CityZen and Marcel's are two of my absolute favorite restaurants and, based on the food alone, I would have a hard time choosing between them. Both serve outstanding, excellent food. Indy's description of the Asian or French leaning of each is good. Both also have excellent service -- best in the city. Where they differ greatly, however, is in ambiance. Marcel's is very elegant, romantic, quiet, dim lights -- almost like a restaurant from another era. CityZen is loud, trendier -- definitely a restaurant of this era. The decision really comes down to, what appeals to you more?

Jun 18, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

10th Annv Equinox Dinner

It's running for June, July and August. There's a different menu for each month. We have reservations for August -- can't wait! Here's a link to the different menus:
http://www.equinoxrestaurant.com/menu...

Jun 18, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Romantic dinner near Herndon/Reston area (or Tyson's Corner)

Second 2941...it meets all of your criteria.

Jun 17, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant with good seafood and outdoor dining?

Yes, the weather and the setting were ideal! This lunch was to allow my daughter and I a chance to catch up as she has just returned home from college and the setting was absolutely perfect for the purpose of our get-together.

Daniel, I'm sure we ordered much differently than you do typically. It was lunch and my companion was under 21, so infused vodka drinks were not involved. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it even more, had they been! We only ordered one entree each, so we didn't sample the breadth of the menu, by any means. I had the grilled rainbrow trout with roasted corn, tomatoes and watercress. The trout was a bit overcooked and both the fish and vegetables were swimming in a butter-based sauce that had not been mentioned on the menu. Perhaps my disappointment was a matter of expectations as I was not expecting such a heavy sauce, or in fact, any sauce at all. I was expecting a simply grilled fish and simply roasted vegetables. My daughter ordered the crabcakes and she said she enjoyed them, but I did not sample them myself.

May 22, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Anniversary Restaurants

I can recommend L'Auberge Provencale in White Post, VA. We celebrated my husband's birthday there about 18 months ago and we were very pleased with both the restaurant and the accommodations.

http://www.laubergeprovencale.com/res...

May 22, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant with good seafood and outdoor dining?

Thanks to DanielK and BrianV for the recommendation of Sea Catch. We had a leisurely lunch there this afternoon on their very nice deck overlooking the canal. Exactly what I was hoping for. The food was fine, not exceptional, but the setting made up for it.

May 22, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant with good seafood and outdoor dining?

Going out to lunch with my 20-year-old daughter on Friday and she has requested seafood. The weather forecast looks good so far, so I'd love to be able to sit outdoors. My first two thoughts were BlackSalt or Pesce, but I don't think either of them has an outdoor area, although I may be wrong about that. DC is preferred, but we can also go to MD or VA. I'd really appreciate any suggestions you have.

May 17, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

top picks in Bethesda/Chevy Chase?

In addition to the previous suggestions, I'd add Grapeseed (wine bar with good nouveau American cuisine) and Passage to India (an excellent Indian restaurant), both in Bethesda. Black Market Bistro in Kensington has nice brunches and dinners. If you both appreciate a good steak, you could drive to nearby Silver Spring to Ray's the Classics.

May 10, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help: Need a backup for Teatro Goldoni

I would call Komi immediately. It's a small restaurant and they book up well in advance. It may already be too late to get a reservation for a weekend date in late May.

May 10, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help: Need a backup for Teatro Goldoni

Komi definitely does not accept reservations for groups larger than four people...that may seem weird, but they have their reasons, and, once you've dined there, those reasons make a lot of sense.

I rank Komi and CityZen equally in terms of the quality of the dining experience. They're just very different experiences. I think your group would be very happy at CityZen.

May 09, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

mah jong in Rockville

I'd check with:

Panera in the Fallsgrove Center
Mayorga Coffee in King Farm
Caribou Coffee on Norbeck Road

May 08, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Goodstone Inn - you will leave hungry

15 years?! Then your comment was truly unfair, as you made no note of the fact that your experience was so long ago. As a general rule of thumb, I think it’s unfair to post comments or reviews about restaurants that one has not visited in recent years, unless those remarks begin with the admission that the experience dates from a long time ago. That goes for both negative and positive remarks. Fifteen years is an eternity in the life of a restaurant. Most good restaurants are not static. The restaurant you visit today will not be the same restaurant you visited years ago.

May 07, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Rockville Farmers Market?

Good to know! Thanks.

May 05, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Rockville Farmers Market?

>>Doesn't this completely defeat the purpose of a farmer's market? Spending 2 hours driving, plus $50 in gas? <<

Exactly! This is why I was asking about the Rockville market, because it's about 7 minutes from my house. If I wanted to spend half the day driving and looking for parking, I'd just go to the Dupont Market every week.

May 04, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Goodstone Inn - you will leave hungry

Have to agree -- I've NEVER left Obelisk hungry -- I think the serving portions are just right.

May 04, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

New Ray's the Steaks open for business

Granted, this is 3 months old, but it comes straight from Michael Landrum:
The original name was Ray's the Net, but it's changed to Ray's the Catch. Of course, he also says that he planned to open it by Feb 24th, so who knows what's going on.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bl...

May 03, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

New Ray's the Steaks open for business

Ray's the Catch will be the name of the new place.

May 03, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Rockville Farmers Market?

With the opening of farmers market season upon us, I'm looking for some advice. We moved to Rockville from Frederick about 18 months ago and last summer I drove many Saturday mornings up to the West Frederick market on Baughmans Lane that I've been patronizing for many years because I love it and I know the vendors very well. I can't keep doing that. I need to find a market closer to home. So, I'm curious, do any of you patronize the Rockville market on Saturdays or Wednesday afternoons? Do you have any advice for me? Vendors you especially like? Thanks so much!

May 01, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Mother's Day Help

Two places in Maryland that are quite nice and I think would be in your price range:

Persimmon in Bethesda
http://www.persimmonrestaurant.com/

Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park
http://www.blackmarketrestaurant.com/

Apr 27, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore

Walkable chow spots from Twinbrook or Rockville Metro

Oh, there was plenty of food. Between the 3 of us there were 3 small plates (the wontons, cucumber salad, shredded radish) and 2 entree size dishes (spicy noodle with spinach and pork and eggplant with basil and garlic.) No one went hungry! It's just that the wontons are so delicious I could eat the entire plate myself! In fact, of all those dishes, the only one I probably wouldn't order again is the shredded radish. It was fine, just not nearly as delcious as the other four.

Apr 26, 2009
Lauman in Washington DC & Baltimore