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menu mbk -- longish report

I should start this review by saying that I've eaten a lot of Frederik dePue's food over the years. I like Frederik a lot, so you could call me prejudiced. But I have to say that last night's meal at Menu MBK-Kitchen was THE VERY BEST meal I've had in a long, long time. And I've been eating well these past several years!

The concept is simple. Six seats in front of the kitchen, with a five-course menu and, if you like, pairings (which we got). There is a monthly theme, so your shot at the dinner I'm going to describe is going to disappear in a few days, when it will be replaced by a "Virginia" themed dinner. Here goes:

First course: celery root, fois gras, hazelnuts, coffee sauce. I love celery root, but I've usually had it in heavy-ish preparations. This was light. It was a tangle of celery root, shredded so that it looked like capellini, with shavings of fois gras torchon, a few chopped hazelnuts, and coffee extract. There was a very light sauce of something, too, but I really don't know what it was. The whole dish was clear, light, and perfectly seasoned. The pairing was a champagne-like sparkling wine from New Mexico. Who knew?

Second: Rabbit loin, spinach sauce, leek. Another winner. This was a rabbit loin with a pate/forcemeat like surround made from the rest of the rabbit. It had a very light sauce that was basically spinach essence and grilled leeks as an accompaniment. Another absolute winner, served with a truly delicious Languedoc white.

Third: This was maybe one of the three best dishes I've ever eaten. (The others were the Clam Soup at the late, so much missed Jean Louis and the oysters three ways at Guy Savoy in Paris.) Very small flounder meuniere with wild mushrooms and a black trumpet mushroom panna cotta that I'll be dreaming about for a long time. The sauvignon blanc pairing worked very, very well -- I was surprised at how well.

Fourth: Beef tenderloin wrapped in Belgian endive with a cherry lambic sauce and a carrot that was braised in duck fat. The beef was excellent. The carrot was, if anything, even better -- sublimely carroty and sweet. At that point I'd had enough wine so that I can't fully remember what the pairing was, except it was mighty good.

Finally: A deconstructed Dame Blanche -- housemade, slightly salted vanilla gelato over a remarkably light and delicious chocolate crunchy thing, with a cigar-like cookie filled with bittersweet chocolate ganache. A great ending -- and paired with a fragrant and savory gin.

Boy, was it all good. I left out the bacon-flavored buttery Parker House rolls. I also left out part of the fun, which is the chance to talk with the chef and his kitchen band, as well as the very, very knowledgeable and nice sommelier.

I can't wait to go back, and to try the more casual Bistro that is one floor up from the Kitchen.

Mar 28, 2014
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Thanks all (especially John Talbott!)

The terrine was great - but the rest of the meal forgettable. Still, our batting average was excellent -- and I'd happily face jet lag for another shot at Aki's scallop soup.

Nov 01, 2013
ejr in France

Thanks all (especially John Talbott!)

Just back from Paris and want to thank those who were kind enough to respond to my questions. And especially John Talbott for his blogs about Garance and La Table d'Aki, where we had really terrific meals. The salad with truffles at Garance and the soup with scallops and pumpkin at La Table d'Aki were just wonderful. We were a little disappointed in both Terroir Parisien and Josephine Chez Dumonet (the fabled boeuf bourguinon was a little burned), but all in all a wonderful five days. Our blowout meal was at Guy Savoy and worth every euro -- but Garance and La Table d'Aki were nearly as memorable (well, the oysters at Guy Savoy may have been the best thing I ever ate but...) and a lot easier on the old wallet.

Oct 31, 2013
ejr in France

Paris help for Friday, Sunday and Monday dinners

Hmm. Darts they will be. I've seen the chatter on L'Ami Jean but don't know what to make of it -- I'm not scared off by the service if the food is still reliably good. Good to know about Dauphin -- if you had one Friday bistro-ish dinner, would that be your choice? Semilla was on the Sunday list -- not sure why I left it off the post (or Terroir Parisien).

Oct 03, 2013
ejr in France

Paris help for Friday, Sunday and Monday dinners

I'm struggling with options for a quick trip to Paris at the end of the month. Arriving on a Friday and leaving on a Wednesday morning. We have Guy Savoy on Saturday and La Table d'Aki on Tuesday. I'm thinking Chez L'Ami Jean on Friday (although Le Chateaubriand keeps rearing its head in my head), and then for Sunday and Monday? Thinking of Les Papilles or Fish la Boissonerie on Sunday and Josephine Chez Dumonet or Bistrot Paul Bert on Monday.

Good and complementary choices? Best options? Would love help!!!

Oct 03, 2013
ejr in France

DC for Two Nights - 2 Dinners and a Lunch/Brunch - Need Help

If you like seafood, try Azur -- it's on three levels, but there is a large first floor table that works well if you need accessibility. The food is great. The first floor is partly the bar, so it's not the most tranquil (but it's not the most hopping, either), but you'll have a great time.

Jul 29, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Bay Area guy visiting Virginia/Maryland/DC area for a week...restaurant recs.

I would try to hit Table. Not for cocktails but for atmosphere and food. There's also a great roofdeck, which is a good thing because it means that during the summer more tables are available!

Jun 27, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Azur? (Penn Quarter)

It's terrific. They do have oyster happy hour and it's a great deal (cocktails are great but not $1 or close to it). The food is pretty awesome apart from the oysters, too. We had great fried calamari, tuna tartare, and a pot of steamed clams in wine and herbs with THE BEST FRENCH FRIES I'VE HAD IN DC. (Be warned!)

May 16, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Visiting DC for a short trip, looking for suggestions

If you can get in -- and it's a big if -- I"d head straight for Table for dinner. Good beer, great, great food.

Apr 26, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

NY Hound coming to DC- Dinner Idea?

sorry - just saw this. I've had the best coq au vin I'd ever tasted there, plus a great endive salad and a delicious bison steak frites. The thai mussels were good, too. For dessert, the hot chocolate mousse and the pear dessert were awesome, as was the apple crostata.

Mar 20, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

NY Hound coming to DC- Dinner Idea?

Run, do not walk, to Table on N Street near the Convention Center. Not because it's romantic (it isn't, really) but because it's really, really good. They take reservations now, which is a big plus.

Mar 18, 2013
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help with the impossible -- Sunday lunch in Paris in August

We're flying through CDG and have a five hour layover so we're hoping to come into Paris for lunch -- on a Sunday in August (tomorrow, actually). Any ideas???

Aug 20, 2011
ejr in France

Locolat in Adams Morgan - Report

Another great thing -- the cheese and sharp mustard sandwich. Really, truly delicious.

Jun 22, 2011
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

breakfast in the 7th?

Thanks! I didn't know that Kayseri had tables. All we need is coffee and some good bread or pastry, so that sounds perfect.

May 28, 2011
ejr in France

breakfast in the 7th?

what could be better? And good coffee somewhere nearby?

May 27, 2011
ejr in France

breakfast in the 7th?

Does La Patisserie des Reves have seats? It's been on my list!

May 27, 2011
ejr in France

breakfast in the 7th?

We're staying on the Rue du Bac near the Rue de l'Universite -- where would be good spots for breakfast? Could be good coffee/pastries or any other kind of breakfast that's not too, too far away. thanks!

May 27, 2011
ejr in France

lake garda?

Hi -- we're going to the Gargnano area in mid-June and have no idea where to eat. I've heard mixed things about La Tortuga (which I ate in around 20 years ago and had a good, reasonably priced meal -- not so sure that I'd have either experience today!). We're looking for both hole-in-the-wall 'hounder type experiences and also just plain old wonderful food. Thanks!

May 18, 2011
ejr in Italy

Boulevard or Gary danko?

Thanks, all. Sounds like I may have posed the wrong question: so, for a memorable meal on a Monday night, and given a late Saturday at RN74 and Sunday at La Ciccia or Range, where to????
Ps -- you guys are great!

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La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

RN74
301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Mar 13, 2011
ejr in San Francisco Bay Area

4 Days in DC

PersonaPly I would skip Bistro du Coin. About the only thing it has going for it is the foosballtable upstairs. If you feel like mussels frites or steak frites, I'd recommend either Et Voila or Bistrod'oc. Both good with kids, although Et Voila is a Little cramped.

Mar 12, 2011
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Boulevard or Gary danko?

I know it's a bit of a weird question --but for our Monday night in SF, which is the better choice? We've never been to either so we need some help! We'll be in San Francisco for just three nights and were planning on RN73 (late Saturday) and La Ciccia (Sunday) for the others. Thanks!

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La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

Mar 12, 2011
ejr in San Francisco Bay Area

NYC Hound Coming to DC

If you can do Proof or Corduroy, do. The restaurant in the Hyatt at 11th and H is good, too -- I think it's called Cure. Or take the metro to Palena (early -- before 6:30) and grab a cafe table.

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Palena
3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Jun 04, 2010
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where to eat in Fes

We're going to Fes for four days in November -- does anyone have recommendations? Good and cheap, good and expensive (but worth it), or just good? Thanks.

Oct 27, 2009
ejr in Middle East & Africa

Bostonian Needs a Rec for Anniversary Dinner

Lepic is smaller and a little more bistro-y than Marcel's. Both are excellent/

Oct 15, 2009
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Prague recommendations

I, too, am in Prague right now and have two strong recommendations. The first is Cerny Kohout, warm and wonderful. It is owned and operated by a husband and wife, who are the chef and sole waitress, respectively. The food is excellent and it's very charming. The second is Svata Klara, which is well outside the tourist areas, and kind of in the middle of nowhere (i.e., a nice residential area) -- make sure you negotiate with your cab driver before you get in -- but is terrific, too. It's in a natural cave and has excellent food, although it's not as down-home-feeling as Cerny Kohout. It's very elegant, in fact. Both serve traditional Czech food and it's great.

Aug 09, 2009
ejr in International Archive

prague-vienna-salzburg!

Thanks so much -- I get hungry just thinking about it!

Jul 31, 2009
ejr in International Archive

prague-vienna-salzburg!

Hi -- I'm heading out for a few weeks in the Czech republic and Austria. I figure I'll catch as catch can in the country but am trying to plan out the cities. Here's what I'm thinking as the line-up:

Prague: Either Bellevue or Kampa Park [which???]
Cerny Kohout
Svata Klara
Bistro Sipek
one other -- Flambee? V Zatisi? Cafe Savoy?

Vienna: Vestibul
Osterreicher in MAK
Schnattl
a heuriger -- which???
Schilling

Salzburg: Looks like pickings are slimmer.
Goldener Hirsch
Pfefferschraff
Hangar 7

What am I missing? What should I skip?

Thanks!

Jul 29, 2009
ejr in International Archive

Melk??

I'll be in Melk in early August. Is there any place I shouldn't miss?

Jun 25, 2009
ejr in International Archive

chef's table at teatro goldoni

Thanks so much to the hounds who have talked about this. We went last night and had a truly great meal -- the equal of any we've had anywhere (including the Michelin biggies) and better than any we can remember in DC. It was a treat from start to finish. The wine pairings complemented the food, too. There wasn't one wrong note. But be sure to go hungry! The meal was 20 or so mostly bite-sized courses. The chef is as nice as his food is terrific.

Jun 06, 2009
ejr in Washington DC & Baltimore

Looking for old fashioned drive-in restaurants.

It's far from you, but there's an A&W in Middlebury VT -- complete with roller-skating carhops.

May 14, 2009
ejr in Northern New England