Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tasting Menu - September 3, 2010

Spa weekend with my two best friends who also happen to be my sisters.  They are my kindred spirits on so many levels, and one relates to our constant pursuit of tasty food.  This weekend was no exception, and we commenced the eating fest at a relatively new, but acclaimed steak house in the W Hotel in Washington DC with an old and dear friend from my years working near the White House.  We embarked on the journey of the tasting menu.  It is just the most fun to linger over wine - or in our case this time, a Cosmo (sister tradition) - and look forward to each plate that always seems to be brought out at the ideal digestive moment.  Not sure how they do that.  The first course was a layered cylinder of paper thin radish slices, salmon tartare and avocado puree swimming in a gingery dressing. The crisp radishes, fresh salmon, creamy avocado and delightfully tangy dressing composed a balanced and satisfying dish that, to me, could have sufficed as a main course!  In an effort to avoid droning on with this level of commentary on so many courses (and because it's a bit late tonight), I'll summarize what followed:
  • a light salad of roasted beets, watercress and goat cheese
  • seared halibut with a kalamata olive-y concoction (a bit too salty for me, actually)
  • grilled petit filet served with sauteed spinach and homemade french fries presented vertically in a little cup
  • some sort of molton chocolate, gooey deliciousness topped with vanilla ice cream
The establishment we chose the following evening had an entirely different vibe; though our approach to the meal aligned with the tasting menu concept.  With a more "taverny" establishment came a far less gourmet experience. But as we know, fancy doesn't always equal delicious.  After our requisite Cosmos, we just ordered a smorgasbord of appetizers to share, and the waitress kindly staggered their delivery.  In retrospect, maybe they weren't the most amazing dishes I've ever tasted.  Still, the whole combination of the tavern vibe, pleasantly greasy apps, and impeccable company would have been pretty darn hard to top that night.

Before I go, I just can't speak about tasting menus without a brief homage to perhaps the most amazing and memorable feast ever: a  9-course binge session at Michele Richard's Citronelle - also in DC - a few years back....I still dream about it regularly and could (obviously) still describe each decadent course down to the plating.  I won't do that now, but if you ever find yourself in that vicinity, please go!!!


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