Had my birthday dinner at 2941 last night. Just me and a friend, not a big party or anything. We had a very nice time. Although we didn't experience the painful glaring sun that Joe H. described below, I do agree 100% with his assessment that the place becomes much "warmer", perhaps even cosy (if that can be said about a space with such a high ceiling!) once the sun is down.
Yesterday was the last day for their winter menu -- a new spring menu starts today, but I don't know anything about it other than the NY Strip Steak is still on it. (My friend had that, and was curious if it was going to make the cut to the new menu.)
I started with grilled foie gras on sauteed rhubarb -- the rhubarb was an inspired match. The sweetness matched well, and the acidity of the rhubarb helped cut through the incredible richness of the foie. I have to say the amount of foie served is verging on inedible -- four slices, each between 2 and 3 square inches. I had a hard time finishing my portion (my friend was very willing to help me!). He had the bay scallops in brown butter and herbs, which were yummy. Not too rich from the butter, and the fresh herbs were a nice touch. I detected tarragon, which I think is a perfect match to shellfish and butter. Two thumbs up so far.
For mains, I had the duck breast with braised endive and parsnip puree, and some sweetish sauce that I can't recall how it was described. My friend had the NY Strip, which came with braised beef cheeks. He thought the braised beef cheeks were the highlight of his meal -- not that the steak wasn't good (it was), but he thought the beef cheeks were a wonderful example of "The essence of beef." from someone who's family used to raise cattle, I'll take that as a compliment. My duck was very good. Both meals were cooked how we had ordered them -- medium rare in both cases.
To go with our meal, we had a bottle of Carneros Pinot Noir. We had wanted to get an Oregon Pinot from Erath, but they were out. The wine list has a smaller markup than a lot of places with food on this level, I think. It seems to be around the 100% level, instead of 200-300%.
We also had dessert -- I had the apple terrine -- which was very interesting -- kind of like reduced apple slices cooked into a mold -- and friend had the butterscotch cream. Both had interesting accompaniments (quince jelly, whipped cream and gingersnaps with mine). Also the frequently discussed cotton candy (tasted like watermelon), homemade marshmellows (very rich) and the chocolate almonds.
I'd definitely go back -- I just wish it weren't so far away in the middle of nowhere! (I live in Old Town Alexandria, and it's a bit of a hike -- of course, it helps if one doesn't get on 66 E from 123 instead of 495 S!!! Bad navigation on my part -- who'd have thunk they'd stick another interstate in between the two 495 exits!)
As for the wonderful breads that start the meal, my favorite was the apricot-pistachio. As we left, they brought us a loaf of something (forgot to look at it before I left the house this morning to see if I could figure out which type) -- I just hope I can do justice to it before it goes stale!
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