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My dinner at Elysium (somewhat lengthy)

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My dinner at Elysium (somewhat lengthy)

James G | Aug 25, 2002 08:46 AM

In the end we chose to go to Elysium last night when a table became available and to ditch our table at Maestro. We had no regrets, though things did not start out auspiciously. Despite the flurry of phone calls between the restaurant and me to let me know that a table was available and for me to accept the table, when we arrived they had no record of me. After some tense moments it turned out that they had written my first name in rather than my (somewhat unusual) surname. Phew.

We were seated at our table in a very lovely room with nice artwork and Colonial decor. Sure enough, the chef soon came to our table to discuss what was available and learn about our tastes. I explained that I eat anything but had a yen for seafood, and that my partner is more picky and eats no fish or seafood. I also explained that I am going to Asia for three months and wanted nothing done in an Asian style. We also went for the matched flight of wines.

The meal began with an amuse-bouche of tuna tartare on a crispy tuille of some sort (as a nice touch, knowing that my companion eats no seafood, they gave him a similar thing but with tomato and mozzarella instead of the tuna; unfortunately, the waiter did not serve us the right dishes and failed to point out that they were different--as I looked at the tomato and cheese on my plate and saw no tuna, I realized what had happened and we traded plates) served with a glass of Italian prosecco.

Our appetizers were excellent: I had a dish of two large prawns, grilled in a garlic and pine nut sauce that was incredibly lively and bold, complementing nicely the flavor of the prawns. This was served with an Oregonian blended white that seemed to contain just about every white wine grape that grows in OR. My partner meanwhile had a dish of venison sausages (the aroma alone was intoxicating) served with a glass of South African pinotage.

The next course was (for me) two nice pieces of seared Ahi tuna in a tomato coulis with quinoa served with a glass of Riesling and (for my partner) marinated boar with sauteed onions and a glass of Zinfandel. This course was a little less exciting than the first, but still excellent.

Our main courses were two large sea scallops, sauteed with corn, wilted greens and a lovely buttery sauce served with a Chablis, and baby rack of lamb with lamb sausage and a Gigondas. The scallops were among the best I have had, though I am not a huge fan of Chablis; the lamb was exquisite, as was the Gigondas.

The salad course was not catered to us specifically and was disappointing: a terrine of shiitake mushrooms, figs, and anchovies (despite my partner's dislike for fishy things) that had little flavor and that neither of us finished.

Our dessert was a selection of fruits and berries served along with a range of mini pastries (coconut tart, tiramisu, canoli, etc), served with a Sauternes.

We were both very pleased with our dinners, and are determined to come again when I return to DC in December. We'll know to mention all my partner's dislikes (he is also not a fruit eater, and hates coffee, so the whole dessert was not a hit for him), and will be sure to give all possible permutations of our name upon arrival.

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