I tried Quinn's today and can relay the following report/impressions:
-- overall, the food was excellent. We tried: the soft-boiled duck egg with boquerones, the cheese gougeres, the pear/stilton/frisee salad, the duck & duck rillettes, the braised oxtail/gnocchi/crispy marrow, the wild boar "sloppy joe" with crispy sage and onions, the smoked hangar steak & frites, and the green bean/pickled onion/radish side. I think the biggest surprise was that I did not expect this to be a small plates restaurant -- this made the prices seem like less of a good value than I had expected initially from scanning the menu. None of the "plates" would stand alone as an entree (N.B. I did not try the 8 oz. burger (there's always time for burgers)) and for three of us, the food we ordered was maybe just barely enough. The clear standout was the oxtail -- the meat was rich, flavorful, and thoughtfully prepared, the gnocchi were light and delicate, and the marrow -- a thick round balanced on the top of the dish -- was lightly crisped, perfectly salted, a marvel of cholesterol-laden, umami goodness. The salad was excellent. We couldn't figure out what the two "ducks" were in the "duck & duck" rillette -- it seemed like just a duck rillette, served traditionally with grilled bread and pickled red onions. The green beans, even at $6, were a small portion for the value and cost to the kitchen, and the duck egg - a single egg split with a single sliced boquerone carefully partitioned over each half -- was pricey even at $5. The hangar steak and frites was delicious but again small (I couldn't help comparing the similarly-priced entrees at Le Pichet). The "sloppy joe" was a generous portion of ground boar served open-faced on a sesame seed bun with crispy fried sage, thinly-sliced deep-fried onions, and a deep-fried jalapeno on top. Of all of these, only the oxtail was something I'd return for, but all of the items made me eager to try the rest of the menu.
-- The space is gorgeous and feels like it's been there forever. Instantly comfortable, reasonably good acoustics, casual but not thrown together.
-- The cocktails -- both the specialty cocktails and the cocktails we had when we sat down, were extremely good and pleasingly strong. The specialty list offered a nice take on some classics without pretension.
-- The service was friendly and overall decent, although occasionally, as it got busy, it became difficult to get second drinks. This could have something to do with the fact that the restaurant is not even a week old.
As a long-time, cranky Capitol Hill resident, it's nice to have a destination restaurant for food right on the Hill -- I hope Quinn's stays friendly and low-key.
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