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Restaurants & Bars 3

Tragara in Bethesda--Awful!

James G | Feb 23, 2003 02:10 PM

I went to dinner at Tragara in Bethesda with some friends after trying to get seats at reasonable hours at 1789, Colvin Run, Da Domenico, and 2941 (all impossible). The friends had their wedding night dinner at Tragara several years ago and so have fond memories of the place. That would be the only reason to go there, though, since I found the food fairly disappointing, and overpriced.

As a starter I had a (rather good) chestnut soup, made with a duck stock base and without cream. This was the only highlight of the evening, though, since my main course--which I ordered at the strong recommendation of the waiter--was just uninspired; a flattened piece of veal, breaded and fried, and served with a coating of diced tomatoes and herbs. Flavorless and just blah. My better half had a starter of a portobello mushroom with a parmesan-and-tomato topping that looked like a medical experiment the way they served it. Very unappetizing. And the main course was a rack of lamb served attractively but unfortunately without any hint of flavor. How did they manage that?? For dessert, my amaretto cake was dry and also lacking in flavor, though my espresso was fairly good.

To top it off, while we ordered a 1997 Barbaresco, what they actually served was a 1996 of the same vintner. This put me in an awkward position, since I was not the orderer of the wine (our friends took care of that) and they did not notice the incorrect vintage. Since the 1997 was a much better year than the 1996, I think this was a flagrant case of misadvertising, and would have brought it immediately to the attention of the waiter had I been responsible for ordering it. As I was not, I was not sure what to do and did not want to embarass my friend, who was the one to whom the waiter presented the bottle for approval before opening it. What was the right thing to do in this case

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