I don't post much here anymore. I eat out a lot. I take the good with the bad. I return to the good, and I don't recommend the bad. But tonight's meal, in view of the anticipation, was such a disappointment that I can not leave it unaddressed,
Lovely setting in the the Ritz Carlton Hotel at 22nd and M street. Sleek, sophisticated, great lighting, good crystal and silver, lots of professional help...appears promising.
Wine by the glass is warm. Wine by the bottle is poorly chosen and warm as well. Service can barley find its way around the room. I resorted to begging before an extra place-setting could be cleared.
Arugula and Artichoke Salad was fine, if slightly overdressed. Calamari was diced into small squares, under cooked and under seasoned. Pate en Choute was a warm, loose, perfect pork sausage, enrobed in a laden, doughy casing with nothing else on the plate.
Mussels were clean and well cooked, but included discs of chorizo and smoked paprika in the sauce. Hardly traditional, and frankly, not at all welcomed by our party. Flat Iron Steak was cooked perfectly medium rare, but it's wane taste had us wishing they had a proper bistro hanger steak offering instead. Chesapeake Seafood Stew was a nice piece of bass with three clams and three mussels in a warm, wonderful saffron broth. Except that the seafood stew at BlackSalt is 1,000X better, it was fine. French Fries would not rank in the top 10 in city.
Black Walnut Tart for dessert was such a loser it was removed from the bill.
This is not Eric Ripert at his best. Right now, this restaurant is an afterthought, not a destination.