To celebrate our recent anniversary, my wife and I finally made the trek out to Fairfax for dinner at 2941. Given all of the comments regarding the evening glare, we were lucky to have only clouds outside.
One major point of contention with 2941 is the decor.
I, for one, found the venue stunning. With all the windows and exposed steel, it's certainly not a cozy place to dine, but it is very fun to look at. The purple/lavender and gold make for regal, and yes, highly unusual scenery.
When we weren't debating the one out-of-place feature of the interior (a pre-rennaissance painting of nudes on a cliff, or something...hung high on the wall), we were digging into the innovative food.
My wife's marinated artichoke salad consisted of a whole marinated artichoke heart with green asparagus. Topped with a bacon/parmesan topping, my wife devoured every bite...though as an artichoke fanatic, it might take some work to turn her off of those.
I had the skewered yellowfin tuna. It was good, but found myself enjoying its sake-ginger topping more that the fish itself, which was a tad fishier than I expected. The tuna tartare on the side, however, was fantastic. The menu says "mixed with ginger and scallions," but I also picked up some citrus. Anyway, may have been the ginger. Regardless, it was great.
Next was marinated pork loin with a generous cube of pork belly on the side. I'd never had pork belly before, but I will order it the next time I see it. Smoky-sweet, it had been slow-cooked to just the right degree of doneness. The pork loin, however, was far tougher than I expected, with one piece almost completely besieged by a layer of fat. Given my pork belly experience, I'm clearly no stickler for calories, but this was somewhat gristly and unpleasant. The flavor was good, given the marinade, but I couldn't get past the fact that it was supposed to be better than this.
All this is served atop and aside a nice mound of extremely thin gratineed potatoes. I'm a big fan of this simple dish, but these were so rich that they seemed out of place next to a big slab of slow-cooked bacon and pork loin. Add in the dark, peppery marmalade served over top (and was excellent) and I was gasping for some balance. The large mound of collard greens that also shared the plate did not fit the bill. Mind you, this was good food, but it wasn't great.
My wife's roasted monkfish was more of the same. The fish itself was flavorful and satisfying, but not extraordinary. Instead, it was the "wood-ear mushrooms" with a lobstery-ginger sauce that elevated the dish above normalcy. I've never heard of those shrooms before, but I will keep my eyes out from now on...they were great.
For dessert, we had the "coffee cream pots," which were small, mousse-style cups of three versions of coffee/chocolate concoction. Served with cookies, these were good, esp. the darker two.
As to wine: With dinner we had a wonderful bottle of Seghesio Pinot Noir from Cali. Good stuff, even if it did cost 59 bucks. Which gets to a larger issue I read about here in other posts. The wine markup at 2941 DOES seem more reasonable than in other fine dining establishments. I hope they keep it up.
Complimentary watermelon cotton candy, candied almonds, and homemade marshmellows were all scarfed up with an excellent glass of port.
Oh, the bread is really all it's cracked up to be. Olive bread, bread with roasted garlic or caramelized onions...they were all great.
Service was exemplary and professional, from the hostess to the water-filler-upper guy. The staff is clearly ironing out its early kinks.
All in all, a highly enjoyable experience, albeit one with some faults. I didn't walk away feeling that I'd been had or anything (at a total, with tip, of $200), But we've had better in this price range - notably, Obelisk.
We'll be back, if only for Sunday brunch on the amazing patio.