Mie N Yu Leave Yu Conflicted
Without question Washington is desperate for haute cuisine and design to elevate its rather pedestrian culinary experiences. While Washington boasts many standard executive dining experiences, it lacks any foray into the avant-garde. This is why relatively recent additions like Zaytinya, Poste, Ten Penh and now Mie N Yu are making a splash. What Mie N Yu does not have however, is sophistication in its menu that the others have. Even though the former Georgetown Station now turned into Its a Small World Disneyland interior is cleverly designed, the fare is not. It seems like the owners are trying to hurry up and recoup their investment via their excessively high prices before the toxicating interior wears off.
Let me begin. Half the seating upstairs is based on the communal Asia de Cuba model and the other half is ala Arabian Knights where ottomans and benches are used to create a lounge feel. This would be nice if the embroidered benches had cushions that didnt slouch forward to hurl the body under the table constantly throughout the dinning experience. After I had warmed to the décor and figured out the right angle to sit at, the well-attired waiter comes to offer bread swinging giant tongs and carrying on his hip a giant cornucopia basket as to simulate the abundance of the Earth. Unfortunately, after the drab explanation of what the wondrous aromatic starches were, the waiter gives you one shabby piece. Quite a let down. The assortment of spreads to accompany the breads was nice; there was more spread than bread. We never saw that cornucopia again.
Next came the appetizers. I ordered the Mixed Fondue of grilled meats, bread, and bell peppers. It was a wonderful presentation akin to a Genghis Khan get together on the steppes under an oriental tent. However, I hardly think that Mr. Khan would have lingered at this trough of over-salted meats and a cheese sauce that would place second to Velveeta. On the contrary, the Crab and Avocado Salad, wonderfully presented, showed some daring with a unique accompaniment of sprouts and dressing, although a tad bland.
On to the entrees. I again made another bad selection (my yin n yang was all twisted up at mie n yu). I ordered the Mixed Grill Caeser Salad. Run for the hills on this one. The sauce was served on the side which one a way to avoid whiners who dont get enough or too much dressing. Almost a nice touch, but the serving plate doesnt allow enough space to dress your own salad. The grilled shrimp and meats were dry, over-salted (again). The coup de grace was the deep fried hard-boiled eggs (aka prehistoric sandstone coating) cut in half that brought immediate nausea to the forefront of my stomach as well as a scene from Jurassic Park. These eggs were rubbery and dry. The shrimp, which I only saw one of, was not fresh and the steak and chicken unremarkable possibly from being made too far in advance and left to toughen. My dinner guest ordered the scallops with the three dipping sauces. This was a most pleasant dish. The sauces were just the right accent. The scallops were plentiful, large and fresh, but just slightly undercooked. The highlight of the evening was the side of white and green asparagus. It was blanched in a tremendous sauce incorporating warm grapefruit slices. I could have eaten that as my entrée and been much happier. Of course, the sides are extra, and it is embarrassing to charge $9 for a side of vegetables. Upon retrospect, they should move that dish to the entrée section, and then it would be a value meal and worth it. In further retrospect, they should add the asparagus to the $28 scallop entrée.
After much culinary torture I was scared to look at the dessert menu. There is actually a nice selection to have, but based on my bad karma for the evening I decided to forgo another $10 exploration into the culinary abyss otherwise known as the Mie n Yu kitchen.
I think it is quite simple, focus on the food and they will come. Mie N Yu is trying way too hard to be as creative as its interior and makes their customers pay the price. I rather just sit at their bar and cough up $30 on some mixed drinks (3) and then seque to Zaytinya, which seems to get it when it comes to good food.
2 glasses of wine