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Washington DC & Baltimore Lunch

RW Reports - Lunches at Ceiba and Dish

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RW Reports - Lunches at Ceiba and Dish

Andrew Langer | Jul 27, 2004 02:30 PM

Aaaah, Restaurant Week. Should I learn my lesson from past year disappointments, or venture far and wide?

I'm an optimist, so I ventured. Now, upon reading the restaurant week review of Butterfield 9, below, I'm really sorry that I wasn't able to have lunch their yesterday, but we did have a great time at Ceiba.

RW lunch at Ceiba allows you to select from any of their soups or the shrimp ceviche as an appetizer, _ANY_ of their lunchtime entrees for your main course, and then a choice of two desserts. Yesterday it was their flan, and a chocolate cappucino coffee cake with a coconut whipped cream.

I started with the ceviche, which I'd been wanting to try. It was excellent, served in a chilled martini glass, with a spicy avocado salsa that provided nice heat. A squeeze of lime juice on top was perfect. One of my compadres had the black bean soup, which he enjoyed, and another had the cold tomato soup, which contained a tomato sorbet and was served in a long, trough-like glass bowl, that looked like ice and was chilled. She loved it.

For my main course I had the flank steak churrasca, served with onion rings and a chimichurri sauce. It was good - I should have had the crab cakes wanted to steer clear of the breading. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything adventurous. My tablemates had the grilled chicken breast, which had some fire to its sauce, and was unique enough. It may have been too adventurous for them.

Oh, and the 4th in our party had the pulled chicken tostados. Now, if you're looking for value for the buck during restaurant week, this is it. Two tostados, piled high with with chicken, queso fresco, what looked like a radish slaw... she could only get through one. She really liked that.

I thought my dessert was done well. Simple, nicely presented, it was a good sweet counterpoint to the sourness of my chimichurri sauced-steak. I don't recall if my tablemates who ordered the flan were pleased or disappointed.

Oh, and I always enjoy the after-meal crackerjacks they give you. Carried mine into my afternoon meeting.

Today it was Dish, a restaurant selected by my assistant. It's over in the River Inn, down in Foggy Bottom. Small and simple. I think my assistant was a little surprised at the size and sparseness of the restaurant.

They allow you a choice from two appetizers (today it was a Cream of Asparagus Soup or a Caesar salad), three entrees (a chicken salad sandwich, a grilled salmon salad, or meatloaf) and two desserts (a brownie with vanilla ice cream or a slice of apple pie with cinnamon ice cream).

We both had the soup. It was good, completely smooth, with a nice richness. What's more, it was warm. Dish was a little chilly, and we needed a little heat in our bellies. It had a breaded and fried asparagus tip floating in it, which was alright.

We did have to ask for our own bread, and then had to ask for some butter to go along with it. I do wish I had known that the butter had been sweetened (with honey, I think), but it was still good.

My assistant had the salad, and liked it. Wanting something a little more substantial, I had the meatloaf (I really didn't even consider a chicken salad sandwich). It was good - one slice, with a side of perfectly smooth mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy and what were gourmet mushrooms (ie, not simply sliced white mushrooms - these had good substance, some toothsomeness and heft). Not sure what kind, but they really elevated the dish.

The meatloaf itself was better than OK. Nothing fancy, but much better than Bob Evans. Not as rich as the meatloaf at Zola.

She had the brownie for dessert, which texturally was more like a carrot cake. Much spongier than the traditional fudge brownie. And the ice cream was a very good vanilla bean.

I thought the apple pie was merely OK. Cold, which was disappointing, and slightly artificially tasting. The cinnamon ice cream was a good counterpoint.

All in all, two decent RW meals. I've heard that Bistro Bis is offereing a good lunch, and I'm eating at Corduroy and Cafe 15 later this week (unless I get recommendations on the latter to the contrary). Corduroy does a good home-made Kit-Kat bar, which I've enjoyed in the past.

- Andrew Langer

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