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Washington DC Dim Sum Trip Report

Trip report: Fin, Zaytinya, Vidalia, Cafe Atlantico dim sum...long...


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Trip report: Fin, Zaytinya, Vidalia, Cafe Atlantico dim sum...long...

DottieMay | Oct 13, 2003 04:22 PM

Am in town from SF for business pretty often and always questing for the best...had a whole week last week to try some good ones. Visited Fin, Zaytinya, Vidalia, Cafe Atlantico.

Here's the deets...

Hadn't heard too much about this spot, but a friend recommended it. Ordered their crab cakes 'cuz the waiter said it was their specialty...but lots of other dishes sounded interesting to me. The crab cakes WERE delicious. All crab, none of that nasty mealy bread-y-ness that you often get! Super fresh tasting. Came with "sweet corn cream and charred corn conserve" that was pretty non-descript next to the crab. Also had nothing-special dressed greens and wonderful, wonderful fries.

Heard raves about the spanikopita, so I ordered it. The interior spinach and feta was definitely rave-worthy but the exterior was oddly I wasn't wild about it overall. Also had the apricot carrot fritters with pistachio sauce, which were nicely crispy with a very soft, creamy interior. While good, I'd hoped for a little more intense flavor. Finally, I also had the salmon with pearl couscous and (i think) a pomegranite glaze. Loved the couscous, and the salmon was perfectly cooked. Again, I wanted a little more intensity in the sauce.

Had the five onion soup, the truffled macaroni and cheese with goat cheese and the greens. All amazing, I have to say. The soup was so unusual - made with a very deeply flavored duck broth - had shreds of the meat in the soup along with mushrooms and the many onions. Couldn't get enough of the truffled macaroni and cheese (can you really go wrong with truffles/goat cheese?). And the greens were particularly tangy, which I dig.

Cafe Atlantico
So. I showed up alone for Latino Dim Sum on saturday. Figured I'd order about 4 of the small dishes (each between about $3 and $8) and then I saw that the vegetarian tasting menu was $24.95. What the heck? I was game. Figured I'd get a gamut of
the chef's favorites...

First came the chilled tomato soup with watermelon: perfect. very flavorful. unusual without being weird. One of my favorites.

Along came the guacamole, freshly made table side & tortilla chips: yummy, although not special.

Then, the waiter brought:

Pineapple shavings with plantain powder: not bad, but didn't do anything for me.

Spinach with pumpkin seeds and raisins: Simple and delicious.

Jicama-arugula rolls: Light, and good...but not memorable.

Eggs in veracruz sauce: My favorite dish. I think the primary ingredient was butter, but when you mixed the yolk of the fried egg with the red sauce, onions, and olives...well, I wanted to roll around in it.

I thought that was it. I was perfectly happy. Getting full. And then. AND THEN...they brought five more plates.

Beets & beet oil: one bite was all I could manage.And it seemed fine. But I can't remember.

Asparagus with oranges: Little bitty asparagus with a nice sauce and crunchy bits of something on top. perfect.

Coco rice with crispy rice: Loved this. Sweet, like dessert. A perfect foil to all the savory dishes.

Malanga Puree with malanga chips: My other favorite dish. Unusual, subtle flavor, a little like white beans but more rustic. I would come back for this alone.

Boniato Chips: Could have eaten more of these babies. Like sweet potatoes.

Baby corn in sweet corn cream sauce: Delicious. Just what it sounds like!

And then...yep, you guessed it...there was still more. Oh. My. God.

Wild mushroom/huitlacoche quesadilla: I really wanted to savor this but I could only manage one bite. And...I think I was too full to enjoy it! So I'm gonna have to come back for it.

Pan dulce with cinnamon syrup: eggy, soft, custardy bread. I dunno. I think it was fine.

The hostess mentioned to me that had there been two at the table, it would have been the same amount of food. I was really mad about the waste, truly. So the moral of the story is: go have the vegetarian tasting. fabulous price. BUT DON'T eat for a day before hand. Even if it's shared by two at $25 a pop, it's a good deal. I really enjoyed it!

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