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Restaurants & Bars 2

Weekend in DC - report

centralpadiner | Jan 25, 2010 06:46 AM

While I didn't post a question, where we ate was determined by my perusing this board, so thanks to all regular posters. We were in town for Saturday's Caps game and just a weekend away for my husband and I. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on Mass. Ave & 6th.

We arrived Friday night with plenty of time to get to our 8:30 reservation at Central MIchel Richard. I read a lot of great things, and we were both really excited about our meal. Right away, we appreciated the relaxed atmosphere, it was just what we expected from a French Bistro. We were seated right next to the kitchen. Some people might not like this for the traffic and bright lights (the whole place was noisy in that bustling sort of way, I don't think any worse where we were) but we liked watching all the food come out --- made it even harder to decide what to order!

We started with a cone of gougeres. We REALLY enjoyed these, and they went well with the bottle of red wine we ordered, which was the special for the night . . . can't remember the label, sorry.

We shared the smoked salmon with corn brioche appetizer. The salmon was lovely, but we were both disappointed in the brioche, which we felt was too dry, and you didn't really get any 'corn' flavor, which is too bad since I have had smoked salmon with a sweet corn cake in the past, and found the combination delectable.

My husband had the pied de cochon, and I had the lamb shank. I would not have been happy with the cochon, but my husband loved it ... for me, the sweetness of the onions was overwhelming. I thought my lamb was cooked perfectly. I thought the jus was a bit too much ... lamb jus is strongly flavored, and there didn't need to be so much of it on the plate. I also wished that I had more polenta, which was a fantastic sweet accompaniment to the lamb. And, I just gotta say, what is with the fried onions piled on top of everything?? This is a trend I just don't get, and since I had no interest in eating them, I pushed them to the side, losing some of the precious polenta in the process.... restaurants really need to stop with the unnecessary garnishes.

Shared the bread and butter pudding to finish. . . great, no complaints at all! The strong flavor of the rum (? we assumed?) was a surprise, but not disliked.

We loved this place. It is just our style, to he honest. I read some complaints about staff, but we had great service all night. The man himself stopped by to check on the kitchen while we were there, and gave me a little wave and a smile. I am sure his regular oversight has a lot to do with the restaurant's success. I would say we can't wait to go back, but, you know how it is.... so many restaurants, and not living there, so little time.

The next morning we walked down to the Mall and skated at the sculpture garden. Afterward we were famished, and wanted to eat in the direction of the hotel because we were walking our skates back to the room. We really wanted to get some tacos at Oyamel, but when we go there they were closed for a special event. Very disappointed. So, we continued on to Chinatown and went to Full Kee. We ordered to share: HK style soup with shrimp dumplings (no noodles), the oyster ginger casserole, and the spicy fried soft shell crabs. Maybe I was just grumpy about not getting tacos, but this was not a meal that left we wanting more. It was satisfying, and the oyster dish was interesting and unlike anything we had gotten before, but I thought the soup broth had an off flavor though the dumplings were really good. I love deep fried soft shells, and they were done well, but they definitely weren't spicy, and reminded me of the ones we used to get at what was our favorite OBX diner -- The Dunes, pre-remodeling. Anyway, the oyster casserole was great, and the oysters were done very well, not a single one was overcooked or chewy. I felt that all the dishes were way too salty, but this is typical of all chinese food, IMO. Overall, we left full and satisfied, but with no desire to go back.

After the game, we met with some old friends at Clyde's. Since we didn't eat until 10:30 p.m., I just got oysters on the half shell and the goat cheese and pear salad. I didn't have the highest expectations of this place, and my salad was just okay. The oysters had a wonderful flavor, but I ordered one of each type, and the staff didn't identify them when the plate was brought. Picky? Perhaps, but it just felt like lax service. My husband got the crab cake, and as an Eastern Shore girl at heart, I am very picky about my crab cakes, but his looked fantastic . . . and he didn't even offer me a taste, so it must have been good. :)

We had a great weekend, and can't wait to try some more of your many wonderful restaurants next time we come to Rock the Red!

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