Saturday, June 24, 2006

Puttin' on the RITZ, well at least The GRILLE at the Ritz

Saturday last we were invited to small birthday celebration at The GRILLE of the RITZ-CARLTON in downtown DC (1150 22nd St, NW) which was our second time there. It is a grand and pleasing setting with huge comfy chairs, fine linens and crystal and the most kind and elegant service as well. I think the only negative at The Grille might be the standardized menu which for me, seems to cater to the tourist/business hotel guests.

Luckily, even though he was not there, Chef Richard Arnoldi, gave us a superbly prepared and not run of the mill CHILLED YELLOW TOMATO SOUP with Lumb Crabmeat that was just right for this dreadful summer heat. The excellent POUILLY FUISSE that accompanied it was crisp and refreshing and truly got us chilled down as well (not to mention those martinis and cool drinks in the bar beforehand!).

While the breadbasket is full of tasty morcels, the only flaw there is the bland breadsticks, but all made up for in the excellent tapenades and spreads offered with the other breads.

Our menu was pre-chosen, so we had a choice, and I was in a steak mood, making it the FILET au POIVRE which was perfectly cooked as requested, served in a tasty sauce and accompanied by an array of fabulous sides including STILTON MASHED POTATOES that were mild enough for my taste, with just the slightest blue cheese bite.

We brought a double magnum of VINCENT ARROYO 1995 PETITE SYRAH was was as smooth as silk and just ready for drinking (the last time we opened the same size bottle of the same vintage some 4 years ago it was like chewing on the earth!), a real treat for all, especially with the meat! So, while, innovation isn't what the GRILLE is all about, it is surely a ritzy place worth the visit for those seeking the shelter of a beautiful room with super service and fine dining.