Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pentagon City is Puttin' on the RITZ at FABULOUS FYVE

Our restaurant week stories continue with only rave after rave, and we have found a new intimate fave rave at FYVE located at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. Chef Amy Brandwein opened here just months ago after a long stint under Roberto Donna and as Executive Chef at the late Galileo in DC (oh how we wish that were back!) and she is rockin' the RItz with modern new and exciting American-Mediterranean cuisine.

Indeed the small dining room is modernized Ritz at its best with lost of space, comfy big orange fabric chairs, orange and brown swirly carpet, modern orange art and lots of orchids. The woods are dark and each place has a leather placemat emblazoned with a flap (it looks live a leather clip) with FYVE on it. The crystal is Schott, the wine list decent, the menu varied and restaurant week here allows you to choose from any three items! Of course, we had more.

Our first wine choice was out, so our excellent server Jaime offered up a DOAMINE de la CHAPPELLE au LOUPS Saint-Veran 2002 which was superbly minerally and dry and loaded with apples (for the same price as the wine we wanted!). The GAZPACHO presentation gives you a good idea of what Chef Amy can do and make it fun, especially on a hot summer night. Sadly, the waiter (busboy) who delivered it just left it without a word and we were at a loss. Chef Amy arrived and saved us describing the dish as Tomato Gazpacho over BEET CAMPARI GRANITA (yum, yum, yum!). The slight sweetness of the beet with the bitter Campari and tomato was a brilliant foil and each mouthful was different depending on how you combined the elements.

The superb bread and lavosh comes with an impossible to resist Olive/Artichoke/Parmesan/Garlic Tapenade and we had to say no if we wanted to keep on eating when it came to more bread!

The GRILLED OCOTPUS is made of deliciously crispy tentacles and slices with YUKON GOLD POTATOES, Black Olives and Sun Dried CHERRY TOMATOES bursting with flavor, while the SEARED SCALLOPES are huge (almost two inches across) with BACON and a CARROT SAUCE.

Chef Amy has learned the art of pasta well from a master and serves up homemade PAPARDELLE in the simplest yet most buttery of HERB SAUCES that is simply divine.

We moved onto the KAIKEN MALBEC from Mendoza in Argentina which has a really sweet nose but is a wonderfully rich and smooth wine that goes well with just about everything. Will opted for the SWORDFISH with Grilled Sweet PEPPERS, Lemon and Olive in a very traditional Mediterranean feel but bursting with flavor.

My GRILLED LAMB CHOPS were perfect and served with ARTICHOKES and HONEY LAVENDER SAUCE. The seasoning was strong (but okay by me) with a light relish, but the honey sauce paired wonderfully in making the spice less intense.

Desserts were also a success with a MINI SOUFFLE DUO (Chocolate and Grand Marnier), but my LEMON MERINGUE TART with BLUEBERRY Thyme Compote easily winning the contest--although I could not possibly eat every bite...even though it was sublime.

After a glass of 1994 ROZES LBV Port we headed home from the elegant hotel knowing that it IS a place to return to for fun or intimate events alike.