Sunday, December 07, 2008


Yesterday I took Samuel to the Gay Men's Chorus holiday/concert production with his Uncle Rick and he enjoyed it (though not much as much as The Wizard of Oz the day before...or Mary Poppins the week before).

Afterwards, we met up with Daddy and decide to try the "Tastings Journal" Menu special being offered this week. I have told you before than anyone can sign up for the Tastings Journals email specials at local restaurants. This week is ODEON CAFE ( at Dupont Circle offering a multi-course menu with two glasses of wine all for $45 plus tax and tip.

I have not been to Odeon in almost 20 years since I lived a block away, and I could not believe it has been there for 28 years now! It is a decent neighborhood Italian spot and has much going for it. A simple wine list (if limited) with most prices under $40/bottle, a variety of pastas and pizzas (Samuel adored his PIZZA topped with FRENCH FRIES (how's that for cholesterol indulgence?!) and some quite nice and tasty entrees.

The service is decent, but nothing to rave about; we had to repeatedly ask for napkins and flatware, and the ambience is fairly quiet and attempted upscale; although the Bocelli musak is a bit grating after and hour. My biggest complaint was that they did not bring fresh flatware for each of the courses, although they did bring new glasses when we switched wines!

We started with a bottle of RUFFINO RESERVA DUCALE 2004 Chianti Classico which warmed us up on that oh so coldest night of the year so far!
The salads were tasty with nice tart dressings: ARUGULA with GOAT CHEESE in BALSAMIC Vinaigrette and MESLCUN mix with HONEY MUSTARD Dressing, Walnut and Apples

The second course of FRESH CALAMARI sauteed with SPINACH, GARLIC, Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil was enhanced by squeezing the fresh lemon provided as were the MUSHROOM CAPS stuffed with CRABMEAT in Garlic Butter Sauce, but these were merely nice appetizers from the standard fare with little thought to invention.

We switched to a 2005 BOLLA VALPOLICELLA which was advertised on the menu as from MASI. I know that MASI wines cost much more than $40-50, and was doubtful, but since I believe they own the Bolla label, it was not worth arguing about. The wine was not as big as I had wanted, but adequate.

The third course was a choice of soup and there was CREAM of BROCCOLI with Garlic and Parsley or the quite tasty LOBSTER BISQUE with some nice (if small) pieces of shellfish marred only by a small chunk of congealed soup.

The entree included a glass of house Chianti or Pinot Grigio, both quite on the wimpy side and we all chose different entrees: The GRILLED Fresh SALMON FILET served over Angel Hair Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Olive Oil needed something as it was a bit bland, and came over thin spaghetti, not angel hair pasta. My POLLO VALDOSTANA was two huge rolled chicken breasts stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese in a tasty tangy yummy LEMON CAPER Sauce. I opted to take one breast home as the portion was so large (along with half of Samuel's pizza, which we shall all dine on tonight). I think the taste award was for Will's Braised LAMB SHANK with Veggies, Red Wine Reduction and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. The dessert came with a glass of unexciting "champagne" which I am positive was prosecco, but Samuel discovered WARM CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE which was a scrumptious molten lava flow inside a firm cake round topped with Vanilla Ice Cream. Tiramusu went over well with Will, and we all headed home quite full.

I can say that Odeon is a great spot to grab a bite in the neighborhood, pasta or simple dish, but that the multi-course tasting is not their forte, although we definitely got our dollar's worth!