Monday, May 09, 2011

I sure would return again to AGAINN-Dc's newest gastropub (5-7-11)

Saturday night Will and I headed to dinner at AGAIN ( at 1099 NY Ave, NW (entrance on 11 St, NW) which is a great place for a drink, bite or full meal. There is outdoor seating for nice days and inside is dominated by a large bar with lots of sports on the TV screens (which at one point was showing a commercial for green tea moisturizer and lots of dry skin--not too appetizing for a restaurant!). The decor is simple and bare with lots of wood tables, booths and chairs which are comfy, but not cushioned. The hard floors do make for some noise, but the levels are not unbearable, although it was only about 75% full on Saturday night.
AGAINN is Gaelic meaning "with us," "at us," or "are you going?" and they are careful to pronounce it with the very guttural "g" which sounds nothing like our word "again."
We perused the menu which is not huge and has many options. We started with a selection of a dozen oysters split between Blue Point and Malpeque, the former being huge and juicy, and the latter a bit more tasty...gobbled up and gone in seconds. Our white wine was a Loire Sauvignon Blanc "Cheverny" 2009 from Domaine du Salvard showing some mineral tones, but having a great french Sauvignon flavor of light citrus; perfect with the bivalves.
Our server Scott was super friendly and helpful with the menu and specials and another server, Siobhan helped as well and always had a smile. We did sadly have to pour the wine ourselves at least twice.
Will's starter was the Warm ASAPARGUS with Smoked Hen Egg (aren't all chicken eggs from hens?) and Guanciale Dressing. It was a large plate of huge spears and the dressing had chunks of tasty seared pork cheeks (guanciale). My CORNED BEEF TOUNGUE came with Arugula over Confit POTATOES with a tasty green sauce (a bit spicier than the traditional British, but superb). If I had not had the oysters, I would have loved several more slices of the tasty bovine which was lean and yummy.
We switched to a superb red DOMAINE SAINTE-EUGENIE La Reserve 2008 (Corbieres) and I am going to search this one out as it was velvety, medium to full bodied and a hit with us from the first sip.
Will went English with the SHEPHERD's PIE made with Shenandoah Valley VA. lamb), Scallions, mashed potatoes and they even honored his request to melt some fresh cheddar on top. It was perfectly made and truly superb in every bite. I tried the special SLOW BRAISED VEAL BREAST which was Cider Glazed and served with mustard SPAETZLE, Scallions and Green Garlic. the breast came out with a BBQ-style glazed crunchy skin and was as juicy as could be, not a dry bite (save for the skin). The spaetzle were an added treat and I have to say it was one of the best veal preparations I have had in a while.
We decided to split a dessert and chose the BANOFFEE PIE. We have both visited the home of Banoffee Pie in England, but Scott warned us this was a deconstructed version and served in a Mason jar. Banana, Caramelized Milk was over a Graham Biscuit with Chocolate Ganache and topped with Whipped Cream and the entire dish was indeed well "de" constructed. I normally don't care for whipped cream, but this was really good.
We went home full and happy knowing we would return AGAINN and AGAINN.