Sunday, August 21, 2011

Restaurant Week in DC-Lyon Hall -some love and a little hate (8-20-11)

Last night we headed to Arlington (3100 Washington where the owners of Liberty Tavern have opened up a "French-style" bistro not far from their first spot. We had the choice of sitting inside or out and the outside metal chairs had no cushions and looked very uncomfortable, so we opted for inside, where a group of people watching a baseball game at the bar occasionally let out a loud cheer or a huge group sigh. The noise was not too bad, but combined with music that was a bit too loud and very un-French, I would have preferred a little less din. The decor is simple with a big long bar and a couple of TV's; large glass windows overlook the street. I have to mention the restrooms which have men's and women's entrances side by side. Upon entering and leaving the wash basins are two long troughs in each facing each other with the wall between removed. If you are not careful, you might think this a mirror and get quite a scare when you come face to face with a stranger. The rest of the bathrooms are private, it's just an odd and novel setup.

Alexis our server was friendly and helpful and said almost everything was being offered for the $35.11 three course deal. The menu is varied and it was hard to choose. We both opted for the STEAK TARTARE starter which is a large portion with lots of large capers, a little onion, a beautiful just past raw egg laid on top and a superb side of potato-chip waffle gaufrettes. Little dabs of mustard were around the plate, making this one of the tastiest I have had in some time. We had a bottle of nice Domaine LOCUS AMENO "Reserve du Soleil" 2010 Rose (Syrah/Grenache/Cinsualt) that was dry and tart and worked with most food as well (they serve it by the glass too). The wine list is nice, but the beer list will blow you away!
The soft Black German Grain bread has coffee in it and has a great taste as does the Sourdough. All the breads, pastries, sausages, charcuterie and even some cheeses are made in house. Alexis told us the staff works 24 hours. Impressive.
Will's main course was a dud as the CRAB & LOBSTER BURGER had little seafood taste and was topped with a harissa aioli that was not on the menu. He had to smother some plain mayo on to lower the heat. He used the ketchup on the fries, which were abundant and tasty, but not fabulous.
My PORK SCHNITZEL was two huge flat pieces breaded to perfection and laid over a wonderful Lingonberry Sauce with a Lemon-Mustard Potato Salad. Some frisee with ham slices were piled on top for decoration and flavor and this dish was quite a delight.
For dessert Will had the CREME BRULEE which comes out of a ramekin on a cookie (too much) but with a side of FRIED FRUIT BEIGNETS that are divine as well as Blackberry Compote with huge blackberries.
My choice of cream was wide and all house made with fresh blueberries/strawberries and those huge blackberries all around. The APRICOT-EARL GREY was my favorite with the RED PEACH SORBET a close tie. The HONEY PRALINE was nice as well.
We enjoyed our meal and said we will come back for sausages, cocotte and more, but avoid that burger please!