Sunday, July 14, 2013

The National Press Club's Fourth Estate is for everyone, but not for everything (7-12-13)

Ever since Chef Jim Swenson left the Fourth Estate on the top floor of Washington's ever-famous National Press Club, I think things have fallen into a slump
inventive-wise here. We were invited for a wonderful dinner on Friday night and came away feeling that while everything tasted fine, the food needed a bit of something more.
Our service was excellent and even the tasty garlic butter served with the bread makes an impression.
The wine list is simple and reasonable for sure with almost everything under $40 a bottle.
We had a Domaine de la Saraziniere Macon0Bussieres 2008 which was a crisp steely French chardonnay with a hint of oak.
It was very nice with the SMOKED SALMON which comes on two pieces of toasted French bread with Horseradish Sour Cream Capers and Onions.
For starters the salads were plentiful if plain. BABY SPINACH Salad with Strawberries and a couple of Mozzarella Balls (they seemed to be like those from a jar),
came with not very SPICY PECANS. The dressing was a simple and bland vinaigrette. ARUGULA, WATERCRESS and Cilantro-Marinated MUSHROOMS (pickled) with Goat Cheese
came with peppered Almonds and seemed to fare better.
The hit was the SHRIMP COCONUT SOUP that our host mopped up with the bread!
Samuel enjoyed the CHICKEN FINGERS & FRIES (he will be off this kid's menu thing soon!) although he did not like the fact that the batter had sesame seeds in it.
Three of us ordered the JUMBO LUMP CRAB Cakes which were excellent huge cakes with no filler with a Red Pepper-Mango Salsa that needed a punch The dish was complemented
by awesome Battered & Fried GREEN BEANS with chunks of FETA; this is a hit side dish I would go back for.
The Seared DUCK BREAST came with Wild Rice, Cashew Ginger Salad, Avocado Dumplings and Orange-Mango Salsa (again no spice on this salsa).
The service was constant and attentive and everyone kept asking if we were happy, and for the most part, we were, I just wanted some spice in my food.
Same loved the BROWNIE with Chocolate Sauce for dessert and I adored the simple PANNA COTTA with Pomegranate Seeds, that came with no seeds but loads of fresh BERRIES.
The WARM PEAR with WALNUT CRISP and Vanilla Ice Cream was also a treat.
In a nutshell, I would recommend the Fourth Estate if you are taking someone who needs simple food, no spices and seeks a truly simple, yet very quiet (the sound level here is basically nil)