Monday, May 19, 2014

DGS Delicatessen in DC- a deli that gets stars; go for the damn good service as well as the food (5-18-14)

My birthday continued with dinner out after the Gay Men's Chorus Concert yesterday and I chose DGS Deli ( at Dupont Circle where I have wanted to go since they opened
about a year ago. It was a great choice and kudos to our server Lillie who should win a prize for best server in DC!
We made our way upstairs and the only thing we ended up not liking all night were the not too comfy steel chairs or wooden booths. We heard a makeover is coming soon. YAY!
Lillie explained that the Tenth Ward Cooler on the Cocktail Menu was named for a no-loner-existing ward in DC that was once largely Jewish. It is Bison Grass Vodka, Kummel (a caraway/cumin liquor), Cel-Ray Soda, Lime & Celery Bitters.
This refreshing drink is a winner and you can taste so many wonderful elements, but it is a potent martini, even if served on the rocks.
Again we shared starters and the winner was easily the CHOPPED LIVER with Red Onion Marmalade, Gribenes and Rye Toast. It was a huge mound topped with the yummy marmalade and the gribenes (fried chicken skins) were propped up around it for dipping or schmearing. The liver on these was the highlight of the meal for me, although the amazing breads also work well. SMOKED SALMON NACHOS are in layers of thin tasty smoked salmon with some sour cream, avocado, horsey sauce (A creamy horseradish sauce) and lots of home made waffle potato chips for dipping. The pickles are nice and very varied with fennel, beets, and even a pickled egg in the assortment.
Another big hit and easily enough for one main course is SCHMUTZY FRIED made with pastrami, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese & Russian Dressing. This reminds me of the poutine, but married to a Jew who does not keep kosher.
Flavor abounded in this dish, but don't try to eat it without a fork. The BORSCHT came with a dollop of sour cream and was thick and rich and cooling.
Samuel ordered the GNOCCHI MAC & CHEESE which is actually a decadent side dish of ricotta gnocchi in a rich cheese sauce with rye bread crumbs that arrived in a hot cast iron pan. He asked for the harissa on the side and I liked it, but he probably would never have finished half the rich dish; he then asked for a small kid's burger! He loved the Dr. Brown's Cream Soda, but I convined him to try the Chocolate Egg Cream made with U-Bet Syrup which he also loved.
Our first wine was a refreshing bottle of Fantinel Rose Prosecco and then we had a superb "Urban TEMPRANILLO from Fournier 2010 in Ribera de Duero that was excellent with all the deli meats. Lille suggested it from the very short wine list and I have to say, I will order it again and again at $30-something.
For vegetarians there are several options including one fish dish besides the smoked salmons, but out friend chose the GRILLED EGGPLANT REUBEN with Swiss Cheese, No. 1 Sons Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing on Toasted Rye which she declared excellent.
Will had Grandma Dots HOLISHKES or stuffed cabbage with ground brisket simmered in S&S Tomato Sauce on Orzo with Rye Bread Crumbs. He managed to finsh most of it, but I think I'll get a taste later this week :-)).
Our friends chose the SMORGASBOARD which is really one of the best choices as you can get three or five items for $18 or $25 respectively(I think). They chose Pastrami Smoked Salmon, Whitefish Salad, Grilled Tongue, Corned Beef and these all come with condiments and the excellent double baked rye and pumpernickel breads.
A side of Crispy BRUSSELS SPROUTS also has roasted grapes (yes) and caramelized shallots, which is another dish I would order again and again. My main course was a sandwich made from 1/2 pound (total meat-1/4 pound each) of the Housemade Corned Beef from Creekstone Farms Brisket and Grilled Tongue with House Made Mustard on the double baked Rye. I manged to finish the second half of the sandwich for lunch today! Both meats were superb, but I am a tongue guy and this was cut thick and grilled perfectly,; a very different take on the traditional thin sliced deli tongue we know.
Lillie recited the desserts and we were all full with big bags to take home with leftovers, but I could not resist the CHOCOLATE BABKA BREAD PUDDING with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and it was a hit as we all (save Sam) tried this decadent dish made from challa and chocolate. My birthday candle came in a complimentary piece of Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote (also yummy) as I had mentioned to Lillie that I prefer fruit desserts to heavy ones.  She brought the next best thing; cheesecake with compote!
We thanked her and the staff many times as everyone was so nice and waddled home for the second night in a row.
Tonight-at home!