Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BLACKSALT keeps on getting better and is the best in the neighborhood for sure (3-22-15)

The new DC Zagat ratings are out and Blacksalt moved up and is considered one of the top 45 spots in the DC Metro area with a 26 "food" rating (nobody got more than 28)!
That said, when we want to dine nearby, it's always our #1 choice since it's only 3 minutes away by car!
Our cousins were visiting from NY on Sunday so we head over for a superb evening and got the best table in the house right next to the huge glass kitchen wall, so we could see everything and watch the super team
at work. We ordered a magnificent bottle of Yves Cuilleron "Le Lombard" Marsanne 2013 from the St. Joseph area of the Rhone. I've visited this wineyard twice and met M. Cuilleron himself when he was alive; they still make some of the best wines in France. The Lombard is smooth with a huge nose and tons of the amazing minerals from the cliffs that overlook the Rhone and the Alps in the distance.
A plate of Butterfish & Tuna Sashimi arrived for us to dig into with crispy Fried Rock Shrimp and several tasty sauces scattered around; spectacular with this wine!
I actually started with the Japanese Me Dai (Butterfish) Sashimi and was thrilled to have a full plate to myself with Snow Peas, Radish, Crispy Ginger, Red Miso Aioli and Sesame Tamari sauces. The fish was indeed as Barbra would say "like buttah."
I could have eaten a ton. Will went for the Wood Grilled Baby Ocotpus which has a new preparation with Spicy Peperonata, Salsa Verde and Confit Gold Potatoes. Need I say more?
My cousin had the Oysters Rockefeller and his wife decided on one large starter of the Miso Marinated Butterfish with Tempura Rock Shrimp, Sticky Rice, Broccolini, Shitake Mushroom and Sake-Yuzu Glaze which did this truly amazing fish great justice.
We moved on to an amazing bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir suggested by Jim, the manager, from Cameron "Clos Electrique" 2011 from the Dundee Hills that was huge on the nose, a bit spicy, but smooth as silk in the mouth.
Wood Grilled Swordfish was a dream with Polenta Cake, Confit Eggplant, Grilled Squash and Spinach Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette. Our sever, Irwan, declared this his favorite dish on the menu due to all the excellent veggies and superb fish; boy, was he right on.
Atlantic BigEye Tuna is always a hit here (and today I'm headed to their market to get some to make tartare for our dinner!), now prepared with Jewel Sweet Potatoes, Corn Smoked Greens, Confit Pork & Sweet Potato Mole (catch a photo here -http://www.blacksaltrestaurant.com/dinner-menu/entrees/)
My Wood Grilled Mackerel with Spicy Puttanesca, Roman Artichokes, Soft Polenta and Arugula Pesto was truly one of the best dishes I have ever had here, and hands down the best mackerel dish ever. The fish is strong, so it needs something extra big and this was right up my alley (check out my facebook page for a photo of this awesome dish and dessert as well).
We could not resist dessert and it's always a treat. Samuel, who had foregone the steak and fish menu for grilled chicken ended up gobbling the entire Chocolate Chambord Truffle Cake with Raspberry Compote and Whipped Cream before I could even grab a photo. The trio of Creme Brulees are white chocolate/raspberry, butterscotch and milk chocolate/hazelnut which has to please just about anyone. Will always has the Key Lime Pie now with Blueberry Compote, Whipped Cream and Sesame Seed Tuile which is nice, but I love it really limey, so I went for the amazing always tops Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with Caramelized Bananas & Peanut Brittle which my cousins graciously helped me finish as it was so rich and so huge.
We left all full knowing that Blacksalt is the BEST in our 'hood!


Friday, March 06, 2015

Make it MASALA ART for magnificent munching (3-2-15)

On Monday we joined some vegan friends and hence chose to return to MASALA ART (at Friendship Heights, thought they now have a second location in the SW Waterfront-www.masalaartdc.com). This was our third time there since their opening and it was as good as before. We told our server, Sammy, what we had before and what we liked and he helped us choose some new options...everything was amazing. We ordered so much there was enough for 2 more meals at home this week!
Samuel chose his Vegetable Somosas and avoided the sauces :-)) and then had the Murg Tikka Masala, a yummy dish of chicken, onion, tomato gravy and fenugreek.
Our vegan friends ordered a number of the vegetarian dishes without yogurt and the staff was more than accommodating to boot!
Aloo Aur Pyaz Bhaji is a gear potato-onion-chickpea fried ball that is easily one of the star dishes here as is the Aloo Tiki Chaat a fried chickpea patty (think latke)with potato raisin and a yogurt or fruit/spice dip.
We chose a Truant 4 Vines Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 and ordered two more bottles as Monday is 1/2 price wine and at $16 this was a steal!!
Garlic Pepper Naan is one of my faves, but Will seems to prefer the Rock Salt/Cilantro version. There is also the Pappadam which you can order with a plate of hot mixed Indian pickles. Then there's the yummy tamarind sauce and cilantro paste to dip the pappadam in!!
Bhareli Wangi is an amazing Indian baby eggplant in coastal spices and tawa sauce that I would never have ordered save for our vegan friends; another hit!
My favorite veggie will always be the Tawa Bhindi that awesome okra cooked perfectly with no sliminess at all!
Lassoni Corn Palak--creamed corn with spinach is a close second in line for my vegetable competition. Will adores the Saag Paneer which is Spinach with Cottage Cheese.
Aloo Gobi isn't bad either if you like Cauliflower and Potato. For vegans the breads often have butter, but the Tandoori Roti is vegan unleavened whole wheat bread (get ready for Passover!).
Sammy suggested we switch our entrees to two different ones and we chose the Bhatti Ka Jheenga which are huge chargrilled Prawns with a dry spice rub that will really get your taste buds going.
For the Lamb dish we switched to Lamb Neelgiri Korma a rich stew with mint/cilantro gravy that was a treat, but I think I prefer the amazing Adraki Ginger Cumin Lamb Chops.
Missi Roti was another starch we could have skipped, but the breads are so good and this chick pea flouw with ginger and ajwain is indeed excellent.
There was not a sour note to the food, service or ambiance...we were just so full we couldn't eat another bite.
Samuel enjoyed the yummy vegan Nib Noir (crispy dark chocolate with brown rice) that our friends brought for him and we headed home with leftovers and the wine as well!