Garrison opened on 8th St, SE on Capitol Hill last year (http://www.garrisondc.com/) and has been receiving major raves ever since.
Last night I had the pleasure of being joined by a hotelier friend and Samuel for a superb evening that I can say was top notch.
On arrival we fell in love with the long narrow space which offers a quieter location than many of its noisy neighbors with comfy booths lined up as well as tables but in such a manner that the noise levels keep pretty manageable.
The kitchen is at the rear and there is a hum in this area as the food is plated and served from the dining side so we can all see what's ging on before it gets to the table!
We perused the wine list and fell in love with the wide variety and even tasted the wine(as it was available by the glass) before ordering a bottle of the Early Mountain 2013 "Novum" from Virginia which is mostly Cabernet Frabnc with Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a super red with lots of earthiness and body and minimal tannins for drinking now; good with almost anything.
An amuse that got us totally excited arrived in a small shot glass filled with Celery Root Soup, a small piece of seared Foie Gras, Burgundy Truffle shavings, Frizzled Leeks and Sorrel. It was a superb mix and I only wanted to lick the small glass, but alas it was too small and narrow, so some truffle shavings were still stuck at the bottom!! Even Samuel declared it divine, although he left his small piece of foie!
There are numerous choices here, but the menu is simple with starters, vegetables, a couple each of pastas, fish mains and meat mains, but I was able to construct a meal that was hugely filling and not even eat a main!
Samuel knew he was starting with the Virginia Bison Tartare (photos on FB!) which was quite a filling and huge portion, and I knew I had better order my own if I wanted a taste! There was just the right amount of tartare which I found was mixed with dashi, miso and a tad of sour cream as binder which made this a completely different version from the French mustardy-salty-caper type of tartare. Chef Weland has indeed made this a true Virginia tartare. The meat is piled on two large slabs of crunchy bread with a slice of local turnip underneath and a splay of peppercress and bottarga for saltiness. I could have easily made a dinner out of two portions.
Our guest ordered the Fluke Crudo which was quite a large portion as well with lemon, fennel fronds and horseradish.
For her main course she chose the gorgeous Virginia Bison Hangar Steak with Pierogi, Caramelized Onions and Roasted Beets(more photos on FB) which was as yummy as the tartare and bursting with flavors.
Samuel chose the Sweet Potato Tortellini with Black Walnuts, Sage and a Brown Butter Sauce that was gone very quickly, so I never got a taste.
I decided to skip a main and go for a second "starter" of Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with Kabocha Squash Puree, Red Onion Marmalade, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds & Oil, with Milk Poached salsify and Fresh Greens. It was cooked to perfection and much larger than a starter, but not quite the size of a larger entrée, so I was thrilled. We all shared the Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, parmesan & Pickled Peppers that was a superbly created mix of flavors.
Indeed we were all full and went home quite happy only after being given a yummy chocolatey mint candy that dissolved in your mouth....
I have to add that on Sunday night, Garrison might be full, but the parking is quite easy (and free) in the area and furthermore, there was no traffic getting to and from the Hill making this a quick jaunt and a pleasure as well!