Samuel's 13th birthday week began with a special menu created for the adults by Top Chef contender this past season Marjorie Meek-Bradley who has created a niche and name for herself in the Washington restaurant community; we are all glad she chose this city!
Will and I started with cocktails: his was "Pour it Up, Pour it Up" a refreshing mix of Campari, Doulin Rouge (Sweet Vermouth) and some bubbles while I went colorful fancy (see the FB fotos) with The Vex made from lavender Mezcal, House Limoncello, Sherry & Black Pepper Shrub & Egg White, which had a beautiful aroma but a mild not sweet taste that was quite yummy coming from my newfound favorite mezcal. How appropriate it was lavender for Gay Pride Weekend.
The amazing Parker House Rolls arrived with soft butter and the four were gone in seconds flat and Will could not resist the Gribiche Deviled Eggs so he ordered a small plate of those as well.
Samuel started Lamb Tartare which disappeared so fast we couldn't even think of tasting. It had fried green tomatoes, Old Bay Aigre-Doux, Capers & Pickled Mustard Seed.
Our first course was Marinated Blue Crab with Fresno peppers, Celery, Cucumber, Ginger & White Soy Vinaigrette which was superb, refreshing and tasty in the 96 degree heat! A yummy Tesco Blanca "La Zorra" from Spain that was yet another new varietal for me was a perfect match with rich minerality.
The second course was Rye Flour Malfatti (Italian for "made bad") which is a kind of large pasta that is kind of thrown over the ingredients which here was Braised Path Valley Rabbit Sugo with Roncal Cheese(aged sheep). This is one of the best pastas I have had in a long while and Samuel looked and glared and begged for a taste then he ordered a whole portion as his second course! the pairing was a Guild Lot 10 Red from Columbia Valley that is a blend of 68% Syrahm 19% Mourvedre, 8% Durif (another new varietal) and the rest Grenache and Cinsault which was slightly earthy but also not too heavy and brilliantly matched the richness of the meat and pasta.
I have to give great credit to manager Caroline for finding these amazing wines and to our server Kristen for doing such a superb job pairing them.
The third course was a Seared Branzino with perfectly crispy skin, Wild Rice (puffed and al dente), Tamarind Aioli, Pepitas and Treviso (a type of radicchio). I loved the aioli and the fish was perfect as well making the entire dish truly a brilliant combination of flavors. Coenobium 2014 from Lazio was a white made by Trappist nuns from Trebbiano, Malvasia and Verdicchio that was slightly earthy funky yet again ideal with the tamarind and big flavors of the fish.
Samuel had ordered the Roasted Amish Chicken Breast with Sofrito Braised Thigh, Chickpea Hummus and a side of, naturally, hand Cut Fries with House made ketchup.
Our main course was a gorgerous Roseda Farms NY Strip with Shitake Steak Sauce, Maitake Mushrooms, Celery, Carrots and Sous Vide Shallots; the vegetables alone deserved a prize. An Orben 2008 from Rioja in Spain was the perfect Tempranillo pairing yet again.
It was getting late (we had been there almost 3 hours) but dessert was included and two arrived. Samuel said he could not possibly eat anymore and packed up most of his chicken to go home.
Cheesecake & Mousse were the Miso Carrot Cake which I had on my previous visit with Strawberry Ice Cream, Candied Ginger and Toffee Chips. The Greek Yogurt Mousse came with Candied Pistachios, Pistachio Sponge Cake, Salted Caramel, Saffron Poached Oranges and indeed was a big winner in my book--well they both were. The wine was a BenRyé Donnafugata from Zebibo in Italy that was a rich orange intense dessert wine that paired so wonderfully with the poached oranges.
We were full, gave our gracious thanks to one of our most favorite chefs around, and then headed home to crash before the big weeks gets started!