Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week – August 11-17, 2008

08Sep08

Last year, one of the few regrets I had for not being in the country last August was that I missed DC’s restaurant week (although being in Taiwan and Japan during that period more than made up for it). Not willing to miss out on a second year in a row, I was happy to find out that Restaurant Week fell on my last week in the Maryland area. Perfect.

A quick explanation of Restaurant Week:
—Restaurant week is a week that takes place in many cities once or twice a year when a large number of the finest restaurants offer a full, three-course prix fixe meals (fixed prices) for lunch and dinner. Lunch was $20.08, and dinner was $35.08.

This summer, I managed to make it out to two different restaurants for Restaurant Week. This post will highlight my meals at both of them.

On Monday of August 11, my friends Jen, Anna, and Debby went to Olives.

Unfortunately, the restaurant, while being very beautiful, was also pretty dark, and thus most of my pictures aren’t great. It was definitely tasty though!

My first course was a Local Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho. Served chilled with mini brioche panzanella, it was a bit tart. I liked it, more or less.

Unfortunately, my main course was taken in extremely bad lighting, so I don’t have a picture of that I’m willing to use. It was, however, a delicious Seared Duck Breast Salad, which was described as having organic greens, goat cheese, spiced pecans, confit duck, and vincotto vinaigrette. It was amazing.

And for dessert (because it’s always about the dessert):

This was a Buttermilk Panna Cotta with muscat syrup, blackberry sauce, and fresh fruit. Yay for dessert!

The menu available for Restaurant Week was sadly lacking, but the food was definitely excellent. I think I liked the panna cotta the best.

Ah, I miss my ladies.

On Wednesday, a different restaurant and a different group of friends. Here I am with An-ni and her boyfriend at the Coeur de Lion.

Coeur de Lion is a very classy place, complete with its own jazz pianist! I arrived early, so I just sat in their Blue Bar Lounge, listening to the music wash over me.

I started with the Belgian Endive Salad. It was described as: crisp belgian endive with frisee lettuce, fresh cut Asian pears, stilton cheese, spiced walnuts, and sliced figs with sherry walnut vinaigrette dressing. Quite delicious. I don’t think those are actually Asian pears, since they weren’t crunchy enough, but perhaps I’m not well versed in my fruits enough yet to know…

My main course was Seared Chicken Veronique, which came with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, seedless grapes, with shallot and white wine sauce. I have never thought of putting grapes in a warm, savory dish, but in this case, it just worked. I loved how the sweet and savory came together in this dish.

Like most Asians are wont to do, we shared everything we ordered, which meant I got to try bites of everything. And everything was tasty. This dish is An-ni’s Pan Seared Tilapia with fennel, pine nuts, and artichokes with lemon caper sauce. Mmm!

Dave’s dish was a grilled New York Strip with heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil. Unfortunately, my picture of it came out kind of blurry, so I’m refraining from posting it as well. However, if you can imagine what a steak looks like, you can imagine what his dish looked like.

And then, time for dessert!

Let me first begin by saying that I absolutely LOVE creme brulee. So when I looked on the menu, there was no question that I was going to get the raspberry creme brulee. And it was quite good, except the raspberries could have probably been a bit sweeter. I’m not complaining though.

And Dave, being a guy, ordered the chocolate walnut tart. It was pretty. And they said it was tasty, and that is enough for me!

That’s the end of my excursions into DC for Restaurant Week. I wish I had more time (and money!) to spend in DC and its restaurants. Maybe next year…?

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