Although various Restaurant Week extensions in the Washingon, DC metro area run for another 10 days, my late summer adventure ends here. Once again, Life has gotten in the way. It has a nasty habit of doing that, at the most inconvenient times.
“But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I eat,” as Robert Frost didn’t quite say.
So here are the final notes.
I usually try for a balance between old favourites and new venues, but this summer tilted heavily toward the familiar. I was a first-time visitor to only three of the 10 restaurants on this summer’s list. That may partially account for why I was so rarely disappointed with my meals.
The only real letdown was Honeysuckle, with its tiny portions of less-than-memorable food. I may be judging them too severely, because I was so fond of Vidalia, the restaurant that used to occupy Honeysuckle’s space.
While almost everything I tried was good, certain dishes stood out.
Vermilion’s chilled corn soup with poached prawn salad was simply amazing. Beautiful to look at, extraordinary to eat.
Best Starter – Runner Up
The polpette at Bibiana were the best I’ve ever tasted. I only wish there had been more of these little Sicilian-style meatballs—I could have eaten a dozen.
This was a three-way tie. There’s no way I could choose the best among these mains, because they were all perfection on a plate. (Oops. I just noticed that all of them were served in bowls, not on plates. I’ll update this if I ever think of an appropriate complimentary word that starts with the letter “B.” Gotta preserve that alliteration.)
The duck fricassee at Café du Parc, with slow cooked lentils, charred quince, pea tendrils, and those little roasted potatoes, was perfect for a rainy day meal.
Cioppino. At Tadich Grill. A classic.
Vermilion scores again, with pork tenderloin in a rich sauce.
Café du Parc’s brilliant mixed seasonal berries with Grand Marnier sabayon was a clear winner in the dessert category.
Best All-Around Meal
Gotta be Alexandria Old Town’s Vermilion, for the flawless meal and the superb service.
That’s it for 2017 Summer Restaurant Weeks. I plan to spend a lot more time on home cooking now that it’s over. Starting after the long Labor Day weekend, my foodie project for September will focus on French bistro classics.
(Note to self: 2018 Winter Restaurant Weeks are only five and a half months away.)