2018 Winter Restaurant Week 1, Day 2
Wednesday was a brutally cold day in Washington, the kind of day that’s perfect for staying inside and researching winter vacation packages for Charleston and New Orleans. But I had a lunch date as part of Bethesda Restaurant Week, and I wasn’t about to cancel, due to my fear of being put on OpenTable’s No-Fly List and never being able to make a reservation again.
Bethesda has no official boundaries. It’s a pleasant, upper-middle class area—I suppose that description is redundant—north of Washington.
Despite its name, Bethesda Restaurant Week is not limited to restaurants in what most people think of as Bethesda. Some of them are in very rich Potomac, to the north, and some are near the District line, to the south. And one of them is in Silver Spring. It’s called All Set, and that’s where I was headed.
And I’m oh-so-glad I did.
I started with Grilled Octopus, on a bed of chickpea purée, with chorizo butter, smoked paprika oil, and a sprinkling of celery leaves. No way could I ever duplicate this one at home, although I wish I could. Excellent!
With time and a lot of effort, though, I might be able to make something like this main of Slow Braised Short Rib Ragu. The pasta is called “Campanelle”, and is designed to work with thick sauces like this one. If you look closely, you can see the brunoise-cut carrots and celery.*
This was karma, or irony, or coincidence, or comeuppance, or some combination of the four.
When I was writing about the high quality of the food at Budapest Christmas Market a few weeks ago, I made a sneering reference to the “Deep-Fried Peanut Butter Banana Cheeseburgers…at the Texas State Fair.”
My dessert at All Set was Tempura-Battered Fried Oreos with a Chocolate Ganache.
I was wrong. I’m a convert. They were crunchy and delicious.
In summary, the food at All Set was exceptionally good, and the friendly service was excellent.
This one’s a keeper.
*I’m flaunting a newly acquired culinary vocabulary word here. I just this week learned that a brunoise cut is one that gives you cubes 1/8th inch in size. My intensive home cooking research is rewarded. All those hours spent reading Cooking for Dummies finally pay off!