So the other day I was having dinner with Hamid Karzai....oh wait, no, I was NEAR his hotel, but he didn't actually join us for dinner. I assume he was at the Willard, security was hott right thar.
The W Hotel, formerly Hotel Washington, is home to a rooftop bar with quite the view. The White House looks teeny next to the Treas from this angle! It tickled me a bit that the Elevator Bouncer checked our IDs to head up to the rooftop, but no one checked 'em when we got our cocktails at dinner.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a man with a plan....to open delicious restaurants all over the place! We may not be Paris, Bora Bora, or even Las Vegas (I'd rather be in DC than LV any day!), but we're one of the most recent additions to the JG family. Like Bourbon Steak, the place has steak in the name, but the menu is so much more than that (links to Washingtonian & WaPo reviews show I'm not alone in this line of thought).
Drinks: Dark & Stormy, New York Sour.
The spring pea soup with parmesan was unbelievable. GORGEOUS, smooth as silk, and the flaaaavors and the teeeeextures, for real. I obviously dig pea soup--when done well, it's so so so happy. The sweet pea puree was an awesome contrast to the thick, foamy parmesan area. I kept tasting them separately, then together, then separately...ok, I had a little too much fun.
J had heard good stuff about the calamari - it was a big portion, but very light. CRUNCH.
The halibut (with scallion and chili sauce, basil and celery) was quite tasty. LB recommended it, and the fish was nice and light. Lightly crispy top, as you can see. And the fun underneath would make an awesome tapenade--I'd like to spread that on a cracker, you know?
J's lamb, cooked medium, with a side of root vegetables. The first bite I had wasn't as good as the next two--those were awesome (I think the first happened to be a more done bite, and I'm all about the pink). Very simple - seasoned with salt and pepper, then a dried black olive breadcrumb situation (this was light--if you're anti-olive, no worries). The result was a yummy, charred, smoky, super delicious lamb dish that was so good I almost didn't want dessert because I wanted the last taste on my tongue to be that lamb. The texture was what it should be--not chewy, not gritty, just perfect. Root veggies were root veggies--but the puree underneath them was awe-inducing.
A bit of dessert. Light and fluffy cheesecake with some "exotic fruit compote and sorbet." Pineapple? Passionfruit? Mango? Something, or maybe a mixture. I didn't care for the sorbet, but the cheesecake was very good, and adorable. And A+ to the staff for listening attentively when I said it was J's BIRTHDAY!!!! Happy day to him.
As we pondered our meal and awaited our check, a gentleman next to us was going on and on to the server and then the manager about the Caesar salad. Apparently his lettuce was very soggy, and it was unacceptable, and he wouldn't recommend that people return. J and I exchanged glances that said Who Would Get a Caesar Salad With This Freakin' Menu, Is This Guy Out Of His Mind. Then we joked about my 19-year-old cousin who orders a Caesar salad wherever he goes--he's a connoisseur. We'd have to put it to his test to really find out if this guy was right! For what it's worth, the manager was very receptive to the criticism, and managed the complaint nicely.
Service was great--our server recommended the "signature" dishes, which were all ones we had heard about beforehand from other blogs and friends. He wasn't pushy on the drinks, but definitely was encouraging for us to drink more. The line between being attentive to empty glasses and wanting to up our bill is a fine one, and he got a little close. But I liked him.
We had a wonderful meal, and a wonderful time. We'll be back! And yes, my photos got increasingly darker as our window seat became irrelevant--night time, a pox on you!
515 15th Street NW (Penn & 15th)
Metro: Orange, Blue, & Red Lines to Metro Center (or O&B to McPherson, or Fed Triangle...)