Sunday, September 9, 2012

Epic Smokehouse....from the smoker with love

Epic Smokehouse
1330 S. Fair St. (though your GPS might like 1330 S. Fern St. better)
Arlington, VA
Joon Yang and Wayne Halleran opened Epic Smokehouse to friends and family Saturday for a preview. I had done a short post about the restaurant during construction.  You can find there here.
Some of the pictures you see here are not of the actual dishes they will be serving.  Some are merely tastes of parts of larger entrees.  I asked them to put out a little of a lot of different things so I could get a feel for what they were trying to do here.
Above is a taste of their smoked brisket and smoked pork.  The smoke flavor in the brisket is intense.  The pulled pork isn't sloppy/mushy.  They pay attention to their times and temperatures.
This is shrimp with some of the nicest polenta I've ever tried. Good butter sauce.
This is a view from the food bar.  The restaurant is long and slim with windows all the way across.  The woodwork is creative and attention to detail was apparent.
Here's another shot of that shrimp dish.
This is the cold-smoke scallop dish.  The crispy kimchi under it was a perfect foil to the sweetness of the scallops.  I'm not sure if you can tell in the picture, but these scallops were probably 3-4 ounces.  Huge.
Just smoke to rare, then seared.
This is a treat you won't find anywhere else:  (at least anywhere else I've been to) The smoked prime rib.  There is an understated horseradish crusting, but the reason it's understated is because the smoke flavor is off the charts.  This meat must spend a long time in the cool smoke to get it like that.  I recommend it even if you're not a prime rib fan. 

The last thing we tried was a bit of short rib.  The meat was fork-tender, as it should be, and the sauce had just the right balance of salt. 

All in all, a great first night.  Please stop by and check them out.  If you do, tell them you read about it on Pleasures of the Table.

Epic SmokeHouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to Newton's Table in Bethesda

Newton's Table
4917 Elm St.
Bethesda, MD 20814

There isn't a whole lot of fine dining going on in Bethesda.  There are a few standout restaurants though.  Newton's Table is one.  Everyone reading my blog likely knows the story of local-boy-done-good Dennis Friedman.  If not, he used to be the exec at Bezu before striking out on his own.
Above is the onion foccacia that they start you with.  It's quality.
This was my wife's gazpacho.  Very nicely done.  Almost as good as mine!

The carpaccio of beef was a nice way to start my meal.  Shaved tenderloin and parm with some arugala.  The white dots on the right side of the photo are truffled aioli.  My son got a taste of this and immediately asked if we could get some to take home.  The flavor was a text book example of balance.
Dennis's take on Crab Cakes with a nicely spiced red pepper coulis.
Cheryl had the Chilean Sea Bass. Pretty to look at and cooked to perfection.  Crispy on top, just cooked through inside.

I was wowed by the bison ribeye.  More likely, I was wowed by the rub and the texture of the steak.  One of the best I've ever had.

The desserts here are like a mini-carnival on a plate.
Dennis's wife Patty makes the rum cake on the left here. If you only try one dessert here, that should be it.  The ice cream in the middle had some chili in it that gave a nice, fading heat.  The pinapple brule was a treat as well.
All in all, a solid meal with great service. Parking is valet and is only $7.00, so take advantage of that. Finding a spot in Bethesda at dinner time sucks since they closed the lot at the end of Woodmont.  If you do go, please tell Robert the GM or Dennis the chef/owner that you read about it on Pleasures of the Table.