Monday, October 14, 2013

G - Mike Isabella's Tasting Room

G Tasting Room at Kapnos & G
2201 14th St. N.W. @ W
Washington, DC 20009
How do you get a phone number like that? Geez. 
Guess it helps to the be The Man.
Mike Isabella is certainly riding high these days thanks to his successes at Graffiato, one of my favorite restaurants in DC.
Left to right - Elliot Drew, Mike Isabella, yours truly and James Horne. Missing from the picture is co-owner and GM Nick Pagonis and his brother/partner/Exec George Pagonis. We've worked together on several projects including Zaytinya (back when most of these folks were with Thinkfood Group) and Graffiato.
I had a free Saturday night, so Cheryl, Alex and I decided to spend a little quality time together over the tasting menu at G. During the day G is a sandwich shop attached to Kapnos. By night, it transforms into a very hip little section of the restaurant where you can enjoy some of the creativity that the chefs working here have.  It's separate from the main restaurant and there is an open kitchen where you can watch Elliot work his magic. The TV on the wall was showing Barbarella I think, the music was low, and the lights were high enough that I could get some good pictures. It's a pet peeve of mine....beautiful food and dim lighting don't make for good pictures.
We started out with the antipasti.
Some very nice charcuterie, arancini, crostini, frittata..
Buffalo mozzarella
and giardiniera...which kind of looked like a cannoli.
Nice looking food.
We had the supplement, which was fried blowfish, ruby shrimp, sepia, avocado and lemon. Nice little fried intermezzo.
There's my man Elliot working up a sweat in the kitchen. We arrived before the first scheduled seating so we pretty much had the place, and the chef, to ourselves.
Here's a formula Mike doesn't stray from: Perfect hand-made ravioli. These little pillows of tender, almost melt-in-your-mouth pasta were filled with sweet potato puree and topped with brown butter, maple sugar and pecans. My wife took a bite, closed her eyes, and said, "Mmmm. This tastes like Thanksgiving."
Macaroni with sausage gravy.
Art on a plate, with a photo bomb. This is the halibut with a romesco sauce wrapped in a leek. Very nice flavors. Not the little dots of charred scallion puree.
This was also very pretty, and cooked to perfection Lamb stracotto with root vegetables.
The texture was grand, but the flavor was lacking in that it wasn't the usual Isabella punch-in-the-tastebuds. I generally expect some more powerful seasoning/flavors from him and am rarely disappointed.
The desserts were fab though, and picked up right where they needed to. This was a chocolate layer cake with what tasted like mocha icing.
This is the sweet potato cheese cake with pecans. It was all that.

Last but not least, the gelato. This is from Rob at Dolcezza. Always great flavors and a texture that is remarkable. I believe this was cinnamon with candied pretzel pieces if I remember correctly. 
Final words? Great meal. Definitely recommend giving the tasting menu here a shot. Not only is the meal good, entertaining, and pretty, it's only $40.00/pp.
If you stop by, tell the crew you read about it on Pleasures of the Table!
Thanks for reading.

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