Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Best Things I Put In My Mouth in 2013...that are fit to print.

It's that time of the year again, where I browse back through my posts and rehash the year in food. As is my style (or lack thereof) I'm not going to get all flowery with effusive descriptions, just the pictures and a few memories. If you'd like to see the full review of the restaurant click on their name in the post.
Here we go:
Kimchi fried rice from Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, VA.
This was a huge boat of spicy, perfectly cooked rice with slabs of crispy, melty pork belly on top and diced in the rice as well. It was enough for lunch and leftovers for another meal. Joey and Tim do good work here.

This Egg Three Ways was a special at Daikaya. Kat called it, 'The Rocky Balboa".
My earliest memories of food are all umami flavors. I didn't even know the name for it until a few years ago, but now that I know what I'm looking for, it's much easier to find.
This was a whole bowl of it and it almost brought me to tears. Honsen egg, cured roe, uni, and house-made Ponzu. Katsuyu is a beast in the kitchen. Well done.
The Pineapple Upside Down Cake at The Pineapple Grill in Maui.
We ate a ton of Pineapple Upside Down Cake in Hawaii. Each was it's own interpretation, but this was the best. Macadamia Brittle Ice Cream, moist cake, perfect pineapple caramel sauce.
I don't think I'd go for dinner next visit, but I'd definitely stop in for dessert.

The Pork Belly at Pulpo.
Better than 9 out of 10 of my attempts at pork belly. Once in a while you score, but apparently these guys have the formula down, or at least they did while Billy Klein was there. I haven't been back since he left. Time will tell. It was crisp on the outside, unctuous and almost liquid inside with perfect seasoning. The only competition to this that I've had in DC was The Source.

The Roasted Bone Marrow with Caviar at Bearnaise.
The picture above is not how it is served, but it is how I ate it. I didn't get a good shot of the actual plating of this dish, probably because I saw it and immediately dug in, forgetting that I had a job to do. Regardless, this is a stupendous dish and a great much luxurious goodness can you fit in one bite? Not sure I've found my limit yet, but this was close.
Bravo Spike and Brad.
Who makes the best pasta in the city? It's a toss up between Roberto Donna and Mike Isabella. Roberto is more old guard and Mike is the young upstart.
Mike's flavors and textures on his hand-made ravioli can't be beat. My wife said it best with this dish, which was the Sweet Potato Ravioli at Kapnos: "It tastes like Thanksgiving."

And last, but not least, the Linguettine with garlic, parm, and white Alba truffles at Rose's Luxury.
This dish is exactly what you should get when you order a truffled pasta at exactly the right price. Too many places serve old, stale truffles with other things that shouldn't be on the plate for twice what they should charge. Aaron Silverman and his crew do it right.  It may be hard to get a table there, but the wait is worth it. You won't be disappointed.
Thank you for taking the time to check out my year. I hope yours was just as tasty and I look forward to providing you with reviews of some of the best restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic in 2014.
Until then, bon appetit!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rose's Luxury...It's all that and a bag of chips.

Rose's Luxury
717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
(202) 580-8889
Rose's Luxury is a two-story restaurant on Barracks Row. If you're a foodie, you've likely already been here or read about it.  There's been a lot of hype. Sometimes places have good PR and don't live up to it. This place is not one of those. It doesn't hurt that they have Elizabeth Parker blabbing all over the internet about you! In any event, I was flying solo as I'd just dropped my wife and son off at the White House for a Christmas party. It took me two hours to get the 13 miles from our house to Obama's. I decided I wasn't going to brave the traffic leaving the city and I'd just go sit at the bar and have dinner.
 As usual, I walked around until I found someone I knew so I could get a seat in the right place with the right person taking care of me. The hostess recommended I go to the upstairs bar, but I went to the downstairs and ran into Elizabeth. She told the bartender I was a friend and to take good care of me. Exactly what I needed!
 They start you out with a little loaf of bread and some soft butter with crispy shallots on top. Nice. I chose a Manhattan to start. Very nice. My cheftender Brian (I think) was very knowledgeable about the mixing arts and the food at Rose's.
 The downstairs bar....and my friendly cheftender. Nice selection slightly left of the beaten path.
The Vietnamese Pate. Think creamy liver spread topped with chopped peanuts and served with some house-made pickles and micro Thai basil. Avant Garde Banh Mi. Very nice.
A little difficult to put in your mouth, but worth the effort.
Lychee and habanero sausage salad. Nice combination of flavors and colors going on here. There were some crispy bits in there that really made it an interesting dish.
Elizabeth told be about the special before I even sat down. Linguettine in butter/garlic with shaved White Alba Truffles. She knows I'm a truffle whore. It was literally the best truffle dish I've had in years. I'm not sure if the last two or three seasons were not as kind to the lovely fungus or if there was something else going on in the market, but these were so perfect and fragrant I almost had to take a knee when I was finished. At $30.00 I also considered ordering a second helping. I've paid much more for a much less satisfying experience in some very nice restaurants locally. I apologize for the color treatment here, it was kind of dark and you can't get the full sense of the beauty of this dish.
This was the cheese course. Marscapone with some crumbles and fruit. It was lighter than it looks/sounds and a nice change of flavors/textures/temperature after the truffles.
This was also a dish not to be missed. Fois Gras French Toast. Salty/sugary/crispy crumble with battered brioche and caramel ice cream with a slab of sauteed FG. I appreciated that the Cheftender passed me a glass of beer fragrant with apples to enjoy with this, but the after taste of the beverage was a little bitter with this dish. Maybe I'm just a traditionalist when it comes to FG, but I think a sauternes, port, or muscato would have paired better.
Aaron Silverman. Chef/owner and maestro at Rose's. He's doing a hell of a job and I expect we'll see great things from him and Scott Muns in the future. 
Well done folks. Keep it up and keep your sense of humor.

Rose's Luxury on Urbanspoon