Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Chloe - Haidar Karoum - On His Way Up

1331 4th St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003

Chef Haidar has been around the DC scene for a few years. I've eaten at other properties he was in charge of including Proof, Doi Moi, Estadio, Citronelle, and probably others that I'm unaware of.
If feel he really started to come into his own at Estadio, then at Doi Moi. Chloe is a culmination and confirmation of all of his past, and more.
There is no over-arching cuisine or theme at Chloe. What I came away with was a new-found respect for what this guy can do with vegetables and the flavors he can extract and throw at you with minimal added fats/oils.
 Pickled everything here with additional spices.
 The broiled oysters has an understated horse radish cream along with some unexpected crunch.
 The cobia crudo was a real eye-opener. Explosive, but beautifully balanced flavors and textures. Citrus, greens, fresh-as-can-be fish.
 Grilled ramps with Romesco and aged Manchego.
 What I didn't expect was a cup of absolutely kick-ass gumbo. Well played.

 While the sheep's milk ricotta looked nice, it was a bit on the bland side overall. Not my favorite dish, but when there is so much going on there is bound to be a dish or two that aren't faves.
Literallyy the best Pate Campagne I've ever had. 
So much goodness going on.
Roasted Sablefish with gochugan emulsion - I have no idea what that is but this dish was awesome. The sable was delicate and very slightly briny. 

Another view of that beautiful plate.

This roasted cod with curry was Cheryl's favorite fish. 

Roasted carrots and parsnips with labne and amaranth were flavorful and cooked perfectly.
Asparagus with hen of the woods mushrooms and BĂ©arnaise. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how umami this dish was.
I don't want to give away any surprises, but this chicken is marinated in a flavor that will be very familiar to you if you're a fan of Vietnamese cuisine. I only got a little bite of this as the kids destroyed it in a few seconds. The sauces provided with this one were hot, hot, hot. 
Nothing but a perfectly created and prepared Bavarian white sausage with mustard spaetzli. Excellent.

Hand-crafted spiced beef hummus with extremely hot naan. 
Gnocchi with ramps snow peas, wild mushrooms and parm - heaven in a bowl. I finished this one and was looking for bread to mop it up.

Crispy whole fried fish - you don't see this every day. We picked it clean.

This one was pure Maryland - fingerling potatoes with malt mayo and Old Bay.
I loved this dish too...and it's vegan as far as I know. Cauliflower, tahini, lemon, garlic, mint, parsley and toasted pine nuts. The texture was excellent too.
Alex and Ellen picking the last of the crispy goodness off the bones of that fish.
For dessert....toasted meringue dots on top of Meyer lemon custard...at least I think it was a custard. 

I only got a small taste of this before it mysteriously disappeared. It was not your average Sundae though, I can tell you that. I tasted caramelized, dark flavors. I'm going to have to give that one another go-around.
The Chai panna cotta had pecan brittle chunks and spiced pears. Perfect combo and texture.
Last, but not least - the cheese plate. Usually I like two of the three cheeses you get on a plate like this, but there were all hits. A mild bleu, aged Manchego, and ash-skinned goat. All excellent. We were so full we brought some of this home in a go-box which I rarely do. Super lunch the next day.

In summary, this restaurant is not one to be missed. I'm seeing a Bib next time Michelin is in town if not a star. Service was right where it needed to be when you needed it and unobtrusive when you didn't. Congratulations Haidar. You deserve the praise you're going to get.