Restaurant Week

Posted August 30th, 2008 by Deepa and filed in Food
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In August both DC & Bethesda had their restaurant week.  During restaurant week, participating restaurant offer a fixed price dinner (~$ 35) and/or  lunch (~$20) to all its patrons.  Some restaurants offer a special menu, sort of an abridged version of their regular menu for restaurant week while others offer their entire menu (with some items having an extra fee).  It is the time, Seejo and I look forward to –because that is the time we get to visit restaurants that we would normally consider as above our budget.

Last year we went to Acadiana- a New Orleans style restaurant.  The restaurant was crowded—restaurant week tends to get crowded. But we had a wonderful turtle soup as appetizer, an amazing roasted duck with a sweet crispy skin  and an amazing drink called Basil Belle—Tanqueray gin and lemon syrup/lemon soda and crushed basil.  It’s a drink we have made several times at home afterwards.

This year, we indulged in three different restaurants, beginning with Tavira , a Portuguese restaurant,  for the Bethesda restaurant week.  The dishes were picked off the restaurant week menu—very disparate in style and proportion.  The Piri Piri chicken was grilled perfectly and , unlike most grilled chicken, the spices had permeated throughout the chicken and the quantity was enough for even lunch next day. On the other hand, the grilled sea-food presented very artistically but it was rather bland and the quantity was rather meager.  It was same with the appetizers too—the sardines were surprisingly good (even for a confirmed sardine hater like myself), but the kale soup was luck lusture.  Overall impression: I’d recommend the restaurant if you are in the vicinity –not if you have to go out of your way to eat there.

For the DC restaurant week, we picked two very different restaurants. A French style bistro  “Bistro Bis”  where they offered a limited restaurant week menu. I had my first steak tartare  which was “interesting” but the act of nibbling at a raw cow makes me a little edgy. The mussels were amazing but the start of the party was hearty and spicy beef stew.  The duck confit was surprisingly flat.  The trio of sorbet was just the most light dessert to finish off the meal.  Overall impression: Nice but not worth the price.

The best restaurant that I have ever visited, in terms of food alone is Farrah Olivia by Morou.  We have wanted to go there eveer since we saw Chef Morou in Iron Chef America.  What they serverd was not just food, it was almost an artistic creation.  The appetizer we ordered was scallops and gazpacho. The scallop was seared perfectly, and served with melon puree lined with berebere oil with a little bacon powder and bacon bits on the side of the plate.  It was probably the best scallop I have ever had.  The gazpacho was presented beautifully—both tomato and eggplant gazpacho served in the same plate with a mint jelly and chilli jelly cube floating in each side respectively. There were combinations that I never thought would work together  such as a banana crusted chicken with mango sauce  and quinoa salad which had me wondering  why didn’t I ever think of using banana and chicken before .  Seejo’s entrée was steak but it was served with raisin sauce and a cocoa-coffee powder and sauted mushrooms. The server explained that you mix the powder in the sauce and the dip the steak into it. Individually each of the items were good but together they exploded into something magical in your mouth. The portions were small— it did take three full courses to make me feel full ( we licked the plates clean each time).  But each dish was unusual, disparate ingredients that blended together so well, presented beautifully and extremely delicious.   Overall Impression: Going there again, Definitely.

And we are not going to wait for the next restaurant week.