Robert Irvine’s Public House, Las Vegas NV

Robert Irvine’s Public House

Iced Tea

French Onion Fondue – Gruyere, Caramelized Onion, Thyme, Toasted Ciabatta

Public House Poutine – Tater Tots, Pulled Pork and Shiitake-Onion Gravy, Peppered Goat Cheese, Red Vein Sorrel

Deviled Eggs – Pickled Jalapenos, Grain Mustard, Crispy Pork Belly, Capers

Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings – BBQ Rubbed, RI Signature Blue Flame Buffalo Sauce, Celery and Ranch Dressing, Toasted Bread

Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes and Grilled Ciabatta – Avocado Puree, Lemon Ricotta, Toasted Garlic, Basil, Tomato Vinaigrette

Roasted Vegetables – Farmer’s Market Vegetables, Fine Herbs, Lebanese Garlic and Lemon Sauce

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – Salt Roasted Beets, Pickled Beets, Goat Cheese, Grapes, Arugula, Sherry and Honey Vinaigrette

Steak Tartare – Capers, Red Onion, Egg, Lemon Zest, Herb Potato Chips

F&K Fondue Sliders – Creekstone Farm Black Angus, Mushrooms, Onions, Crispy Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Brioche Bun

Bar Snack Fish & Chips – Beer Battered Cod, Malted Curry Aioli, Green Onion, Bacon, Feta, Green Cabbage Slaw

Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie – Ground Lamb, Onion, English Peas, Mashed Potato Crust

Buttermilk Fried Duck Confit – Maple-Sherry Vinegar, Braised Kale and Chard, Buttery Sriracha Sauce

English Banoffee Pie – Banana, Toffee, Espresso Ice Cream

Dessert Shepherd’s Pie – Strawberries, Lemon Curd, Pound Cake, Toasted Meringue Crust

Spotted Dick – Traditional English Steamed Currant Pudding, Vanilla Custard Sauce

Skillet Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie – High Road Vanilla Fleur de Sel Ice Cream

Happy to wander the world seeking out great meals but not so fond of Food Television there was no real reason to know Robert Irvine before the Chef opened up shop at The Tropicana, and although the name Public House still seems terribly unoriginal with two additional Restaurants similarly dubbed less than 3/4 mile away it looks as though the Restaurant: Impossible star’s spot is doing quite well based on a visit Saturday evening.

Reportedly built at the request of Tropicana High Rollers in need of a place to use comps, the property certainly never considered a dining “destination” in a city filled with several Resorts that could legitimately make such a claim, Robert Irvine’s Public House officially opened its doors in July after significant hype including a daredevil stunt during which the TV-Star lept from the top of the white tower over a year prior, Chef Scott Green making his return to Las Vegas after a stint in Canada to head up a kitchen focused on upscale yet accessible fare and Irvine’s British upbringing.

Admittedly a first-timer at The Tropicana, its southerly location on The Strip and lack of dining venues never really a draw despite being one of the few places in town still offering free parking, it is upon entering the front doors that signs immediately point guests left towards the sprawling room with a bar and lounge up front plus several tables and banquets lining the space behind, a dinner rush of over 150 covers seeing the place slammed on a big football weekend but a party of four happy to wait until the assigned 8:00pm reservation time while sitting at a first come-first serve high top.

Doing a reasonable job of isolating itself from the gaming floor, a walkway between slot machines and Public House’s doors at least fifteen feet wide, it is only once diners make their way to the back that the full scope of design can be seen, varying shades of wood comprising floor and ceilings sandwiching comfortable orange leather seats, stone walls and an immense glass window facing Las Vegas Boulevard outside.

Dining with three frequent tablemates and thus able to sample a wide range of the menu it was after others had requested Mixed Drinks and Beers featuring flavors like Peanut Butter and Passion Fruit that Food was ordered, a total of twelve savories far more than would be recommended for even a group of six and beginning with Appetizers including Bar Menu Deviled Eggs atop Mustard alongside Tater Tot “Poutine” with Pulled Pork and Goat Cheese plus smoky Wings featuring Irvine’s own Buffalo Sauce and two styles of housemade Dressing.

By no means a bad way to begin, even those tired of “small plates” and “gastropubs” likely to find lots to love in the Tots that remain crispy beneath Mushroom Gravy and a bubbling dish of French Onion Fondue meant to be slathered on Toast, it was with some additional Bread requested and Gruyere still molten that a trio of Salads soon appeared, the Heirloom Tomatoes vibrant and acidic amidst fresh Herbs and Garlic while the ubiquitous Beet Salad outperformed many thanks to Grapes and lightly pickled flavors, the same sadly not to be said for a dish simply listed as “Roasted Vegetables” that featured good Produce but seemed poorly conceived as the Sauce was too thick to be considered ‘Soup’ and too runny to function as Dip without quickly getting messy.

Using a pair of bar items plus thick-cut Steak Tartare served with sizable housemade Potato Chips as a sort of mid-course, business finally beginning to dwindle around 9:30, suffice it to say that the much publicized F&K Burger smothered in Cheese is tasty but plenty in its smaller “Slider” format while the shrunk-down Fish & Chips unfortunately suffered from Cod being too bland, the bed of matchstick Fries showing far better amidst Bacon, Feta and thickened Malt Vinegar.

Rounding out savories with two items one won’t just find anywhere in Sin City, the Buttermilk fried Duck Confit (also offered as Chicken) crisp and intensely flavored but balanced by a Jean Georges-esque combination of braised Greens plus “buttery” Hot Sauce and Irvine’s signature “Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie” achieving where many others fail by letting the Potatoes get a little bit crispy which adds texture to the classic Lamb filling, it was with most already stuffed that four Desserts arrived with each presentation proving at least enough to warrant a bite from each…and several more for others.

Part classic and part clever, items like Mason Jar Apple Pie and Blue Cheesecake saved for a later date, it was instead with bites of Robert’s famous Banoffee Pie that things got underway and taking a far lighter approach than most to the combination of Bananas and Toffee while mellowing sweetness with Espresso Ice Cream the presentation sets a high bar for the dish locally, the same to be said of traditional Spotted Dick served in warm Vanilla Sauce while the Dark Chocolate Skillet Cookie and “Dessert Shepherd’s Pie” are definitely best shared, the former as rich as it sounds while the item in cast iron riffs on Trifle with sliced Berries, Meringue and cubes of Pound Cake.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: While many, including the local papers, have criticized Chef Irvine for everything from high prices to Food that does not fit his healthy persona Robert Irvine’s Public House nevertheless succeeds in terms of providing guests with a good experience, the necessity of an “everything to everyone” menu undoubtedly offering up a few duds but the overall batting average strong and most plates sharable by at least two rendering prices far lower than they seem.

RECOMMENDED: French Onion Fondue, Public House Poutine, Steak Tartare, Stone Fired Shepherd’s Pie, Buttermilk Fried Duck Confit, English Banoffee Pie, Spotted Dick.

AVOID: Roasted Vegetables, Fish & Chips.

TIP: Open 11:00a to “Late Night” on Weekdays and 10:30a to “Late Night” on Saturdays and Sundays, reservations recommended for prime times but walk-ins at the Bar and High Tops encouraged where several menu items plus Bar Specials such as the Sliders and Deviled Eggs are offered.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.troplv.com/dining-restaurants/chef-irvine-restaurant

Robert Irvine's Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Public House, Robert Irvine’s, Robert Irvine’s Public House Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gelatology [9,] Las Vegas NV

Gelatology

Samples: Ube, Almond, Cheese & Crackers, Crème Brulee, Green Tea Kit Kat, Honey Comb, Crumble Apple Pie, Cookies ‘n Cream, Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch

Small Honey Comb and Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch

Small Green Tea Kit Kat + Small Cookies n’ Cream

With little more to be said about Desyree Alberganti’s Gelatology at this point, her eclectically flavored and silky smooth Gelato truly world-class, it was after lunch at Town Center that the car was steered onto South Rainbow for another fix, the charming owner present and greeting guests with smiles and hugs plus all the samples they can handle.

Still pending a move to Indiana but also striking deals locally that will see her confections sold both at Gelatology and other outlets, an exciting situation for those who live further North but surely no replacement for Chef Alberganti herself, it was while exchanging stories of recent events that samples of nearly the whole case of flavors were tasted, old favorites like Ube and Crème Brulee joined by the sweet and savory “Cheese & Crackers” or seasonal Crumble Apple Pie.

Eventually settling on three $4 small cups, two singles and a double, it was as others enjoyed the mellow flavors of Green Tea Kit Kat or sweet Cookies n’ Cream that bites of Honey Comb were followed by “Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch,” the housemade base of each as cool and creamy as ever while textures were dialed up in each by crunchy bits.

FIVE STARS: Sure there is “rolled” Ice Cream and Fro-Yo and now “Nitro” Ice Cream but no matter how you mix it or match it none of these trendy places are doing what Gelatology does in terms of textures or flavors and whether Desyree herself is on-site or not it seems hard to assume that will change pending further notice.

RECOMMENDED: Ube, Honey Comb, Gino’s Double Coco Malted Milk Crunch…or, honestly, anything.

AVOID: N/A.

TIP: Still have to love the daily Instagram feed of flavors @gelatologylv.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.facebook.com/gelatologylv

Gelatology Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Gelatology, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Las Vegas NV

Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar

Cucumber Smash – Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain, Lime, Muddled Cucumber

Coconut Cloud – Ron Matusalem Platino, Stoli Vanil, Cruzan Coconut, Cream of Coconut, Toasted Coconut

Coco Coffee “Martini” – Iced Coffee, Cream, Orgeat, Cream of Coconut

Warm Rolls with Honey Butter

World Famous Coconut Shrimp – Papaya-Mango Chutney

Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs – Sweet & Spicy Blackberry Brandy BBQ, Island Slaw, Cauliflower-Potato Mash

Zuppa de Mare – Salmon, Cod, Mahi Mahi, Shrimp, Crushed Red Pepper, White Wine, Seafood Broth, Garlic Pesto Crostini

Citrus Marinated Jumbo Prawns – Lobster Cream Cous Cous, King Oyster Mushrooms, Roasted Cauliflower, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Paprika Oil, Green Olive Vinaigrette

Filet Mignon Flatbread – Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Honey Roasted Onions, Gruyere, Crispy Shiitakes, Arugula

Double Espresso – Ice

Pina Colada Cake – Vanilla Cake, Myers Dark Rum, Diced Pineapple, White Chocolate Mousse, Toasted Coconut

Pineapple Crème Brulee – Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Caramelized Pineapple

Peanut Butter Pie – Pretzel Crust, Chocolate Ganache, Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt

It seems hard to believe that any of the four founders of Tommy Bahama could have realized just how big their brand would grow back in 1993, but having since merged with a larger company the store has nevertheless grown into a worldwide enterprise focused on “island-style living,” over 150 stores and counting with several harboring their own Restaurant and the company even manufacturing their own label of Rum.

Known for their love of khaki and Hawaiian button-ups with leisurewear bleeding over to a whole line of home décor, nothing in particular suggesting the desert but still sold in five retail outlets plus department stores throughout Sin City, it was during a recent trip to Town Square that the decision was made to investigate Lunch on the patio adjacent a recently erected Christmas Tree, the breezy environment befitting the concept without feeling overly “themed.”

Toqued by Chef Ruben Vasquez Cruz and second-in-command Armando Vargas, the much-talked about Happy Hour, fresh Fish “flown in daily” and a substantial Cocktail list forming the backbone of a menu expectedly intended to please a broad audience, it was mere moments after checking in at the hostess stand that a four-top under umbrellas was offered on the restaurant’s patio, a list of daily Chef’s specials offered in addition to the typical bill of fare with most of the choices centered around Fresh Seafood.

Apologetic up front when stating that both service and the kitchen were understaffed on this particular afternoon, a rush of traffic completely filling outdoor seating with several additional groups and families sat in the spacious dining room or around a bar area displaying NCAA Football, it was still with relative efficiency that a middle-aged man from Florida took orders for drinks while additionally keeping up with refills of Water, first taste offered in the form of a foamy Pina Colada entitled “Coconut Cloud” alongside the refreshing Cucumber Smash and a “No Proof” Martini that tasted like Cuban Café con Leche with a gentle Citrus note.

Ready to place an order fairly quickly, the aforementioned staffing situation delaying the arrival of a warm basket of Rolls with Honey Butter until later, it was as the group watched several folks posing around the tree that six jumbo shrimp dipped in shredded Coconut Batter arrived alongside a Half-Rack of Ribs for the youngster, the “World Famous” item par for the course atop a dollop of tropical Chutney while the slab of Pork was tender and moist beneath sweet glaze, the sugar outweighing any suggestion of “spice” a theme that would be repeated throughout the meal.

Offering several menu items including daily specials in two sizes, the smaller suggested as an “appetizer” but equally appropriate as an entree for those with modest appetites, it was alongside a sharable bowl of Fish Soup that had unfortunately boiled too long that a $15 Flatbread arrived, the unannounced pile of Arugula seemingly unnecessary at first but presumably added to balance the Honey-soaked Onions that would have otherwise overwhelmed everything including the texturally pleasing Mushrooms and medium rare Beef.

Rounding out entrees with a three-piece order of Jumbo Prawns, their snappy flesh and a bit of smoke from the grill a vast improvement from the rubbery Scallop or Shrimp from the Soup, Chefs Cruz and Vargas showed a deft hand when preparing Pearl Cous Cous with fresh Vegetables and light Cream plus tender Mushrooms, the quality of each ingredient as well as the preparation as a whole on par with what one might find further up the Strip for at least $10 more.

Told to “save room for Dessert,” a mock-display near the front door brought tableside to assure a sale that was already guaranteed, it was alongside a Double Espresso poured over Ice that three of the Tommy Bahama’s signatures were selected, the Peanut Butter Pie eaily the richest with a thick and creamy base balanced by finishing salt as well as the pulverized Pretzel Crust while two tropical choices proved even better, the Pina Colada Cake fragrant and moist without being too dense while the Crème Brulee made from caramelized Pulp and Vanilla Custard re-inserted into the hollowed Rind may just be the best version served in Las Vegas.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: Dollar for dollar and plate for plate Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar occupies a position somewhere between the likes of Cheesecake Factory or Elephant Bar and places like Joe’s Stone Crab or Aquanox on The Strip, certainly not “destination” dining but at the same time far better than it needs to be for an upscale dining option in an shopping mall.

RECOMMEDNED: Coconut Cloud, Grilled Baby Back Ribs, Citrus Marinated Jumbo Prawns, Pina Colad Cake, Pineapple Crème Brulee.

AVOID: Zuppa de Mare.

TIP: Yes, there is also a retail store for those who are interested.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.tommybahama.com/restaurants/las-vegas

Tommy Bahama's Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Lobster, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tommy Bahama, Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ace Donuts [4,] Las Vegas NV

Ace Donuts

Cronut Hole

Buttermilk Bar

Blueberry Old Fashioned

Cinnamon Roll

Red Velvet

Apple Fritter

Blueberry Fritter

Originally visited in the waning days of 2014 and again just under a week later it is largely a matter of committing to sleeping in on weekends that more frequent visits have not been made to Ace Donuts on the corner or Tropicana and Fort Apache, the small shop opening at 5am having caught on thanks to favorable word of mouth now selling out of most of their product by noon on weekdays and as early as nine or ten o’clock in the morning on Saturday as well as Sunday.

Still owned and operated by the same pleasant women, only one present on this particular Saturday just after 9am with store shelves still full as opposed to during an attempted visit at 10:15 just one month prior, it was with a big smile that guests were greeted from behind a counter which she can barely see over, the old-school collection plus Croissant Donuts slightly higher priced in the past but still every bit worth it with discounts now offered on boxes bought by the dozen or half.

Told by an elderly couple seated at one of the tables that Ace sells “the best Donuts in town,” a smile and agreement offered before choosing a half-dozen including several “gourmet” and “fancy” selections for $10.49, it was with a complimentary Cronut Hole thrown in that the Pink Box was taken elsewhere for indulgence, the two-bite Hole oilless and airy with shards of Glaze flaking and falling to the table.

Not purporting to be ‘small-batch,’ ‘handmade,’ ‘artisanal’ or any such catch-phrase, the approach very much a straightforward classic Doughnuttery, it was once again with previous favorites that much of the box was filled, the Buttermilk Bar with a great tang and exterior crisped by oil overlying the soft center while a Sourcream Old Fashioned was this time coated with Glaze featuring bits of pureed Blueberries.

Passing on filled or yeasted selections save for one Cinnamon Roll, the only novel item on this visit proving every bit as good as memories of a light and fluffy Crumb Donut in the past recall, it was once again that the sampling was rounded out by a moist Red Velvet Round followed by two Fritters, the smaller or two available sizes each retaining their title as best in the city with the Blueberry this time slightly better than Apple thanks to the higher concentration of Fruit amidst the sugar-shellacked Dough.

FIVE STARS: In an era when more and more food is tilted towards being photogenic as opposed to delicious it seems the classic Donut shop is becoming rarer and rarer across the States and as much as I like what places like Pink Box, Sidecar and others are doing there is simply not a place I’ve found thus far in the world who outperforms Ace Donuts for simple classics like Buttermilk Bars, Old Fashions and Fritters.

RECOMMENDED: Apple Fritter, Blueberry Fritter, Buttermilk Bar, Old Fashioned, Red Velvet.

AVOID: Arriving too late.

TIP: Open at 5am daily at 9435 W Tropicana Avenue, call in advance for special orders at (702) 222-3370.

Ace Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Ace Donuts, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Baked Joint, Washington DC

A Baked Joint

Boy Blue Ice Cream Sammie with Oatmeal Cookies and Blueberry Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream

Snickerdoodle

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oatmeal Cream Pie

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie

Gluten Free Caramel Brownie

Apple Crumb Pie

Owned by the folks behind Georgetown’s highly regarded Baked & Wired “A Baked Joint” opened in Summer 2015 and as a result of bringing the brand closer to the masses success was almost immediate, the sizable space on K St Northwest popular amongst both locals and those in town for conventions visited on a Thursday morning just past 8:00am.

Easily tripling the floorplan of its older sister and thus opting to expand offerings likewise, several savories and Loaves of Bread offered in addition to Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Brownies and more, customers visiting A Baked Joint will immediately find themselves face to face with myriad choices in jars and behind glass in addition to a menu of prepared dishes, those who know what they want encouraged by staff to bypass others who will likely spend several minutes deciding.

Laid out with a lounge in back and communal tables near floor-to-ceiling glass windows up front, those ordering drinks waiting in a separate area from those who just want plated Pastries or to-go items, it was after several moments that choices were made from the large line-up, a total of nearly $25 for just seven selections a bit more pricey than smaller markets might bear but in line with New York, Chicago or the Bay Area in general.

Focusing mostly on personal favorites plus a few items recommended by others, the Snickerdoodle starting things off on the wrong foot by being both dry and short on Cinnamon, it was only after tasting the Oatmeal Cream Pie that pairs thick Buttercream with thin yet chewy rounds that “Boy Blue” had thawed enough to be bitten into, the item losing a bit of its luster as the Ice Cream came across a bit icy in the areas featuring fruit while the Chocolate Chip Cookie fared well in terms of flexibility and flavor with crisp edges and a center soft and lightly browned.

Improving quickly as the order veered away from Cookies, the seasonal Whoopie Pie soft and moist with just a hint of spice around Cream, those looking for A Baked Joint’s best should probably take a look at the collection of Bars and Brownies, prices of $3.50 to $4.35 backed up in the case of a dense square of flourless Dark Chocolate Ganache topped in Caramel and Nuts while the Apple Crumb Pie was also good, though not on par with others found in the city at similar or lesser cost.

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A Baked Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in A Baked Joint, Breakfast, DC, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Vacation, Washington Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Masseria, Washington DC

Masseria

Smoked Potato Focaccia with Tomato Puree, Squid Ink and Sesame Grissini, Fontina Bombolini, House Pickles

Table Bread on Request

Trippa –Beef Tripe, Lobster, Brodetto

Crudo – Kampachi, Sea Bean, Heart of Palm, Finger Lime, Basil Seed, Lemon Cream

Tortellini – Chicken Tortellini, Cockscomb, Chanterelle Mushroom, Parmigiano

Foienolli – Cannoli Shell, Sicilian Pistachios, Black Truffles, Foie Gras Mousse

Linguine – Linguini, Masseria Spicy XO Sauce, Aglio, Olio, Pepperoncino, Bread Crumb

Risotto – Acquerello Risotto, Porcini, King Oyster Mushroom, Parmigiano

Cappelletti – Winter Squash, Ricotta, Brown Butter, Sage, Parmigiano

Cavolfiore – Cauliflower, Pinenut, Golden Raisin, Oregano, Garlic, Mugolio

Funghi – Wild Mushroom, Radish, Nepitella

Lepre – Wild Scottish Hare, Chestnut, Bitter Chocolate, Black Truffle

Pear – Anise Hyssop, Vanilla Zabaglione, Cranberry and Blueberry Sorbetto

Mela – Roasted Apple, Brown Butter Sponge, Truffle Honey-Cider Reduction, Black Walnut Gelato

Semifreddo – Pawpaw Semifreddo, Spiced Pawpaw Pudding Cake, Burnt Meringue Gelato, Roasted Hazelnuts

Torta al Cioccolato – Baked Chocolate Mousse, Dulce de Leche, Mascarpone Cream, Tiramisu Gelato

Blueberry Meringue, Hazelnut Macaron with Nutella Cream, Dark Chocolate with Sour Cherry and Hazelnut

Approaching Masseria shortly after a text from Resy arrived as a reminder of the reservation, a “Pro Tip” to inquire about the off-menu Foienoli part of that message, it was with a bit of confusion that the car navigated past several warehouses before finally coming upon the low-slung building delineated by white neon, parking in abundance and a walk through the front gate immediately transporting guests to someplace else by way of a courtyard like one might expect to see at a Restaurant and Inn in the European Countryside.

Named after a farm in the heel of Italy’s boot and opened in mid-2015, the first Restaurant from Chef Nick Stefanelli in reality not as remote as streetlights make it seem thanks to the nearby Union Market, Masseria is described as “a celebration of big, harmonious flavors” and having twice received a Michelin Star the first impression one receives on entry is that of warm hospitality, a hostess offering greetings inside the boisterous foyer before leading those with reservations to the main dining room spread out in front of an enormous open kitchen.

Packaged as a Prix-Fixe or Tasting Menu only experience, the fully booked sixty seats and sizable menu making this a fairly aggressive approach for a kitchen that sports far less staff than places such as The Dabney, it was shortly after seating that tables were presented with the night’s menu and a description of available plates, the start of Truffle season adding supplemental costs to several plates in addition to an appealing Wild Game Tasting.

Happy to see Stefanelli working alongside staff in the Kitchen while additionally covering the Pass, a server noting that this was a particularly busy evening thanks to a large party occupying most of the lounge, it was after lengthy discussion that the decision was made to order three 4-course Prix-Fixe plus several supplements, the price apparently a point of contention based in many online reviews but seemingly quite fair considering the quality of both presentations and the ingredients used.

Not a place for the hurried, the service professional yet pleasant with plates rolling out at twenty-to-thirty minute intervals that seem to be fixed thanks to the volume and flow of the kitchen, it is with several Canapes that Dinner at Masseria begins, November’s selection including Smoked Bread alongside vibrant Tomato Spread and Cheese-filled Doughnuts plus house-pickled Vegetables and Black Sesame Grissini.

Taking home numerous awards and accolades from local media in addition to the Red Guide, Stefanelli’s style of marrying coastal Italian Cuisine to robust flavors of the country’s interior readily apparent from the get-go in plates such as Trippa which places tender slices of Tripe beneath a half-Lobster Tail, it is with good fortune that each Prix Fixe can be composed of as many items from one section as the diner desires, the Kampachi Crudo dressed up in Citrus and snappy Sea Beans available for lighter appetites while others may want to go Pasta from the start with items such as classic Tortellini made far less-so by Cockscomb and Chanterelle Mushroom Puree.

Offering complimentary Housemade Bread on request, a smart practice preventing waste but still allowing those who wish to sop up every bit of Sauce a chance, it was as a mid-course that Masseria’s “Foienolli” was presented in all its glory, the $10 three-bite Pastry riffing on the rustic sweet with Duck Liver Mousse and Black Truffles every bit as decadent as it sounds and a nice segue into another signature plate featuring fresh-cut Linguini slicked in spicy XO Sauce with plenty of Garlic, Peppers and Bread Crumbs that remain crunchy.

Adding $10 for the daily Risotto, one kitchen station seemingly dedicated to just this dish as Chefs continually attended to the pot, those looking for a Gluten-Free option will be happy to know that Masseria’s Rice rivals any of the Noodles thanks to Mushrooms and Cream while the seasonal Cappelletti also shines thanks to pureed Squash, Butter and Ricotta.

Allowing substitutions from the tasting menu at a supplemental charge of $20 per plate, the price entirely justified for a thick Saddle of Wild Scottish Hare plus Frenched Rack of Ribs atop Chestnut Butter and Dark Chocolate showered with Truffles, it was in Vegetarian plates that others invested their appetites, the Cauliflower a dynamic dish with sweetness from the Raisins and a light minty finish while the Wild Mushrooms were fine, but also redundant in the setting of prior dishes.

Cleansing the palate with diced Pears beneath Vanilla Zabaglione and mixed Berry Sorbetto it was after a short break that dishes entitled Mela, Semifreddo and Torta al Cioccolato arrived, the first two fruity and frangrant with the Black Walnut Gelato making the former particularly memorable while the Baked Chocolate Mousse was rich and bitter but nicely balanced by Mascarpone Cream and Caramel.

https://www.masseria-dc.com

Masseria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, DC, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Lobster, Macaron, Macaroon, Masseria, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle, Truffles, Vacation, Washington Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Himitsu, Washington DC

Himitsu

Shrub District – Blueberry-Basil

Onsen Tamago – 63° Egg, Paitan Broth, Parmesan Crisp, Sesame Scallion, Truffle Butter

Uni Toast – Buttered Brioche, Uni, Hackleback Caviar, Alabama White Sauce

Sapidus Farm Oysters – Cornmeal Fried, Chili-Kosho, Lemon Crema, Garlic Spinach Puree, Fermented Spinach Powder

Hamachi – Yellowtail, Fish Sauce Vinaigrette, Thai Chili, Orange, Tobiko

Akami – Bigeye Tuna, Ginger-Scallion, Crispy Fried Shallots

Masaba – Mackerel, Parsley Tarragon Puree, Plum, Pickled Shallots, Crispy Quinoa

Aka Dormau Dai – Crispy Skin Red Drum, Roasted Mushrooms, Charred Negi, Tomato Lemongrass Broth

Kare Ebi – Gulf Coast Shrimp, Uni, Thai-inspired Green Curry, Pea Leaves, Trout Roe

Dark Chocolate – Pistachios

At this point the most accessible of The DMV’s “No Reservations” Restaurants, though that may soon change thanks to local and national press calling it one of the year’s Best, it was just days before Himitsu’s first anniversary that a party of three sat down for dinner, the white building in Petworth benefitting by a surprisingly warm day which allowed them to seat diners both outside and within the small space.

Owned and operated by Chef Kevin Tien and Carlie Steiner, the 26 year old Beverage Director who cheerfully greeted guests at the door on this particular night, Himitsu is described as a “Japanese-inspired Restaurant” that also borrows from Latin America and Southeast Asia for influence, the flavor pairings bold an unique with a small-plates menu that evolves as seasons and sourcing dictates.

Sporting only 24-seats including banquets and chairs, a wide-open kitchen and windows overlooking the Patio the only forms of visual stimulation save for the food, it is shortly after seating that guests are greeted by affable service happy to explain both cocktails and foreign ingredients, Tien’s Asian-by-way-of-Louisiana background frequently seeing his kitchen serve dishes pairing elements of each, his Peking Duck with Buttermilk Biscuits unfortunately not available on this day but the offerings still enticing and diverse.

Celebrated as much for the Cocktail and Wine menu as the food, tablemates selecting two Drinks that they appeared to love both solo and in relation to the Food, it was with a lightly fizzy Shrub clearing the palate between bites that dinner started off with bowls of Soup placing a sous-vide Egg in creamy broth fortified by Truffle Butter, the Parmesan Crisp giving the whole thing a sort of “Egg Drop Soup” flavor that prepared the palate nicely for slices of Brioche topped with Sea Urchin, Hot Sauce and a tiny garnish of Caviar.

Moving next to Fried Oysters, the Cornmeal Breading certainly not Japanese but fiery Chili-Kosho and pickled flavors unmistakably the focus of the plate aside from the briny center, it was in follow-up to this that three selections from the menu’s “Raw Plates” would arrive, the Bigeye Tuna a modest disappointment as Scallions overwhelmed Fish while the Hamachi with salt, sour and heat as well as the oily Mackerel with Fruit, Tarragon and crispy textural contrasts were both great.

Passing on the large-format “Benihana” Beef but happy to take a look at more Fish, Kevin’s Southern roots again seen by way of Red Drum lent a lot of flavor by burnt Onions and Lemongrass, it would be hard to say whether the aforementioned Egg, Mackerel or “Kare Ebi” were the night’s best item, the later featuring three sizable Shrimp charred with Head on atop a tangle of Greens swimming in Green Curry.

Quiet enough for conversation but still lively, the music and kitchen noise barely noticeable despite close confines, it was with no Dessert menu offered that the check arrived along with three pieces of Chocolate topped in pulverized Pistachios, the price appropriate for the product served and Chef Tien making a good impression on all by doing something familiar in terms of “fusion” but also speaking with a voice that is very distinct.

http://himitsudc.com

Himitsu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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All-Purpose Pizzeria, Washington DC

All-Purpose Pizzeria

Eggplant Parm – Jersey Style

Bayside Pizza – Tomato, Buffalo Mozzarella, Sicilian Oregano, Fresh Basil

Rainbow Cookie Cake – Marzipan, Chocolate Sauce, Crema

Located in Shaw and apparently backed by the same folks behind Bloomingdale’s Red Hen, a fact unknown when reservations were made for both Restaurants on separate days during a recent trip to D.C., it was for lunch on Wednesday that a party of three was seated at All Purpose Pizzeria on 9th Street Northwest, the 11:30am reservation finding the rustic dining room and kitchen fairly empty on arrival but soon to fill with businesswomen and men dressed in suits.

Featuring what Chef Michael Friedman and others have referred to as “updated” Italian-American Cuisine, no checkered tablecloths to be found but instead decked out in reclaimed woods and bare walls, All Purpose opened in 2016 and immediately became a favorite for both locals and media thanks to its diverse menu ranging from Antipasti and Salads to Pizzas and larger entrees, the lunch menu not featuring the latter but adding several Sandwiches including a formidable appearing Italian Hoagie.

Doing all of the 72-hour fermenting and baking in-house save for Desserts, those outsourced to next-door Buttercream Bakery which would be visited just a few days later, it was shortly after seating and while listening to the hostess calmly deal with a man making unrealistic requests for a party of “I don’t know, about twenty” that a waitress appeared with glasses of water and a discussion of the concept, the menu already perused and an order quickly placed for two items that would be delivered simultaneously, as requested.

Raised in New Jersey and clearly bringing a bit of that ethos to his menu, an appetizer of Crispy Calamari actually pronounced by the waitress as they do in the area passed over in favor of Eggplant Parmesan served “Jersey Style,” anyone who doesn’t absolutely hate the Vegetable should dive right into Friedman’s interpretation served in a scalding skillet served bubbling from the oven, deep spoonfuls through layers finding Tomatoes bright and acidic with crispy and creamy transitions created by Bread Crumbs up against the Eggplant’s soft flesh.

Using a unique style of Crust featuring both “00” Flour and Whole Grains plus a bit of Malt Powder, the latter leading to a slight sweetness and darker color than many wood-fired Pies, it was as the Eggplant was still cooling that bites were taken of the “Bayside Pizza” featuring all the hallmarks of a Margherita plus Sicilian Oregano, the Cornicione not quite as puffy as a true Neapolitan but still very light while the center was crisp and crunchy almost like a Chicago-style Bar Pie.

Having already mentioned Pastries from next door, a total of four including one type of Soft-Serve changing frequently, it was without hesitation that any additional stomach space was pledged to a generous slice of Rainbow Cookie Cake, a many-fold magnification in terms of size compared to the typical Cookie that shined in terms of both the Marzipan and layers of Jam with finishing touches contributed by a dollop of freshly whipped Crema and Chocolate Fudge drizzled around the base of the plate.

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All-Purpose Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Cakeroom Bakery, Washington DC

The Cakeroom Bakery

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Lotus Cake with Belgian Shortcrust and Speculoos Buttercream

Locally owned and operated in the Adams Morgan neighborhood it was after a disappointing visit to “The Diner” that a quick stop was made at The Cakeroom, Fadi Jaber’s now 4-year old bakery on 18th Street NW the sort of place every city wishes they could support but few can with no less than two-dozen Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Cupcakes offered from early morning until nighttime.

Jordanian by descent and a later-than-typical Pastry Chef who abandoned the corporate world after several years to indulge a childhood passion for baking, those entering Jaber’s bright pink Cakeroom will immediately be struck by the tiny space lined in red and white wallpaper plus white paneling, the goods laid out to the right with a staircase lined with awards to the left, the steps leading up to a second story dining area where guests are invited to linger over Dessert and Coffee while utilizing the Restaurant’s free Wi-Fi.

In reality the first American location of the Chef’s “Sugar Daddy’s Bakery” back home, additional locations in Beirut and Lebanon mentioned in the stairwell of accolades, it should come as no surprise that a space offering such variety will likely prove overwhelming to many as so much of what is offered is not only unique but elegant in terms of presentation, items such as Hummingbird Cake and Red Velvet tempting alongside several styles of Cheesecake though the eventual order entailed none of these as other items proved even more beguiling.

Proudly describing itself as a Scratch Bakery, nothing from a box used and Chef Fadi himself actually finishing up in the kitchen before going upstairs to arrange furniture just after 9:15am, it was seated at a pair of tables in the window downstairs that tastes were first taken of two cookies of which both were still warm to touch, the Chocolate Chip bolstered by a light kiss of Cinnamon in the batter while the Oatmeal Cranberry round was exactly as it should be with a soft-set center surrounded by lightly brown and crispy edges.

Showing an adept hand with Layer Cakes, a perhaps surprising situation as such things tend to carry a very “American” connotation particularly when loaded up with Buttercream or Cream Cheese Frosting, it is nonetheless with familiar nostalgia garnered from Jaber’s time in U.S. Schools that The Cakeroom’s Carrot Cake rings true with all the classic flavors including Raisins and a tangy finish, the less traditional wedge of “Lotus Cake” selected as a matter of intrigue featuring a similarly moist Crumb but with far more Butter plus a layer of sweet White Frosting matched to Buttercream impregnated with imported Belgian Speculoos.

http://www.cakeroombakery.com/

Cakeroom Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Diner, Washington DC

The Diner

Coffee

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream

Monte Cristo with Challah, Ham, Turkey, Swiss, Cheddar and a side of Grits

Bread Pudding French Toast with Citrus Cream and Strawberries

Challah French Toast with Strawberries

Hot Apple Pie with Whipped Cream and Vanilla Ice Cream

Perhaps America’s most classic culinary institution it has always proven interesting to see what each major city considers to be the quintessential “Diner” and although the Nation’s Capital has several such places to choose from few seem to embody the traditional model as much as Adams Morgan’s “The Diner” where breakfast for three was ordered on Wednesday morning.

Owned by the group behind Tryst and several other local establishments, the spacious 24/7 Restaurant located at 2453 18th Street Northwest decorated with mirrors and a diversity mural flanking the lengthy Bar where many patrons choose to sit and kibitz with waitresses and line cooks, guests visiting The Diner early will find ample metered parking just outside the space and despite the fact that reservations are not offered there will likely be no difficulty finding a seat save for the busiest times, though receiving service that qualifies as ‘adequate’ may prove to be a challenge.

Lengthy and just a bit grimy, a vagrant outside shouting obscenities as the sky while intermittently begging for change just another part of the experience, it was shortly after seating and hearing about seasonal specials that beverages were ordered, the Coffee a pretty basic brew that essentially required begging for refills while the “Hot Chocolate” clearly came from a powdered mix as flecks were seen circulating the glass overflowing with Whipped Topping.

Priced appropriately to ingredient quality and format, most plates less than $10 despite big portion sizes with condiments including artificial Maple Syrup and packages of Smucker’s HFCS “jelly,” it was after some debate about a makeshift Croque Monsieur or Chicken and Waffles that the decision was made to instead invest in three styles of “French Toast,” two largely the same with outsourced Challah Bread griddled Golden and one served “Monte Cristo”-style around Ham, Swiss, Turkey and Cheddar, the fact that it wasn’t deep fried not as much an issue as the fact that it was served luke-warm with Cheese only partially melted and nothing worth topping or dipping it in.

Battling a busted parking meter on this particular day, the focus on not getting a ticket more than once requiring a trip to the door to check on the car, it was thankfully with The Diner’s Bread Pudding French Toast that the kitchen at least managed to serve a dish that required more effort than assemblage and a quick trip to the stove, the Bread soaked overnight in Lemon Cream thankfully not requiring anything more than Berries and a dash of Powdered Sugar to be good while the housemade Apple Pie was also decent, though ordered a la mode it would have benefitted from a better brand of Ice Cream.

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The Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Dabney, Washington DC

The Dabney

House Bread – Sorghum Molasses Butter

Whipped Lardo – Grilled Ciabatta, Pickles, Onions, Mustard Seeds, Herbs

Ricotta Toast – Roasted Chestnut, Black Truffle, Pecan, Maple

Roasted Beets – Goat Cheese, Pumpernickel, Prune, Lemon Verbena

Grilled Fall Squash – Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Charred Greens, Feta, Walnuts

Fried Sugar Toads – Hot Honey, Buttermilk Dressing, Greens

Woodson’s Mill Cornbread – Herb Butter

Chocolate Chess Pie – Smoked Milk Ice Cream, Beet, Crumble

Apple Crumble – Woodruff Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Mousse for Two – Cherries, Whipped Cream, Toasted Marshmallows, Chocolate Sauce, Butter Streusel

Housemade Gingersnaps

Twice the recipient of a Michelin Star and still one of The DMV’s hottest spots it was as part of a party of three that dinner booked at The Dabney on Halloween night, Jeremiah Langhorne’s spot tucked away in Blagden Alley yet another stunner in terms of design but the Food some of the most precious and expensive in the city despite not being particularly delicious or ‘exciting.’

Celebrated as a result of Chef Langhorne’s pedigree which includes time at noma as well as five years with Sean Brock at McCrady’s, both ventures as well as his own personal interests stirring a desire to create a true “farm to table” concept in the Nation’s Capital, guests at The Dabney will find the Restaurant occupying a largely wooden building just past the former home of RJ Cooper’s Rogue 24 and upon entry the expectation should be a slightly uncomfortable decibel level created by the lively bar and open kitchen, a turn around the corner finding the main dining room only slightly more quiet.

Offering the same sort of professional yet conversational service as his former kitchen in Charleston, a young woman dressed in flannel explaining the menu and recommending the standard “two to three” small plates per person before taking drink orders, Ice Water for one and standard Black Iced Tea charged at $5 per person for the others.

Packed to capacity and remaining as such throughout the duration of a nearly 100 minute meal, the tightly situated tables and a particularly loud physician dressed as Guns n’ Roses Slash one table away creating an environment where one needed to shout in order to be heard, it was after orders were placed that a basket of housemade Bread arrived, four generous slices of Toast delicious when slathered with Sorghum Molasses Butter while the $8 plate of Whipped Lardo was more about the Pickles than anything else and the $14 piece of Ricotta Toast benefitted not from preserved Truffles but rather from the sweet and savory juxtaposition of Chestnuts, Syrup and creamy housemade Cheese.

Said to celebrate local farmers, foragers and fisherman but rarely listing sources on the menu it was after a lengthy delay that the meal progressed onward to two vegetarian plates including a fairly small slice of roasted Squash that had picked up a lot of smoke from the grill to once again pair with Nuts and Cheese, the flavors all blending into a memorable mélange and enjoyed for the 4-5 bites that were available, that being at least one more than the $14 Roasted Beet Salad which ranks as one of the most overpriced plates ever seen with perhaps one ounce of produce and some bitter Pumpernickle crumble.

Unable to resist Langhorne’s now-signature “Sugar Toads,” a type of Puffer Fish fried like low-country Chicken and paired with Hot Honey and Buttermilk Dressing not dissimilar to Ranch, it was as guests bit the flaky fish off its bones that a $10 plate of Woodson’s Mill Cornbread finally suggested the farm that it came from, though little else of the presentation was at all memorable as the crumb was moist but flavorless save for the parts into which a pat of Herb Butter had sank in.

Hiring South Carolina’s Ann Coleman to work Pastry, a busy station at The Dabney thanks to its dual duty of sweets and frying plus the in-house Bread Program it was with high expectations based on a list of personal favorites that 3/4 of the nightly choices were ordered, the Apple Crumble a classic preparation that was neither benefitted nor harmed by herbal Ice Cream thanks to good Fruit and Caramel while the $20 Chocolate Mousse was easily enough to share amongst a group thanks to its richness and myriad condiments, the same not to be said of a $15 “slice” of Chocolate Chess Pie that was no larger than two dominoes amidst three terrible accoutrements including Ice Cream that tasted like Ash and unlisted Passion Fruit Foam…the waitress thankfully striking the plate from the bill when she noticed nothing more than a bite of each part had been tasted.

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The Dabney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hazel, Washington DC

Hazel

Grandma Hazel’s Zucchini Bread – Foie Gras Mousse, Chamomile Gelee, Bee Pollen

Gnocchi Bokki – Pork-Kimchi Ragu, Sesame Seeds, Smoked Pecorino

Sticky Crunchy Ribs – Roasted Peanuts, Cilantro, Five-Spice Glaze

Orange Chiffon – Popped Cranberries, Ginger Spiced Sabayon

Expectedly a restaurant garnering mixed reviews from diners as well as critics, a menu that more-or-less screams “fusion” or “gastropub” always a risk in a time when many have chosen to champion the idea of local-seasonal cuisine, it was as a warm-up to dinner at The Dabney on Halloween that a seat was taken at Hazel just minutes after opening, the space completely empty save for a sizable waitstaff with the unenviable position of being bombarded with exceedingly loud rap and hip-hop from overhead speakers throughout the evening.

Toqued by Rob Rubba with an address in rapidly developing Shaw, an area that locals suggest was fairly rough just five years ago, those approaching Hazel from V Street will recognize the Restaurant from its wooden panel featuring cursive script, a sign pointing towards the door leading would-be diners through a covered patio decorated in Christmas Bulbs over comfortable furniture, the inside a much moodier space with a bar on one side of a divider and the dining room decorated in pop-culture collage.