Hi. You. Yes, you. Please, go get dressed up and let’s have a nice dinner at a beautiful restaurant. How many of you have been to really nice restaurants inside of a hotel… Outside of Las Vegas? I’ve been to maybe one, but after I tell you about this place, it’ll be two. I’m not opposed going anywhere to eat. It can be in the best hotel, or on the corner in the worst neighborhood. If the food is good, then I’m there. This restaurant that we’re going to is inside of the Melrose Hotel in Washington, D.C. right on Pennsylvania Avenue. I may be the only one that notices a restaurant that I’ve always wanted to go to, is right down the street from places that I frequently visit. (My awareness rating would be 63% on Madden) Helpful tip : If you don’t plan to spend money for a valet, then I suggest you give yourself an extra fifteen minutes to find parking on the streets. Washington, D.C. streets can be a little tricky. If you park on the weekends and ask different people they’d argue the signs aren’t as clear as they should be. Ok, enough of helpful tips 🙂 The restaurants interior is absolutely gorgeous, in fact, I still can’t put into words how elegant this establishment is. I would recommend this place to anyone who wanted to throw a nice dinner, or an engagement party. There weren’t many tables taken when I arrived at the restaurant, so it was pretty quiet while I was having dinner, although I doubt it would differ if the restaurant was full.
The interior of this restaurant is very modern and you can tell the interior designers were very meticulous when they were crafting this establishment. Everything was perfect at this restaurant from the staff to the silverware. I can honestly say, if you’re interested in impressing someone for a first date all without spending an astronomical amount of money, then this place would be your best bet. I was also able to speak indirectly with the executive chef, Patrick, and when I say indirectly it was a hi, quick conversation, and a bye because he had things to take care of, which I fully respect. There are so many things I can say about this restaurant, but I’ll let you find things out for yourself once you go. Let’s talk about food, I mean.. That is the reason why you’re here, right?
Two appetizers and two entrees were ordered to get a better experience on how the food would be. The first appetizer that was ordered was a Chesapeake Bay Crab Bisque with Jumbo Lump Crab Corn Fritter. This soup was a little on the spicy end, maybe too much pepper as I talk to myself, but definitely worth ordering. The jumbo lump crab corn fritters were the perfect size for this soup. Three corn fritters were presented with the appearance of hushpuppy surrounded on a rich and creamy soup. If you enjoy crab bisque as much as I do then this isn’t something you’re going to pass up on. My only challenge with this dish is that I wish they give you more. I have to constantly remind myself that appetizers are not supposed to be filling, they’re supposed to hold you over until a main course comes.
The second appetizer that I ordered was the Jardenea Caesar. It’s a salad that includes white anchovy, shaved pecorino, brioche crouton, and pecorino Caesar dressing. What I loved most about this dish is the way they presented the crouton. The crouton is a big ring that allows the lettuce to go through it and is surrounded by anchovies and tomatoes. If you’ve never had anchovies on your Caesar salad then you’re definitely missing out. The anchovy provides an added salt to the dish and works well with the caesar dressing that’s provided to you. Some restaurants even make their Caesar dressing with anchovies, so if you decide to go to a restaurant that mentions this, ask for the anchovies on the side and eat them with your salad after you taste the dressing.
The third dish that was ordered (my favorite of the night) was the Coriander Dusted Hawaiian Sea Bass with soft organic blue corn grits, haricot vert beans, and beurre blanc. My mouth is literally watering as I discuss this dish. The sea bass was cooked perfectly as it was pan seared on both sides and finished off in the oven. It was presented on top of the blue corn grits, surrounded by green beans and tomatoes, and last but not least topped with a beurre blanc. If you aren’t familiar with what beurre blanc is, think of a smooth butter sauce made with white wine and lemon juice. The Sea Bass was flavorful, well seasoned, flaky on the inside, and cooked at a medium temperature. The tomatoes added a great taste of sweetness to go with the grits, as grits can be a little starchy and dry if not cooked properly. I was sad after eating this dish because when I finally picked my head up from devouring it, it was gone. (Well, duh, what do you expect?) It was so good that I contemplated for 15 minutes ordering the same dish to go. As I’ve said before, I don’t usually go to restaurants more than once, because of how many there are out there, but for this place, I’m sure I can make an exception.
The last dish that was ordered was the Maple Leaf Smoked Duck. The best part about this dish was the hand shredded duck confit that was mixed in with the white bean cassoulet. The white bean cassoulet had a “kick” to it, so if you’re into spicy foods, then this is the dish for you. The duck was cooked perfectly, and although the waiter didn’t ask, “how would you like your duck prepared?” it came out to my satisfaction. If you’re not big on eating “medium or medium rare” cooked meat then be very specific about how you would like your dish prepared. I’m not sure why the waiter didn’t ask, but it wasn’t until 10 seconds before the food came out that I noticed that slight error. The duck was perfectly seasoned and the portion size was fair. The beans would definitely fill you up, if you decide not to opt for an appetizer or eat bread before dinner.
Overall : This restaurant is definitely one that I’m going to recommend to you all as a “go to” restaurant in Washington, D.C. The flavors, ambiance, and presentation are all outstanding. Did I mention this restaurant won’t break your pockets either? The most expensive item on the menu was the Filet of Beef, which was $32, and if you’re a foodie like I am, it’s safe to say that’s a reasonable price. If you decide to go to this establishment, let me know what you think!