Have you ever gone to a restaurant and thought to yourself “I drive by this place everyday, and never once thought of going in”? Don’t you hate when that happens, or.. am I the only one? Well, when I’m not writing reviews on restaurants, I spend my time being a Super-Hero that works 8-5 behind a desk that spies on people like you to prepare for silly things that you may have planned. No, I’m kidding, or… Am I? When I sit in traffic for an hour every. single. day I often find myself wondering where I’ll be dining next. I mostly find new restaurants online but I rarely look at restaurants that are right under my nose that I literally pass everyday. Blue 44, is a perfect example as to why you shouldn’t overlook the restaurants you drive by on a consistent basis. Blue 44, is an “Upscale Bistro” in Washington, D.C. led by Chef James puts a unique twist on each of his dishes. Whether it be “Fried Chicken” Mondays or making a Duck Breast with veggie lo mein. I decided to stop by this place to give it a shot and was very pleased with my decision.
It was my first time dining here so I had Chef James recommend some dishes that are favorites as well as some dishes I may like. I was able to try dishes that ranged from Lamb Ribs to a Key Lime Parfait. The first dish that was ordered were the Fried Green Tomatoes topped with jumbo lump crab, shaved Brussels sprouts, and lemon vinaigrette slaw. Fried Green Tomatoes are special to me because I grew up eating them. My grandmother used to grow them in her garden and would make them for breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, and grits. Anytime I see an opportunity to order green tomatoes I try not to pass on them. The Fried Green Tomatoes were cooked to perfection and the crab meat added the perfect sweetness to balance out the bitter flavor of the Brussels sprout shavings. The restaurant provides three huge slices of green tomatoes and provides a homemade remoulade sauce to go with it. The Tomatoes were crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. This is definitely a go-to when dining at this restaurant if you’re unsure what to order.
The next dish that was ordered were the Lamb Rib Chops. It consisted of 3 lamb ribs featuring The Killer Cooks Mo’ Rockin spice blend, Moroccan bbq sauce, and kale fattoush. This dish was so good that I sat and contemplated on ordering more of it. These were the best lamb ribs I’ve ever had. I’m a huge lover of lamb, but if you blend it with Moroccan Barbecue Sauce and add a kale salad to balance it out you’ll definitely have my attention. The lamb ribs fell right off the bone and melted right in my mouth with each chew. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t do too much chewing for these ribs, which I’m embarrassed to say because it would slightly infer that I have no table manners. But, judge yourself, not me. I was in a world of my own while devouring those ribs so whoever seen me eating definitely received a free show.
I decided to go with two entrees for the evening. The first entree was the “dish of the day” which consisted of Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with rainbow carrots, asparagus, crispy ricotta orzo cakes, and saffron artichoke puree. So many flavors in this dish and they all worked well with each other. The artichoke puree was sweet so it balanced out the vegetables of this dish, and the scallops added the buttered flavor to bring this dish together. Two huge scallops were presented on top of the Orzo Cakes so there’s no need for you to order a starch with this dish because the Orzo Cakes gave you all the starch you needed. I’ve never had artichoke puree before so I found that ingredient to be very interesting.
The last entree that was ordered was the Bistro Chicken. It was a Bone-in chicken, bacon lardons, leeks, mushrooms, tourné red-bliss potatoes & carrots, and was surrounded by white wine cream sauce. The Bistro Chicken was pan seared although I would’ve loved for it to be fried in this instance. It would’ve given the perfect saltiness to go with the bitterness of the leeks and red-bliss potatoes. The white wine cream sauce was great, but I would’ve loved it more if it was introduced with a fish. This dish was pretty huge so if you ordered it with no appetizers you should be fine. This wasn’t my favorite dish, but you may enjoy it when you go. Chicken is one of those “safe dishes” that are ordered when you go to a restaurant because there’s not too much you can do to ruin it.
I usually don’t order desserts when dining at restaurants but today I wanted to try something new. Chef James recently introduced a Key-Lime Parfait that was packed with so much flavor you wouldn’t believe me. It was sweet, the crackers were fresh, and I was in shock by how flavorful it was. It was very sweet, but not too sweet where it was unbearable. I’ve never had Key-Lime Pie in a parfait so I thought that was a different spin on the dish.
Overall, if you’ve never been to a Bistro themed restaurant it’s good to try it. I’m an advocate for trying new things,especially when you pass the restaurant often going to wherever you need to get to. When you decide to go to this restaurant, let me know what you think.