Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chez Dior: Still #1 for taste buds and tummy

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant

5124 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville Maryland 20781
Phone (240) 696-5907


Dined on February 13, 2016 (lunch)


Foreground: Thiebou Diene w/ red rice, tamarind sauce and pepper sauce.
Middle: Yassa onion sauce. Background: half of veggie nem.

I have been back to Chez Dior more than 10 times since my first review. Who would have thought perfection could have gotten better but it did. The food at Chez Dior is still lovingly and fastidiously prepared. The atmosphere is convivial, the service is that of being in a warm and welcoming family member's home. Mamadou the proprietor and host busily takes orders at tables and on the phone but always finds time to visit each guest table to see if you need anything and more importantly if you are enjoying your meal and time at Chez Dior.

Food

I had Thiebou Diene with red rice (photo above). Everything was tender. The fish was meaty and flaky and the vegetables married well with all seasonings and their flavors settling into the dish--cabbage was sweet, yucca earthy, and yam had a creamy texture. I did order vegetable nems but barely had a taste as my dining companion flipped for the flavor, crunch, and ease of eating and gobbled them up.

I have tried many foods at Chez Dior because 80% of the time I bring friends along to dine with me and we share our meals. The food is consistently delicious, fresh, and marvelous; and, always served in an appealing way. My favorite meal continues to the Thiebou Diene with red rice and I have to always start my dining experience with the veggie nems (Mmm, mmm). I also love the Attieke. The Yassa comes with a tangy, savory onion sauce that will send you to your knees. I often order that sauce to eat along with...well anything! When I eat at Chez Dior I usually cannot finish my entree, however, if I do finish I have no hunger the next 24 hours. Truly “stick to your ribs” food.

Dining

I absolutely love visiting Chez Dior. Yes, that is it--visiting. It is like visiting family or dear friends; not at all like “going out to eat” although eating is the impetus for getting me there. My meals and dining at Chez Dior are good for my well-being because I am relaxed, conversation is good with friends and spontaneous with Mamadou and sometimes other guests, too. A truly pleasurable visit.

Chez Dior is not a huge space. I'm guessing there are about 12-14 tables and booths that seat either 2-6 guests.

Expectations

How to best enjoy your time at Chez Dior: Be open and expand your culinary journey to not only trying African foods but embracing the African cultural dining habits infused into the experience.

Tip: If a dish's ingredient varies slightly, Mamadou will tell you. Fresh ingredients are used, daily prep is done of many dishes and thus an item may be used up. Food at Chez Dior is not mass production.

Tip: This is authentic African/Senegalese food. Freshly prepared. No rush, along with warm genuine service and care. If you have less than 2 hours to relax, enjoy, and strike up a conversation—try calling ahead to order or go to an American-style restaurant.

Tip: When you are done, if you want your bill immediately you will have to ask. Chez Dior (and typical of many area authentic African restaurants) does not rush you away from the table. Customarily you eat leisurely, and let your food settle over conversation. At Chez Dior, they do not rush their guests.

Tip: Saturday nights are busy. Weekdays lunch time is often busy. Dinner time any day can be busier with dine in guests and take-away orders.

Treat yourself to great food and socializing. Visit Chez Dior now and often.

Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wild Rice and Sorrel Soup



Another fine creation...I make kick-ass soups!

Here is another successful and delicious dish I threw together--sorrel and wild rice soup. As I've said many times before, I cook a meal based on what is in my cupboards and refrigerator. Rarely do I plan a meal.

I had a beautiful bunch of sorrel from my Homestead Farms, Fresh Organic Vegetables CSA stash, and leftover wild rice that I had made last Tuesday. I often cook a large batch of some variety of rice or tri-color quinoa to get me through the week. The rice or quinoa can be added to salads, soups, eggs, or as a side to another food.

The Soup

In a saucepan, on med/low setting, heat 2 cups of low sodium organic chicken broth, add olive oil and 1 TBSP of unsalted butter (I like the flavor these two items add to my homemade soups). Let that heat until it starts to bubble (not a hard boil). Turn heat lower to prevent boil, stir in cooked rice. Then add garlic and paprika. Let cook for about a 1 minute, then throw in sorrel leaves. Stir all together while cooking, less than a minute. Then pour into a bowl and eat!

Mmm...a filling but light, lemon-y soup; distinctive and delicious.



Ingredients

2 cups of Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp of Bragg's Organic Extra virgin
1 cup of cooked Lundberg Wild blend Rice
Unsalted butter
Szeged Hungarian paprika
2 gloves of fresh organic garlic
Fresh sorrel leaves (as much as you like, I used about 1/2 cups
uncooked)

*CSA - community supported agriculture program


Chow!
food chick


~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Atlas Room Falls From Great to Mediocre

The Atlas Room 

1015 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 (202) 388-4020
theatlasroom.com 

Dinner on January 25, 2015

No longer a toss up between which is my favorite restaurant in DC. I used to say it was a tough choice between Corduroy and The Atlas Room. After dining tonight at The Atlas Room, hands down my favorite restaurant in DC is Corduroy.

Tonight's meal at The Atlas Room wasn't bad but it definitely had fallen from its mighty height of superb flavors, and great creations. The meal simply was not satisfying and parts of it were not prepared well. I know what I am talking about, I have eaten at this restaurant eight times since it opened in late 2010.

Appetizer
I started with the Short Rib appetizer: Butternut Purée, Apple Radish Salad, Herb Emulsion. The short rib was not tender and had an odd almost vinegar type taste. I ate half and switched starters with my dining companion because I was not enjoying mine. The Apple Radish salad, on top of the short rib, was good as was the puree and herb emulsions.

My dining companion had the Beet salad as a starter: beets, a cheese, walnut, (I think menu read celery but neither of us remember tasting celery). The beet salad was good but nothing special.

Main Course
I had the Market special: Striped bass with a spicy red cabbage, Fennel Risotto, Green Bean, and I think it was butternut squash puree. The fish was very tasty, my tastes buds really enjoyed the flavor. The entree was topped with a unique and pleasant tasting, spicy red-colored cabbage. The risotto was watery so the fennel flavor was almost non-existent. This was VERY disappointing because I love fennel, and a well made risotto. I would have rated my entree 4 stars except the watery risotto brought it down to 3 stars. I don't know why the kitchen screwed up the risotto, we were the only people in the restaurant from 5:20 to 6:45 pm, when we left.

My friend had the Beef two ways: Flat Iron steak, Short Rib, Parsnip Purée, Chard, Beet, Red Wine. His short rib was a little more tender than the piece I had in my appetizer; and, the flat iron steak was cooked well and good but not enough of it (two thin strips of meat). My dining companion said the collard greens were very good. He felt that all parts of the meal complemented each other and the entree was good but in his words, "That was good but not satisfying."

Another short coming of dining at the Atlas Room this evening is they had no bottled still water (I don't drink DC water...ewww!) and they do not serve hot tea (I did not recall this from past visits??). I looked over the cocktail menu and there was no hot toddy in the offerings like in the past. So I had a good glass of iced tea...brrr!

In the past I have recommended The Atlas Room to numerous people. Sadly I cannot and will not recommend it again. I used to adore this place, I hope this was just a really off night.

Chow!
food chick


~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant

5124 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville Maryland 20781
Phone (240) 696-5907


Dined on September 18, 2014 (dinner)

Restaurant Chez Dior boasts "African Dining and Catering in an agreeable environment." The environment is very agreeable. You are greeted warmly as you enter and the comfortable decor is rich and vibrant with African art; not at all kitschy.

Succulent, flavorsome foods of Africa

logo from Chez Dior facebook page

For dinner at Chez Dior I ate Thiebou diene with red rice. This is a traditional Senegalese dish with herb stuffed white fish in a tomato stew served with rice ad mix vegetables. This description is direct from the menu but the dish looked nothing like my mind had conjured up. I was expecting much more tomato broth type stew with chopped veggies floating in it. To my great surprise and satisfaction the Thiebou diene as served was nothing like I imagined. (see below). It was truly a stew. The vegetables were crazy delicious--eggplant, carrot, okra, yucca, (something else I've forgotten). The thick and flavorful white fish may have been stuffed with herbs but it was also wrapped in kale, and uniquely flavored. I really, really liked the fish. The mountain of red rice was served with a lime on top and tamarind seasonings bursting with tasty goodness served on the side (It had the actual tamarind seeds in it). The rice was excellent on its own.



Because the portion of rice was so huge, I took most of it home for leftovers. The next  morning I made the delicious breakfast posted here.

Merci beaucoup Restaurant Chez Dior for the delectable dinner and breakfast!


Chow!
food chick


~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Breakfast Fusion



Yummy breakfast. Senegalese red rice w/ chopped fried egg and mushroom served with mizuna. So tasty! All flavors compliment each other. Great textures.

Chow!
food chick

~~:~~
Eat, drink, be merry and validate for parking (TM)