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 

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.

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.

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!

food chick

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

Chez Dior Senegalese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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.

food chick

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Sunday

It has been a Happy Sunday. The weather is gorgeous. I've stolen a few minutes for myself to just sit and soak up some sun-rays. That feels sooo very good!

I seriously considered returning to Le Diplomate for brunch but decided to head to MOM's (My Organic Market) instead and pick up stuff to make brunch.

The spread: Edesia's Mimosa small-batch ice cream, Grindstone Neck of Maine smoked mussels, Homestead Farms tomatoes and garlic, Olivia's spinach, Seedlander crisp breads, Applegate uncured Genoa salami, Sartori basil & olive oil asiago cheese.

I dropped by Bowie's Farm Market specifically to get Edesia's small batch ice cream. I was hoping for roasted pistachio ice cream but they did not have it. Instead they had Mimosa ice cream. Even better! Perfect for brunch, right?

Edesia' Mimosa ice cream, fresh sauteed spinach w/ garlic cloves,
grape tomatoes, and smoke mussels.

food chick

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Le Diplomate DC-- Yes, believe the hype

Le Diplomate

1601 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 332-3333

Le Diplomate has been a hot spot in DC since it opened in April 2013, by noted Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr. I have passed the place many times but never had a desire to go in because it was always packed with a sizable crowd outside waiting to be seating inside. Too, Le Diplomate has been seriously hyped by the media and DC foodies. I have been disappointed more often than not by restaurants and eateries that received a lot of hype.

This time around I was not disappointed. I lucked into an 11:45 am, Sunday brunch reservation (next available spot was 2:30 pm) and even found parking quickly just four blocks away.

I ordered the Trout Amandine (sorry no photo), which was probably the most perfectly prepared Trout Amandine I have ever had. The trout was flavorful and perfectly cooked, the green beans tasty and crisp but not hard, and the gazillion almonds on top of the fish were toasted to perfection. So so yummy. I savored every single bite of this dish.

I was torn between ordering the Trout Amandine and the Smoked Salmon Tartine so my dining companion graciously ordered the Smoked Salmon Tartine so that I could taste some. A very smart decision on his part :) . It was beautifully displayed with roe, capers, boiled egg garnish, and crème fraîche on top of a toasted baguette.

The complimentary bread basket had a wonderful and hearty cranberry walnut bread and some equally hearty wheat bread. Both were solid and textured, Le Diplomate does a great job on its breads.

We kept seeing plates of food go by with delicious looking roasted potatoes so we inquired and our waiter said it was Lyonnaise potatoes, so we ordered a side. Mmm. Perfect compliment to both of our meals.

For beverages we both had iced tea, it was weak but still refreshing because it was cold.

Our waiter tempted us into having dessert and we shared the artistically beautiful Baba au Rhum--a yeast cake soaked in rum. It was good, full of rum flavor but not something I would get again.

I am a fan of Le Diplomate and I cannot wait to go back to try some of the other menu items. I especially want to try the mussels mariniere and see if Le Diplomate's version can dethrone Montmartre mussels mariniere, which I think are the best mussels in all of DC.

food chick

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

Le Diplomate on Urbanspoon