Willow Restaurant – Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Monocle is a Washington institution.  It opened in 1960, and it has survived 10 administrations.  The Monocle serves upscale comfort food, which used to be known as “food”.

The restaurant is close to the Senate side of the Capitol, so it attracts a good number of political types.  I’m notoriously oblivious to celebrities, but I couldn’t help but notice that Sam Donaldson was sitting at the next table.

Spicy Lamb Meatballs in Creamy Yogurt Sauce, Winter Vegetable Cous-Cous Pilaf

Beef Stroganoff – Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Baby Carrots & Herbed Spaetzel in a Sour Cream Sauce

Blood Orange and Ginger Cheesecake – Ginger Cheesecake with Ginger Snap Crust and Blood Orange Sauce

 

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Kinkead’s – Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Monocle is a Washington institution.  It opened in 1960, and it has survived 10 administrations.  The Monocle serves upscale comfort food, which used to be known as “food”.

The restaurant is close to the Senate side of the Capitol, so it attracts a good number of political types.  I’m notoriously oblivious to celebrities, but I couldn’t help but notice that Sam Donaldson was sitting at the next table.

The Monocle RestaurantThe Monocle

Shellfish BisqueShellfish Bisque

Nice starter, and perfect for a cool day like today.

Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine SauceBraised Short Ribs with Red Wine Sauce

Good stuff! I haven’t had scalloped potatoes in years.

Chocolate Triomphe Cake with Crème AnglaiseChocolate Triomphe Cake with Crème Anglaise

Monocle – Friday, 13 January 2012

The Monocle is a Washington institution.  It opened in 1960, and it has survived 10 administrations.  The Monocle serves upscale comfort food, which used to be known as “food”.

The restaurant is close to the Senate side of the Capitol, so it attracts a good number of political types.  I’m notoriously oblivious to celebrities, but I couldn’t help but notice that Sam Donaldson was sitting at the next table.

The Monocle RestaurantThe Monocle

Shellfish BisqueShellfish Bisque

Nice starter, and perfect for a cool day like today.

Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine SauceBraised Short Ribs with Red Wine Sauce

Good stuff! I haven’t had scalloped potatoes in years.

Chocolate Triomphe Cake with Crème AnglaiseChocolate Triomphe Cake with Crème Anglaise

BlackSalt – Wednesday, 11 January 2012

BlackSalt, which is on the Washingtonian‘s “100 Very Best” list, was my second Winter Restaurant Week stop.  You enter the restaurant through a small market stocked with wonderful fresh fish.  The dining area is rather small, and, since BlackSalt is v popular,  the noise level can get a bit high.  Minimalist decor, and an exposed kitchen.

BlacksaltBlacksalt

BlackSalt is in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington, at 4883 MacArthur Boulevard.

Rhode Island Calamari with Chipotle RemouladeRhode Island Calamari with Chipotle Remoulade

A few years ago, I made a resolution not to order calamari as an appetizer, for the simple reason that I was always ordering calamari as an appetizer.  Another resolution down the drain.  This was good.

Provencal Seafood Stew - Market Catch, Gulf Shrimp, Blue Shell Mussels, and Saffr

Provencal Seafood Stew – Market Catch, Gulf Shrimp, Blue Shell Mussels, and Saffron

Key Lime Pie with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Cream

Key Lime Pie with Blueberry Compote and Whipped Cream

This wins the “Best Dessert Award” by a mile!

14K – Monday, 9 January 2012

It’s the beginning of Restaurant Week in Washington, and I’ve got a full schedule.  First up is 14 K Restaurant and Lounge, which is located at the corner of 14th and K Streets, NW in the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel.  The restaurant fronts on Franklin Park, and, as I dined, I could watch the park being dusted with a light snowfall.

Shrimp, Virginia Oyster and Crab Gumbo

Shrimp, Virginia Oyster and Crab Gumbo

This was a perfect starter for lunch on a wintery day. The broth was rich and the seafood was excellent.

Chargrilled Chimichurri Flank Steak on Spanish Rice, with Pinto Bean Pudding and Pico De Gallo

Chargrilled Chimichurri Flank Steak on Spanish Rice, with Pinto Bean Pudding and Pico De Gallo

Chimichurri is a sauce, or, in this case, a marinade, that’s made from tomato, bell pepper, parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, red pepper and various other spices. It’s originally from Argentina. Pico de gallo is a salsa made from tomatoes, onions, chilis, lime, cucumber and cilantro. I’d never had pinto bean pudding before, and mistakenly thought it would be bland. The entire dish was delightful.

Lemon Riccotta Cake with Candied Rose Petals

Lemon Riccotta Cake with Candied Rose Petals

The size of the plate makes the lemon riccotta cake look deceptively small.  Both the cake and the plate were oversized.  This was a killer dessert.

This was my first time at 14K, and it was a great start for RW.

Let’s Get Started — Restaurant Week and Beyond

A friend of mine–a semi-hardcore foodie–sneers at Restaurant Week. “I avoid it,” she says. “It’s for amateurs.” I haven’t asked her if she’s changed her mind after reading that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, along with a group of White House staff, selected the Restaurant Week menu at Charlie Palmer Steak during their visit a few days ago.

This year, Washington Winter Restaurant Week runs from Monday, 9 January, through Sunday, 15 January. Many restaurants extend the celebration through the 22nd, and some celebrate all month. As Washington Restaurant Week winds down, Bethesda/Chevy Chase Restaurant Week takes off, running from Monday, 23 January through Sunday, 29 January. For some of us, this makes January a wonderful time to explore new places and return to old friends. It also gives me an easy segue to launch this, my first attempt at a blog.

I’ll be posting a lot of food pictures at the start, along with brief write-ups of Things I Like, notes on Coming Attractions, and interesting sites on the Web. It’s all a work in progress, so lets see where it goes.

–BC