Monday, January 12, 2015

Barracks Row: Brunch at Medium Rare

Medium Rare, with two locations (Barracks Row and Cleveland Park) boasts what you would think is one of the best brunch deals around. For only $23 you can get bottomless mimosas, bloodys, screwdrivers, coffee, and OJ as well as an appetizer and entree
Rustic, warm and crusty bread is brought out to all the tables. Yum. You can't go wrong with that. Ever.
The first course was the most well executed part of the meal. There is a choice between fruit salad, parfaits or the mixed greens. The table ended up getting a parfait and the mixed greens salads - both delicious. Fresh and perfectly dressed salad with the perfect hint of dijon in the dressing. 
This is where our meal starts to fall apart. While the sauce on the steaks was delicious and it was cooked to requested temperature there were so many things wrong with the rest of the course. Both the steak and frites were brought out lukewarm - very close to room temperature. I don't know about you but I like my food hot, and to know it hasn't been sitting out for awhile. The two members of our group that ordered "Medium Rare's Famous Benedict" were not happy with it at all, and thought that the combo of meat and gravy was not good. There were a couple of other logistical errors as well to our meal which included a member of our party getting a new (and wrong dish). 
Our server was attentive but unfortunately not enough to make up for our experience of the poor entrees. With an error of the dish of one of my companions (hair - yuck, but it happens), I thought that they should have comped or discounted his meal, especially since he didn't even partake in the mimosas. I tweeted about the issue and a manager came to the table and gave us dessert on the house which was nice. 

With all the good things I have heard about this place, it was very disappointing...however don't let that discourage you, give it a try for yourself. 

Would I come back? Probably not, after this experience I am over it. So many other places to try. 

515 8th Street SE
Washington, DC
Metro: Eastern Market
Medium Rare on Urbanspoon

Other Bottomless Brunches I enjoy
PJ Clarkes
El Centro 
Acre 121
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Great Falls: Dante Ristorante's 25th Anniversary!

A few weeks ago I was invited to Dante Ristorante in Great Falls, Virginia (right down the road from Tysons Corner) to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Dante's is a fine (and classic) Italian restaurant located in the most adorable Victorian House you have ever seen. 

My favorite appetizer of the night was the fresh burrata cheese. While the following were not my personal favorites (not a fan of fish), if you enjoy calamari, bacon wrapped sea scallops or beet salad – those were the favorites of the night.

Sometimes pasta just sings to you, and that’s exactly what this veal ravioli in a tomato cream sauce (top). Packed full of veal with a little bit of cheese mixed, made this hearty and just perfect. We were given a small selection of 4 varieties but this was the able favorite.
 We had all just met each other but all shared a similar love of food making for the perfect dinner sharing bites of each other’s entrees. I personally ordered the Lamb Chops (which were very good) but the true star of the meal was the Osso Bucco. I must have been seriously missing out on life as I have never had this dish before. The meat was fork tender and the red wine sauce and polenta was spot on to accentuate the flavor of the meat. Another favorite (super surprisingly for me) was the Sea Bass, which is a delicate and flavorful but not “fishy” fish. Grilled and served with a lemon wedge, it was perfectly executed and just enough. A couple of other people enjoyed the Linguine Con Aragosta (lobster & crab) which was a HUGE portion - good for the hungry. 
The same comradery happened over dessert – everyone sampling each other’s picks. While the tiramisu was not my favorite, the Panna Cotta and Lemoncello Tartufo (shown below) were some of the best desserts that I have had in a long time (and neither had chocolate in them!). They were both extremely light, refreshing and satisfying. 
I was really impressed with this meal. This is the place to go on a fancy date night or a special occasion as it is a little pricey. They have a lot of separate rooms so this would also make for a great place for bigger parties for a rehearsal dinner, 50th birthday, etc. 

Would I come back? Yes, for a special occasion or if I receive a significant pay raise :)

1148 Walker Road
Great Falls, VA
Dante Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon
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