by Amanda Mattos
It’s Restaurant Week in D.C., and that means eating out many more times than you normally would thanks to “cheap” meals at expensive restaurants! Here are IFA’s experiences so far. Have you had any notable meals, good or bad?
Art & Soul: I’ve been wanting to try Art Smith’s new restaurant since it opened a few months ago. You may know him as Oprah’s chef and an occasional judge on Top Chef and Iron Chef America. Had a fantastic meal there. The skillet bread that comes with every meal is almost worth the trip all on its own. The cocktails are superb and the salmon — which I normally don’t order in restaurants but seeemed worth trying — was phenomenal. Art Smith is still running the kitchen (which is always refreshing; big name chefs often hand over the reigns as soon as the paint is dry), and checked on every table. The Brunswick stew didn’t quite live up to the high expectations I have on that dish (it’s a family favorite of mine), but everything else was outstanding. And the service — with the exception of some moody hosts — was exceptional. Highly recommended.
Farrah Oliva: Ezra and I had an interesting experience at the Alexandria restaurant that’s been raved about just about everywhere. Interesting in that, everything I ordered was phenomenal and everything he ordered fell kind of flat. I’ll say this for Chef Morou: he knows how to flavor meats. The shocked escarol and cinnamon pork loin were both masterfully done as far as flavors are concerned, but fell off in other aspects — sauces, doneness, texture. If you find yourself there (and ordering off the prix fixe), ORDER THE SHORT RIBS. These were the best short ribs I have ever had. Falling apart they were so tender. To look at it you’d think they were completely charred on the outside, but the flavors were completely perfect, the outside slightly crisp and the inside tender as the day is long. The “barbecue essence” sauce really added to the meat in a way the sauces didn’t on other dishes. This was really a superb dish. But, as Ezra said, if he hadn’t tasted my food, he wouldn’t have recommended Farrah Olivia to anyone. So, order wisely, and take your server’s suggestions.
M&S Grill: Spencer says, “I ate at M&S Grill last night. Reasonable rest-week menu for a WH hangout — $36 for three courses, IIRC. Had a great bacon-wrapped shrimp app, a very tender steak, creamy key lime pie. Thumbs up.”