Rose’s Luxury is an Instant Classic

23 Oct

It’s very rare that the first visit to a brand new restaurant can leave such a joyous first impression. In fact, I almost feel guilty blogging about it because I want it all to myself. Rose’s Luxury, the newest addition to Capitol Hill, is already one of my favorite restaurants. I feel confident in saying that because every aspect, from the food to the service to the atmosphere, made our evening special.

We were able to procure a table for four in the upstairs part of the restaurant without a wait on a Saturday night, something I sincerely doubt will happen anytime soon once the word gets out on this place.  I loved the cozy, unpretentious vibe of Rose’s – from the antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling to the dining room soundtrack that featured Divine Fits. Everything just felt so homey while the crisp, autumn breeze drifted through the open windows.

Chef Aaron Silverman’s menu focuses around small plates and is broken down into several categories such as cold dishes, pasta, and grilled items. On top of that, the restaurant offers two family-style entrees to share amongst the table. What really impressed us was that nearly half of the dishes were either vegetarian or could be prepared as vegetarian-friendly (the pork sausage, for instance). Considering we had a vegetarian in our party, this was music to our friend’s ears.

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Before we had even placed our order, our waiter brought over what I thought was our first dish. Instead, it was actually an amuse bouche of grilled octopus, compliments of the chef. And I should use the term “amuse bouche” loosely as this was a portion large enough to share for the entire table.  Gorgeously presented and garnished with a burnt lemon puree, the fresh octopus was a real treat.

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Up next was a fresh loaf of potato bread from the kitchen. Served on antique china, which would make several appearances throughout the meal, the bread was so warm, soft, and delicious that I almost asked a second loaf. When you pair it up with the accompanying butter, which was topped with fried pieces of potato skin, it almost feels like you’re eating a loaded baked potato.  (Side note: Jessica Sidman of the Washington City Paper wrote a fantastic article on the resurgence of bread baskets in the area).

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The dish that followed was Rachel’s favorite of the night: popcorn soup with grilled lobster. One of the most creative dishes we have tried this year, it’s exactly how it sounds – creamy soup that tastes like movie butter popcorn. Blended with bits of lobster, the soup was able to achieve its buttery flavor without being overpowering. Our waiter was even kind enough to provide them in separate jars as each couple was sharing their respective soup. Very nice gesture.

Burnt romaine salad

The burnt romaine with avocado, poblano, and Cotija cheese was another hit amongst the table. The poblano gave the charred romaine a subtle kick while the crumbled Cotija added a good amount of texture to it. I also appreciated how the kitchen was able to take something as bland as a romaine salad and transform it into such an inventive dish.

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The caramelized cauliflower, which was situated under a bed of Greek yogurt and raisins and topped with breadcrumbs, was also fantastic.

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After that came our first pasta dish, Cacio e Pepe, which literally means cheese and pepper. As minimalist as it gets, the execution was flawless. The homemade pasta seamlessly blended with the cheesy, peppery sauce. In fact, it was so good that we ordered a second helping of it!

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Just as good was the strawberry spaghetti. Prepared with ricotta and black pepper, there was more a hint of strawberry in this dish than a burst of it, and that’s a good thing.

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Then came the main event. We decided (well, at least three of us) to conclude dinner with the family-style serving of smoked brisket. Served with slices of Texas toast, pickled cabbage, and horseradish cream, the incredibly tender brisket rivaled that of barbecue you’ll find in Kansas City, or anywhere else for that matter. It was so soft that you didn’t even need a knife. And while it was a little fatty, it didn’t matter. I loved every bite of it. For $28, it’s one of the better values at Rose’s considering the generous portion as it was more than enough for the three of us.

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Just when we thought we were full, our waiter ran down a trio of dessert options available, with the homemade brioche battered in cinnamon toast ice cream sounding the most tantalizing. Originally topped with foie gras, our waiter was able to take it off for half the price so that all four of us could share it.  Instead, it was topped with the cinnamon toast ice cream. And yes, it was just as amazing as it sounded.

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As for the service, it was impeccable.  Our waiter was not only very knowledgeable about the menu but also had a great personality to boot. Everyone was so warm and inviting, and the positive vibes kept flowing throughout the evening. Each and every one of us was very happy not only with the meal, but also the overall experience. It’s hard to find a flaw in Rose’s Luxury, and considering they have only been open less than a month, that is pretty darn impressive.

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Maketto at Hanoi House

16 Oct

A few weeks ago, my friend and I decided to try somewhere fun and new for dinner on a Saturday night. Lately, this seems to be easier said than done, especially if you want a reservation and don’t want to wait hours for a table.

While scanning OpenTable, the listing Maketto at Hanoi House piqued my interest. I didn’t realize that Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground was doing a three-month residency there to test out the menu for his new restaurant on H Street, slated to open later this year.

The concept was $30 per person for a prix-fixe meal of seven courses, in the cuisine of Cambodian and Taiwanese food. This seemed similar to Little Serow, but with actual reservations available, and online no less. We couldn’t pass up the chance to try Bruner-Yang’s food without waiting hours for a table, so off we went!

Udon noodles

We started out with simple udon noodles with a salted egg and a separate bowl of ponzu sauce for dipping. These were some of the freshest noodles I have tasted – thick but also light at the same time.

Japanese fish cake

The second dish was called Okonomoiyaki, which was a Japanese fish cake. It was also prepared with pork belly, shrimp and some shaved mackerel on top.  It packed incredible flavor and was a great indication of what was to come. I loved how the spice gave the dish a kick but didn’t completely overwhelm it either.

Prahok Kh'Tih

The third and fourth dishes came together. The first was Prahok Kh’Tih, which was like a spicy dip blended with ground chicken and came with a side of fresh raw vegetables for dipping as well as some white rice to help soak up the sauce. I only wished there were more vegetables for us to dip with. The other dish was called Samlah Machu Kroueng, and it was a big bowl of soup with chicken wings, vegetables, and lemongrass. It was delicious, but not my favorite dish of the night.

Samlah Machu Kroueng

While we were eating these two plates, the dim sum cart rolled by. We were on our way to getting full with even more food coming, but it was hard to pass up on at least trying one or two items at only two dollars a piece. We wound up ordering a steamed pork bun and a spicy corn dish that the server recommended.

Steamed pork bun

Moving on, the last two savory dishes that came together were Mapo Tofu and Taiwanese fried chicken. The fermented tofu dish was probably the only one that was a little too spicy for me, so I didn’t eat too much of it. At that point, I realized that they would pack home anything we didn’t finish, so Brett got to enjoy that one later. If only I knew that with some of the other dishes, too!

Mapo Tofu

The fried chicken was incredible. They were small, boneless pieces that were tender and worked wonderfully well with the accompanying dipping sauce. We both remarked how we would order the fried chicken as a separate to-go order.

Taiwanese fried chicken

Just when we couldn’t eat any more, out came dessert. I didn’t know what to expect since the dish was called Vigilante Coffee. It was actually beignets served over coffee beans and came with a foamy dipping sauce. It was the perfect ending to a fun and adventurous meal.

Vigilante Coffee

If our outing to Maketto was any indication for how the real restaurant will be on H Street, then DC is in for a treat and another blockbuster hit from Erik Bruner-Yang. Go while you still can – the residency ends October 31.

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Ovo Simply Veggie: It’s the (Soy) Bomb

27 Sep

Let me preface by saying that I am the farthest thing from a vegan, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by all the praise around Ovo Simply Veggie. And considering it’s a short drive from my office in Hyattsville, the fairly new College Park eatery drew my interest, so I decided to give it a try and see what all the excitement was about.

Located in downtown College Park right off of Route One, diners construct their entrée around a choice of four proteins: seaweed yuba, tofu, mushroom protein, or soy protein. From there, you pair your protein with a flavor, which range from sweet & sour to ginger soy to fiery Kung Pao. And for a little over nine dollars, diners can create their own entrée combo which comes with a choice of salad, soup, or Oogave organic soda.

Vegan wonton soup

I opted for what Washingtonian food writer Todd Kliman loved the most – the mushroom protein with coconut green curry, and paired it with their homemade vegan wonton soup. The broth was robust and full of flavor while the wontons replicated the texture of its non-vegan variant.

Mushroom protein with coconut green curry

As for the entrée, the mushroom protein’s texture resembled that of sautéed beef – chewy, flavorful, and with just the right amount of salt. The coconut green curry was a real treat as it not only added some spice to the dish but also complemented the crispy vegetables as well as the beautifully-presented side of brown rice.

The service was very efficient as it took no less than ten minutes to receive my order while the cashier was very helpful in explaining how their menu works. Ovo is a terrific addition to the College Park area, so if you’re a vegan or vegetarian that lives in the area, it’s well worth the trip to Prince George’s County for some excellent vegan fare. And trust me, from someone who loves his fair share of meats, this is high praise.

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Kapnos: A Culinary Tour of Northern Greece

20 Aug

Rachel and I were excited to try Mike Isabella’s latest venture, Kapnos, so we jumped at the chance when friends of our made reservations for a Saturday night a few weeks ago. Situated in the dining hotbed of the 14th Street corridor, Kapnos features a small plates menu that is centrally focused around Northern Greek cuisine.

Before even arriving, Kapnos already has a distinct advantage: they take reservations (via CityEats). Compared to many new 14th Street eateries where tables are first-come, first-serve, this was a refreshing change of pace and great for those who don’t live in U Street and are unable to stroll in on a moment’s notice.

When we walked in, we immediately noticed the two massive spits in the open kitchen, slowly rotating the chicken, duck, lamb, goat, and suckling pig that have been roasting all day.

Given how unbearably humid it was outside that Saturday night, the four of us started the evening with a pitcher of their homemade kegged lemonades. The Skinos Lemonade featured Skinos, a liqueur made from a Greek tree, watermelon, tarragon, and lemon. Incredibly refreshing, it was also just as overpriced at $42 for a rather small pitcher. I’m not one to usually complain about drink prices, but I felt that this was rather excessive. That didn’t stop us from getting two pitchers though, since like I said, they were ridiculously good and refreshing.

We decided to split a duo of housemade spreads – the tzatziki and melitzanosalata (eggplant dip). The former was light and refreshing while the latter featured a good amount of smokiness. Not to be outdone was the piping hot, fluffy flatbread that accompanied the spreads. Spreading the smoky eggplant over the fresh bread made for a great appetizer.

Roasted duck phyllo pie

Up next was one of our favorite dishes of the evening, the roasted duck phyllo pie. Flaky on the outside and tender in the inside, Rachel and I only wished there was more of it. And for what equated to be two small pieces, there should have at least been a third give the $13 price tag.

Smoky beets

The smoky beets were another hit amongst our group, albeit a little hard to share. Featuring yogurt, green peppercorn, and citrus, this made for a quality summer dish.

Clams

The clams dish from the “Barely Raw Mezze” portion of the menu was probably one of my least favorite dishes of the evening. Prepared with cod belly, wild onion, and dill pollen and atop a bed of salt, the flavors didn’t really work for me.

Braised cauliflower

On the flipside, the braised cauliflower was terrific. Featuring tomato, chickpeas, and fenugreek, the entire table really enjoyed this vegetable dish and the sauce was great to sop up with the pita bread.

Charred octopus

The main highlight, however, might have been the charred octopus. Prepared with green harissa and eggplant, each bite transported us back to Mykonos when we were on our honeymoon. Just wonderfully executed.

Poached lobster

The poached lobster was a bit of a letdown given how little meat there was. Prepared with hilopites pasta, tomato, and mizithra, the dish itself was fine but the lack of lobster put a damper on it as a whole.

Spiced baby goat

Meanwhile, you can’t go wrong with their meats from the wood-fire grills. We tried both the suckling pig and the spiced baby goat. Both were tender and succulent, though I enjoyed the suckling pig a little more personally.

Suckling pig

The desserts look delicious but we were full at that point and decided to call it a night.

As for the service, our waiter was very helpful in helping us what to order given his knowledge of the menu. If there was one thing I would have to nitpick about, it would be the prices. I’m not going to go into a small plates tirade, but when the cost of some these dishes amounts to an entrée at another establishment, it means the menu is overpriced.

For instance, the lobster dish had two tiny pieces of meat in it, and it was $19. A lobster roll from Red Pound is four dollars less and is overflowing with lobster meat. I know I’m comparing a full-service restaurant to a food truck, but you get this gist of it. Maybe we were just craving simple steak frites at the time. It’s not to say the food wasn’t good, but next time we go out I’m looking forward to my own plate of meat.

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A Pre-Theater Brunch at Ris

8 Aug

A few weeks ago, we had Sunday matinee tickets for The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center. Considering we were already walking around the West End, we thought we might as well take advantage of the neighborhood and get a meal before the show started at 1:30. Given the proximity to the theater as well as the appetizing menu, Ris turned out to be a great choice for a pre-theater brunch.

I tried their house-made ginger beer. Prepared with fresh ginger juice, lemon juice, and club soda, this was a perfect summer beverage. Rachel ordered a delicious mimosa with lavender and thyme.

House-made ginger beer

For our main course, I opted for a classic breakfast staple, Huevos Rancheros. A heap of fried eggs were topped over a layer of corn tortillas and served with black beans, rancheros sauce, rice, queso blanco, and chorizo. A very satisfying dish without being too heavy, I particularly enjoyed the spicy chorizo as it had a nice kick to it.

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Rachel ordered the Farmers Market Omelet. It was prepared with summer squash, carrots, mushrooms, kale, green beans, and Monterrey Jack cheese and topped with a drizzle of sour cream and scallions. The omelet was good if not a little small, but she loved all the fresh seasonal vegetables it came with. The accompanying side of was delicious, but some potatoes would have been a nice addition, too.

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We capped off our brunch with a scoop of their housemade raspberry sorbet. Topped with fresh raspberries as well as a raspberry tart, the sorbet was simply outstanding and was a great way to conclude our meal.

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Between the exceptional service and terrific food, Ris is an ideal destination for pre-theater dining. Or any type of dining for that matter.

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Monday Night Flights at Jaleo Bethesda

25 Jul

Starting last month, Jaleo of Bethesda launched a new weekly event celebrating the art of Spanish Wine with their “Monday Night Flights” series. For $25, diners get to sample four glasses of wine, each showcasing a different variety from Spain’s wine country.

The month of July focuses on Txakoli wines, which tend to be dry and sparkling with high acidity. The restaurant invited us over earlier this week to take a tour of the Basque Country and see why Txakoli is such a cult hit in Spain. (Full disclosure — this meal was provided by the restaurant).

Monday Night Flights

Curated by ThinkFoodGroup’s wine director Lucas Payá, “Monday Night Flights” also features two different individually-sized paella plates that are specially crafted to pair with the wine flight. Turns out that there are three regions in the Basque Country that specialize in Txakoli – Getariako, Bizkaiko, and Alava.

The first wine we sampled was a 2012 Berroia from the Bizkaiko region. Fruity and refreshing, it was not as dry as anticipated and paired nicely with the acorn-fed cured ham.

Jamón Ibérico De Bellota Fermin

Our next glass was a 2012 Ameztoi Rubentis rose from the Getariako region. Light and crisp with a slight fizz, it provided some quality refreshment given the muggy summer evening. Combined with the Cana de Cabra (slices of goat’s milk cheese paired with raisin walnut bread and fig jam), it made for a quality pairing. Although the wine may have gone a little better with a harder cheese, the one we chose was equally delicious and we were happy with our selection.

Cana de Cabra

The next glass in our flight was a 2012 Txomin Etxaniz Txakolina from the Getraiako region. What’s great about Txakoli is that it is a great sipping wine which makes it an ideal beverage for sharing plates of tapas. For instance, the Txomin Etxaniz featured a lemony flavor and went well with one of Jaleo’s more innovative dishes, Oysters Gin and Tonic.

Oysters Gin and Tonic

Our final glass of the evening was a 2010 Gorrondona Txakolina Tinto from the Bizkaiko region, and was the only red wine of our flight. Featuring a great deal of minerality as well as a slightly spicy finish, it paired excellently with the Canary Island-style rabbit confit with apricot purée.

Canary Island-style rabbit confit with apricot purée

The Txakoli also complemented the restaurant’s paella dish of the evening, Arroz Mediterrano. Prepared with porcini mushrooms, mixed vegetables, green and black olives, and thyme, it was nice being able to share a paella dish between two people instead of having to order one for the entire table.

Arroz Mediterrano

One of our favorite tapas of the evening might have been the Setas Al Ajillo Con La Serena, sautéed seasonal mushrooms with cheese potato purée. Both Rachel and I gushed about the texture of the dish as it felt more like comfort food than your traditional Spanish dish.

Setas Al Ajillo Con La Serena

Txakoli also pairs really nicely with seafood as we learned while sipping a glass along with an order of seared scallops with with pine nuts and raisins.

Seared scallops

Before we concluded Monday Night Flights, we decided to try the olive oil ice cream for dessert. At first, we just thought it would be a scoop of ice cream served with a side of grapefruit. Oh how wrong we were. Instead was a scoop of olive oil ice cream surrounded by fresh grapefruit, a grapefruit granita, and topped with candied grapefruit. Our waiter told us to make sure to have every component on the spoon before trying it. He was right as this was one of the most original desserts we have had in quite some time. The tartness of the grapefruit was balanced by the softness of the ice cream and made for a sweet ending to a fabulous meal.

Olive oil ice cream

Monday Night Flights is offered at Jaleo of Bethesda from 5:30pm to 10pm for $25 per person. For additional information or reservations please visit www.jaleo.com.

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An Authentic Chinese Meal at Sichuan Jin River

11 Jul

Whenever people ask where the best Chinese food options are in the area, several establishments in Rockville always pop up as the most authentic. So when a coworker suggested we head out to Sichuan Jin River in Rockville for lunch, I jumped at the chance. Sichuan Jin River isn’t the easiest place to find, so we were glad we were going with a veteran. Sichuan is a province in China famous for its spicy food.

We left the ordering up to my coworker Terry, who spoke in Mandarin to the waitress and picked out a few dishes for us to try. The menu had two sides, one that said “American Chinese food” and the other that said “Authentic Chinese food”. We, of course, went for the authentic side of the menu.

beef tendon served with hot chili sauce

We started off with beef tendon served with a hot chili sauce. It actually wasn’t as spicy as I initially thought it would be and was a nice start to the meal. It came with some type of cabbage while the beef was really tender and delicious.

Pork and crispy rice cake in a sweet and sour sauce with vegetables

The next two dishes that came out were probably my favorites. First was the pork and crispy rice cake in a sweet and sour sauce with vegetables. The rice was crispy, think like a Rice Krispies treat but not sweet at all, and once paired with the sauce it got softer and had a great texture. The dish came with these Chinese mushrooms that were so unique and earthy that I couldn’t stop eating them.

Flounder and vegetables in a fiery soup

Next was the flounder and vegetables in a fiery soup. You could see the endless little chili peppers floating in the soup which I tried my best to avoid. The fish was incredibly moist and had great flavor without being too spicy. We poured the soup over the accompanying rice and devoured each bite.

Deep-fried tofu with hot peppers

Finally, we got the deep-fried tofu with hot peppers. This was probably the spiciest dish and also my least favorite. The tofu was crispy and tasty, different than the tofu you would normally get with Asian food which typically has a thick, brown skin. This was actually crispy yet still light at the same time. The only problem was it was a little too oily and it was hard to get past that. Still, a nice dish overall.

We were stuffed by the end of our meal and had ordered just the perfect amount for five people. I can’t wait to go back again and order some different items to try. That is as long as it’s from the authentic side of the menu while someone else is doing the ordering for me!

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Attman’s Delicatessen Opens in Potomac

9 Jul

In what has been one of the most anticipated openings in the Potomac area for quite some time, the famed Attman’s Delicatessen of Baltimore finally opened their second location in Cabin John Plaza yesterday.

Rachel and I took a sneak preview of the deli this past weekend and right off the bat we could tell that this place was going to be a surefire hit. Let me preface by saying that this area suffers from a severe shortage of legit, Jewish-style delicatessens. Sure, there are places like Parkway Deli and DGS Delicatessen, but the former is more of a diner while the latter is more of an upscale dining option.

Corned beef on rye

Attman’s, a Baltimore staple known for their piled-high sandwiches, fills the niche in the best way possible. By offering a massive selection of high-quality deli fare in an area rife with deli-lovers, the Washington area finally has an authentic delicatessen, with history behind it to boot! And while Cabin John Plaza isn’t necessarily Corned Beef Row, at least parking is easy to come by.

Attman's Deli of Potomac

When you step inside, the first thing you notice are the deli counters lined up against the left side housing a variety of meats, cheeses, and knishes. It’s probably best to research the menu before stepping in line as you’ll need to be prepared what to order given how extensive the menu is.

Pastrami on rye

What’s also nice about the Potomac location is that they offer table service towards the back of the restaurant. And of course, their catering department should have no problems generating business given the heavily populated D.C. market they just entered. One drawback, however, is that Attman’s is not kosher outside of their Hebrew National offerings (hot dogs, salami, and bologna).

Attman's personalized chairs

Our advice? Order the extra lean corned beef on rye with mustard. Tender, flavorful, and sandwiched between two slices of soft rye bread, this is as good as it gets. And while the pastrami was very good, it’s the corned beef that keeps you coming back here for more.

Attman’s Delicatessen is located on 11325 Seven Locks Road in Potomac, Maryland.

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Ghibellina a Welcome Addition to 14th Street

13 Jun

It’s been well documented how the restaurant scene on 14th Street has blown up over the last year or so. The Washington City Paper reported that no less than eight restaurants have opened up on the 14th Street corridor within the last month! Rachel and I learned first-hand how the demand for tables is sky-high no matter what day of the week it is.

For example, we ventured down to Logan Circle on a Tuesday evening to check out Ghibellina, the new Italian gastropub by the owners of Eastern Market’s outstanding Acqua Al 2. We were quickly taken aback as we found out the wait for a table of two would be one hour. And this was on a Tuesday!

I’m sure the same could be said for the bustling Le Diplomate, whose patios were filled to the brim with diners across the street eating al fresco in the warm, summer weather. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace was adjacent to Ghibellina, so we grabbed some barstools at their outdoor bar and had a few drinks while we waited for our table. Exactly sixty minutes later, the restaurant had called informing us our table was ready.

Salame Toscano

Unlike Acqua Al 2, Ghibellina’s menu is focused around small plates, featuring everything from salads to meats & cheeses to pizzas and pastas. Rachel and I started out the evening with their Salame Toscano, which featured salami sourced from California’s Fra ‘Mani. Topped with picked vegetables, this was a nice way to kick off our Tuscan meal.

Quadrello Di Bufala

Our next course was a cheese plate – Quadrello Di Bufala. This creamy buffalo milk cheese was accompanied with raisin walnut bread and fig jam. All three items really complemented one another as we spread the soft cheese across the bread and lightly topped it with the fig jam.

Insalata Ghibellina

Next was the Insalata Ghibellina, the restaurant’s signature salad. Featuring arugula, avocado, confit, tomatoes, Emmenthaler Swiss cheese, pine nuts, and pesto, this made for a light and refreshing dish given the summery weather. The ingredients really worked well together and we loved the subtle touch of pesto in the salad.

Stracotto

We moved onto the main courses with the carne portion of the menu. If there’s one item to order it’s definitely the Stracotto. The dish features a very generous portion of succulent pot roast prepared with white wine and tomato. This was my favorite dish of the evening as the beef was incredibly tender and flavorful, plus this was a perfect amount to split between two people.

Tortelli Di Patate Al Ragu

For the pasta course, we ordered the Tortelli Di Patate Al Ragu, which was basically potato-filled ravioli. Topped with a wonderful beef ragu and sprinkled with Parmesan, we had no problem finishing it off. Granted it was a little heavy, especially since we already had the Stracotto, but it was a still a great pasta selection.

Napoli pizza

Our final dish of the evening was their Napoli pizza. Prepared with tomatoes, anchovies, olives, oregano, garlic, and mozzarella, this pizza had some bite. It might have been just a tad too spicy for Rachel, but we both remarked how chewy the crust was while being soft and gooey in the middle. And yes, the pizza was uncut, which is how it should be since Ghibellina serves Neapolitan-style pies.

Overall, we had a lovely time at Ghibellina. We enjoyed everything we ordered, the plates came out in a timely fashion, and we never felt rushed despite how packed it was. If you’re looking for a casual Italian eatery with plenty of options to choose from, we cannot recommend Ghibellina enough.

Ghibellina on Urbanspoon

Mother’s Day Brunch at Ripple

3 Jun

One of my biggest pet peeves about Mother’s Day is that it gives restaurants an opportunity to offer patrons an overpriced prix fixe brunch menu, making what would be an affordable Sunday meal suddenly more expensive. Thankfully, Ripple decided to stay the course and offer their entire menu a la carte, just like every other Sunday the restaurant serves brunch (in fact, they just started offering brunch only a few weeks ago).

Considering that we have wanted to try Ripple for quite some time, it was the ideal place for Mother’s Day brunch, especially since this was Rachel’s first time celebrating the holiday after giving birth to our son last September.

Do yourself a favor and be sure to order a skillet of their homemade cinnamon rolls. Pastry chef Alison Reed does wonders with this breakfast pastry as the moist, gooey rolls were delivered piping hot out of the oven right to our table.

Cinnamon rolls

Whenever there’s some sort of hash dish on the menu, it’s more than likely that I’ll order it, so it should come as no surprise that I went with the smoked hash. It featured chunks of locally-sourced pastrami, potatoes, and onions, and is then topped with a pair of farm-fresh sunny side up eggs. I loved every bite as I spread the creamy egg yolk over the tender pastrami.

Smoked hash

Rachel ordered the Sally’s Bennie, which was essentially a regionalized version of Eggs Benedict featuring Maryland blue crab. Served atop a homemade English muffin, the mountain of crab, eggs, and hollandaise amounted to a great brunch entrée.

Sally's Bennie

What really stood out, however, was the outstanding service. To begin with, the hostess was very apologetic about our table not being ready in time (we had a reservation) as the previous party was taking their time. The second instance was when Rachel, having only taken a few sips out of her cocktail, got in arm’s reach of our very curious baby and inadvertently spilled her entire drink. Our waitress quickly came over, cleaned it up, and brought Rachel a new one without charge.

We had a very positive experience at Ripple. Not only did we appreciate that they offered brunch a la carte when every other restaurant was charging an arm and a leg, but the food and service was excellent. The prices were also very reasonable given the high quality of the ingredients used by executive chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley. We can’t wait to return and try dinner there one of these days. Oh, and their grilled cheese bar, too. Yes, they do in fact have a grilled cheese bar.

Ripple on Urbanspoon