RW Extended: Lunch at PS-7s

RW is over. Now I know that seems like a pretty obvious statement: after all Restaurant Week was officially August 11th-17th. Many restaurants, however, extended their promotions, and many critics suggested saving those restaurants for this week (or even next) in order to make Restaurant Week last. But whatever schemes various restaurateurs may have had to gin up business by lengthening their RW promotions, the excitement, the totally mobbed craziness of last week, has not carried over it seems. I say this because at my lunch Thursday afternoon at PS-7’s, right in the prime lunch hour, there were maybe 10-12 other parties eating. We actually had to wait a second for our table, but only because our hostess seemed somewhat confused by the “lunch rush” of four parties coming in at once.

Once we were seated, however, service was very good. We were pressed a little to order – though I’m not sure if that really passed the line between “attentive” and “pushy” – but once our food came, our waiter pretty much stayed out of our way (he only stopped by to clean up the table after I, during one of my more expansive hand motions, knocked over a water glass). Of course, there was no reason to be getting bad service; our waiter only had two other tables in his entire half of the restaurant.

The menu was pretty big for Restaurant Week: it isn’t the full menu, but seven apps, eight entrees and three desserts isn’t half bad. Though we had a lot of choice, in the end, we went with what had been recommended elsewhere: beer poached mussels, tuna tartare sliders, cornmeal-crusted trout, the “big hot brown” (an openfaced sandwich of turkey, bacon, tomato and mornay), the beignets dessert and the “cobbler of the day.”

On a purely technical note, I’ve managed to overcome my discomfort with taking pictures in restaurants (it always seemed somewhat rude to me). In fact, it was my friend and fellow diner who brought her camera – I was just going to use the phone – but for the first time, we have extensive photography of restaurant food.

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VA Beach Update

A faithful reader (also a coworker – growing the readership beyond people who actually know me in non-blog life proving difficult) writes:

On the VA Beach front:  Mahi Mah’s (no second “i”) is pretty good, though I think its gotten a little tired lately.  When I lived down there (3+ years ago), it was definitely the hot destination on the strip; seems a bit less so these days, but it still has a great ocean view and a large beer/wine selection. Part of my disappointment could be due to the fact that it is grossly overshadowed by the newish Catch 31/Salaccia at the Hilton.  I was down there a few weeks ago and it seemed like everything revolved around C31(which is the bar adjoining the restaurant Salaccia) – in fact it was so packed, my group would have had to wait almost 2 hours for a seat.  Needless to say, I can’t comment on the food.

I saw someone commented on the Jewish Mother — I wouldn’t make it a destination based on food alone, but it’s the perfect place for a post-drinking greasy/carb-heavy breakfast.

That’s about all I’m familiar with on the boardwalk/strip.

Any thoughts, comments, responses?

Entertaining on the Cheap

A little guide from the Dallas Morning News on how to entertain on the cheap. One quibble: they suggest (amongst many alcohol-friendly tips) to skip alcohol entirely. I would suggest the opposite – if everyone is three sheets to the wind, nobody is going to remember to ask if the caprese uses Italian buffalo mozzarella. [Dallas Morning News]

[I must confess I got this from Deb Puchalla, who I follow on twitter and who once linked to my recipe for stuffed zucchini on her blog, thus earning my eternal devotion. –Ed.]

Help Me! Dinner in Virginia Beach

Update: I really need your help, people! So I’m reposting this; keep sending in suggestions! Another question: what do people know about One Fish, Two Fish, Mahi-Mahi’s or Aldo’s? Good choices?
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Your editor, along with some old college friends, is headed to Virginia Beach this weekend (and next week). We’re not necessarily talking about the most cultured group here, but I’m going to try to drag them to a decent meal or two. Looking specifically for a good place for blue crabs, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Leave them in the comments or email us at: thriftyepicure.dc@gmail.com. Thanks everyone!

RW Review: Lunch at Ceiba

In the third of our four-part series on DC’s late summer orgy of prix fixing and harried service, your intrepid editor once again ventured into the field for a little Restaurant Week enjoyment. (Aaaaand that’s enough third person.)

Where did I go? Ceiba. Part of the conglomerate of restaurants that includes DC Coast, TenPenh and Acadiana, I had heard good things. My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened, however, by a friend’s report that TenPenh’s RW menu had been less than thrilling; unfortunately, I learned this on Thursday, one day before our reservation – there was no way I was going to find a replacement. And so off we went – filled with either trepidation (myself) or indifference (my fellow diners). I guess it all depends on whether you’re eating just for the act or for its larger (blogging) implications.

You should know that Ceiba, unlike these restaurants, is not extending its Restaurant Week promotions. By the time you read this, there will be no prix fixe options available until January. But I think this review serves a purpose anyway: the Restaurant Week experience seems relatively constant across multiple events, and if you remember this exists in January, it could be a helpful guide.

And so the question here is: who made the bigger mistake, myself for going to Ceiba during RW, or you for missing it?

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RW Review: Rasika

Yes, Restaurant Week is technically over. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop pumping the event for all the possible traffic I can get. Also, Rasika is extending its RW promotion until the 24th, so you still have six days to get in the door. Good luck making reservations, of course.

Unlike most of my RW pit stops, I actually got in to Rasika for dinner. Yes, it was an early dinner (5:30), but you do what you have to. Honestly, it might not have been that “cool,” but unlike the people eating at 7:30 or 8:00, we had no service problems, everyone was really nice and the place wasn’t completely insane. Two non-food notes: first, servers at Rasika seem to stand very far away from the table and then shout at you. An odd choice, though maybe my BO is not as concealed by my Old Spice as I once thought? Also, for a nice restaurant, Rasika isn’t very smart about concealing evidence of the gauche background of some of its decor: I must have peeled two or three “Bed Bath and Beyond” price tags off of various bathroom accoutrements. Not that I would fault a restaurant for going the cheap route: I am the “thrifty” epicure after all. I just found it amusing. I wish I had taken a picture.

With the increase in prices to $35.08, whether RW dinner is still a good deal is definitely an open question. At Rasika, however, you want to be there for dinner – the selection is considerably better. Ignore the menu at the Rasika website; I don’t know if they thought to publicize their wishful thinking, but it doesn’t match what they are serving. Head to Washingtonian’s Best Bites (which I link to so often I should be a subsidiary) instead. The most obvious discrepancy between the online and actual menu is the missing Palak Chaat, or crispy spinach, at lunch. As I have been told, and as our waitress mentioned about half a dozen times, crispy spinach is Rasika’s “signature appetizer.”

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Blog Round-Up: 8/18

One day late, but with all the blog-round-up-y goodness you’ve come to expect. I’ve tied in the recipes I liked this week as well; yes, I am too lazy to create two posts of other people’s content.

Recipes I liked this week:

  • Homemade Bulgogi [WhereInDC]
  • Corn, Pepper and Feta Salad (with produce from the Adam’s Morgan Farmer’s Market!) [the arugula files]
  • Curried Tofu Salad with Blueberry Tomato Dressing [Salty Girl Cooks] [As a vegetarian (expect a post on that this week), I must say that SGC is an invaluable source of interesting veggie-friendly recipies. -Ed]
  • Raspeberry Sorbet [Houndstooth Gourmet]
  • Blackberry Shortcake with Lavender Cream [Food Rockz]