Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Eventide

I went out to Eventide last night, and they are fantastic! The menu is pricier ($25-30 average for entrees) but of course you pay for quality and the atmosphere is great for an intimate dinner (romantic or with friends). Not as great for groups just because it's darkly lit and more personal, although they do cater to larger crowds.

The Service
The service was excellent, and they have a separate wine manager, which is always a plus. We arrived 15 minutes early, but they already had our table ready so we were seated right away in the upstairs dining room. With the exception of the entrees, which were delayed by 10 minutes, the food came quickly and the wait staff passed by often, unobtrusively refilling our wine and water glasses.

The Food
The chef was sending around a pre-appetizer concoction, which was a fried quinoa ball on some sort of cream, served individually on Japanese soup spoons. Then we got seared diver scallops for appetizer, beef tenderloin and risotto-style Farrotto (a hearty brown grain) for entree and a Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma. Everything was fantastic! Despite not being a fan of risotto, I ordered the vegetarian Farrotto dish because I wasn't sure if any of the meats were environmentally-sustainable and it was unbelievably delicious.

I emailed the manager later, to ask about the meats on the menu and he answered immediately with this:

We pride ourselves in using the highest quality proteins and we make every effort to ensure that every animal we serve is sutainably raised, all natural, free range and local (whenever possible--there are just some animals that are local but don't meet our standards for quality.)

The goat, chicken and bison are the proteins that are assuredly local.

I thought that was an acceptable response, and I look forward to trying one of those dishes next time I go.

Rating: 10/10
Overall, an excellent experience and definitely a great location for a special occasion. I highly recommend them.

Contact Information
Eventide Restaurant
3165 North Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-4420
(703) 276-3165

Their website says "smart casual, jeans are ok" but if you dine in the dining room and wear jeans, you will assuredly be the only one. Like me.

The roof is currently only open for drinks, but I've heard from others that you should not eat dinner up there once it opens for the summer because the roof menu is all small hor d'ouevres and not very filling.

A couple who had arrived earlier was apparently having difficulties with their reservation, which the woman was saying she had made online and received a confirmation for. So be sure to call ahead and confirm that they have your reservation

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Review: Miss Saigon

This is a Vietnamese restaurant in Georgetown and I was sorely disappointed.

The Food
I ordered the lunch special with fried rice, crispy spring roll and salad. When I went to choose the entree, I asked about the best option and he recommended the caramel ginger sauce, so I got that with tofu. The fried rice was bland, bland, bland! The rice was brown so there should have been some sort of sauce, but it tasted like nothing. The spring roll and salad were good but nothing outstanding. The entree was sorely disappointing. It was excessively sweet and the sweetness did not go with the sharpness of the ginger, which was just grated on top of the dish. To top it off, my $2.75 coke was mostly ice and they charged extra to substitute tofu for the chicken.

The Service
The service was great. The waiter was very attentive, and felt horrible about me not liking the ginger caramel sauce he recommended, so he actually comped my coke, which was very nice.

Overall: 3/10
The food was simply mediocre, and the 3 points are only for the waiter. There were a few other groups in there and their food looked like it might be better, but frankly, if you can't make a fried rice that tastes like something, I'm not really willing to try anything else.

Miss Saigon
3057 M Street, DC 20007

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Birthday Cake - Vanilla with Strawberries and Buttercream

The cake is really good!

 I am myself not a fan of buttercream, I find it too sweet, but this is really perfect if you want a no-fail recipe. That's why I made that second cake without the frosting, the cake is really great with any berries.

Cake Batter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 3  cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2.Grease and flour two 9-inch rounds. (the recipe calls for three, but then the layers would be very thin)
3. In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth
4. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy
5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg
6. Combine the flours together
7. This is the most confusing direction: Beat in the flour and the milk/vanilla in an alternating fashion, in four sections. What this means is that you put in 1/4 of the flour, beat, then 1/4 of the milk/vanilla mixture, beat, then 1/4 flour, etc.
8. Divide batter among the pans and put them in the oven
9. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
10. Let them cool completely before frosting
1. Beat everything together.
2. You can add more sugar if you want a thicker consistency, but keep in mind that it is already really sweet.

So, the birthday cake has cocoa butter cream frosting per request of the birthday boy, but the original recipe is actually for vanilla. If you want cocoa, mix in 1/4 cup cocoa, taste it, and then add more if you want a stronger flavor.

I also mixed in chopped strawberries with the frosting I used to fill the birthday cake, because who doesn't love strawberries with vanilla and cream??

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Faccia Luna, Arlington

The Service
The place was a disaster. Yesterday was my friend's birthday and he decided he wanted Italian. Since we had a group of 7 people, we called ahead of time to let them know we were planning on coming in around 7pm. They do not take reservations, but the guy on the phone told us to come at 6:45 to put our names on the list so we can get a table by 7pm. Fine.

So my roommate and I head over there to put our names on the list, and the place is completely crowded and it's a 45 minute wait! When I say, "why were we told it wouldn't fill up until 7:30?" I'm told "whoever answered the phone doesn't know what he's talking about".

Then we wait for not 45 minutes, but for well over an hour. In the meantime, there are other customers getting angry, too. At one point when I went to ask what was up, I heard the following conversation:
"How much longer?"
"Fifteen minutes"
"Did you just make that number up? You said 20 minutes half an hour ago"
"I didn't tell you that. Someone else did."
Excuse me? Blame games do not work when you represent the entire restaurant. You apologize and thank them for their patience.

Service continued to be ridiculous, and at one point I was told that a beer was a "white beer" ("like blue moon" - a wheat beer) and then they brought me an IPA instead. We also ordered a lemon drop martini, and got vodka with lemon in a martini glass. NOT the same thing.

The table was short a service, the waiter was slow and we were seated by the register and silverware/napkin area, so the restaurant employees were constantly pushing past our chairs. All in all, very disappointing.

The Food
 The quality of the food was good. We ordered a pizza with goat cheese, spinach and chicken, and a pizza with goat cheese, mushrooms, eggplant and pine nuts. The quality of all the ingredients was good, and the toppings and cheese were delicious. Some of the crust was burned on the side, but not too badly to ruin the whole dish.

The pizza dough, however, tasted like Domino's. It was not special in anyway, and really detracted from the quality of the toppings.

I ended up having to leave early (because it took so long to get seated!!) but from what I heard the Tiramisu was acceptable but not phenomenal.

Score: 4/10
The continued horrible service, combined with acceptable rather than amazing food, resulted in their low score. I've always complained about service in DC, but it has NEVER been this bad. I was very disappointed, particularly considering that this is Arlington, VA, where people in the service industry generally tend to be better than those within DC proper. I would NOT recommend anyone going there, ever.
2909 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA
(703) 276-3099

Friday, April 2, 2010

Review: La Tomate

This is an Italian Restaurant in Dupont Circle in Washington DC that I've always walked by and wanted to go in, and I finally did yesterday. They have a limited menu, so I actually had a hard time choosing what I wanted since nothing popped out at me. I finally settled on clams and linguini.

The Service
The service was haphazard. Someone brought out my silverware and napkin, another person my water, and a third person my bread and butter. It was strange, and I saw the same thing happening across the patio (I was outside). The outside area is nice, but not a single table is stable. Maybe they want it to be more authentically Italian.

The Food
My food came relatively quickly and the pasta and clams were high quality. However, and I know this is going to sound strange because it's seafood, but it was too salty. I know seafood is salty anyway, but this had too much. Like they made the sauce with the clam juice, steamed the clams with clam juice and then just for good measure, cooked the pasta in seawater. That being said, the other seasonings were quite good and the plate as a whole was flavorful. Just need to cut down on the salt.

The bread is really good, but the butter was hard and tasted like cream. Not normally bad, but it didn't go with the plain bread. It needed salt, and I actually would have preferred having the option of olive oil.

The Score: 6/10
I can't say I DO or DON'T recommend the place, I'd need to try some more of their dishes. And I'm actually willing to, because I am able to overlook inconsistent service if the food is good. Since the food was high quality and just a little too salty, I'm willing to go again and try a few other dishes.
1701 Connecticut Ave NW – Washington, DC 20009
202.667.5505 – telephone