924 25th Street
Last Sunday's food review in The Washington Post Magazine by Tom Sietsema struck me. Actually, not really. A picture of a giant BLT with fried shrimp and jalapeno mayonnaise on ciabatta next to the article did.
So, I went yesterday for dinner. The BLT is served at lunch, so this just gives me another reason to go. I will try that BLT before I die.
Guided by Sietsema's review, here's what I really thought of the place.
We started with the fried bluepoint oysters, described by Sietsema as "...crisply fried [and] piping hot when they land before you yet tamed by a cool herbed dip." Exactly. But, between you and I, I prefer my oysters raw. When they are fried, the sloppy mess becomes soft yet chewy and leaks in its crunchy fried shell. Perhaps eating fried oysters is similar to chewing on a sexual organ. I wouldn't know.
I ordered the fried chicken. Sietsema's description is as follows: "Buttermilk fried chicken comes to the table with a no-holds-barred red sauce and a rolled-up paper napkin, the latter a hint that it's perfectly okay to eat the dish with your fingers."
My response? No it does not. Perhaps this a lunch thing? My fried chicken just seemed fried. The only flavor came from the fried chicken skin and a poorly matched horseradish oil. There were no buttermilk undertones, flavorful red sauces or welcoming napkins. Just a few flavorless sun-dried tomatoes used to hoist the fried carcass up to prevent it from bruising the accompanying white goo-drenched mache salad. Poorly-executed pretentiousness.
My fellow diner ordered the salmon. Dull. The accompanying spinach, however, was well seasoned—but as Sietsema says—not so "bright with lemon..." An added bonus was the decent sized blob of aged balsamic. So what if it tasted like Bovril? It's OLD!! Unfortunately, the balsamic blob did not serve to compensate for the run-of-the-mill fish.
Finally, the dessert: "Lapped with caramel sauce, his excellent apple pie shouts U.S.A. all the way..." I must agree. Actually, except for the U.S.A. part. To me, apple pie is apple pie is apple pie. When I think of the U.S. these days, 'Bush' and 'Baghdad' come to mind, not a comforting, dense medley of warm apples and cinnamon. Dish does this very well. I thought such a thick, buttery crust and soft warm apples was enough, but the chef taunted me further with a side of homemade cinnamon ice cream (redundancy and desserts are a match made in heaven), and a slurry of thick, warm caramel sauce, which tasted the way caramel is supposed to taste.
I disagree with Sietsema about the decor and ambience: "Despite the broad maple tables and gold linen wallpaper, Dish is not a particularly attractive or comfortable spot." YES IT IS! (And I don't recall any gold linen wallpaper...) I have good taste and that room was nice!