Next up from my batch from Norm’s…Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. A bitter porter with a hint of pepper and a little bit of kick. Not as much smokiness as the last brew…it’s masked by the bitterness and chipotle.
I’d been to the Lightfoot Restaurant once before about a year ago, and had been meaning to get back there for more. It’s a little bit of a hike to get out there – they’re located in downtown Leesburg – but well worth the trip. I took the Ducati up Rt. 7 and parked a couple blocks away in the convieniently free parking garage (which DC and VA should get more of). I couldn’t get a reservation on OpenTable, so I called to see if they had anything available. They did, and mentioned their systems were down (a good to-know – always call a restaurant if you can’t get reservations online). I showed up around 5 PM on a Sunday, and they had plenty of space available. The restaurant is in the old Peoples National Bank of Leesburg, and some of the bank vaults play into their decor (there’s one in the bathroom, and the dials still work…I may or may not have been trying out the combo lock).
I got three of the same things I had ordered a year prior…I wanted to get a baseline for whether they were still as good as I remembered.
- Chef Ingrid’s French Onion & Field Mushroom Soup – Best French Onion soup I’ve had. Comes with croustade, Gruyère, goat cheese, Pecorino Romano, and truffle oil.
- Fried Green Tomatoes – One of the restaurant’s signature dishes. These are delicious…jalapeño cheddar cheese, sautéed shrimp, Szechwan chili cream.
- Slow Braised Pork Shank – Lots of restaurants say their meat falls off the bone. This literally did. While Lightfoot provided me with what appeared to be a pretty sturdy knife for this entrée, it was entirely not needed. The meat was served in a brandy glaze with broccolini and a delicious bread pudding filled with aged cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, and fresh thyme.
The first time I stopped in to Lightfoot, my dining companions and I also got the Peking Duck Quesadillas, Meatballs with Butternut Squash, Coconut Cream Cake with Chocolate Ganache, Pumpkin Brownie, Apple Raisin Cranberry Crisp, and the Yukon Potato Encrusted Halibut. I’m not sure which of those were seasonal or no longer on the menu. All of those dishes were great, though, and I’d expect that most of the offerings on the menu when you go would be as well. Make the trip out to Leesburg and try them out…you won’t be disappointed.
– Lightfoot Restaurant 11 North King Street Leesburg, VA 20176 (703) 771-2233 lightfootrestaurant.com
Book on OpenTable – Diners’ Choice Winner (American)
I’ll be having one of these tonight while I see how many restaurant posts I’m behind on writing up. The Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen appears to be a top-notch brew. I had the Schlenkerla Weizen at LivingSocial for the Churchkey beer tasting back in July, and it was great…tasted of delicious bacon. I picked up this brew, and a few others, over at Norm’s Beer and Wine in Vienna…good selection over there.
It’s been some time since I’ve gone to a prix fixe dinner, so on Saturday I headed over to CityZen for their six-course offering. I had previously made it to CityZen for a special ten-course chef’s table social, which had been excellent, and I wanted to see how they normally stack up.
The dinner began with a glass of champagne and two canapés. Both set the scene for the rest of the evening, and showcased chef Eric Ziebold’s creativity.
I was a fan of the offered focaccia bread. A little more salt and pepper than most, but it worked well, with just the right amount of moistness. A couple other types were offered, including ciabatta and what looked like a wheatier option.
The first course was the Maine Lobster, Cucumber, and Radish salad, served with a Greek Yogurt Sorbet, Turmeric Vinaigrette, and a Cumin Tuile…cool and refreshing, with chunks of lobster meat for an interesting twist. Paired with a 2011 Albariño Rias Baixas Esencia Diviña from Adegas Gran Vinum.
The next course up was the Soft Boiled Path Valley Farms Pullet Egg, with Brioche Pain Purdue and a Porcini Mushroom Velouté. The mushroom and egg combination worked well together, and the brioche came in handy for sopping up the delicious sauces accumulated at the end of the course. This dish was paired with a 2010 Chardonnay from Domaine Gaston & Pierre Ravaut.
Next up – Swarnadwipa Poached Alaskan Halibut, served with Young Coconut, Lemongrass Mousse, and Roasted Corn Consommé. The fish was light with a smokey flavor, which contrasted well with the lemongrass. The 2011 La Meriana Gavi di Gavi from Broglia, with its front-loaded peach notes, complimented the dish well.
The halibut was followed up by the Oakleigh Farms Veal and Foie Gras Boudin Blanc, served with Mission Figs, Baby Leeks, Darden Ham, and a Hyssop-Red Wine Gastrique. Those of you who follow this site may have noticed my love for all things duck, and this dish was an excellent rendering. As it was boudin blanc, the foie gras was sausage-like, and stuffed with the tasty veal. The red that accompanied it, a 2009 Corvina, Molinara, Rondimella Ripasso Superiore from Degani.
After all that, I hit the entree. This particular evening, there was an upgrade available…for an additional $50, you could change the main course, regularly an Herb Roasted Elysian Fields Lamb Ribeye, with a well-marbled Grilled Ribeye of Miyazaki Kuroge Beef, served with Potato Bone Marrow, Beef Tartare, Roasted Scallions, and Sundrid Tomato Panade. Naturally, I did that (while my dining companion went with the lamb). Both were excellent and quite different dishes, although the supplemental price increase was steep. Both dishes paired with a 2008 Torroja Des de Dins blend of Grenache/Cab/Syrah from Mayol Viticultors.
The entrees came out with a small box of buttery Parker House Rolls (read more on them here).
An artisanal cheese course was also available with the tasting for a supplemental $15, and is well worth it. CityZen provides amble options for your cheese plate, as seen in the following photos, including a few that will be picked up soon by me for some cheese plates at home. My companion did an excellent job picking out winners: Hoja Santa, a Texas goat cheese from Mozzarella Company; Robiola Bosina, a northern Italian sheep/cow mix; Hittisau, an Alsace cow cheese; Époisses de Bourgogne (the winner of the evening), a cow cheese from Burgundy, and Gorgonzola Cremificato, another cow cheese, from Italy. As I expressed to our fantastic head server, Nicole, this was perhaps the best cheese plate I’ve had in the DC area.
BUT WAIT! The dinner was not yet finished. Before the dessert was brought out, CityZen provided a palate-cleansing entremet of pickled melon with a light sorbet (the type of which now escapes me, although I recall it being herbal/vegetable in nature – perhaps cucumber?)
The dessert, Spiced Path Valley Carrot Cake, with Vanilla-Cream Mousse, Candied Walnuts, and Cream Sorbet, was a playful take on one of my personal favorite desserts, but the tastes left no doubts about what it was supposed to be. Dessert was paired with a delicious Muscadet from di Lenardo that goes by the name “In My Next Life I’ll Be Thin, Pass The Cookies!” which should probably be my signature bottle, based on its title.
The meal ended with a set of six mignardises to enjoy while taking care of the bill. For this meal, that broke down as $120 per person for the six-course tasting, $85 per for the sommelier’s pairing, $50 if going for the entree upgrade, and $15 for a cheese course – within normal bounds for a high-end tasting menu in the DC-area. I’d recommend it as a top-notch special occasion or date spot.– CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental 1330 Maryland Ave, SW Washington, DC 20024 (202) 787-6148 www.mandarinoriental.com/washington/fine-dining/city-zen/
I’m heading to CityZen tonight for the 6-course tasting with pairings. I went there about a year ago for a special chef’s table event, and I’m excited to try them again.
I’ve also got a post in the works on The Passenger. I go there so much that I pretty much have to put something up here to share their excellent bar food and top-notch mixological magic.
I had a few people mention Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan as a place I needed to try, so on Tuesday I made that happen.
First off, I loved the menu. Great nibbles (smaller appetizers), regular appetizers, entrees, and drinks. My biggest problem was narrowing down what I could realistically consume in one sitting.
I kept things at two nibbles (blistered shishito peppers and escargot hush puppies), and two appetizers (steak tartare with spuds and goat cheese and beet mountain pie) to start off. All were good…the peppers were subtle (although I found the provided hush puppies sauce also went well with them), and the other dishes were quite flavorful and creative.
The duck breast “au poivre” with minute sauerkraut, which I ordered for my entree, was excellent. Well-prepared duck paired well with the pepper sauce and bed of sauerkraut.
Good desserts – a classic brownie sundae (with a super-moist brownie) topped with sprinkles, and a Baked Alaska flambé closed out the evening.
The cocktail menu is also very creative. The Smokin’ on the Bayou (Benevá Mezcal Añjeo, Grapefruit Juice, Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup, Bitter Truth Creole Bitters) and Woodrow Wilson (Boomsma Genever “Gin”, Hum Liquor, Elderflower, Cava) were two that I tried out. The former had a subtle, smokey flavor that I’d credit to the mezcal, while the latter had a slight all-spiciness…I’m guessing that came from the Hum, which I’m not familiar with, and bills itself as a botanical spirit with a number of different ingredients.
This particular dinner was pricy – besides the above, there was one additional entree and two additional cocktails – for a total of over $200 with tip. However, you’re getting what you pay for…everything was of excellent quality, and the tastes involved were exceptional.mintwoodplace.com