Dinner at Mintwood Place, 2 October 2012

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.

The shishito peppers and and escargot hush puppies.

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.

Duck “au poivre” with minute sauerkraut.

Good desserts – a classic brownie sundae (with a super-moist brownie) topped with sprinkles, and a Baked Alaska flambé closed out the evening.

Oh look, my dessert is on fire.

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.

The Smokin’ on the Bayou cocktail.

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.

For some other reviews on Mintwood Place, check out Tom Sietsema’s at Washington Post (3 of 4 stars), and this one from Been There, Eaten That.

Mintwood Place
1813 Columbia Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-6732

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Finz Seafood and Grill, 8 July 2012

Based on my friend Kara’s recommendation, I checked out Finz in Salem.  Finz, a harbor-side restaurant on Pickering Wharf, has a fantastic menu full of excellent starters, entrees, and cocktails.

View of the Finz deck.

Being that I’m not local to Salem, and because everything sounded so good, I went a little overboard with the appetizers.  I wish I could have had more than four – several others sounded excellent – but I had to draw the line somewhere.  Our server, Kim, made some excellent recommendations throughout the evening.

I started off with a half-dozen of the Finz Wasabi-Stoli Oysters, a popular item at the restaurant.  The oysters were topped with wasabi caviar and Stoli “Raz” vodka, and served with cocktail sauce.  It was a good change from regular oysters-on-the-half-shell.

Fresh oysters with a twist.

Next up was the Tuna Tartare.  It was excellent, and included mango, avocado, red onions, ginger-soy dressing, and wonton chips.  I was sad when it was all gone.

So good…

Baked Goat Cheese with roasted garlic, Kalamata olives, and garlic bread followed.  A great Mediterranean dish, it reminded me of Zaytinya back in D.C.  I was surprised at how good it was – it was, after all, relatively simple – but I’d get it again.

Great Mediterranean touch to the meal.

The menu had a few interesting du jours, including a gazpacho of the day (I didn’t get it, although I was considering it – that day’s was an asian version) and a guacamole of the day (which I did get).  This particular day Finz was serving an apple cinnamon guac with cinnamon-sugar chips.  It was a very different flavor from the norm and worked really well…just another indicator that the creative talent at Finz is top-notch.

I’m a big fan of guacamole, and this version was creative and delicious.

Completing this last starter, we moved on to the entrees.  Going on our server’s recommendation, I went with the Black and White Sesame Tuna, which was served rare on top of seaweed salad.  It was plated with a sushi rice cake topped with crab “dynamite”, which was similar to the creamy and spicy crab topping found on some of my favorite sushi rolls, and avocado.  A wasabi cream lent some additional flavor to the dish.  I think this may be my new favorite tuna dish.  Excellent all around.

What a great dish this was. I’ll probably be getting it next time I am in Salem.

Tuna is definitely something that Finz does well.  I’d encourage visitors to try out some of that, although likely whatever one gets there would be excellent…I was impressed with all of the dishes.

Dessert was also fantastic.  I went for the Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie.  The description of it interested me because it said it was baked cookie dough.  It was like a deep dish, cake-like cookie – soft and moist.  Good stuff.

Awesome close to the dinner.

Good cocktail menu as well at Finz.  Here’s a couple I had:

  • Ocean Flower – Ketel One vodka, St. Germain, papaya puree, agave nectar, yuzu juice, sriracha-infused sugar rim.  I was a fan of this one…just the right level of sweet.
  • Cucumber Spritzer – Crop Cucumber vodka, Thatcher’s Cucumber liquor (hadn’t heard of this, but it’s now on my to-buy list), lemongrass syrup, white wine, soda water.  Cool and refreshing.
  • Strawberry Fields Lemonade – Ketel One Citron, rhubarb basil simple syrup, strawberry puree, lemonade.  This one was dangerous…tasted like a really tasty strawberry lemonade.

The Ocean Flower.

Good beer selection as well.

If you’re around Salem, Finz deserves your attention.  Check them out.