As Jeff noted at Rebel Prince, he and I took advantage over the weekend of DC’s Restaurant Week 2004, in which a number of the metro area’s tonier restaurants offered 3-course prix fixe lunches for $20.04 and dinners for $30.04. Because we found out about it so late in the week, by Saturday morning when we were trying to make reservations, there wasn’t much left. I’d heard a lot of great things about Butterfield 9, but they only had one reservation on Saturday, for 10:30 p.m. (and I was worried that by then, only one half-hour before closing, they might be out of many of the limited choices), so we went for an early 5:00 seating at Red Sage, to which I hadn’t been in probably ten years or more.
It was an incredible dinner, with perfectly seasoned, substantial portions of food and wonderful service. I started with the ginger cured salmon, only lightly seared and deliciously accented with wasabi oil and salmon roe. I had a pork tenderloin as my main entree (which now doesn’t seem to appear on the dinner menu, apparently updated since this weekend), and finished with a bread pudding that had been marinated in butterscotch and then served with a caramel sauce and homemade butter brickle ice cream (also no longer on the menu). Yum. Red Sage also has such an interesting, unique interior, with the adobe-inspired walls and seating, and the water feature running along the wall at floor level like a small arroyo. (Though this was unpleasantly mirrored in their men’s room after dinner, where I discovered that the urinal wouldn’t stop running, overflowing quickly onto the floor like a sudden desert flash flood.)
On Sunday morning, Jeff asked if I still wanted to go to Butterfield 9; he’d checked again and at that point they were showing an open reservation at 7:00, which he went ahead and snagged just in case. While the dinner there certainly was worth $30.04, overall I have to confess to some disappointment, beginning with the discovery that the menu at table was slightly different from the one promulgated for Restaurant Week on their web site, specifically in that the entree I had most wanted to try–the venison mignon–was being substituted with a filet mignon instead. That said, the filet was the best part of the meal, though relatively unseasoned and requiring some salt and pepper to bring out the flavor, and the pistachio bread pudding was sweet, tasty and an interesting match to the filet. The duck confit and wild mushroom risotto starter, however, was overly bland and heavy, with the mushrooms looking suspiciously to me like cultivated button rather than wild while the duck was overcooked and dry. The crème brûlée was good though nothing special, and the accompanying “house made cookie” was chewy nearly to the extent of taffy; I probably looked like a cat eating peanut butter trying to get through it.
I think we overindulged on rich foods this weekend, though, and then made the mistake of stopping last night for burgers at Johnny Rockets at Jeff’s request after I picked him up from work. We both spend the rest of the evening yesterday feeling a little sick, and even this morning I’m wishing I had my bottle of Prilosec here with me at the office.