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Eat and Drink: The Oval Room (DC Restaurant Week Summer 2010)

Tuesday night was my first foray into DC’s Restaurant Week. I was skeptical at first because while LA Restaurant Week has tiers depending on the price range of the restaurant’s normal menu, DC’s had one price across the board: $35.10 for dinner. I was also worried that service would be lacking. Perhaps I thought they would look at me and realize that I don’t have a real job?

I arrived a few minutes early to The Oval Room and was seated by the maitre d’ (the hostess was seating another couple at that time) in the center of the back room. He complimented me on my new purse before leaving my side. Isn’t it pretty?

Back to dinner. The dining room was bright and open. I found the atmosphere comforting with the noise level at a low buzz. Not so loud that you can’t hear your dining companion and not so quiet that you are forced to eavesdrop on other diners.

For my first course, I ordered the Amish white corn angolotti with black truffle butter and parmesan crumbs. I found this dish to be a tad sweet for my taste and also slightly disappointing in size. However, I enjoyed the cream sauce and parmesan crumbs’ contrast in texture.

Amish white corn agnolotti, black truffle butter and parmesan crumbs

Raisin Bread chose the soft shell crabs with buffalo mayo and celery. This appetizer had an upcharge of $5, which was reasonable considering other options included an heirloom tomato salad. The server told us that there was bleu cheese in this dish also, but we kept asking ourselves, “Where’s the bleu cheese?” I looked back to the online menu and it doesn’t say there was any bleu cheese. It is all a mystery to me. I found this dish to be a creative if odd play on buffalo wings.

Tempura fried soft shell crabs, buffalo mayo and celery

My main course were the sea scallops. When this dish arrived, I knew that the scallops were perfectly seared just by looking at them. I didn’t quite enjoy the combination of the chorizo and scallops, which I thought added a degree of saltiness that wasn’t necessary.

Sea scallops, stew of cauliflower, chorizo and hysoo

The other entree that we ordered was the seared salmon. For those of you who are familiar with my tastes, I never order any cooked fish other than black cod or monkfish. However, I quite enjoyed this salmon dish, especially the black pepper condiment. The presentation was also very lovely. It looked like a work of art.

Seared salmon, black pepper condiment, shaved cucumber and mashed potatoes
Finally for dessert, I had the date chocolate cake with toffee glaze and chocolate ice cream. The cake was moist and rich with huge chunks of dates strown throughout, while the chocolate ice cream was good but nothing extraordinary.

Date chocolate cake, toffee glaze and chocolate ice cream

I also had a taste of the almond brown butter cake, which our waiter recommended without hesitation. My favorite item of this trio was the cake. It was moist on the inside with a firm exterior. Both the peach salad and ice cream were a freshing compliment to the cake.

Almond brown butter cake, peach salad and sour cream ice cream

I was surprised by my first restaurant week meal despite my concerns. Service at The Oval Room was attentive and extremely well timed. The dining room had workers stationed throughout the entire time who were paying close attention to their guests. We both agreed that this meal was a wonderful first taste of restaurant week!

The Oval Room
800 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006-2726

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