Tag Archive for Dupont

DGS Delicatessen ….$40 later

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I was feeling happy-go-lucky one Saturday morning until I got the bill at DGS. I ordered the pastrami, which takes over a week to make and is massaged by hand for three hours a day (ok that last part may be a lie). $13.

I couldn’t pass up the matzo ball soup. $7.

As I was waiting for my to-go order, I overheard the bartender pushing the DGS Bloody Mary on another patron, so my upbeat self said “hey can I have one too?” $10.

Plus tax and tip. $40. Yes, I was generous on the tip and no it wasn’t well deserved. More on that later.

I know these prices don’t seem patently unreasonable. Yet, on closer inspection, the food and the experience weren’t worth the price tag. The sandwich was good, but not that impressive. Plus, whoever layered the strips onto the bread, lined up all the fat on one end. So for half of my sandwich, I was biting into pure gristle. The matzo ball soup was awesome but small. The Bloody Mary was mediocre, in a small glass with ice and celery taking up most of the real estate, AND they don’t do spicy, according to the bartender. What self-respecting Bloody Mary provider does not do spicy. Oh, wait, here’s some house made hot sauce and cracked pepper to spice up your drink. Thanks….

As for the service, the bartender was not good at multi-tasking. I sat at a nearly empty bar for a few minutes before any eye contact or verbal acknowledgment because the bartender was having what can only be called as involved small talk with the only other two patrons at the bar.

The best part of the experience was the lady that walked up to the bar a few minutes after I sat down. She was trying to place a to-go order for her son or husband or some other beloved man in her life. She ordered the pastrami and had a very drawn out conversation with the bartender about what toppings she could get:

Can I get mayo? (No)
He likes his sandwiches smothered in cheese, can we add cheese? (No)
Can I swap out the mustard for cole slaw? (Um, we can hold the mustard and add a side of cole slaw that your prince can physically place on top of the meat with his delicate hands).
Ok, can I add lettuce and tomato? (That’s not really an option, ma’am).

Wait, this sandwich is $13??? It better be really good. I’m used to paying $5 for a sandwich. (Yes, it’s really good. Trust me).

Well, said, lady. By the way, where’s the nearest Subway? Pot Belly? I could go for a six inch, smothered in cheese and topped with lettuce and tomato.

All kidding aside, I’m willing to pay considerably more than $5 for a good sandwich as long as I feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I’m not sure DGS has convinced me of that yet, but I may give them another shot.

DGS Delicatessen
1317 Connecticut Ave NW
Ph: 202.293.4400
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2pm, Sat-Sun: 11am-2:30pm
Sun-Thurs: 5:30 – 10pm
Fri-Sat: 5:30-11pm
DGS Delicatessen  on Urbanspoon

Little Serow: a feast for the senses

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Little Serow will transport you to another world. That world defies expectations and requires you to sometimes eat with your hands.  Just go with it — and don’t worry about whether you’re eating something the “right way.”  You won’t be disappointed.

As I entered the dimly lit basement that seats about 28 people, I was immediately struck by two things: (1) the kitchen; and (2) the music.  The kitchen is tiny and completely open.  There’s no wall or physical barrier that blocks onlookers’ view of Chef/Owner Johnny Monis and his crew.  The music, like the decor, is folksy, reminiscent of the soundtrack from the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou?  It’s a stark contradiction to the restaurant’s Isaan-style cuisine.

Isaan cuisine hails from Northeastern Thailand and is somewhat distinct from what is commonly known in the States as Thai food.  There’s more heat and less coconut milk, for starters.  Little Serow offers only a pre-fixe menu composed of about seven courses, which are served family style ($45).  Below I describe some of my favorites.

Nam Tok Tow Hu

The meal started with duck liver mousse served with fried green banana chips and pork rinds.  The unexpected flavor pairings worked well together and the dish was an excellent and telling primer for the rest of the meal.

The next few courses packed a whole lot of heat.  I had to take a time-out after the catfish dish (Laap Pla Duk) because my entire head felt like it was on fire.  If I were a cartoon character, I would have had smoke shooting out of my ears.  Of course, I kept eating through the sweats because it tasted so good.  I also quelled some of the heat by eating more of the sticky rice and fresh green vegetables that were brought to us at the beginning of the meal and remained on the table until the end. These accompaniments are meant to not only tame the heat, but also serve as vessels for scooping up food, in addition to, of course, your hands.  Hands come in handy (ha!) when trying to extract the super sticky rice from its cute little straw container.

The tofu in the Nam Tok Tow Hu was so crispy and tasty that, for a while, I forgot I was eating tofu.   The mint, lime juice, and peanuts balanced out the richness of the fried tofu.

The ground duck over noodles (Ped Grapao) was my favorite of favorites.  It came with a fried duck egg (sunny-side up).  Break the yolk and flip the egg over so the creamy yolk can ooze its way throughout the noodles.  Delicious!

Excellent food aside, there are two more reasons I liked Little Serow.  First, the staff plays an integral part in the experience.  The staff is so welcoming, happy, and helpful.  They instantly put patrons at ease — a very important quality as patrons embark on an exotic culinary adventure.  Lastly, Little Serow is more accessible and affordable than Monis’ other restaurant Komi (next door to Little Serow), which is reserved for those very special of occasions and requires reservations a month ahead of time.  While Little Serow does not accept reservations, the wait is manageable especially when you can grab a few drinks at a nearby restaurant as you wait for Little Serow’s hostess to text you when a table becomes available.

Little Serow
  1511 17th Street NW
  Washington DC 20036
Tel: None
Hours: Tues - Wed: 5:30-10:00 PM
       Thurs - Sat: 5:30-10:30 PM
Walk-ins only
(Restaurant will text you when your table is ready)

 

Little Serow on Urbanspoon

Restaurant review: Al Tiramisu — an oldie but a goodie!

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So far I’ve written about new places, or at least places that are “new” to me.  Al Tiramisu is different.  It’s been around for 15 years (for good reason) and I’ve been there many times before.  The first few years I lived in DC, I often dined at Al Tiramisu.  Suddenly, I just stopped going.  Come to think of it, I began avoiding all Italian eateries period.  I’m really not sure why, but I think the timing may have coincided with following a low-carb diet.  (Darn you South Beach and Adkins!)  Last night, I became re-acquainted with Al Tiramisu after a long sabbatical thanks to my friend who chose it as the venue for her birthday dinner.For those that have yet to try it, you really should.  Italians seem to like this place, which is always a good sign.

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