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Jan 26, 2006

Comments

jennifer

any 2006 valentine's day suggestions? I told my husband, I wanted to go where you recommend. although, i think we might go to komi for the first time.

Catherine

We went to BlackSalt last night and had an amazing dinner. We sat in the section at the front that doesn't require reservations. After reviewing the menu, we decided that we really couldn't decide what to eat. So we all ordered the tasting menu. We went in without any special requests and had absolutely no idea how many courses or what foods we would be served. It was truly the best dining experience I have had in the last few years. Every course was delicious, timed perfectly, and the flavors and sauces came in the perfect order. My personal favorite was the tuna tartar, although the Malpec oyster was delicious. After 11 courses, a few bottles of wine, and four hours, we left happy!! And, we'll be back soon.

On your recommendation, we've also tried Komi and Samantha's. Both lived up to their billings. And, Heritage India has long been one of my favorites. Keep exploring, and please keep blogging. Your reviews are my favorite source for new restaurants.

Catherine

Medusa

A friend of mine is one of the dessert chefs at BlackSalt. Just watching him work through the window looking into the kitchen was so much fun. Excellent, just for that! :)

Cheers

DJ Medusa.

John

If a restaurant is going to serve a small appetizer-size portion of fried Ipswich clams for $15, they should not be thoroughly gritty and full of sand, as mine were at Black Salt last night.

They were delicately cooked, however, so the problem is easily resolvable. Our entrees -- the Branzino and a Portuguese stew -- were excellent.

Mike Bober

Just got back from an early Valentine's Day dinner in Blacksalt's tasting room, and it was terrific!

My wife and I made our way through the noisy, crowded front room to the sliding door that leads into their wine storage area, and then out the back into what felt like a completely different restaurant. The noise and the crowds gave way to a room with painted brick walls, soft lights, and no more than 35 or 40 seats.

We were seated right away and presented with a wine list, a cocktails menu, and the chef's tasting menu for the night. For $85 per person, we were treated to a significant five-course meal that featured two fixed starters and choices of three items each for our third, fourth and dessert courses.

But before the parade of poissons could proceed, we were offered an amuse bouche - a single kushi oyster dressed with with a housemade mignonette and a small dollop of caviar. The salty roe picked up the remaining briny notes of the oyster and were nicely offset by the vinegar in the mignonette.

From there, we each enjoyed a slice of hamachi crudo (yellowtail), dressed with kimchi that was prepared on site. The tang complemented the rich taste of the fish nicely, and some peppery greens rounded it all out.

The second course featured bay scallops served with a puree of madras curry and baby carrots that was subtle and savory - the restrained heat of the curry was definitely impressive.

Our meals diverged at this point, with my wife trying lobster agnolotti for her third course and me opting for a piece of John Dory that featured crisp skin and a firm texture throughout. The agnolotti, though light and full of succulent lobster meat, were served in a sauce that didn't register as especially flavorful.

After this, we were treated to another gift from the chef - a bisque of shrimp and lobster that was far more savory than the sherried bisques I've had in many other seafood restaurants in DC. It was a welcome change of taste heading into our entrees.

For our fourth courses, I went with a big-eye (ahi) tuna that was served seared and sliced thin in a tomato-based sauce that reminded me of a Portuguese sausage soup. This may have been due, in part, to the generous portion of crispy pork belly served with the fish. My wife ordered the butterfish, which was served over a bed of blue cheese risotto and a saffron sauce that disappeared under the salty tang of the risotto. The butterfish itself was moist, almost to the point of well-cooked chicken. The risotto was not done perfectly, but this is a seafood restaurant first and foremost, so perhaps it's not their strongest suit.

Afterwards, we were given a third (and final) gift from the kitchen - a small walnut madeleine served alongside a demitasse of cider poured over a candied orange peel. The aromas were heavenly, and the cider was delicious.

For dessert, we enjoyed a "S'Mores" pie that featured marshmallow, chocolate, and a graham-based layer surrounded by a peanut butter creme anglaise; and a New England pudding that was piping hot and redolent with spices, topped with a cinnamon ice cream and served with caramel corn.

Throughout the meal, we frequently found ourselves commenting on the flavors, the portions, and the attentiveness of the staff. The whole experience was enjoyable from beginning to end, though we both agreed that we would have enjoyed the meal far less in the main dining room, which seemed much less conducive to a romantic evening. I highly recommend the tasting room to anyone looking to celebrate a special occasion over finely prepared seafood.

Jason

mmmm, kushis.

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