Somehow, I figured out that Spamalot was playing at the National Theater and since Amy is the biggest Monty Python fan ever, I figured I'd never be forgiven if I didn't get her tickets. Through some miracle, I was able to get them for Friday night.
We had a baby sitter coming early enough for us to get dinner before the show, but for some reason, the week flew by and I never made a reservation. It was Friday when I realized that I had no idea where we were eating dinner before the show.
Time for something completely different.
I've always wondered what Gerard's Place was like. Other than the expense of eating there, I don't think I've ever heard a negative thing about Gerard's Place, but I thought that recently, I'd read something about how Chef Gerard was revamping his menu for cheaper prices and less "stuffy" ingredients that people don't want (I tried to find the article, but I couldn't track it down).
There were plenty of reservations available at Gerard's. So many, that pretty much the entire night was open, so I made one for 6:30 PM which thinking back, was cutting it a bit close.
We arrived for dinner prompty at 6:30 PM. There were only two other tables filled. Amy and I looked at each other. We were both thinking the same thing.
Shouldn't this place be a bit more crowded on a Friday night?
The menu is pretty simple. You can either choose Chef Pangaud's five-course tasting menu for $89 a person, or the three-course prix fixe menu for $59. If we had more time, we would've chosen the chef's tasting menu, but we only had an hour until the show started and chose the three-course menu, which has about five or so choices for each course.
My only complaint about our meal that night was the wine list. Just about all of the good wines were $60 or more a bottle and over half the wines were over $100 a bottle. I tried to hide the shocked look on my face. So these must be really awesome wines to cost so much right? Well, the wine that I ordered, a 2002 Haut-Mondesir, was $75. Yes, it tasted wonderful and I have to say that I picked a great spicy and dry wine to go with the food we ordered, but when I Googled the wine to see where I could get it, I found that it was available for about $20 a bottle at Cleveland Park Wine and Liquors. Ouch. That's quite a markup.
Our first course came out fairly quickly, which I appreciated since we didn't have a ton of time. Amy had ordered the "progressive tasting" of red and golden beets and the presentation of this dish was perfect with four separate portions of beets on a large colorful plate: a traditional layered beet and goat cheese napoleon, a sweet golden beet carpaccio with citrus oil, a smooth and sweet red beet mousse with chopped hazelnuts, and a golden beet salad with candied orange. All of them tasted wonderful, but Amy's favorite by far was the red beet mousse. I tasted this as well and I swear it could have been a dessert.
I regrettably ordered the scallop appetizer. I say "regrettably" not because they were bad at all -- in fact, they were quite good. There were two fresh scallops sliced in half and placed on a bed of pureed herb sauce and arranged around a tiny garlic flan. But, when it comes down to it, I compare all scallops that I get to the ones that I get at Ray's the Steaks. I think I would've enjoyed another dish more, like the carrot soup or duck foie gras, since I wouldn't have had thoughts of another preparation which I like more in the back of my head.
Our entrees were brought to the tables with the same synchronization as the first course and were even better. I love it when entrees are better than the appetizers and don't leave you flat, dissappointed, and expecting more. The slightly gamey, yet rich flavor of the juicy roast duck that Amy ordered made us think that this was quite possibly some of the better duck in DC. With the duck came a perfect cylinder of mashed potatoes on top of duck confit. We ended up eating through the mashed potatoes to get to the confit. I had the succulent veal chop, which when I cut into, juices ran all over.
Desserts were fantastic as well and were the perfect finish to the meal. I should note that we were asked to order our desserts at the same time as our main course due to the fact that they prepare the desserts fresh to order. The lemon souffle that I has was light and fluffy like a souffle should be and the strawberry sorbet and sauce it was served with was the perfect compliment.
We finished our desserts and still had time to spare to get to walk to the National Theater. So all in all, service was prompt and our food was delivered promptly as we finished each course. I couldn't really ask for more in a pre-theater dinner. Great food, timely service, but a wine list that's overpriced relative to the food. If I go there again, I might call and ask if they accept corkage, because that would be a way to solve the wine dilemma there.
Mon - Fri: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Mon - Thur: 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM, Fri - Sat: 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: Street. Suggest Metro or Cab in this area
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: McPherson Square or Farragut North
Baby friendly rating: 1 diaper. The atmosphere didn't seem right for a child. This is a good place for a night out without the kids. :)