DCFoodies.com Dining Out in DC on Thanksgiving, 2008 - DCFoodies.com

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Nov 13, 2008


Trabocchi Fan

Citronelle for Thanksgiving - buyer beware!
For those who may be considering Citronelle as their dining choice for Thanksgiving, think twice. I dined there the year before last and was expecting a meal worthy of kings. Though the atmosphere was great and the food plentiful, the quality did not stand up to my expectations. One of the menu items listed on the website was missing ; the salmon en croute was actually panko-breaded salmon filets; and the lamb (as well as some other dishes) had as much flavor as a plain baked potato. All in all, VERY disappointing! The worst part of all had to be the salmon - that was pure deception! Perhaps this year will be different and I will be curious to read the experiences of experiences of others!

Easy Diner

To piggy back on Trabocchi Fan's comment...
I had Thankgiving dinner at Citronelle about 3 years ago. My expectations, at dining at the restaurant of a chef as creative as Michel Richard, was met with disappointment as well. Along with the "faux" en croute and flavorless lamb, the menu also listed haricot verts...which I was told by one of the servers behind the buffet, they didn't have "...this time." Unfortunately, not being a huge fan of turkey, these were the three menu items I was most eager for. That and the anticipation of how Michel Richard would interpret traditional Thanksgiving fare was why I agreed to celebrate at Citronelle. It was also dishearting, to realize that the green salad (lettuce) was the only thing that wasn't self-serve (except of course for the carving station) so that they could PILE it on the plate in hopes that the diners would take less food.

Despite disillusionment by the quality of the food, I would have been open to returning to Citronelle on another night to experience the regular menu, if not for the disdainful attitude of our sommelier. This expressed to us at the head and tail of our meal. Upon our seating, he asked if we would like water. We said "Yes.", he nodded and began to walk away. A server pouring water for a table near by overheard this exchange and so made his way toward us. The sommelier attempted to stop him; he seemed annoyed when we intervened by asking the server to continue pouring the water. In short, rather than ask us whether we wanted Perrier or water from the pitcher, his intent was to "trick" us into purchasing the bottled water. If not for that stunt, I might have purchased a bottle of wine for the table.

After we paid the check, we passed the sommelier on our way out. My dining companion, who was in front of me, said goodbye. Before I could speak, the sommelier gave a rye chuckle and said "Enfin" and turned away with a roll of his eyes...he assumed we did not speak French. "Enfin" is french for "Finally". Apparently, we had over stayed our welcome. Since the two incidents that I described above were the only two interactions we had with him, I can only assume he deemed us unwelcome on first sight.

Though I've never met Michel Richard, I have heard him speak live on a panel. I know the sommelier's elitist attitude does not reflect that of the owner, however the owner is not the one I have to chance dealing with upon patronizing Citronelle.

I must end this with relaying that the buffet servers and hostess were very kind and respectful.

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