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TheRootDC
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Posted at 02:08 PM ET, 01/20/2012

D.C. restaurant week: The The Monocle reviewed


(L to R): Andrea Therrien, Darcy Kipp-Kim, Tameka Tunsil, Debra Hurdle and Donita Williams-Chikwendiu. (Donita Williams-Chikwendiu - FTWP )
As a pseudo pescatarian, I was relieved that we skipped the Brazilian steak house in Fair Oaks Mall in Virginia.  It was Carolyn’s turn to choose, but unfortunately, she had an emergency, and couldn’t make it.  In her absence, I suggested that her restaurant pick be postponed until next month so we could take advantage of D.C. Restaurant Week.  I chose The The Monocle, the closest restaurant to the Capitol building and Union Station.

I should’ve paid attention to the big red flag that they had so many openings at the 11th hour of D.C. Restaurant Week; 7:00, 7:15, 7:30 – all the way up until 8:45 p.m.  After we ate, we found out that the restaurant isn’t usually open on Saturday or Sunday, but because of restaurant week, they managed to open their doors and do us the favor of charging us $35.12 for mostly bland, seemingly pre-prepared fare that looked & sounded yummy on the Web site menu but ended up tasting like a menu.

My appetizer – mixed greens with a carpaccio of smoked salmon and lemon caper dressing with a dab of goat cheese - was delicious, but nothing I just had to drive to D.C. for.  I had to use both the dish’s lemon wedges on one of the two crab cakes (with roasted red pepper sauce) to give it some type of zing because it was so bland.  The vegetables tasted more like butter than vegetables. 

The triomph cake with crème anglaise looked delicious, but the overly potent raspberry flavor of the cake over powered the chocolate.  Its glamorous title wasn’t worth putting in the extra treadmill time so I scraped off the chocolate icing and left the rest.

For the most part, our waiter seemed annoyed.  I tried not to spend too much energy figuring out why. I don’t know if it was because I was a little late, or because our sixth person wasn’t able to make it, or because most of our dinner club don’t look like the autographed pictures of the “powerful” politicians that stared down from the walls. The likes of Joe Biden, Donald Rumsfeld, the first president Bush, Edward Kennedy.

The plain, white crown molding all around the restaurant was lined with gold-lettered quotes such as “AN empty stomach is not a good political advisor.” I felt like I had crossed the threshold of some old, inviolable political lodge.

I wonder if ol’ Ed Kennedy would have had to ask for the menus and a little bread for the table without the “cost you extra” wisecracks.  Towards the end of the dinner, I heard him say “grazie mille” (thank you - in Italian) to the patrons at the table behind us, so I asked him if he was Italian. He said “close” and asked us to guess again…giving us a hint that his country was in financial “trouble.” I correctly guessed Greece and he changed his tune and showed a little friendliness after finding out that we visited both Greece and Italy in the past five months...as if that somehow made us somebody worthy of quality service.

My and Tameka’s blue brab cakes were too bland, Darcy’s ‘crab conrad’ was too salty, Andrea said her salmon filet was just “okay,” and Debra was pleased that her filet mignon was prepared as requested but it, too, was just “ok.”

According to dictionary.com, the definition of monocle is an eyeglass with one eye. Even though this was a last minute decision, I should have used both eyes when making this choice. Because, according to me, The Monocle meant monotonous.

Name

Ambiance

Service

Food

Debra

2

3

4

Tameka

3

3

2

Darcy

.5

4

2.5

Andrea

3.5

4

3

Donita

3

2

2

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By Donita Williams-Chikwendiu  |  02:08 PM ET, 01/20/2012

Categories:  The Root DC Live

 
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