THE COZY LITTLE Bridge Street Cafe in Georgetown has been coming up with some inventive dishes under its new chef, Abdus Shakur, but he refuses to take credit for my favorite, brie and gorgonzola terrine.
It was already on the menu when he came, he says of this delicious oozing herbed spread, which is listed as an appetizer. Now, though, he is experimenting with other cheeses, most lately stilton with herbs and black olives. Whoever's responsible, Bridge Street gets extra credit for serving the cheese terrine generously with freshly toasted french bread, Bremner wafers and fruit slices. All that for $4.50, enough for a light lunch or an hors d'oeuvre for two (with another bargain, a glass of good California cabernet or chardonnay). A free bonus is to savor it in the garden.
NOT TOO CHICKEN TO ASK --
I am only surprised that the following complaint came from the diner rather than from the restaurateur. As the diner wrote me, he'd found good food at Marbles, but considered the service "horrendous." The main problem, as he reported it, was that he had ordered a two-piece portion of chicken and the waiter brought three pieces, at which point the waiter offered either free iced tea or to charge for just two pieces. The diner went ahead and ate just two pieces, then when the check came with a charge for three, called the manager over and requested an adjustment. The manager changed the check to charge for only two pieces. Next the diner asked the waiter to wrap the third piece of chicken to go.
"A disagreement ensued," the diner wrote. Doesn't surprise me.
SOUPY ALPHABET --
A source of continuing entertainment for me is the blackboard outside Ha'Penny Lion on L Street. The misspellings are so amusing that I begin to wonder if they are intentional (particularly when the two sides of the board have misspelled a word two different ways and both are funny). Most recently I was tempted to stop by to see whether Midwestern wild rice was the key ingredient to the "Minnestrone."
HATS OFF --
Every tourist should be so lucky as the one who stopped into the Mad Hatter on M Street at 10 a.m. for breakfast, only to find that it didn't open until 11. She tried to call her companion-to-be from a nearby pay phone but it was broken, so she asked if she could use the restaurant's phone. Not only was she invited to use it, she was invited to sit down and have coffee and juice while she waited for her companion and for the kitchen to open.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, SQUID --
A very slim woman was sitting alone at the bar at Odeon Cafe, and it isn't known whether the guy eyeing her thought she looked hungry or jaded with the usual come-ons. In any case, he sent her not a drink and a wink but a plate of fried calamari.
THE BREW PUBS ARE COMING --
At least we hope they are. This American adaptation of England's greatest eating-house claim is seen from coast to coast, but not yet in Washington. So far the nearest brew pubs, according to Jack Erickson, author of the new "Star Spangled Beef: A Guide to America's New Microbreweries and Brewpubs" (Red Brick Press. $13.95), are the Black Angus in Adams, Pennsylvania, an hour north of Baltimore, and Blue Ridge in Charlottesville.