This review appears in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.
Have you heard? Cedric Maupillier has left the building. Relax, already. He’s still the executive chef and remains a partner, but Eric McKamey has replaced him at the stove, bringing years of experience at two regrettably shuttered restaurants (CityZen, Palena) and the good sense to know not to change what works at the American draw with a Gallic tilt in Adams Morgan. Escargot hush puppies haven’t gone anywhere, and they’re as fluffy and meaty as ever. The creativity continues to flow freely, too. A piquillo pepper stuffed with avocado and ringed in cucumber gazpacho made for a cooler summer. Tempura-light catfish with julienned fennel and baba ghanouj is a bit of a head-scratcher, though: The fried fish and the smoky eggplant puree are good on their own but smack of a forced marriage. Cheers all around, on the other hand, for the crisp golden pork schnitzel, bedded on buttery polenta and balanced with a sparkling parsley salad. One of the few neighborhood restaurants that treats desserts like first-class citizens, Mintwood Place tempts diners with baked Alaska flambé and Key lime pie, a deluxe bar based on the spiced biscuit speculoos. The clamor can be uncomfortable. The solution is to dine early in a booth near the big windows, which a companion summed up thusly: “Like sitting outside with the A/C on!” Maupillier’s departure should make your mouth water: He’s focusing on Convivial, expected to
open in November in Shaw.
Mintwood Place: 1813 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-234-6732. www.mintwoodplace.com.
Open: Dinner Tuesday through Sunday, weekend brunch.
Prices: Dinner entrees $19 to $28, brunch $9 to $21.
Sound check: 77 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.