Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Fish Needs an Egg Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle

Thanks to extensions, creativity, and a jaunt to Baltimore, Tim and I have managed to schedule four Restaurant Week dinners.

For non-locals, Restaurant Week is when the fancy restaurants throw open their doors to the unwashed proletariat and offer three-course dinners for $30.08. The benefit is obvious: those of us who normally live on chicken buckets from Popeye’s can try out the best that Washington has to offer. The drawback is that sometimes, a bucket of chicken is the better option. Particularly when you’re as unsophisticated as I am.

We kicked off our fancy food extravaganza at Poste in the Hotel Monaco. It’s a beautiful space, with cozy booths, high ceilings, and an open kitchen. The service was impeccable, and the waitress corrected our redneck mispronunciations with grace and charm (though I did get a bit of a giggle when she mangled Tim’s last name at the end of the evening. Score one for the Rube Team!)

It’s rare that food has the capacity to surprise me. I am not picky or snobby. I will eat anything and everything, including raw ants, fried crickets, unidentifiable meats and the still-beating heart of a cobra. (Though I haven’t had a chance to try that last one.)

But Poste completely flummoxed me. My first course of potato soup included bacon and an egg. I’m sure it looked intriguing on the menu, but, frankly, in practice it was more like Fear Factor minus the prize money and public humiliation. Tim ordered the arugula salad, which, while pedestrian, looked a whole lot more appealing than what I was eating.

For our next course, both of us ordered the bass. The fish arrived with a purple, bouncing object on top. Slicing it open revealed yet another poached egg. (According to Poste’s website, the peculiar color is caused by poaching in red wine.)

Frankly, I felt a little bit persecuted by all these eggs. Was this some sort of biological clock broadside from the chef? Most likely not, as Tim received his first egg of the evening (and has no ovaries to speak of). It reminded me of living in Colombia. In Colombia, no dish is complete without a fried egg on top.

Once the egg was gently pushed aside (where it seemed to jiggle and gape at me knowingly), the fish was pretty tasty. Although a bit rich for my tastes, the mashed potatoes with capers and lightly seasoned bass were delicious.

The dessert, which was blissfully free of eggs, was definitely the best part. It was a fluffy, not-too-sweet chocolate pot de crème. Our check was accompanied by a few more small treats.

But I’ve saved the weirdest for last. The restrooms are located through the lobby and up the elevator (would it be so hard to incorporate restrooms somewhere in the general vicinity of the restaurant?). The ladies’ room had been overtaken by a trio of mid-30s blondes, who were brushing their teeth, adding the finishing touches to their hair, and debating where to go for a drink. It felt like I’d stumbled into the bad girls’ bathroom from high school. The trio was arguing over whether Blonde #2 should show a little more cleavage, who had the best cleavage, and who showed the most cleavage at the office. At which point I realized they all worked together.

So, in short, Poste, while lovely, wasn’t exactly to my taste. And the next person who gives me an egg is going to get a size 5 ½ in the sternum.

ADDENDUM: Tim would like you all to know that he cheerfully ate his purple bouncy egg, thankyouverymuch.


Anonymous said...

Whoever that next person is, I hope they have a robust sternum.

Michael J. West said...

The fish arrived with a purple, bouncing object on top.


Shannon said...

Yes, the poached egg was doing a sexy little dance.

My stomach lurches just thinking about it.

nutmeg96 said...

"gape at me knowingly" -- hilarious. Best restaurant review ever. :)