There are some things in life that do not ever make sense. As many times as you try and figure out if there is any rhyme or reason for certain things, you’re probably better off letting go of the things you cannot control. And coming from a self-proclaimed obsessive compulsive person, doing so is definitely easier said than done.
For instance, I absolutely cannot keep a decent pair of designer sunglasses. For the life of me, I lose them each and every time. It probably doesn’t help that I’m usually in the company of beer and/or alcohol at the times of loss, but that is beside the point. The point is: I cannot keep a pair of designer sunglasses for the life of me. I’m not bitter. Hello, $7-pair from H&M. You and I will have to get along.
On the other hand, however, something that does make sense in my life is… food. Come on now, as if you didn’t already know. Food is an important part of my life. Yes, that would include the bad stuff that we all love to have, but know we shouldn’t (but have it anyway). But beyond that is my love for well-prepared, appropriately portioned (!), and carefully executed food. And what better time to have this type of stuff than during Restaurant Week?!
Restaurant Week, to me, is like a breeze on a Sunday morning, the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, the fried-egg that you mash into a piping-hot dish of loco moco, or store-bought cake from the grocery store that you buy (and eat) by yourself. Wait, I didn’t mean that last part… (or maybe I did.) What Restaurant Week is NOT: a plated dinner at a wedding (gag), a trip to the local “Chinese” buffet, nor is it something that should be passed up. Restaurant Week is just as worthy of your attention as Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale. (Yup, I went there.)
This year, the DC-area Restaurant Week was, and continues to be (for the most part, it’s been extended through this week as well), another feather in the cap of awesomeness. I remember blogging about how the DC dining landscape has evolved in recent years. Area kitchen stars have only increased in their popularity in the last few years (Jose Andres, Geoff Tracy, and Robert Wiedmaier to name a few), but at the same time the area has attracted the likes of Michel Richard, Wolfgang Puck, and Alain Ducasse, whose restaurants now dot the “foodie” map of DC.
Since I’ve returned, I’ve been slowly getting back into the area dining scene. It surprises me how there are many places that have sexified their space, making me feel like I’m having more of an “L.A.” experience that tends to focus more on ambiance than food. But amazingly, there are so many places that are able to fuse the two together nicely… and they’re all within my old stomping grounds. There’s no better time to dive right into the DC-area foodie scene than Restaurant Week.
My return to the area has been marked with a lot of things: new office building, new commute (!), new co-workers, and a new daily routine. But spattered in between the newness are so many familiar sights and sounds: area traffic, the humidity of summer, my family and my friends. This year, Restaurant Week served not only as a time to have great food, but a time to connect (and re-connect in some cases) with great friends. My first stop this time around was at PS7.
Located on the outskirts of DC’s very tiny Chinatown, bordering the ever-bustling Penn Quarter, PS7 is sort of tucked-away amidst re-vamped office buildings, newly built condos, and a slew of shops and cafes. My “go to” foodie-friend, Leah, set-up this dinner venture. I was excited to make my way into the city last Tuesday evening. It felt good traveling downtown, and when I rolled around onto I (Eye) Street, I met the valet as if I were meeting a long-lost friend. Thankfully, Leah walked up before I could engage in senseless banter with the valet attendant, and we made our way inside.
We were early, so we proceeded to the lounge area to grab a round of drinks. I noticed that the space was open, with tables against the big windows facing the street. Away from the windows were shorter tables and ottomans where the happy hour set were enjoying their ‘last call’ before dinner prices took effect. We planted ourselves at the bar, and were met with all sorts of concoctions in bottles or pestles ---which we would find out, later, were all part of the interesting make-up of their witty drink menu. I ended up with the Ice Pick, which is made of an interesting mix of Grey Goose, acai, and tea, while Leah indulged in a cucumber imbibed drink (called Gnome’s Water) that was both refreshing and calming. The drinks were a great start for the night as two more of our friends, Erika and Stacy, joined us for dinner.
As the maître d’ showed us to our table, the sights, sounds, and smells were a good indication of what was to come: a nicely-prepared three-course meal that involved many great choices. To add to the minimalist energy of the restaurant were modern paintings that lined the walls, along with mood lighting to enhance the gallery-like space. Tables along a raised platform that lined a wall of tall windows served as silhouettes against the lights from the outside streetlamps. Our waiter, whose vocal intonations reminded us of a prime time game show host, was thorough and efficient, and soon our table was covered with more drinks and glasses of water.
Between the four of us, we indulged in a wide array of dishes. First course: Sarah’s Salad (with mascarpone and strawberries on a bed of field greens), Warm Spinach Salad (marrying the delectable flavors of feta and bacon), Tomato and Saffron-Steamed P.E.I. Mussels, and a Caprese Flat Bread –all of which were flavorful and nicely prepared.
Our second course was just as diverse: Tuna Au Poivre (served with an asparagus gremolata), Wild Mushroom Risotto, Beef Tenderloin Au Poivre, and Stuffed Pork Loin (with thyme pan jus). While some of the meats were a little over-cooked on the outside, all the dishes were generally tasty and filling. We almost forgot that there was one more course left.
Desserts soon followed, after another quick round of drinks, and again we were each suddenly in the presence of ample deliciousness: Blueberry Brown Betty, Red Velvet Cake, a Strawberry Tasting (with strawberry sorbet, lemon pound cake, and mascarpone cream), and the winner of the night – Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar (which requires no explanation whatsoever).
At the end of it all, we were satiated and ready for bed, which was probably the master plan all along. PS7 is a gem in the bourgeoning Chinatown area, and has been wowing DC natives and visitors alike since 2006. Owned by former Vidalia chef and 'James Beard Award' winner Peter smith, PS7 is the culmination of his years of experience with some of the DC area’s best-known restaurants, and it continues to make it’s mark on DC’s culinary history.
PS7, 777 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, 202.742.8550
(Photos are courtesy of the restaurant's website.)
1 year ago