Dinner at the Dahlia Lounge

Two words: Excellent and Expensive.

Kristin and I arrived about 40 minutes early and had a drink at the bar. We sat and laughed as a few cherub-looking Navy boys ogled at women as they walked past on the sidewalk outside. So much for the stereotype of the strapping military man in his uniform -- I'd be willing to bet that these four porkers frequently got chased home from school and routinely get their lunch money stolen. Still. But all good things come to an end and the four of them eventually settled up their tabs and left, so that was our cue to take our table.

The restaurant was very nice on the inside, relatively quiet with nice ambiance and a very polite and professional wait staff. And best of all, the servings were sizable and the food delicious.

Since I know some of you watch the Iron Chef and have heard of the owner of this restaurant, Tom Douglas, here's what we had (descriptions from the online menu):

Kristin: Tuscan grilled bread salad, pesto, olives, mozzarella, spicy coppacola
Doug: Barbecued duck noodle soup, five spice broth, roasted shiitake mushrooms, Chinese parsley

Krsitin's salad was huge and delicious with several types of lettuce and loads of grilled bread moderately soaked in olive oil. She didn't care for the sundried olives, but I did so that worked out well. As for my soup, it was absolutely one of the best soups I ever had. Was served with a spoon and chopsticks and the spices and duck and mushrooms just gave it an awesome taste.

Kristin: Rotisserie roasted five spice Peking duck, scallion pancake, cashews, Kung Pao bok choy w/ Garlic butter button mushrooms on the side.
Doug: Lemon~scallion Dungeness crab cakes, sweet chili avocado, caramelized romaine, tomatoes with basil, béarnaise w/ Fries with aioli and curry ketchup on the side.

The crabcakes were definitely the best I've had -- not too bready and not to mayonaisy -- but there was no comparison with Kristin's peking duck. It was essentially my soup in solid form and it was huge. I ended up eating one-third of Kristin's dinner as well and it was absolutely delicious, as were the mushrooms she ordered on the side. I felt like a shmuck ordering fries at a restaurant like this, but I mostly wanted to try the dipping sauces and heck, I'm not the one who put it on the menu so why should I be embarrassed, right? Anyway, the dips were great but the fries were not. They were clearly the dregs of the bottom of the fryer basket. Fortunately the serving portion was huge and I was able to fill up on some good ones. I would have liked the server to notice that the bowl of fries was inedible and take it upon herself to replace them, but she didn't. And I had Kristin's duck to eat so I didn't care too much.

For desert we each had a capuccino and split a strawberry dish that isn't on the online menu. It was fresh strawberries, served with a scoop of strawberry sorbet covered in a champagne meringue. There were some other things on the platter too, but I'm not sure what they were -- one was basically a shotglass of water with diced strawberry floating in it.

Anyway, the french fry fracas aside, the dinner was exceptional and I would totally recommend the place. Just don't expect to leave the table without spending a good chunk of money. We each had two drinks and split a bottle of mineral water instead of getting a bottle of wine and split a desert, but we still spent about $175 with tip. We ony eat out at places like this about once a year, so we're not sweating it. But man, I can't imagine how people eat at places like this on a weekly or even monthly basis. That's rich.

1 comment:

Criscipline said...

That sounds wonderful. I watch Iron Chef all the time and don't know who Tom Douglas is though. I know who he is but not from that show. I thought there were only 4 iron chefs on that show and he isn't one of them. Oh well. The food sounds amazing. I still haven't eaten "fancy pants" yet but I can't wait. It's so worth it once a year.

I'm so glad you guys had a nice anniversary!