The Tastes of Vacation: The “We Are Still Eating (and Living to Tell the Tale)” Edition

Candice at New Heights

Candice gets ready to enjoy the Vegetarian Fettuccini Alla Bolognese at New Heights Restaurant during Restaurant Week DC

Four nights into DC Restaurant Week and the Browns are still eating (and living to tell the tale).  We last left you following Monday evening’s upscale Mexican dinner at MXDC. But we’ve continued our visitation to new (for us) restaurants in the Washington area.

How we’d missed the long-time Woodley Park favorite New Heights Restaurant is a mystery, but we found it on Tuesday evening and it won’t be our last visit. First, let’s begin with the setting: a lovely patio, downstairs “gin joint” and upstairs casual dining area with an Arts and Crafts decor – what’s not to like! Then the food and service were top-notch.  Andrew and I – being gin and tonic fans – tried two very different variations on this theme from the extensive offerings.  Both were superb. All three of us took advantage of the three-course Restaurant Week menu (which we have agreed we cannot do every night unless we want to add 15 pounds of weight by the end of vacation.)  We shared heirloom tomato salad, crab cake, fettuccini, wonderful scallops, and spaghettini aglio e olio, plus three delightful desserts: tiramisu, peach cobbler, and house made sorbet. All came away charmed by New Heights – giving it solid 3 1/2 stars across the board – and wondering how soon we could return.

DJB at SEI Restaurant

DJB gets ready for the duck at SEI…and I’m sure I didn’t notice that the woman behind me had her eyes (and mouth) focused on my plate!

Wednesday brought us to Penn Quarter and the modern Asian small plates restaurant SEI. The stark white and modern decor could not have been more different from New Heights. The crowd was younger, and our server was smart and a delight.  This time Candice went to the regular menu for Tuna Tartare sushi and Korean Kalbe tacos, with a refreshing Asian Pear sangria. I stepped off the wine and cocktail carousel for the evening, but did stay on the three-course restaurant week menu (as did Andrew).  Some of our favorites included a fabulous Braised Baby Octopus, Crispy Duck, and Honey Ginger Salmon.  The Orange Miso Bread Pudding with sea salt ice cream was a big hit.  Once again, we all gave SEI a very solid 3 1/2 stars and were still buzzing about it the next day.

Andrew has a standing commitment on Thursday evenings this summer, so Candice and I ventured out to DC Coast on our own. I had been to this K Street establishment for lunch in the past, but never for dinner.  The setting – in a rehabilitated bank lobby – is wonderful, and the service was terrific. If we were rating on those two items alone, we’d be right up there at the 3 to 3 1/2 stars.  However, the food was merely pedestrian, which was a disappointment. Perhaps we didn’t order very well – which is a possibility – but I didn’t see much on the menu that jumped out and excited me.  We split a very good Caesar salad, which – surprisingly – was the highlight.  Candice had the seafood gumbo while I had a soft shell crab tempura that was on the Chef’s selection menu for the evening.  Both were okay but much less flavorful than similar dishes from other area restaurants.  (I feel the seafood gumbo at the Tabard Inn is some of the best in the city, if you want a comparison.) The key lime pie was also “just okay.” We came away disappointed, with ratings in the 2 1/2 stars category.

Tonight we’re looking for a wonderful meal at Mintwood Place – which is rated among the better restaurants in the city – and then we have friends coming over to Silver Spring on Saturday for what we know will be an excellent evening at Jackie’s.  Sunday, we’re excited about our first visit to Fig & Olive.  And while DC Restaurant Week officially ends on Sunday, we’re plowing ahead into the next week…so look for more “tastes from vacation.”

See you at the gym!

More to come…

DJB

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