Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sequoia: a restauant week score?

Sipping on a tall glass of "Pierre Perfection." Pamplemousse Rosé on the rocks with a few raspberries for color--who said sugary, high-caloric or alcoholic beverages had the corner on the floating fruit market anyway? Simple. Delicious. Refreshing.

This post isn't about fizzy water at all. I'm simply writing with the companionship of this sparkling delight and was distracted (what's new?). Instead, this post will weigh my first stop on my DC Restaurant Week tour. I was invited to join a group of friends at Sequoia.

Most of the evening was quite enjoyable. I, like so many other patrons, was memorized be the LED light strings forming a row of eye-catching chandeliers. Caught myself and others unabashedly craning my neck to inspect them throughout the evening.

Prefix menu: Lentil soup, scallops, dessert.

Beluga and Puy Lentil Porridge with root vegetables toasted cumin croutons. The lentils were pureed so the texture was not my fav (the 'porridge' part should've given that away to me). Their flavor was both savory and hearty, as lentils should be. The seasoning was subtle enough so as not to overwhelm my next course, Atlantic Seared Scallops. The scallops were small, but tender. Drum roll. For dessert, Lavender Creme Brulee. Oh, my. The sensation of savoring a creamy desert infused with floral notes: bliss, I tell you. And who doesn't enjoy the crunchy, caramelized sugar on top of the smooth, velvety goodness?

Evening report card:
(A) Ambiance
(B) Food experience
(C+) Service

Why was the service lacking you ask? Everything was going well until...they brought the check. Low and behold... no refills. This classy joint apparently doesn't understand what third world countries and every fast food chain does, soda is dirt cheap. Or maybe they do. Each glass of coke tacked on a $2.37 charge. Can you say rip-off?

Also, did I mention the note on the menu indicating, or maybe warning, that Sequoia will not split checks. A mental scramble ensues: "Ok, how many of us have cash?" "Should one person just foot the bill and collect cash from everyone later?" We decide to use credit cards and just indicate on the bill how much to charge each card. The bill makes it's way 'round the table. Then there is a mathematical fluke. In a group of 9, we have too much money (as you may know not the typical problem when big groups split checks). I mean really TOO much money, three folks haven't even figured in what they owe. Something is wrong.

I joke with one of the ladies that our good looks charmed the waiter, so we weren't charged for our meals. Come to find out, I was right. No charge. Three of the restaurant week prefix menus weren't on our bill. Sweet. Wait, let's be honorable and make sure our waiter doesn't lose his job for leaving off a third of the order.

After we explain the situation, he says it'll be on him, but just asks us to "take care of him." What does that mean? Pay him for the dishes we weren't charged for? Another round of discussion as to how to split the bill and the appropriate tips. He was duly overpaid, especially because his efforts were sufficiently lacking throughout the evening. He squirreled away our coordinator's dinner plate, scaring her half to death. When he took mine, he was already reaching for it as he asked if I was done. Then hit my shoulder with the plate as he took it from the table.

Finally, we free ourselves from the calculation nightmare and head off into the night with one more DC dining experience under our belts.

I'll commandeer some photos from friends for a visual soon.

After an evening dining in Georgetown, I miss the fine dining that went hand in hand with my time at USO-Metro. Maybe another visit to Washington Harbor would be year. Next stop for my short restaurant week tour: Cafe Promonade.

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