Friday, March 20, 2009

Mendocino Grille: Intimate and casually refined

I am a fan of Mendocino in Georgetown and have posted on them before. Formerly owned by the group that includes Sonoma (one of my all-time favorites in the city), it still retains its character as an intimate and casually refined restaurant.

And when my friend "M" wanted to go to an American restaurant (after just having come back from Spain), I knew just where to go. It's a great place to catch up with a friend. The small restaurant seats about 30 people. The menu changes often, but can be characterized as wine-country cuisine with a lot of fresh, locally sourced ingredients (which is de rigeur these days).

They also have a great wine list comprised primarily of American (California, Washington, and Oregon) producers. We had a rich, but very accessible (not too complex) 2005 Cal-Ital blend by Elyse called Nero Misto and a 2006 Freemark Abby Viognier (one of my favorite varietals).

We had three simple courses. I had a forgettable starter of soup with mushrooms.

The second course was this lovely bibb lettuce salad with a poached egg (I love poached eggs on salads--it's the contrasting warm and cold, crispy and soft).

Then had a main course of a simple striped bass with cripsy skin. It was accompanied by a rich and delicious shrimp, virginia ham and mushroom risotto, with pasta necks, and herbs. Very nice.

"M" had the seared rare hiramasa (a yellow-tail fish, very similar to hamachi, with a light golden flesh). It was done with a bit of Asian tasting notes that included shitakes, long beans, taro root, surf clam, miso broth. The texture was very nice, but the flavors were nothing too exciting. But a great light dish otherwise.

I had forgotten to ask the waiter to bring out a little birthday dessert for "M", as this was ostensibly a birthday pre-dinner. But oh well. He brought us these tasty little dark chocolate chip cookies. They were perfectly quarter-sized and helped me to not indulge too much (just two months til the wedding and all!).

The service is attentive and well-trained (no, no one is going to squat down next to you and try to be your buddy or talk too much--I hate that). It's a white-table cloth restaurant, so they know how to replace utensils (a given, but you'd be surprised!).

Thumbs up!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

View My Stats