Sunday, May 23, 2010

Commitment-Phobic? Try 20 Bites!

Friends who know me well, know that I have issues with commitment. I have a tendency to be fickle and because of this, I like options. That may be why I have been obsessed with small plates lately. Tapas at Masa 14, mezze at Komi, whatever you call it, these food bite samplers are the answer to my commitment-phobe, pseudo-ADD appetite. They really are the best of both worlds; if I like something, I can always order more plates of it, and if the food is a disaster, at least I didn't waste a whole lot of money on the little sampling.

I read about Poste Brasserie's "20 Bites with Chef Robert Weland" and was intrigued. Modern American cuisine with a focus on sustainability and locally-farmed foods, always a good thing. The menu on the website was, well, not much of a menu. It just stated that the menu changes daily, depending on what ingredients the restaurant had on hand that day. Sounds like another potential Komi experience. Squeal! When I went through the reservation process, I felt like I was applying for clearance for a government job. Not that I would know, since I'm Canadian, and definitely am not allowed to work for the U.S. government. I had to fill out a reservation form that all but asked me what my bra size was (3... ha, like I'd tell!)! Okay, info faxed, done deal.

With these food excursions, the best people to experience them with are those who have adventurous tastebuds. The first person who came to mind was DC, since he was the one who took me to Komi. I know that he enjoys the pigging out process as much as I do and taking him here would have been payback. Alas, the Mayor's re-election campaign is taking up a lot of his time, plus he hasn't knighted me, so he was out. So I thought of Professor, but he is being a little stubborn about heading East. Then I figured, why not my bestie Dibby? She can be a little picky with her food, but as long as I don't tell her what she's eating ahead of time, I think she'll be alright. It will be like a mini-experiment! A couple of texts later, I got my 20 Bites partner.

The entrance from the street reminded me of a castle. The actual restaurant was housed in what looked like a greenhouse. How appropriate, since Poste has a garden on-site! We were led to the open kitchen, where we were going to dine. Since the counter was so high, the barstools also had to be high. Dibby and I equated them to death traps, since we needed a boost to get on them. Luckily, Adam the GM was on hand to assist. The dining experience is open to four, and we found out we were dining with a married couple. The more, the merrier!

Adam stepped up and introduced our server, Mary, to us. He also went ahead and explained the progression of the meal. Afterwards, the four of us grinned at one another, convinced of the culinary masterpieces that we were about to have. The first plate was set down and we dug in...

Bite 1:  Duo of oysters

Bite 2:  Sampler of pickled vegetables

Bite 3:  Cucumber sorbet

Bite 4:  Almond and carrot salad

Bite 5: Eggplant terrine

Bite 6:  Hamachi with blood orange

Bite 7:  Salmon tartare in five spice cone

Bite 8:  Bresaola carpaccio

Bite 9: Crispy pig's tail

Bite 10: Seared and torchon foie gras

Bite 11: Asparagus

Bite 12: Chickpea-crusted halibut

Bite 13: Salmon with artichokes

Bite 14: Blood orange vodka shot

Bite 15: Pig trotter

Bite 16: Veal schnitzel

Bite 17: Baby goat shoulder

Bite 18: Stuffed dates

Bite 19: Strawberry-rhubarb cake

Bite 20: Chocolate bread pudding

Bite 21: Petit fours

The whole meal was such a great experience, though there were a couple of very minor service shortcomings. Our server was not always sure of what the plate was or kept on forgetting components, so once in a while, the four of us played a short game of "Let's guess what this is". Poste did manage to save itself by presenting us with a complete list of the offerings afterwards. Also, the pacing of the plates was not always consistent; at times we felt hurried and at other times, we waited for the next bite. In spite of all this though, "20 Bites with Chef Robert Weland" was a success, and quite possibly the best meal I have had in the District! And that is a statement that I am willing to commit to. For now.

Poste Brasserie
555 8th Street NW
Washington, DC    
Poste on Urbanspoon


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