The Partisan, Washington DC

We were really excited when one of our two favorite Washington butchers got in to the restaurant game for real so we have been dying to try The Partisan since it was opened by the Red Apron team. We finally got a chance for our anniversary a couple weeks ago. Almost everything (on the food and service front both) was fabulous, only a guanchiale and english pea pasta was a little disappointing because the pasta was overcooked.

The meal started with some excellent (though not quite as light and airy as those at the Publican) pork rinds with a spicy BBQ dust and some delicious (but unnecessary IMO) BBQ sauce.

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We then moved on to the raw meats. A beef tartare with cured egg yolk was delicious, very freshly ground, and well spiceed. The cured and slightly set egg yolk served as a rich spread to layer between the beef and the (what should have been slightly crunchier) toast.

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We then moved on to the 120 day dry aged carpaccio. This was the best carpaccio I’ve ever had. Incredibly rich and the dry aging gave it an incredibly beefy flavor. It was like the best bite of meat I’ve ever eaten. I really wonder what it would taste like sliced slightly thicker with a char on one side.

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Then we ate some cooked stuff. Sweet langoustines with a nice lemony olive oil, didn't quite rival St. John, but I love these little buggers which I so rarely see in the US and was very satisfied.

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And some whisky braised lamb ribs that paired succulent slightly fatty meat with a sauce that could have been, but somehow wasn’t, too sweet. I could probably have eaten another order.

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We finished with some very nicely served whisky and walnut bourbon pie that managed to envelop my favorite nut in a lovely crumbly bacon fat crust (it didn’t taste like bacon but it tasted like some seriously buttery but more umami goodness).

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We can’t wait to go back with a bigger group to try the larger dishes like the fried chicken, aged duck (which looked delectable as they floated by to other tables), the massive rib eye,and the very adventurous whole pig head.

Lobster Pasta

When the day starts at 5:30 and you don’t get dinner on the table until 9 but you have something to celebrate you can’t go wrong with pasta in a sherry tomato sauce teeming with sous vide shrimp and lobster!

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Summer Sides

While I can pretty much eat tomato and watermelon salad every single day during the summer but I’ve been adding some different sides to the rotation this week.

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Charred shisito peppers topped with a little smoked maldon sea salt are about as easy as you can get.

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Buttered farmer’s market potatoes with garlic chives pretty much effortless as well. Especially when they are as beautiful as these.

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And bacon roasted carrots and radishes tossed with basil are an unusual but vibrant addition with any grilled meat.

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And finally my take on the bizarre Korean side dish of cheese corn. This used cream and gochujang instead of mayonnaise and was topped with scallions, Amish cheddar and cotija cheese. Now there’s some fusion for you. And it was delicious too!

Thai Style Fish

This weekend I saw a small but plump and very fresh looking yellow tail at the District Fishwife in Union Market. I bought it assuming I’d salt bake it like I normally do with whole fish. Then this happened:

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Turns out Thai style whole fish at home is really easy if you have a deep fryer. Score the fish and cook it until crisp (next time I might lightly dust it with corn starch or tapioca flour).
Before you do that,make a sauce. Heat some chopped Thai chilies and garlic in neutral oil – (I used avocado). Let them cook but not brown. Add some tamarind water, agave, and fish sauce to taste. Boil for a couple minutes until delicious and fragrant. When your fish is cooked top it with sauce and some cilantro and scallions plus a couple lime wedges. You might feel like you’re in a Thai restaurant.

ABC Cocina New York

First let me say the space can’t be beat. Really. By the time you’ve strolled through ABC Carpet and Home and into this delightfully decorated spot you just can’t help but be in a good mood.

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 And the food is, more or less delightful. Particular stand outs included peekytoe crab fritters with ramp mayo:

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A plate of sizzling shrimp with chili oil and garlic packed a serious flavor punch with sweet shrimp and rich but sublimely spicy sauce.

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Sadly, some of the larger dishes were let downs. The chicken and rice, while decent, wasn’t as good as what I make at home, and even the chicken crackling topping it was less crispy and delicate than what I can make in my own kitchen. But the biggest disappointment was a fairly tasty (and beautiful) bowl of brown rice and vegetables with an herb dressing. Why’s that you ask? Well the dish was described as having asparagus, and ramps and morels.  It had one of each, otherwise, it was packed full of carrots and onions and other filler.  Perfectly good vegetables those, but no carrot is going to be satisfying when you think you’re getting ramps and morels. Plus, for the price I paid for the dish I could have afforded enough carrots to keep Peter rabbit happy for a lifetime.

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