We took our son there for his birthday. And we loved it. Dinner was, in a word, WOW. The dining room is elegant and rich, with sparkling glasses on the table and comfortable chairs (thank goodness). We were placed on one of the higher levels with an excellent view right into the kitchen.
After starting with an Amuse Boche that I can't start to describe other than to say it was wonderful, for my first course I had the lobster "Begula Pasta." The presentation of the Begula Pasta is something to see. The dish, served in a 'caviar' tin, is pearl pasta cooked with squid ink under which is hidden a poached egg, toasted brioche, hollandaise, and lobster meat. Everyone agreed it was out of this world. Jake had the Mosaic "surf and turf" carpachio. Thin, vibrantly colored glass-like circles of fish, vegetable, and meats are artistically arranged on a plate (he really liked the eel and the venison). Drizzled with a basil infused oil with capers, bits of orange, it was a work of art that was even more delicious to the tongue than the eye. Karen had the diver scallops, with cauliflower couscous and egg porcupine. They literally melted in your mouth.
Entrees were the colorado rack of lamb with soft polenta, sunchoke endamame, and garlic herb sauce for Jake. The lamb was perfectly cooked medium rare, and the bone literally slid out of the meat. He was in heaven.
I had the venison, slices of perfectly medium-rare loin with freshly cracked blacked pepper were served with chestnut risotto, absolutely wonderful tiny (really tiny) brussels sprouts, and a celeriac-red wine (syrah) sauce. Every bite was a joy.
But Karen had the dish of the night. Sablefish with a leek brandade and potato gratin. It was so rich and flavorful that you had to put down your fork after every bite to savor it. It literally melted in your mouth with a burst of flavor that was almost orgasmic.
Dessert was a wonderful orange souffle for Karen, served with a rich, buttery caramal sauce with a side of whipped cream, spiced grapefruit, and something else that she did not let me taste. Jake had the Chocolate Mushroom Vacherin, a whimsical mushroom theat I can't even begin to understand how it was made, but it was huge, full of chocolate and he loved it.
I had the Breakfast at Citronelle and I wish I had a camera. The dessert is composed of a cappuccino, home fries, toasted brioche with butter, bacon strips, and an egg sunny side up. The presentation is truly a work of art and each item makes you stop and think. The home fries are cubes of apples with raspberry sauce and the toast is pound cake with a small scoop of ice cream as the butter. The egg was flavored cream cheese with an apricot puree yolk, and the bacon strips of crispy pastry. Coffee for Karen and I, and tea for Jake ended the meal.
I also must thank Mark Slater (the sommelier) for a wonderful evening. He is nothing short of the cosumate professional. We knew each other from DonRockwell.com, and it was fun to finally meet him in person. He paired the wines with our meal perfectly. After confirming what my tastes were, he recommended several Burgandys in several price ranges. At his recommendation we ordered a 2000 Domaine du Château Chorey Beaune Les Teurons 1er Cru to start the meal. Karen raised her eyebrows a bit when I ordered a Burgandy (she knows I really love the big RRV type Pinot Noirs) but she loved the wine. When the entrees were ready to arrive, I asked him for something to pair with the lamb and venison. Again, a short discussion about tastes, and I let Jake choose whether he wanted a French Syrah or an Aussie Shiraz. Once he said he wanted something from "down under" Mark recommended a 2002 Torbreck "The Steading" and once again, was dead on. What a wonderful blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Medium-bodied, surprisingly restrained and in perfect balance. Flavorful and delicious with flavors of crushed herbs, licorice, black raspberry and other black fruits. Jake loved it and even Karen, who usually does not like Aussie wines loved it. And Mark's stories were sidespliting. He also made sure the service we received was first rate. I have to say a big thank you so much Mark, you made Jake's birthday dinner special.
A three course dinner is $85 a person with an upcharge for the lamb ($10) and the Breakfast at Citronelle ($5). The service was out of this world, inobtrusive, efficient, and always friendly. Warm bread (made by BreadLine here in DC) was always replaced, water glasses were always full, and while never rushed, when you finished, the plate disappeared. All in all, a first class experience all the way around. The food, the wine, the service, the restaurant, all Premier Crü.