Chivalric Dining

by Joanie on April 10, 2007

in DC,Drinks

When the parents come to town, my dining options improve greatly. The usual omelets and toast get replaced by Vermillion!

Mom loves Old Town Alexandria, so after much parking ado, we headed into Vermillion, a place which had been recommended to me. The downstairs is specifically a lounge, with dark crimson couches and a lovely bar. I mentally noted to come back when Alexandria institutes its smoking ban.

We were led to the upstairs restaurant and seated at a lovely table at the window. Decor note: perfectly romantic place. The ceiling was black with red drapes hanging from it, walls covered with wine, but the “art” was the coolest part. The walls were rustic brick with gold frames on it – and each of frames was lit with a spotlight so that the light itself was framed. Brilliant!

Anyway, food. Vermillion, as the swanky lounge downstairs suggested, has a stellar bar menu. Mom had a Pomolitan (cosmo with pomegranate juice) and I had an Old Town lemonade (citrus vodka, mint, lemons, soda & sugar). Both drinks were very refreshing without being too sweet. We then shared some latkes & cured salmon, which came with a spoonful of sweet homemade apple butter and some creamy horseradish sauce.

Next came a light spinach salad with some tangy goat cheese & a blood-orange vinaigrette. The goat cheese wasn’t crumbled as is normally the case with salads, but instead smeared on the side of the plate. I really enjoyed this difference in presentation – but mainly because it was high quality Pipe Dreams goat cheese, and not some boring chevre that doesn’t add much to a salad.

For my entree, I went with the rib rack of pork, which came with cider-braised kale and pear & currant strudel. I don’t think I have ever knowingly consumed kale, but there was bacon involved in its cooking, so I had to go for it, and was not disappointed. The strudel came in thin little tubes – think Pirouette cookies – that accompanied the pork. They were very good, but I would have preferred my strudel bigger and softer that the flavors could mingle with the pork a bit more.

As we decided to split a poached pear for dessert, two glasses of port appeared on the table, courtesy of the gentlemen & his wife dining adjacent to us. They had been doing a tasting menu, it seemed, and the chef came out multiple times to talk to them, and even brought them a signed menu at the end. Apparently Mom & I seemed posh enough in our culinary enjoyment and witty repartee to deserve some port at the end of the meal. We talked to the couple for awhile about the DC dining scene and port in general (Mom used to have it frequently when she lived in Chile).

After the generous couple had left, my mom turned to me and said, “That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me!” and I agreed (excepting skeezy dudes at bars, which don’t count). Anyone else ever had a fellow diner treat you to a drink or something else for pure culinary enjoyment?

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