Sunday, March 27, 2011

PREVIEW: Brunch at Medium Rare

I was graciously allowed an early bite today as Medium Rare, Cleveland Park's new steak frites bistronomie, put their staff through a dress rehearsal.

Brunch sticks to their simple menu theme and is affordable at $14.50. Each item comes with their soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside rustic bread and your choice of yogurt parfait (suprisingly good!), fresh fruit or salad. Currently, the brunch line up includes Steak Frites (with a poached egg if you so desire), Medium Rare Benedict (steak, portabello mushroom, poached egg, red pepper & hollandaise) or Egg Frites (three perfectly poached eggs topped with their secret sauce (gravy-ish) and fries. Those were all solid choices - and if you're a meat and potatoes kinda gal/guy, you are really going to dig this joint.

I'm not, but I still think I'm going to like it. (Vegetarian options nightly will include portabello mushrooms topped with red pepper and their secret sauce, plus frites)

First off, the staff was incredibly welcoming, gracious and astute. They rarely missed a beat and I already feel at home in the warm, chic space (Yanni, who?). I adore the red exposed brick walls, inviting windows and smart bistro tables. The bar invites you to pull up a stool for a glass of wine or pint of beer. And, the bloody mary was one of the best I've had in recent memory (if you are a horseradish slore like me, you'll go nuts on it).

Lastly, though in my book it might go first, desserts. We tried the carrot cake and the apple pie. I think my live tweet said it best: After I have my way with Medium Rare's carrot cake, I want to go home and spoon it. It's huge, so there's another serving in my fridge and I just might do that.

My only complaint was that the menu wasn't sourced. I like knowing where my ingredients come from and the staff couldn't tell me what farm their beef came from. Nerdy locavore question, I realize, but if I had one thing to improve upon that would be it. Either way, I'll be back for more.

As the sign on the door today says, "Show opens and lines form Monday March 28th, 5pm."

Bottom line: Check it out.

Medium Rare is at 3500 Connecticut Avenue NW at Ordway Street. Brunch will be served every Saturday and Sunday. It less than a stone's throw from the Cleveland Park metro stop. Make a reservation, follow them on Twitter and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: Part of my meal was complimentary as this was a dress rehearsal and the restaurant is not officially open. That said, it's worth the hard earned dollars in my bank account. ;)

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WANTED: Amazing Artisan Coffee in Cleveland Park

I woke up this morning and was out of half and half. As I trudged out in the (why is it still) cold to Brookville Market, I was thinking, all I really want is Pound. Or Murky. Or Filter.

The insanely delicious Nutella Latte I had yesterday at Pound The Hill

Yes, we've got Firehook and Cacao - both great bakeries, but I want someone who's focused on the perfect latte, not the perfect, flaky croissant. (I'll take the croissant after my latte.)

We are blessed with so many fantastic restaurants in our neighborhood. Is it too greedy for me to hope that the Cereal Bowl space becomes an amazing, artisan coffeeshop?

What do you wish Cleveland Park had?

PS. Dear Nam-Viet, please consider brunch, cause BaBay's Vietnamese brunch now has me craving fried egg banh mi!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sneak Peek: Cleveland Park's New Medium Rare Menu

I just walked by the cozy new Medium Rare space at Connecticut and Ordway and peeked inside. The exposed brick walls and cafe tables scream French bistro and the menus I saw on one of the tables reinforced it.

I had heard that Medium Rare was going to do steak frites and steak frites only, but part of me didn't believe it (maybe the part that doesn't really eat steak.) But, the menus show Rustic Bread, Salad and Steak Frites for a grand total of $19.99. Not half bad and I expect the steak lovers to flock.

For the rest of us, I hope they cobble together some sort of kick ass sides combo like Hank's Oyster Bar's market plate.

When it comes to dessert, Medium Rare won't be a one trick pony. I spied chocolate cake, ice cream sundae, carrot cake and cheesecake on the docket

So, what do you think, will DC support a single item menu? When it's the vision of Michel Richard, Brian Zipin and Mark Bucher, I suspect the answer will be yes.

Medium Rare is located at 3500 Connecticut Avenue NW, immediately outside of the Cleveland Park Metro stop. We Cleveland Park residents urge you to take Metro to this new hot spot as it's combat parking out there already! ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland Park

I defy you to show me a neighborhood that does St. Patrick's Day in the District better than Cleveland Park. We've got a built in base with 4P's & Nanny O'Briens... and now, today, all day, we also have the Lobster Truck.

It's a gorgeous day. Get your green on and get here... and if you forget your green, this guy will hook you up: