Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twice. Two Times.

Last week, I went out for tapas twice. Two nights in a row to be exact. Both restaurants were nestled in the hip neighborhood of U Street. Both restaurants had a swanky, modern feel. Both menus were mouth watering, including fancy items like Mustard Greens and Speck and Wagyu Medallions. One I went to with friends, Chantal, Veronica, and Margaret, while the other I went to with Alex. I was equally super excited to eat at both. Sounds like two fabulous nights, right? Well, only sort of.

One restaurant came out as a shining example of tapas done right, while the other fell far behind, both in taste and in service. The contrast provided me with a true appreciation of perfection at Policy.

Policy had been on my list of restaurants to try for awhile. I walk by it nearly every day. Though the outside looks something like a cafe, the inside is a swanky, modern, industrial mix of a 1950's diner and upscale Manhattan Asian-inspired eatery. The decor is eclectic, illuminated by silver chandeliers, covered in black matte wallpaper featuring parking meters and fire hydrants, and dressed up with black mirrors and colorful paintings by local artists.

When we arrived, we were seated immediately in a shiny scarlet booth and greeted by a friendly waiter who seemed ready to take care of us in anyway. Alex and I chose two meat dishes and three vegetable dishes. Alex ordered a DC Brau, while I ordered a glass of Gew├╝rztraminer, just as I had the day earlier with the girls.

The first dish to come out were the Stir Fried Green Beans, flavored with ginger, garlic, sesame, and soy. Let me just tell you that I have eaten my fair share of green beans, but these were the best I have ever had in my life. Powerfully salty, with the perfect amount of crunch, these green beans were definitely more than a side dish.

While we were serving ourselves green beans, our Madras Curry Lamb Sliders arrived. 

Thankfully, at Policy, it is not their policy to leave you eating a plate of vegetables by themselves as I had the night before when 30 minutes after the majority of our meal, I was brought a plate of cold, sad asparagus all by its lonesome. 

Though these green beans totally stood up on their own, they paired nicely with the sliders, which were fabulous, by the way.

The meat was well seasoned with curry and mint. The tiny brioche buns added a buttery, savory, touch.

While we munched on sliders and green beans, our Roasted Brussels Sprouts arrived.

I'm a huge fan of Brussels sprouts on their own, pair them with thick chunks of applewood smoked bacon, Danish blue cheese, and slices of blood orange and you just can't go wrong. They were full of flavor, managing to be both savory and sweet with notes of citrus. Simply delicious.

Next came two perfectly square servings of scalloped potatoes, which were crispy on the outside, starchy on the inside, and full of buttery, salty flavor.

Lastly, came our Grilled Hanger Steak. Sitting on a bed of shiitake mushrooms, green beans, and edamame puree, the steak was grilled and seasoned perfectly. The edamame puree was a nice touch, which I practically licked clean from the plate.

Not only was everyone one of the dishes we tried piping hot, cooked to perfection, incredibly flavorful, and totally delicious, but in stark contrast to my previous tapas experience, the serving was orchestrated in a way that brought out the best in each dish. From the green beans to the steak, the meal was truly perfect with no laps in food, drink, or service.

We ended the night on a sweet note with some of the most delicious key lime pie that I have ever had. The pie filling was tangy and sweet, topped with whipped cream and meringue and dotted with marshmallow.

I can't say enough about how fantastic everything was that we ate at Policy. I don't know that I've ever had a meal where everything we were served was incredibly good. The service was awesome too. This meal was truly impressive. We will definitely be back.

Have you been to any restaurants that have totally blown you away? Where should we check out next?


  1. Well at least you found a new favorite restaurant! The scalloped potatoes look amazing. And I can't stop looking at the marshmallow on top of the pie! Oleana in Cambridge is one of my "perfect" restaurants. In DC, I was totally blown away by Rasika (but it's Indian food, so might not be your or Alex's favorite.)

  2. I want to know where you had the not-so-good tapas :)

    You should definitely try Estadio--amazing!

  3. Ha. I'm not saying. But, you and I went to Happy Hour there once and sat at the bar and drank wine. That's your hint!

  4. Got it! Yes, I would agree--I'm partial to their Sangria, but that's about it. I prefer La Tasca over "the unnamed location". :)