Friday, November 26, 2010

2941 Restaurant - 10/16/2010

2941 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 270-1500

2941 Restaurant is proof that a good restaurant in the most incongruous of places even on the campus of a major defense contractor. The restaurant shares a name with the address of the building where it is located and amazingly the building's only other tenant is General Dynamics who uses the building as their corporate headquarters. Perhaps my own office gives me low expectations but I was extremely impressed by the well-manicured grounds complete with sculptures, waterfalls, and artificial lakes stocked with Koi. The interior maintains an airy contemporary feel with high ceilings and windowed walls that give an expansive view of the greenery just outside.

Canapé 01: CHESTNUT GUIMAUVE - burgundy truffle
The first canapé was a playful little starter that I'd liken to a chestnut marshmallow with the truffle shavings added a savory fragrance to the creamy-sweet Guimauve.

Canapé 02: SAILFISH - potato croquette, black garlic
This was my first experience with any form of Marlin sashimi. The fish was denser with a high iron content giving the fish a meatier flavor that paired nicely with the saltiness of the potato and the aromatic black garlic.

Canapé 03: WAGYU TARTARE - caviar, clementine
I wish I had more of this course, the beef was decadently toothsome with the caviar providing a bold salinity that was countervailed by the bright acidity of the clementine.

Canapé 04: FRIED OYSTER - shishito rémoulade
The fried oyster was a simple sapid morsel that lacked the typical brine of a fresh oyster making it more approachable if somewhat boring. The shisito helped matters somewhat giving the dish a slightly smoky edge.

SUPPLEMENT 01: SUSHI GRADE SUZUKI - candy beet, orange-yuzu nage, long green chili
Suzuki or Japanese Seabass is something I rarely see outside of a sushi restaurant. This proved to be my favorite course of the evening, drawing upon a myriad of flavors and textures. The fish itself was lightly seared which was probably all the fish could take before becoming to dry given its low fat content. The umami sapor of the fish is complimented by the tanginess of the orange-yuzu absolutely vibrant in conjunction with a sharp spiciness from the chili and the measured sweetness of the beets.

SUPPLEMENT 02: SHIMA AJI PANACHE - baby carrot, pluot, cucumber, ginger, shiso
Thanks to Urasawa, Shima Aji has become one of my favorite sushi fishes, even exceeding toro in some cases. Thus I was compelled to order this course despite my worries about the sweetness from the baby carrot and pluot. Sadly my fears were confirmed, but what was worse, the fish was finely diced like a tartare, robbing it of the supple texture that I so treasure.

01: DUNGENESS CRAB CONSOMMÉ - langoustine lollipop, thai basil, butternut squash
Just catching a wiff of the steam wafting off the surface of the soup and I knew that I was in for a treat. The aroma reminded me of the gao or yellow innards of the crab, unabashedly briney with a slightly bitter metallic undertone. Though I don't normally care for butternut squash, I found the sweetness served as the perfect foil for the soup, balancing some of the harsher flavors of the consommé.

02: HAND ROLLED POTATO GNOCCHI - shaved burgundy truffle
Pasta and truffles were made to be paired, the neutral starch serving as a canvas for the alluring fragrance of the fungi. With such a straightforward dish, there is a fine line between great and merely good and had the gnocchi been the slightest bit firmer it could have been the former rather than the latter.

03: HAWAIIAN STRIPED MARLIN - masa de harina, smoked pioppini mushroom, mole sauce
I admired the concept behind this course even though the flavors didn't really work for me. The Marlin was sous vided than finished off on the grill. The slow cooking ensured that the fish wouldn't be too dry, a wise precaution with such a dense meat. The accompaniments of mushroom and dark smoky mole fit nicely against the hammy savor of the fish.

04: CERVENA VENISON - porcini, savoy cabbage, spaetzle
I didn't realize there were brand names when it came to dear meat, but it turns out Cervena is a ranch in New Zealand named for cervidae, the Latin word for dear. Indeed the meat was worthy of the name, succulent and tender with a rustic gaminess, The meat stood on its own though the combination of the porcini, cabbage, and spaetzle worked well with the gamy protein; rustic and dark and just as delicious.

05: MARSCARPONE SORBET - ceylon cinnamon, pistachio crème candied quince
A rather heavy palate cleanser, the custard like sorbet came with a mouth tingling cinnamon while the candied quince added a jammy tang on the finish.

06: POIRE BELLE HÉLÈNE - honey roasted bartlett pears, Guayaquil chocolate ice cream, toasted almond brioche
An elegant looking dessert, this combined elements of both fruit and chocolate desserts, with concentrated dark chocolate up front and the delectable ripe sweetness of the pear on the back end.

The meal finished with a trio of sweets: chocolate marshmallow, caramel tart, and pear shumai.

Considering their ranking at #6 in the Washingtonian top 100 restaurants, I had some high expectations for 2941 and despite some misses, the food held up well. Still something was missing, that indescribable spark that would have set the restaurant apart; though I enjoyed my time, I doubt I'll ever feel the need to return.

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