Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

March 24, 2008 10:53 PM

Restaurant: the source

the source

575 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Fax 202-637-6101
Three trips to "the source", dinner with Virginia and Tom, lunch with Carol M, and a reception marking the launch of StoreAdore, Meredith Barnett and Christina Miller's new website, left me more than happy to return.

This is Wolfgang Puck's first venture into D.C. and it should do very well, particularly once the Newseum, which dominates the building in which it is housed, is fully open.

There are three usable floors, the main floor on which you enter the restaurant, a second floor that can be accessed by a long staircase or an elevator and a basement which includes a room for private parties.

The main floor seems quite airy and open with windows for walls but it pales in comparison to the brightness that comes during the daytime from the floor to ceiling windows on two sides of the 2nd floor.

The main floor includes a bar, a counter with high chairs and many tables. It seats about 80 folks and the menu is limited to smaller dishes. It is the place where the after work crowd will congregate.

The 2nd floor seats about 140 people and has regular menus for lunch and dinner.

There is an Asian flavor to all of the food.

For the StoreAdore reception the entire 2nd floor was used. A variety of tasty finger foods ranging from baby burgers to large sauteed shrimp were abundant.

For lunch Carol M started with Spicy Tuna Tartare, in Sesame-Miso Cones, Shaved Bonito, Tobiko. Clever in design and tasty. Of course I could not resist starting with Crispy Suckling Pig with Bolack Plum Puree, Pickled Cipolini with Sweetbean. These are actually small, multi-layer treats that can be eaten with a single bite.

For the main course Carol had an "American Style Kobe Burger, with Smoked Onion Marmalade and Herb Aioli.

My choice was a Maine Lobster Club sandwich with Bacon Vinaigrette, Mesclun Mix on Toasted Walnut Bread. There was a substantial amount of lobster and the whole combination was excellent.

At dinner, our appetizers (called First Flavors) were "Tiny Dumplings" Pork Belly, with Black Vinegar, Chili Oil, Ginger Cilantro Leaves; Crispy Calamari Salad, Frisee, Sweet Chili Dressing, Lemongrass Dust; and Sauteed Crab Cake & Crab Salad, Mango, Thai Vinaigrette and Aromatic Herbs.

For the main course at dinner, Virginia had Steamed Wild King Salmon"Hong Kong Style" Baby Bok Choy, Ginger and Soy.

Tom selected Grilled 'American Style" Kobe NY Steak, Chinese Mustard, Parsnip Puree. (The surprise was a relatively small piece of meat for the modest price of $62.)

I had the Grilled Lamb Chops, with Hunan Egg plant, Pea Tendrils, and Chili-Mint Vinaigrette which were absolutely the most tasty lamb chops I have ever eaten.

No surprise, the service was first rate.

The furniture is quite comfortable and I was particularly taken with the fact that the benches, in the booths on the 2nd floor moved so that there is no need to squeeze in.

At the reception and at dinner the restaurant was noisy. Lunch time was quieter. And in the evening the dimness of the lighting required me to use the tiny flashlight that I carry for just such occasions.

There are men's rooms in the basement and on the 2nd floor. There is nothing special about the 2nd floor men's room. I did not try the basement facility.

Surprisingly, it is what is know in the trade as a "one holer." It has a single commode and a washbasin and is relatively small. On the other hand it is bright and clean.

The floor is covered in large gray tiles and the walls are covered with large white tiles to a height of about 6 feet. Then there is a 2-inch silver stripe that runs around the entire room and the balance of the walls and the ceiling are painted white.

Assuming the women's room is similar in size and facility, that means that in a pinch women could use the men's room and men could use the women's room.

Don't let the address fool you. Entrance to the restaurant is on the 6th Street side of the building. Reservations are recommended. There is valet parking in the evening.

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