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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Peachy's Picks Washington DC: 701 Restaurant Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

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There are only a few addresses in the world that everyone that is anyone knows off the top of their head; among them are 10 Downing Street, 740 Park made famous by Mover and Shaker Michael Gross, however, although 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is quite nice architecturally speaking (It was of course designed by Irishman James Hoban!  Our panelist is also Irish because as you know from Draught 55 - Irish girls rule...) we'd say the address we like best on this illustrious avenue is now without a doubt 701.  701 Rules.  It is not only the power spot of Capitol Hill, but also has top cuisine and an owner committed to excellence.
You know we've recommended nearly 220 Manhattan restaurants, 5 in the great state of Connecticut, and have reviewed even more. It is not easy to decide what spots we want to give a chance when we can't walk by and check them out and do some serious due diligence, which does happen in Manhattan.  It is a risk to go to an entirely new city and walk in the door and hope something is everything you hoped for (particularly when it took you about 5 hours to get there!).  701 Restaurant not only met our expectations: they exceeded them.
On your way in, do stop and appreciate the Navy Memorial, because it is literally just outside the door.  All our patriotic readers and brands should appreciate this especially.
We were warmly greeted by the management team and noticed immediately the classy atmosphere highlighted by a piano player near the bar who added atmosphere without noisiness:
Peachy puts in writing that we prefer quiet, privacy and window seats.  This would set anyone up for a successful review, and we are glad to say 701 seated us in a quiet, private area.
And, we got a window seat.  This is the reverse side of the above picture.
701 was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
We are pleased to announce it has joined the ranks of Peachy's Picks and we could not more enthusiastically endorse 701. They did everything right, from the moment that Ashok Bajaj promptly returned Peachy's call prior to their arrival. Ashok is the consummate professional and it is clear that he is among those that set the standard for excellence in restaurants in this country.
Anything that is pink with bubbles and clearly celebratory sets the right tone, and to that end Peachy Deegan began the Washington DC extravaganza with the Spanish Cava Rose: Conde de Subirat.  It was crisp, delicious and a fantastic beginning to a banner evening.  New York Rangers fans: when you travel to Washington to see the Rangers defeat the Capitals, drink this in victory.   Note to all & especially those on the penalty kill: the real power plays happen at 701.
Life can be full of difficult decisions, and deciding what to eat at 701 is one of them.
Fortunately, there are lots of cordial professionals who clearly exude joy in what they do and genuinely care about their clientele.  As Peachy sipped her Cava (and her panelist sipped her respective wine) and perused the menu, Owner Ashok Bajaj stopped by our table and greeted us with enthusiasm and clearcut pride in his creation that began in January 1991.  This is the second restaurant in Washington DC that he started; in 1988 Ashok inaugurated his empire with The Bombay Club.  Peachy popped in there and it looks beautiful and we can't wait to try that: note that George Bush 41 - remember that excellent work by HBO,  Clinton and Obama have dined there as The Bombay Club is literally a hop, skip and a jump away from The White House. Ashok answered the myriad of questions that Peachy had with a smile and made time for us even though he had another restaurant opening the same night.
Chef de Cuisine Lucas Sousa introduced courses to us and was the perfect balance between professionalism and sociability.  Thierry Lesparre provided excellent wine pairing recommendations throughout the night, and our waiter was among the most attentive we've ever had. 
As she was sipping the glorious pink Cava, Peachy decided to order a first course that was equally refreshing.  We could not more emphatically proclaim the supreme majesty of the Kumamoto Oysters.  Paired with some delicious pickled rhubarb, lime and brown butter, this dish provided thrilling tastes in every bite.  The diced components were in perfect proportion to the freshest oysters we've had in Washington DC.  This starter is a harbinger of good weather for sure and you know Peachy loves pink and green together.
Peachy does not know it all about any one thing unless you are talking about possibly the history of hockey, F. Scott Fitzgerald or perhaps bonds as in the market.  That is why there are over 100 columns on Whom You Know: she's a generalist...and one thing we learned at 701 is that White Bordeaux can be just as good as Red Bordeaux!  The one we tried was a Chateau Larmevaille Entre Deux Meres 2012 blend: 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon and 5% Muscadelle: a superlative combination.
The Steamed Black Bass proved to be a top choice for an entree.  Delicately bathing in a smooth garlic broth and with pickled peppers dancing above, this poisson was thick, fresh and delicious.  It also was gorgeously presented and served in a generous proportion.  Also, we do believe good things come in threes-they must be on our wavelength because brands are required to submit a minimum of three products per review.
Equally pleasing as an entree was the Berkshire Pork Chop, which Peachy split with her panelist. It was sheer joy and our apologies to Miss Piggy.  With a cider glazed belly and served with celery root and braised cabbage, this pork was indeed moist and tasted like delicious luxury.  And bien sur we needed to graduate to a red and took the advice of Thierry the expert.
We sipped one glass of the Feraud-Brunel Cotes du Rhone from France, and along with it also tried the Laura Hartwig Carmenere Reserva 2010.  Both were ideal enhancements to the pork and Peachy preferred the Carmenere's robust notes a bit more, though both were great.
We sipped on a decadent 10 Year Old Tawny Port: Warre's Otima from Portugal.  It was a lovely companion to the fulfillment of one of Peachy's four food groups (chocolate).  The flourless chocolate torte extolled its virtues of hypnotic chocolateness unto our Editor-in-Chief and she was silenced by its excellence.
Though some think it all happens in Manhattan (and quite a lot of it does, so all of you down south in the land where you are given over a minute to cross the street, check us out up here), Washington DC is also a powerful spot and of all of the key venues to visit, 701 should be at the top of your list.  By the way, if you are impressed by big names you should know that John McCain and John Boehner dine here as well as those of the Democratic persuasion.  We cannot wait to go back to 701 and also to try all of the hotspots of The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group.
Our esteemed panelist adds:
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s team at 701 was gracious and attentive from the moment we walked in the door. Situated on Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Capitol and the White House, it’s a top venue for spotting DC power players on occasion. 
While perusing the menu, I enjoyed a glass of the Pinot Noir on their Wine by the Glass menu – the 2011 Belle Glos ‘Meiomi’ from California. I’m definitely a Pinot Noir fan, and this one did not disappoint. 
My first course was the Tuna Tartare with avocado mousse and charred poblano relish in Coconut broth and topped with micro greens. The poblano relish was crispy and refreshing and a great complement to the firmness of the tuna… just a delightful combination of tastes and textures!
The Alaskan Halibut entrée with rhubarb ponzu, allium puree and wilted herbs was luscious and paired perfectly with the Mission St. Vincent White Bordeaux (a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle). The halibut was fresh and firm and perfectly cooked, and the accompaniments flavorfully enhanced the fish, but were light enough to not overpower it. 
The Berkshire Pork Chop was highly recommended by the chef, and did not disappoint. It had a bit of a glaze on the outside and the meat was tender, moist and flavorful.
For dessert, the Salted Caramel Éclair was amazing. When I see the words “salted caramel”, I know I will need to try the dish… no matter what it is accompanying. In this case, it was followed by “éclair”. It was an easy choice for me, and it was just as good as anticipated. The creamy interior of the éclair just melted, and the salted caramel topping created the perfect combination.
The sommelier recommended both the Carmenere and the Cotes du Rhone to accompany the pork chop. They both went well with the flavors of the pork chop, but I preferred the Cotes du Rhone. It was ripe and fruity with just enough body to highlight the pork chop.
Peachy Deegan and Ashok Bajaj

Peachy Picks 701 Restaurant.
701 Restaurant is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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