One of the best parts of the DC food scene is this: its not limited to the 70 sq. mile plot of swamp we’ve come to know and love. As much as our biases might tell us otherwise, there’s good ingredients, good chefs, and good dining in Maryland and Virginia.
It’s true; especially if you know where to go.
Let me help you: go to 2941. It might just be one of the best well-rounded dining experiences (from drinks to desert) I’ve had this year – and it’s in Virginia.
The talent in the kitchen is tremendous. Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel has logged time in Daniel Boulud’s kitchen, while new hire Pastry Chef Nicholas Pine was most recently Pastry Sous Chef at both Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. And on top of that, 2941 recently welcomed back Sommelier Jonathan Schuyler to round out the team.
The food skews toward the modern American, though the French influence is obvious – a run down the menu tells as much. Through a happy accident, my meal ran particularly French.
I started with a white asparagus velouté, velvety and sinfully poured around fresh baby zucchini and green asparagus. Next, I went for the Terrine Grand-Père, made from pork, foie gras, and pistachios, and served with a not-too-sweet fig mustard and some nice bread.
For my main, I followed my waitress’s recommendation (and my French motif) and took two large steps outside my comfort zone to order the Escargot en Persillade, a beautiful dish for which even the staunchest of city-dwellers should drive into the great state of Virginia. There’s no better way to have a first bite of escargot than married with sautéed chanterelles from Oregon and topped with porcini mushroom cream sauce. The rich earthiness of the plate left me perfectly full. But, as a professional, I had to munch on. And so munch on I did.
Other bites I had included the Octopus Grenobloise, kissed with a nice char and less chewy than I’ve had elsewhere; the Beets & Strawberries, refreshing and delicious; Goat Cheese Raviolini; and Crescent Duck, my entree choice next time I patron this restaurant.
Then came a cavalcade of instagram-worthy desserts from Pastry Chef Pine: I tried the Cherry Bombe, the Exotic, and the Mocha Noisette, all bright ends to a rich meal. And as more local restaurants turn their attention away from non-ice cream dessert offerings, the care and craft (and flavor) that goes into Pine’s plates shines even brighter.
So sure, you’ll need to drive here. But the food is worth the trip. Plus, it’s not like it’s in Maryland.