Comfortably tucked between shops and other restaurants on Georgetown’s vibrant and busy M Street you’ll find Unum. Certainly off the K Street path, but not too far from the Four Seasons or other places, and certainly not far from downtown. Great for an intimate client dinner. From the front, this unassuming restaurant does nothing to grab your attention – no flashy sign, minimalistic name posting on the glass door, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase next to the cozy bar is visible from the window. Maybe this is on purpose as once past the hostess and bar area there are only a hand full of tables. However, I don’t think that’s why. While they don’t want to pack in patrons forcing a crowd in the snug space, they don’t need a flashy sign – the food is just that good.
Residing less than five blocks away, I continued to hear of Unum from friends who asked me if I had been. The reputation did indeed proceed the restaurant and I was hoping the food would live up to it. It did, which was not surprising (I would have been shocked if it did not). Yet the service was what shocked me – extremely professional, poised, courteous without being overbearing, knowledgeable (which isn’t stand out because all staff should be), and flawless execution as one might expect in a Michelin star restaurant. Proper place setting clearance, extreme attention to wine presentation and pouring, proper serving technique and hardware movement – I was honestly impressed, very impressed in fact.
I wish I could say this is not one of my new favorite restaurants in the selfish hopes of keeping this all to myself, I can’t.
To start, martini’s and a glass of wine were ordered while the menu was examined. My martini of choice is vodka, dry, extra dirty, and up with three olives – it was perfectly executed. While sipping cocktails, a mixed bread basket arrived with soft, room temperature butter, as well as a herbaceous oil-based spread, similar to a chimichurri, however I am not certain.
A bottle of wine was ordered (2011 Decoy Sonoma Pinot Noir) as was a cheese & charcuterie plate. Chosen from the options were humboldt fog, mahon, house made rabbit terrine, and spicy Iowa pork proscuitto. Accompanied by whole grain mustard, pickled red onions and a sweet gelatin, this spread was delicious. The cheese was as advertised and served at the perfect temperature. The terrine was amazing and void of the strong, mineral, liver flavor some can have. The consistency was smooth and creamy. The Iowa pork was thinly sliced and intensely porky in the best way.
Next came the boneless shortrib pasta from their “Small Plates” menu. Served with tagliatelle noodles (which where thinner than usual), baby root vegetables swimming in a red-wine braising jus, this dish was warm and inviting. The shortribs where fork tender and pre-shreded, the pasta cooked to a perfect al dente, and the crisp vegetables where a welcome contrast providing some texture. I’d go alone with a book and just order this a bottle of Decoy at the bar and be a happy lobbyist.
Now, the next item contains an ingredient I asked about and knew I should try and order without it, but proceeded anyway. It was the rosemary gnocchi with butternut squash, brussel sprout leaves, mushrooms, dried cranberries and truffle butter. I asked if the butter was made in house, she said yes. I asked if it was made with truffle oil, and sadly, she said yes. I don’t like truffle oil; it almost always tastes fake, too strong, and void of earthy truffle flavor. The gnocchi was amazingly fluffy and buttery, and perfectly executed. The rest of the ingredients were perfectly paired. Next time however, I will see if they can eighty-six the truffle oil. I could taste it, and it was a bit overpowering. Thankfully the rest of the dish was flawless.
To satisfy the carnivore inside of me, the smaller portion ($12/$25) of the grilled hanger steak was ordered. Served with royal trumpet mushrooms, fingerling potatoes with grilled radicchio and an anisette demi-glace, the dish was great. Steak was a bit medium as opposed to medium-rare, but still delicious. The glace tasted like it had been reducing for days.
A side of Tuscan kale with pomegranate seeds was also added to provide some vegetable intake, however a bit bitter for my personal taste.
Overall, an amazing meal in a very cozy atmosphere with impeccable service. I shall return!
Where: Unum DC, 2917 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Online.