Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A meal fit for a King?

Lunch for me has always been a simple endeavor. A sandwich, a salad, maybe a soup, and almost always eaten at my desk. Lunch is a speed bump on the road that leads from breakfast to dinner. However, it’s Restaurant Week, and all foodie norms are out the window; so today I did lunch like an adult, at the chic 100 King in Old Town Alexandria.

Like its name suggests, 100 King is located on the one hundred block of King Street, within eyesight of the Potomac. The look, both outside and in, is crisp and sharp. The uber-modern metallic gray and white chairs blend well with the blood red accents on the walls and the metal ball-barring curtains on the windows.

Like I said before, I walked in with almost no expectations, aside from being able to eat a decent meal for a bargain price. I know that Tom of WaPo fame gave it a 2.5 star rating and the executive chef, Chef Soriano, has practiced his craft at Michelin rated restaurants throughout Europe. But again, as I said last time, I wanted to let the dining experience speak for itself.

Upon walking in myself and my party are sat a table next to the main window and given the restaurant week menu. Fairly slim compared to other restaurants, the dishes offered are diverse enough to satisfy the palates of the five of us.

After water is poured, our orders are taken and bread is promptly served. The bread was wonderfully crusty and served at room temperature. While I have a personal preference for warm bread, this somehow did the trick for me. One small dish of olive oil was given with the bread which wasn’t enough to share, in a dish that wasn’t big enough to dip in. Yet somehow, in the face of insurmountable odds, we were all able to enjoy a little oil with our bread.

It was this point in the meal that made me glad I came in with no expectations. I understand it is restaurant week, and we arrived at the peak of the lunch hour, but it shouldn’t take over a half hour for the first course to be served. When it finally was, it made us forget about the horrendous wait we had.

I ordered a goat cheese pizza to start things off. This single morsel of deliciousness was without a doubt the best part of my meal. Served on a nearly perfect seasoned and baked pita and covered with goat cheese, olives, tomato and basil, the pizza was a wonderfully light and flavorful beginning to the meal. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there.

After our first course plates were cleared away, and yet another wait, our main course was delivered. Of the three dishes offered, the five of us got either the chicken Panini or the salmon – and left us all feeling sorry for the neglected flat iron steak.

The salmon that came out was wonderfully colored. Well cooked, it retained the wonderful form and flavor that makes me understand why my mother liked having something with salmon in it at least once a week growing up. The filet was rested on a bed of rich olive oil mashed potatoes. In total the dish itself was solid. It could have been hotter in temperature (it was somewhere between room temperature and luke warm) and a bit of parsley or basil would have done wonders with plating, but if lunch is a utilitarian meal, then this was truly a utilitarian dish.

Once again, plates were cleared and a new wait began. Finally, after another ten minute plus wait, our pistachio crème brulee’s arrived at our table. I eagerly dug my spoon through the crisp sugar shell and into the pistachio crème below. Sadly, my meal didn’t end the way it started. The texture of the crème was inconsistent at best. Some parts were wonderfully fluffy and slightly stiff, while others were runny, almost watery at times. The entire dish was, in a word, uneven, and in another word, disappointing.

In the end, I left a bit like that crème brulee: uneven. I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Should I be upset that a lunch that should have taken an hour took nearly two and a half hours? Or, should I feel content with my heavenly pizza and satisfying salmon and potatoes?

It is questions like those that make posts like this difficult to end; and so all I can do is look forward to tomorrow and my high expectations of Georgia Brown’s.

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100 King
100 King StreetAlexandria, Virginia 22314
(703)299-0076
www.100king.com

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

you know, i liked the salmon a lot. i found it flakey and light, although it wasn't the best piece i've ever had. the potatoes were also pretty good.

my problem with that dish was that i only really tasted the red wine sauce while mopping my plate. and that stuff was good. why wasn't it more evident?

creme broulee, agree completely.

Kyle said...

i agree with elizabeth, the salmon was wonderful. I forgot what the sauce was though until I read her comment, but i tasted no red wine whatsoever. I thought the sauce was just a brown gravy type thing, not much flavor at all.

Not a big deal, it still tasted great. The horrendous waiting time? Not so great.

jill&ant said...

I think the fact I didn't comment on the accompanying sauce just showed that it was a second thought in the dish.

It could have been a great addition to a very good dish.

Lisa said...

Did you forget to mention that this whole experience took 2 hours in the middle of the day? My chipotle and trip to CVS was so much cooler!