Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Review - Citronelle Lounge

It was a hard call. Spend an entire day's worth of pay on one meal, or play it smart, safe, and cheap.

But if you know me, you know which one won out.

I couldn't believe I was actually going to Citronelle...lounge. Yeah, I got cheap and decided to eat at the lounge - but in any other setting, food of the quality of what I had would have been served in a main dining room, and I would have been charged much more than what I paid.

First off, the atmosphere of the lounge is great. Very cozy with a very well stocked and nice sized bar.

It being a nice evening out, my dining companion, Agatha, and I decided to sit outside.

The tables outside, slightly off the main drag of M St. allow you to enjoy the weather without having to talk over ambient noise.

The meal started off with bread, the same bread that I had at Central - a good start. My only complaint here was that the butter, while good, was too cold and could have been softer. That's pretty much where to complaints end.

For my entree I ordered the fried chicken. What I got wasn't what I expected at all. Instead of KFC style cuts of chicken, I got a large serving of little spheres of perfectly cooked, wonderfully seasoned chicken breast. As I told my waiter (I believe his name was Saul), if KFC sold this, I'd go every day.

So what do you order with chicken? Fries of course. These were well seasoned and well cooked - though they could have been a little warmer, they were still probably the best set of fries I've had in the city.

Agatha ordered the mushroom cigars, which wouldn't normally be appetizing to me, but these were fantastic. Philo dough cigars filled with very meaty mushrooms, they were complimented very well with a nice ginger sauce.

Along with our entrees we both ordered the house wines (for me the red, for Ags the white), and both were very, very good for house wines - hell, they were good for a glass twice the price. Needless to say, Mark Slater knows what he's doing.

Between our entree and our dessert, Michel Richard came outside to look down from the outside seats onto the dining room below. The intensity that he has is quite impressive - he may not be the one doing all the cooking in the kitchen, but you know he's got a good handle on what's going on.

That handle was really shown by the creme brule we got for dessert. Unlike any I've had before, this wasn't in your traditional dish, it was free form, with a variety of toppings (for a lack of a better term) sitting a top. The creme brule itself was perfect, and each topping, from the sorbet to the fig to the little fruit chip thing, was very well placed.

Though it was only a first glance (hopefully of many), it's easy to see why Richard is seen as one of this country's best, and it makes it a lot easier to justify a day's pay on what promises to be an amazing meal downstairs in the main dining room.

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