Buck Up, Lil’ Camper

Let’s say a friend suggests a girls’ night out to dinner at Buck’s Fishing & Camping in Upper NW. Being a curious diner, you look it up in the Post’s City Guide. Following the very nice review by Tom Sietsema, you peruse a cavalcade of negative reader reviews. “Hmmm…” you think, “wasn’t there also some controversy about a potential lawsuit over food pics? What gives with this place?” Then you can’t help but noticing how, um, petty some of the reader complaints seem. You remember the buzz about chef Carole Greenwood being “difficult,” much the same way Debra Winger was called “difficult” or any other number of strong-willed women. You begin to wonder, what kind of night will this be?

In a word, perfect.

Our girls’ night dinner at Buck’s reminded me of dinners I had in Sicily, because of the reliance on simplicity and fresh organic ingredients. The menu is small, reflecting what’s fresh that day, and that’s fine with me – though the World Famous Mussels were sold out by the time we started at 9pm, to me that just illustrates an unwillingness to be wasteful or compromise on anything less than perfect (have you ever had not-so-fresh mussels? ack.).

My appetizer was exquisitely simple – half a baked white peach, a slice of mozzarella, basil – so simple yet so decadent. The creamy mozzarella, the rich sweet peach, the savory basil, with the unexpected crunch of salt –
this is what enjoyment of flavor is all about. Followed by a dish I really could’ve had in Sicily – whole-cooked sea bream with lemon and olive oil – tasty, succulent, falling off the bone. I was in heaven, and my girls with me –
they’d had the gazpacho, the eggplant appetizer, and the fried oysters, raving about each one.

A great meal can always be ruined by atmosphere or service. Luckily we had the best of both. The night passed in a glow of funky lighting, pulsing red walls, flowing curtains – truly a vibrantly romantic decor without being stuffy. Our server was excellent, stellar, a dream.

Am I raving too much? Why? Well, I can’t for the life of me understand the negative reviews. Was my Saturday experience an anomaly, or the norm? Does Greenwood really have that many enemies? Are there people who really are so picky that they slam a small restaurant simply for running out of dishes? Or for serving (gasp!) rabbit? Is it me who has the inferior palate, expectation level, etc.? Who knows. But this is why I always take reviews with a pinch of salt. And why you, dear reader, should just taste for yourself.

4 Comments so far

  1. Luke (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

    I love Buck’s, but it is really in Forest Hills or Chevy Chase, DC. Tenleytown is more assciated with Wisconsin Avenue.

  2. Jenn L (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 7:48 pm

    Thanks, Luke. I’ve changed it to the more generic “Upper NW”. I’m glad to hear someone else likes Buck’s too and I’m not completely crazy!

  3. smouie kablooie (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 9:37 pm

    I’ve not been to Buck’s yet, but after you’re review will have to try it. I’ve found that personal reccomendations are often the best indicators of how good a restaurant are. That said – the sites that let people put in personal reviews are a bit shady to me. Not to sound paranoid, but what’s to stop competitors or people with some other kind of agenda from talking smack?

  4. Luke (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

    By the way, if you have want to be ruined forever with food and want to drop some coin, arrange to sit at the Chef’s table at Citronellle in Georgetown. Nine courses with the paired wine with each course.

    Nothing you ever do in the future will ever compare. Ever.

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