k street dining – not at its finest

Don Whiteside isn’t the only Metroblogging author who ventured out for Restaurant Week. I ventured out to two downtown restaurants, along with the better half and assorted friends, to try out two places we’ve never been before. The experience was hit and miss – my first review is for the miss.

Restaurant Kolumbia features the "Fine Modern Cuisine of Chef Jamie Stachowski, a French trained American Chef/Owner." Upon arriving, we were greeted pleasantly and taken swiftly to our table. Along the way, we passed by through the lounge/bar area, and I was very pleased with the aesthetic. Our waiter was incredibly attentive to the table, and even provided an excellent suggestion for a bottle of wine to accompany our meal.

Outside of these elements, however, Restaurant Kolumbia failed to deliver. The restaurant limited all tables to ordering from the prix fix menu – which I don’t particularly care for – but that should help to ensure at least some semblance of quality in the food. In addition, the venue is very small, so we were not competing for the chef’s attention amongst a swarm of other diners. For appetizers, the salad was pleasant, and the cold butcher’s board had a nice selection of chilled meats – though some at the table questioned whether kielbasa served cold is really that appetizing. On the upside, the butcher’s board was served with a hearty whole grain mustard.

For the main course, several of us selected the madeira glazed sweetbreads,
over slow cooked veal breast with,
puy lentils, leeks, carrots, and truffle sauce. Not too many restaurants in the area will work with sweetbreads, so I was very excited about this dish. After the first few bites, however, I found myself grasping for the nearest glass of water. The dish, overall, was incredibly salty – well beyond the limits of what is needed for appropriate seasoning. The veal was over cooked, and the sweetbreads nearly indistinguishable from the other elements of the dish. The sauce had no hint of truffle whatsoever. Presentation was also poorly executed – everything blending together and smothering each other into a mess of brown color.

The sauteed corvina, over celery root puree, with lardons of bacon and apple red wine butter was better overall – but somewhat boring given the list of ingredients. The crab cake was a bigger winner – large chunks of crab fused together with a scallop mousse – which meant no breading. It too, however, lacked a certain something to make the dish seem elevated to the classification of "fine modern cuisine."

Dessert was a wasted effort. The chocolate twin towers, which the menu labeled as some sort of "memorial," was hardly worthy of its title. It would have been more apt to say "two small pieces of dry brown cake." The pistachio Ice Cream, with caramelized pineapple, banana, and poached berries was too sweet – and began to melt well before you had even a few bites.

Overall, I was surprised at how poorly the food came out. Although the restaurant has received good reviews from the local critics – I doubt we will return in the near future.

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