Friday, October 17, 2014

The Partisan

From the meat-loving minds behind the Red Apron, the first and only butcher shop in the nation to use 100% Animal Welfare Approved pork, comes it's neighboring sit-down restaurant, The Partisan.  Tom Sietsema recently listed this restaurant in his Fall 2014 Dining Guide with special call out to the charcuterie list that features more than 30 choices, from blood sausage to wild boar pâté.  Closest Metro is Archives - Navy Memorial.

The narrow row-house layout is decorated in warm woods and has great lighting that is just the right balance of dark and moody, yet lit on each table so you can actually see what you're eating.  Our server was very informative and accommodating the whole night. The balance of the menu is broken up into a series of meat-centric composed dishes highlighting distinctive cuts, cooking techniques, and animal breeds. The portioning encourages sampling, sharing and customizing, which allows guests to construct a completely unique dining experience with each visit.  Wines are offered by the half glass, full glass, half bottle, or full bottle.  We inquired if flights were offered, but unfortunately none this evening, so we opted to start with a half bottle of the 2012 The Rule, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California.  For $22, this wine was surprisingly fruity yet complex.  We decided this red wine would pair well with the famed meats.

Using the sushi-style paper order form, we penciled off our meat choices to make our own charcuterie board.  We chose an herbal Eva Peron - Cotto style salami infused with Fernet Branca; a spicy Andouille - smoked southern sausage with cayenne and thyme; and a smoky and luxe Bacon Liverwurst made with bacon and pork liver.  The Eva Peron was my favorite - it was so unique and had a nice floral note.  With the plank of protein comes a rack of terrific tigelles that are like English muffins, only thinner and brushed with lard.

Now, I can't have wine and meat without cheese.  So, of course, we also ordered the Cheese Plate.  The artisanal cheeses featured tonight were a fresh and creamy blue cheese, two-year aged Gouda that was nutty like Parmesan, and a creamy goat and cow cheese blend that was lovely.  The cheese was served with slices of buttered baguette, mostarda, and honey.  I drizzled honey on my bread to mellow out the salty and spicy meats and compliment the nutty and creamy cheeses.  These two boards could have been a meal by themselves.

After the starter of meats and cheeses, we ordered a half bottle of 2013 Altos Las Hormigas, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina.  This red wine was a bit lighter and paired well with our first shared seafood protein of Spanish Langostines that were cooked lightly with lemon zest, Calabrian oil, and parsley.  The little creatures were cooked perfectly, but were hard to open without any tools.  I left the messy struggle to Keith, who managed to only really get most of the tail meat out.  It was impossible to get any of the claw meat out, which was a shame to waste.

Next, we shared a side of Brussels Sprouts Slaw that looked pretty, but was a bit too heavily dressed with the horseradish and grainy mustard vinaigrette.

For a more substantial main, I tried the Squid Ink Bucatini with red wine-braised octopus, espelette, and charred sea urchin.  At first, I was taken aback - the pasta was undercooked, and the octopus tasted very sour to me.  Perhaps, it was the combination with the vinegary slaw that was not reacting well on my palate.  Just to be sure, Keith took a bite, and found the dish to be very tasty.  So, I continued to eat the rest of the dish, and as I did, it certainly grew on me.  The sweet sea urchin was irresistible.

Keith needed a heavier protein and ordered the Lamb Ribs that were whiskey-braised, and served with roasted onion puree and crispy shallots.  The meat was tender had great lamb flavor.

Lastly, we shared the Fried Apple Pie.  It could have been fried a bit more, as the dough was a bit too soggy, but it tasted nice with the saltiness of bacon, candied pecans, and salted caramel ice cream.  It was also the perfect size for sharing.

All in all, we had a nice dinner at The Partisan.  The service was higher quality than expected for such a casual-vibe kind of place.  The a la carte menu can fool the indecisive minds to order a bit too much, and leave you with a slightly inflated bill.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the pair-your-own meats and wine concept.

Total Rating: 3.85
Food: 4, Price: 3, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Eva Peron (Cotto style salami infused with Fernet Branca),
Andouille (smoked southern sausage with cayenne and thyme),
Bacon Liverwurst (bacon and pork liver)

Cheese Plate
three artisanal cheeses, buttered baguette, mostarda, honey

Spanish Langostines
lemon zest, calabrian oil, parsley

Brussels Sprouts Slaw
horseradish and grainy mustard vinaigrette

 Squid Ink Bucatini
red wine-braised octopus, espelette, charred sea urchin

Fried Apple Pie
bacon, candied pecans, salted caramel ice cream

Plus Keith ate:
Lamb Ribs
whiskey-braised, roasted onion puree, crispy shallots

The Partisan on Urbanspoon

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