Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Manor DC

The Manor DC, located in the heart of Dupont Circle brings glitz, glamour and the most talented DJ's to cozy up with in your very own loft hideaway. This restaurant/lounge by day transforms to a modern, sleek nightclub by night. The Manor offers happy-hour specials of both drinks and dinner fare.  Bottle service is available throughout the week while you catch special performances from DJs and other acts.  Closest Metro is Dupont Circle.



Image via The Manor DC website

With 2800 square feet of space and a unique mezzanine overlooking the venue and floor to wall windows overlooking Connecticut Ave, the lounge style seating of antique couches and coffee tables with ottomans makes a great after work hang out.

We learned of the Manor's recent opening via an email from the marketing manager, and decided to check it out one night.  The main entrance leads directly up a staircase, where we saw an empty hostess stand.  There was a decent crowd at the bar already, and we could see a few dining tables towards the front windows, so we waited to be noticed and seated.

Happy hour prices were available on beer and wine, but not cocktails which stayed at $13 a drink.  Keith ordered the High Tea made with Earl Grey infused vodka, fresh lemon juice, and caramelized sugar syrup.  He said it was very lemony and could not really taste any Early Grey - which is one of his favorite types of hot tea.  I ordered a glass of Kung Fu Riesling from Washington state, which was bright and acidic.


As a starter, we were treated to the White Truffle Popcorn topped with rosemary and Pecorino Romano.  I was excited to try this elevated bar snack, as we served it at our wedding, but sadly this version was cold, stale, and a bit too salty.  I don't think it is worth the extra $5.  We were also treated to the "Chips & Dip" - toasted pita and grilled baguette served with a trio of edamame hummus, olive tapenade, and tomato tapenade.  While the bread was warm, I also thought this sort of 'bread basket' would be complimentary at most restaurants and not charged $8 as it was here at the Manor.  Of the three dips, I liked the edamame the best, while Keith liked the tomato.


Not being wow-ed by those snacks, we decided to order a bunch more small plates to share.  We started with a lackluster Crisp Buttermilk Marinated Calamari served with a chipotle-cilantro pesto and a Kaffir lime aioli.  The calamari tasted like bad frozen rubber and neither of the sauces were too appealing either.  A shame.


Next, I ordered the Sesame Crusted Loin of Rare Ahi Tuna served with seaweed salad, wasabi aioli,caramel soy glaze, and crisp wontons.  This dish was actually pretty flavorful, and probably my favorite of all the dishes we ate.  I liked the cut of the ahi and found all the sauces to pair well.  


Keith really wanted to try the Poutine.  This version was a 'cheat' version since gruyere and Parmesan cheese were on top of Yukon Gold and sweet potato fries, as opposed to real cheese curds.  But the roasted duck gravy made with duck confit gave a refined-rustic quality to the salty dish.  There was something off-putting about the smell of this dish to me, but it seemed to be a crowd favorite as I saw many other tables order the heavy dish.


Keith also ordered the "Lamb-i-pops" expecting small hors d'oeuvres-sized lamb chops to arrive.  Instead, larger thick-cut garlic roasted Australian lamb chops were on the plate drizzled with a sweet balsamic glaze and a side of minted tzatziki.  Keith found the meat to be very bland and did not care for the sweet glaze at all.  Another disappointing dish.


Lastly, I tried the Shrimp & Grits made with ginger grilled shrimp, creamy Southern style grits, and buttered corn emulsion.  The shrimp were cooked nicely, but the grits were too thick and paste-like and the asparagus were out of season and tasted sour.  

Overall, there were more misses than hits with the food at The Manor DC.  Our server, Spencer, was very friendly and did a decent job of checking in with us.  The food was staggered in delivery to mirror courses, which we asked for, but did not really fit in with the lounge atmosphere.  It got quite boisterous and crowded, so I felt rushed to get out.  Also, I found the prices to be a bit high for the quality of food offered.  I would not recommend this place for dinner, but the bar atmosphere seems more appropriate for the after work crowds and events.

Total Rating: 2.88
Food: 2.5, Price: 3, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
White Truffle Popcorn
Rosemary, Pecorino Romano

"Chips & Dip"
Edamame Hummus, Olive Tapenade, Tomato Tapenade, Toasted Pita, Grilled Baguette

Crisp Buttermilk Marinated Calamari
Chipotle, Cilantro Pesto, Kaffir Lime Aioli

Sesame Crusted Loin of Rare Ahi Tuna
Seaweed Salad, Wasabi Aioli,Caramel Soy Glaze, Crisp Wontons

Shrimp & Grits
Ginger Grilled Shrimp, Creamy Southern Style Grits, Buttered Corn Emulsion

Plus Keith ate:
Poutine
Yukon Gold & Sweet Potato Fries, Duck Confit, Gruyere Cheese, Parmesan, Roasted Duck Gravy

"Lamb-i-pops"
Garlic Roasted Australian Lamb, Minted Tzatziki

The Manor DC on Urbanspoon

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