Saturday, February 14, 2015

Boss Shepherd's

Instilled with Chef Waybright’s southern inspiration, Boss Shepherd's menu boasts fresh takes on time-honored, rustic classics using farm-to-table ingredients. Offering a diverse beverage selection with distinct local whiskey and beer programs, Boss Shepherd's presents a modern take on the classic DC watering hole in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Located just past entrance to The Warner Theatre, the closest Metro is Metro Center.

Image via Boss Shepherd's website
Keith made reservations at Boss Shepherd's for Valentine's Day.  We braved the quick and sudden snow blizzard to head out for dinner.  Arriving frozen and wet, we were seated in the middle of the dining room, decorated in tones of greens and blacks.  The layout and ambience was similar to a hotel restaurant, with an older clientele that filled the other tables.  

While the restaurant was offering a three course Valentine's Day menu for $59 per person, we opted to order a la carte.  First, we ordered a bottle of 2012 Viognier, Chrysallis, Middleburg, VA.  It was crisp and paired well with our shared appetizer of a dozen Saddle Rock Oysters on the ½ shell.  Served with horseradish cocktail sauce, mignonette, ad lemon wedges, I opted for just the plain squirt of lemon.  These oysters were very mild, with no brine flavor at all.  They were plump and creamy though, and very clean, making each slurp easy to finish.

For his main course, Keith chose the popular Fried Chicken.  This dish received a lot of buzz when the restaurant first opened, so naturally, Keith had to try it himself.  The chicken is brined for 12 hours before frying.  A half chicken portion is served with a buttermilk biscuit and seasonal vegetable - tonight it was fingerling potatoes.  Additionally, three sauces were available: Smoked Egg Yolk Sauce, Spicy Boss Sauce, and Lavender Honey (best with the biscuit).  The chicken was tender and had good flavor, and Keith really liked the spicy sauce.  I took a bite of the biscuit and found it a bit tough.  This dish was a nice portion and satisfying, but I think the fried chicken offering at Addendum is a much better example of the cravable fine dining restaurant interpretation of this classic comfort dish.

I ordered the Cast Iron Shrimp with rice porridge, shrimp sauce, diced squash, sorghum, and sweet potato mash.  I expected the dish to arrive in an actual cast iron skillet, however the shrimp - with heads and tails on - were arranged prettily on a white plate.  Sadly, the rice porridge and sweet potato mash were bland.  The shrimp themselves were naturally sweet, but cooked very light with little seasoning.  I had to sprinkle table salt and pepper (gasp!) in order to finish my plate.

We also ordered a side of the Braised Greens with Virginia ham.  This small bowl of greens had a depth of flavor that showed it was braised for a long time.  The greens were cooked perfectly - tender, and not too salty.

Lastly, we shared a slice of Chocolate Espresso Cake for dessert.  It had cookie crumbles and red 'dust' of some sort - probably just for Valentine's Day, and  a swoosh of espresso sauce on the plate.  The chocolate frosting was thick and very sweet.  The cake complemented the remaining drops of my white wine, and also a dessert Port wine that Keith ordered.

Overall, we had a decent dinner at Boss Shepherd's.  Service was on point, and the timing between courses was comfortable.  While the food was good, nothing really 'wow'ed me.  Plus, the ambience was a bit hotel-standard leaving something to be desired in order to impart a more rustic-southern charm to match the menu.

Total Rating: 3.68
Food: 3.5, Price: 3.5, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Saddle Rock Oysters on the ½ shell
Horseradish Cocktail Sauce, Mignonette

Cast Iron Shrimp
Rice Porridge, Shrimp Sauce, Squash, Sorghum, Sweet Potato

Braised Greens
with Virginia Ham

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Plus Keith ate:
Fried Chicken
12-hour Brined Half Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, Fingerling Potatoes
Smoked Egg Yolk Sauce, Spicy Boss Sauce, Lavender Honey

Boss Shepherd's on Urbanspoon

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