The Morrison-Clark Historic Inn & Restaurant is an eclectic combination of Victorian heritage and Chinese ecclesiastical atmospheres. Built in 1864 and newly renovated in 2016, the Morrison-Clark has been transformed into a contemporary hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Closest Metro is Mt. Vernon Square.
Floor-to-ceiling windows and original Italian marble fireplaces flank the main dining room, and 12-foot ceilings accented with elegant crystal chandeliers provide an intriguing counterpoint to the modern decor. Executive Chef Russell Braitsch has put together creative menus that offer classic American cuisine with a fresh twist. "My goal is to balance the cuisine and dining experience here at the Morrison-Clark to where it will be a primary destination for casual and fine dining, as well as corporate events, for patrons either traveling through or residing in Washington D.C." says Braitsch of the culinary direction he plans to take. With a menu that relies heavily on simple ingredients with bold flavors and global influences, Chef Braitsch is poised to make the Morrison-Clark's restaurant a renowned dining destination in DC. We were invited in to sample the new chef's tasting menu with wine pairings.
The first course was Ginger Marinated Gulf Shrimp & Grits with creamy southern style grits and truffle-honey butter. It was paired with a 2014 Chardonnay, Meiomi, Tri-County Blend from California. This dish was an elegant interpretation of the Creole classic. The shrimp were incredibly large and cooked perfectly. We also sampled the Tempura Fried Gulf Shrimp served with cannellini bean puree, pancetta, fennel, and salsa rossa. Paired with a sparkling wine called 2015 Txacoli, Xamont, Arabako from Txacolina, Spain, this dish had interesting flavor. Again, the Gulf shrimp were the stars of the plate.
The second course featured a Cumin Dusted Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass served with a pork empanada, and topped with pickled red onions. This dish was paired with a 2015 Pina Mahonesa
Grenache Rose, Whispering Angel from Cotes de Provence, France. The fish was cooked a bit light for my liking. I preferred the Hazelnut & Curry Crusted Atlantic Salmon served with coconut-jalapeno rice, snow peas, and blood orange butter. This fish was paired with a sweet 2014 Corundrum, 25th Anniversary White Blend from Rutherford, CA.
We also tried the Sesame Crusted Loin of Rare Tuna served with seaweed, wasabi aioli, caramel-soy glaze, and crisp wontons. The fish was expertly cooked and seasoned. I really liked this dish.
For the third course, we enjoyed the Crisped Leg of Duck Confit served with a blue cheese risotto cake and red grape & mango chutney. The duck was incredibly tender and fell right off the bone. The flavor combinations in this dish were mature and paired nicely with the 2012 Sangiovese Syrah-Sasyr, Rocca del Macie from Toscana Italy.
Fourth course options included the Roasted Rack of Australian Lamb with a fingerling & goat cheese gateaux and spring vegetables seasoned with saffron paired with a 2012 Chianti, Napozzana, Marchesi de Frescoboldi from Tuscany, Italy or the Grilled New York Strip Steak "Pho Style" with rice noodles, bok choy, spring vegetables in a mushroom soy sauce paired with a 2014 Pinot Noir, Virginia Dare from Russian River Valley, CA.
Lastly, for dessert we sampled the Lemon Yogurt Cake with vanilla-mint berries and a Limoncello sorbet (my favorite), Chocolate Truffle Cake with Cara Cara blood orange crème served with toasted almond gelato (Keith's favorite), and the Tiramisu with clotted blackberry cream and chocolate espresso beans. Each sweet dish pairs with a nice dessert wine - 10 Year Port.
All in all, I was impressed by the fresh seasonal ingredients of these American classic dishes. The wine pairings were lovely, and provided a well-rounded elegant meal. Hidden in the historic hotel, this restaurant was very charming and would make for a preety special occasion venue. Check out the Easter brunch menu and Mother's Day brunch menu, and inquire for private events.