Friday, June 22, 2018

A Rake's Progress

At A Rake's Progress, located in the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan, James Beard Award–winning chef Spike Gjerde cooks what he sources from Mid-Atlantic farms and waters.  Closest Metro is Woodley Park-Adams Morgan.

We arrived at the newly renovated Line Hotel which used to be a Christian Science church about 25 years ago and stood vacant until just last year.  With two restaurants on the main level, we headed upstairs to Chef Gjerde's newest endeavor.  The tall ceilings and muted light from the stained glass windows create a romantic atmosphere.  We were initially seated up on the third level, but it was incredibly hot, so we asked to me moved back down to the main/second level.  The degree difference was very noticeable and much more comfortable.  After perusing the thick book of wine selections, the sommelier noticed my intense studying and came over to assist.  I explained I like a crisp, dry white with minerality and citrus notes.  I was looking at the Loire Valley offerings from France, but he suggested we try the 2016 Venica & Venica, Friulano, Rondo delle Cime from Friuli, Italy instead.  He said this wine, though aged in oak barrels, still offers a lighter citrus note that would pair perfectly with fish.  So we gave it a shot, and surprisingly enjoyed it.

We decided to share three of the "shared plates" and one "to share" item.  The Orecchiette with Maryland Blue Crab, asparagus, sweet corn, and mushrooms was beautifully sweet and fresh.  It was a generous portion and my favorite dish of the shared starters.

Keith loved the Fried Quail that came with pickled cucumber and Keepwell gochujang.  The sauce was more tangy than spicy, but the meat was perfectly cooked.

For a salad alternative we ate the Grilled Escarole with Fried Oysters with oy-chovy bagna cauda dressing and rye crumbs.  The greens were quite bitter but had a strong wood grill char that was enjoyable.

For our main course we shared the Grilled Monkfish Tail with a peanut romesco sauce served with a side of grits with grilled seasonal vegetables.  The tail was presented to us table side when ready, then taken back to the kitchen to de-bone and cut into clean pieces.  The fish itself was hearty yet tender, almost like a lobster texture.  The sauce was not overly peanuty, and the accompanying side was delicious.

In lieu of dessert, we each ordered a cocktail.  I tried some concoction of vodka and lemon juice that was sweet, and dangerously light and too easy to suck down with the metal straw.  Keith tried a gin drink with strawberry and rhubarb with ginger beer.  It, too, was on the sweet side. For $16 each, these whimsically named yet forgettable cocktails were a bit overpriced and reminded me why I like to stick to wine.

Overall we had a great meal at A Rake's Progress.  I appreciated the mission to use local ingredients, and the wood fire grill techniques in most dishes.  There were many other items on the menu that peeked our interest to return again.

What Micky Eats...
Total Rating: 4.2
Food: 4.5, Price: 3, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 4.5, Accessibility: 4.5

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