Raisin Bread and I did something we normally never do. We had a weeknight date night! *gasp* It was quite a feat for these old farts. We met up after work at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel to dine at CityZen.
CityZen offers three ways to dine: 1) a six course Chef's Tasting Menu for $120, 2) a six course Chef's Vegetarian Tasting Menu for $110 or 3) a four course menu, where you get to choose from a selection for each course, for $90.
I went with the Chef's Tasting Menu.
Due to his dietary restrictions, Raisin Bread decided on the four course menu.
|My amuse bouche|
|Raisin Bread's amuse bouche|
Before our first course, we got to pick from three different types of breads. I am a carb fiend so I just wanted to keep asking for more bread, but refrained.
First Course: Shaved Green Radish and Baby Carrot Salad with marinated yama imo, takenoko, ginko nuts and dashi gelee
The flavors of the vegetables were very subtle, but the dashi gelee was very tasty, still subtle and not too salty.
Appetizer Course for Raisin Bread: Sheepsmilk Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Crepes with piquillo pepper jam, globe artichoke mouse and Nicoise olive syrup
Our server was very meticulous in finding out from the kitchen whether or not Raisin Bread could eat the dishes he picked. She spent a while going through almost every single menu item with us. When she didn't know the answer, she went to the kitchen to ask and returned right away to let us know how the answer might sway his decisions. She was great and very mindful and aware of our meal progression. Plus, she was super nice.
The appetizer Raisin Bread wound up getting was from the Chef's Vegetarian Tasting Menu, as it was one of the only appetizers he could eat. It wound up not being his favorite course.
Second Course: Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche Pierogi with cured Skuna Bay salmon and smoked sea trout emulsion
I loved this. It was so rich and fatty. The pierogi was nice and crispy, and the salmon was firm and not super salty.
Because I had two more courses than Raisin Bread, he did not have anything to eat during those times. Our server noticed that we were sharing our food, so the busser brought us an extra place setting for Raisin Bread to use when our courses did not overlap. Very thoughtful!
Fish Course for Raisin Bread: Sauteed Filet of John Dory with black trumpet mushrooms, salsify puree and tarragon coulis
This was by far his favorite course.
Third Course: Poached Moulard Duck Foie Gras with Kanagy Farm shoat stuffed savoy cabbage
I usually don't order foie gras unless it is on a tasting menu because I often do not like the way it is cooked. This foie dish was amazing though. It was so tender and maintained its richness. I also enjoyed the accompaniments.
Fourth Course: Vanilla Braised Maine Lobster with Anson Mills grit cake, fennel, toasted pistachio, poached apricots and Cognac sauce
This was an interesting way to present lobster. The vanilla was a bit too much for me, but I liked the apricots and pistachio, and of course, the lobster was perfectly cooked.
For our meat course, we were presented with a little box of Parker House rolls.
They are so adorable and buttery, as well as lightly sprinkled with salt. They are tiny enough to eat in one bite. Yummy!
Fifth Course: Pan Roasted Prime Virginia Beef Strip Loin with red flannel hash and Frankie's original horseradish soubise
Look at that pink meat. So pretty. While there was nothing wrong with my meat dish, I didn't find it too be all that special.
Meat Course for Raisin Bread: Kanagy Farms Shoat Loin with Darden ham wrapped baked endive, glazed baby carrots and tellicherry pepper mornay
I had to ask the server what shoat is. We learned that it is a piglet. I found the loin along with the carrots to be nicely done, but the ham was way salty for me.
Intermezzo: Pineapple sorbet
We both received the same intermezzo. It was refreshing and a little tart, which was perfect between our heavy meat and heavy dessert courses.
We received these shortbread cookies with our coffee service.
If I were choosing on my own, I probably would not have selected this dessert. My favorite part of the dessert wound up being the salted caramel ice cream and the cookie bits beneath it.
Dessert for Raisin Bread: CityZen Sopaipillas with golden angels sourwood honey mousse, finger limes, honeyed almonds and cinnamon ice cream
I'm addicted to sopaipillas and thought this was a nice way to elevate them.
As if that was not enough, we received a few more treats before we left. Our petit fours were nougat bars, macarons and ginger pate de fruits.
I think we will be needing to scale back on the insanely high-end dining experiences for the remainder of the year though!
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
1330 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024