Monday, October 18, 2010

Old Ebbitt Grill

My brother and his family from Michigan came for a visit and, of course, wanted to see all the sights.  So after a day of National Mall walking, oversized monument gawking, and slow-moving, oblivious tourist dodging, we stood at the giant stone feet of the Great Emancipator and realized we were very hungry.  We wanted food NOW and something better than those street vendors that can be found at every intersection surrounding the Mall.  We decided that Old Ebbitt Grill would be the best course of action.  Though not a ‘cheap eat’, you can get a nice meal without going into budget busting mode.

Our party of six was seated in the corner near the back bar and our drinks came quickly.  I decreed today a special occasion and threw off my ‘cheap eats’ rules  and Ms. Classy and I each ordered a glass of wine and our party started with an order of crab and artichoke dip ($9.25).  I really liked the large, tender hunks of artichoke and large shreds of crab.  The cheese was creamy and the flavor was very mild as to not overpower the crab.

Both my sister in law and I ordered the single crab cake ($15.50), Ms. Classy had the fish and chips ($13.95), and my brother had the seafood jambalaya ($14.95).  The crab cake consisted of large pieces of lump crab with a very light bread crumb coating.  It was quite good, but not the absolute best I’ve had (still near the top of my list, though).  That distinction is still held by Annabel Lee Tavern in Baltimore.  There was one part of the dish that did stand out and that was the side of roasted sweet potato-fennel hash with mustard aioli.  It was very sweet and creamy and I immediately had to interrupt Ms. Classy enjoying her fish and chips to have her taste them.  Again, they were very sweet so some people may not care for them, but I loved them.

The order of fish and chips was quite substantial.  Three battered fillets of cod with a heaping side of fries.  The fries were far above many fries from other establishments.  I didn’t think to ask the server, but they did seem twice fried.  They were very crispy, golden brown, and a very good serving of fries.  Only the most voracious of appetites would not be satisfied with this portion size.

My brother chimed in and said the jambalaya was absolutely amazing.  He noted that the sausage was some of the best he’s ever had in his life (real chorizo, not some package-seasoned ground sausage).  He continued to gush on and said the calamari raised his expectations for all future calamari.  His only previous experience with calamari was the deep fried appetizer at Red Lobster, so he admitted that his bar was set fairly low, but permanently raised after this dinner.  I did notice that it was an impressive amount of meat (especially of the seafood persuasion) for a $14.95 meal.

The ladies were quite full, but my brother and I decided to end the night by splitting a dessert.  We decided on a peanut butter pie.  Now I love chocolate and peanut butter, but I’m not quite sold on peanut butter mousse.  I like a strong peanut taste, not the light and creamy hint of peanut, but more of a sweet fluff taste.  It was alright, but I prefer a straight up chilled/frozen peanut butter than a peanut butter flavored mousse.
Will we go back?  Possibly someday.  The wine was really good, but I would want to try something other than the crab cakes and peanut butter pie.  Maybe that seafood jambalaya (my brother could not praise it enough!) and a chocolate chip bread pudding or key lime pie for dessert.

Old Ebbitt Grill on Urbanspoon

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