by Xani and Erin
On Saturday night, the BCD family celebrated a very special occasion: EP's 25th birthday! (We were also doing some residual Mother's Day celebrating because, why not??) For an occasion(s) as special as this, we pulled out all the stops. Not only did we make reservations at the fabulous 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, VA, we also hired a car service to drive us (about 45 minutes each way) so that everyone could eat and DRINK as much as he or she wanted, without worrying about the long drive home. Safety first, kids!
Before we went out to our car, we had a little family photoshoot...
We arrived in our shiny town car about 20 minutes early for our 8:15 reservation. The restaurant is gorgeous, surrounded by a large pond and other water effects, and beautiful landscaping. Inside, the space is bright and airy. The walls are all glass and the ceilings looked to be about 25 feet high! There are beautiful pieces of art and interesting architecture effects throughout the space. There was a guy softly playing flamenco-style music on a guitar right next to the large oval bar.
Yeah, that bar is where we spent the next hour! The restaurant was hopping and there was some delay in getting us our table. But, we certainly made the best of it by enjoying some cocktails and bar snacks. Xani had a champagne cocktail, Mom had a cosmopolitan, Erin had a mojito, and Dad his usual: "Johnny Walker Black, rocks, twist." They had excellent bread sticks and nuts for us to nibble on while we waited. Finally the table was ready, and to make up for our wait, they comped us our drinks-- now that is good service!
Next we were seated at our table, and it was time for another drink. 2941 has something we had never seen before: a champagne cart! They roll it over to your table, and inside are 4 different sparkling wines, chilled and ready to pour. We thought this was a lovely and irresistible start to the meal, especially since we were celebrating. But which to choose? Well, four wines, four of us... we ordered one of each and had a mini-champagne tasting! The wines were:
Champagne- Guy Charlemagne, Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, Mesnil, France
Champagne- Deutz, Brut, Classic, France
Champagne Rosé- Philippe Gonet, Brut, 1er Cru, Le Mesnil, France
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene - Bisol & Figli, Brut, Jeio, Veneto, Italy
They were all delicious and tasting them side by side was a really effective way of tasting the differences between them. With the glasses of bubbly we were brought an amuse bouche of parsnip veloute. This warm, creamy little treat was just a taste of great things to come...
While 2941 was offering a very tempting tasting menu that night, we instead chose to create our own "tasting" by ordering four different first courses, and four different main dishes, and rotating the dishes between the four of us, so that everyone could try everything. (Does anyone else do this?? We get some weird looks at restaurants, but honestly it is a very fun way to eat!)
While waiting for the first courses we enjoyed the delicious, homemade bread. The bread actually has quite an interesting history at 2941, as 2941 is a family operation: the baker is the chef's father, who after many years working as an opthamologist, followed his passion for baking bread and went to Italy to study the art of crafting bread! He returned to work with his son at 2941, where he creates their amazing breads. Isn't that a great story!? On Saturday night we sampled several breads: French Baguette, sundried tomato, pumpernickel and maybe one or two others (it was hard to keep track). At the end of the night we took home a complimentary loaf as well-- one of the perks of dining very late at night!
After the bread came the first course. We chose:
- Maryland Summer Blue Crab Soup
sweet corn, fennel, Smithfield ham, bliss potatoes
- Licorice Poached Maine Lobster Salad
jicama and rhubarb, lemon chervil vinaigrette
- Sashimi of Hawaiian Kampachi Seared Rare
hearts of palm, artichoke, charred onion relish, soy balsamic reduction
- Sautéed Sonoma County Artisan Foie Gras
glazed black mission figs, sherry citrus reduction
Everything was just as delicious as it sounds! And just look how beautiful...
The winning dish was the foie gras, which was absolutely rich and decadent. The lobster was perfectly cooked and the flavors really popped. The sashimi was extremely fresh-tasting and had the perfect amount of crunch from the hearts of palm and artichoke. The soup, while very tasty and bursting with the flavors of the sweetest corn we have had all summer, was the weakest dish of the four. It was somewhere in between a broth-based soup and a cream-based soup, and it just seemed like it should go one direction or another. Basically, it didn't compare to the Spicy Corn Soup and Blue Crab we had at The Bicycle last summer (you know its good soup when you are still thinking about it a year later!).
A quick break to chat and out came the main courses:
- Sautéed West Coast Halibut sweet corn, Maine lobster, fava beans, short rib potsticker
- Grilled Rib of Beef and Roasted Maine Lobster
chanterelle mushrooms, sweet corn, quickly sautéed calamari
- Hudson Valley Duck Breast Roasted with Wild Thyme
pistachio purée, savory cherry pudding, cassis reduction
- Morel and Spring Asparagus Love Letters
fresh pasta folds, mascarpone, ricotta and morel cream
Surf and Turf
Halibut with Short Rib Potstickers
Again, everything was just absolutely gorgeous on the plate. And the flavors... WOW! This time the weakest dish (though not by much) was the halibut. It was tasty, of course, but not at the level of the other three dishes (although the accompanying short rib potsticker was outstanding-- we could have eaten a whole plate of those!). The "surf and turf" was excellent: both beef and lobster were perfectly cooked, and the mushroom, calamari and corn saute had an amazing, burst-in-your-mouth flavor. The love letters were made of impeccably cooked homemade pasta with a mascarpone and ricotta cheese filling folded in the middle that honestly had to have had crack in it, it was that good. The ultra-fresh veggies scattered on top were amazing (EP felt the dish was a little on the salty side, but still really, really good).
Finally, we had 'ze duck'. Ze duck was AWESOME. Rarely do you find duck so perfectly cooked-- the crispy seared skin, the moist, rare meat, the rich, meaty flavor... we are drooling as we type this! The little dot of savory cherry bread pudding and the pistachio puree were more than just cute additions to the plate, they absolutely complimented the duck perfectly. A masterpiece!
At this point one might think the meal is almost over.... well, not really. We had 3 more courses after the main course! First, a cheese plate with a tasting of three wine pairings. After-dinner cheese is a BCD favorite and this plate was quite good. From the selection of four cheeses, our favorite was the Epoisse, a soft, strong-flavored cheese that was perfect with the toasted bread and a sip of Muscat.
Next, dessert, coffee and espressos. (Xani was, as usual, pleased with the small spoon that comes with the espresso - she LOVES tiny silverware!).
A slight service mishap here as we ordered a peach and berry cobbler and were served a Hazlenut Praline Mousse instead! At this point we were all too full and... "happy" to care very much. We also ordered a selection of ice creams (our five choices: Tahitian vanilla, chocolate, citrus creme fraiche, caramel, and a mango lime sorbet), all delicious and served in a gorgeous silver bowl, and as a special surprise they brought EP a tiny serving a bread pudding with a candle to celebrate her special day!
Hazelnut Praline Mousse
Birthday Bread Pudding
One more treat lay in store-- our server came by with a towering serving of pink, fluffy COTTON CANDY! This was especially exciting for Xani, who has always had a weakness for cotton candy. Along side came a tiny dish with some homemade marshmallows and other little cookie-like treats on it.
Overall, it was an incredible, delicious, and very special meal from 2941. We recommend it highly if you have a special occasion or are just looking for somewhere fabulous to dine! It was a great 25th birthday for EP!
X & E