Monday, May 17, 2010

A Little Late: Ris

I'm a little late in getting this one up; it may have had something to do with Ris' beverage selection being just as impressive as their dinner menu. Yes, it was lazy Sunday for me after a Saturday night in which C predicted I would be asleep by 10:30 (our dinner reservation was at 8). Yes, I'm a grown up now, which means one cocktail plus two glasses of wine equals an early bedtime for me.

The trouble started when I spotted both a cocktail and wine by the glass that could not be passed up. The cocktail, the 'Seaberry Sage', sounds like something that deserves an XL TGIFriday's style glass (a la Snooki; oh dear, how do I know this girl's name?), but Ris' version is much more nuanced and delicious. Blueberry Vodka is mixed with citrus (I believe lime juice) and sage on ice - finally, a cocktail that does not include simple syrup amongst its ingredients, but is nevertheless flavorful. I also found another Willamette Valley wine (loyal as I am to these vintages - when you find something that works for you, stick to it), the Adelsheim Pinot Gris, that will now be counted amongst my summertime favorites. (FN1)

I continued to have issues choosing as I diverted my attentions to the dinner menu. I seriously considered ordering three appetizers. If they had been the size of my soft-shell crab, just about right; if the size of C's large crock of pork posole, way too much. The lemon salt-crusted soft-shell crab, served with onion jam, was tasty, though I'm not sure what the salt crust added. This version was lightly-fried and perfectly cooked, but I could not discern any flavor or tenderness gained from the crust. My favorite component on the plate was the schmear of fava bean puree. C adored his pork posole, which was hearty and was served with zesty salad of radishes and microgreens. I thought it lacked a little flavor, though the preparation was quite nice.

The same held true for my lamb shank. Truly, the tender meat melted in my mouth, but that was the limit to the flavor, meat. In addition, the enormous portion was not built to withstand the length of time it took to eat it - the pita withered in the juices, and the yogurt served on top warmed quickly. I did enjoy the spinach that soaked up the braising juices, however, and as I noted, the meat was perfectly cooked - without hesitation, C was waiting to finish off the rather large portion. He enjoyed his Cowboy Steak (seriously, the words ribeye and bone-in are like crack to C), a special for the evening, but noted that hands-down, the lamb shank was the better dish.

Again, dessert was yummy, but probably not something to write home about. We split the strawberry shortcake sundae, including sorbet and white-chocolate lavendar ice cream. It was refreshing, and very berry-ee. It's no Tackle Box blueberry pie though.

Ris made for a nice night out, amongst GW parents, notably dining for the most part without their graduating offspring. Such guests included one guy wearing these shoes:
I don't know if they are spinning shoes or not, but they are shiny, bronze, and velcro, so needed to be recorded for posterity's sake. The food at Ris was good, but not great. I think a more proper outing may be Meatloaf Monday (had a sample at TON and it was fabulous!) or happy hour, with tasty-looking temptations ranging from $4 to $6.30.

Notta bene - unlike most restaurants in the West End, which tend to be in hotels, Ris is in the bottom floor of an apartment building and does not have valet parking, but there is an open-air lot across the 23rd street with a reasonable weekend flat rate of $6. It's very convenient, but fills up quickly (though the attendant was nice enough to move some cars so that we could squeeze in).

(FN1) It was so good, I had to order two glass, which brings up another point. I noted that the wine and cocktail lists sported prices averaging around $11. These prices are hardly excessive,  but most of the main courses average $22. This all seems a bit imbalanced. Perhaps it's just me - wine ordering is always a problem when C and I go out for dinner a deux. He does not drink, and well, I do have some restraint, and realize that I will never be able to polish off a bottle myself and make it upright out of the restaurant's door(s). It's always an economical dilemma when I want two glasses of wine.


Angela said...

Man, we've been looking at going to Ris since it opened! Thanks for the really thoughtful review - I think we'll still end up going eventually, but now I feel comfortable setting it a little bit further back on the list...

Christine K. said...

You are allowed to take your unopened bottle of wine home in the District. So go ahead and order it.