Wednesday, April 27, 2011
A Watershed Moment
Yes, this title was far too obvious, but bear with me now. I have my reasons. It’s Spring, after all; the time of renewal and refocusing; the time for burgeoning ideas to blossom and become reality. It’s time to open new restaurants, and launch new websites! Yes, indeed it is. We’re coming full picture now, aren’t we?!
For my last post as the “mysterious Mark Felt”, I thought our mock service lunch liaison at Todd Gray’s (and Ellen Gray’s – this is a true labor of love - so we should give credit where credit is due) Watershed was the perfect occasion. If the name fits, after all.
Watershed is located in the new Hilton Garden Inn in NoMa (about 7 or 8 blocks north of Union Station, in the middle of the developing New York Ave. federal government complex). It's a great concept - familiar, comfortable, but delicious food with quality, yet affordable ingredients, served in a hotel restaurant - a hotel at which "real" people (i.e., bureaucrats like myself, on our government per diems) stay. I know you've been there - in your not-exactly-the-Ritz inn, and the only dining options are something like a Houlihan's, or an overpriced and overcooked steak in the hotel bar. This is the solution to such dilemmas. Watershed is casual enough to make the average DC hotel guest (we're talking middle income tourists, government business travelers, your parents?!) feel at home, yet sophisticated enough to challenge a palette; precisely what a hotel like a Hilton Garden Inn needs. Actually, precisely what hotels around the country need - let's start a trend here.
Now, here's the part where I have to admit that I'm a dumbass and I somehow deleted the pics of all of the delicious cuisine we enjoyed on the house. So, I'll try to give you a quick rundown of why you should make a stop (there's plenty of mouth-watering pics on the website if you don't trust me) - here's a few reasons - the crispy and flavorful Po'Boy (or Rappohanack River Oyster Sandwich, as it's properly known), the newfangled Wedge salad with roasted tomatoes and subtle blue cheese, the Paprika-spiced potato chips (I'm also addicted to house oyster crackers served alongside the soups), the Baltimore Seafood Stew (okay, I didn't actually try this - I merely drooled over the table next to us as they enjoyed), and the desserts. Yes, there were desserts.
For me, though, our pleasant experience comes back to the comfort factor. A room full of natural color and light, welcoming textures, and simple yet flavorful dishes. As life changes, these types of the experiences, the kind where we are able to be ourselves, are those that we gravitate towards.
In that spirit, let me sign off one last time, and welcome you to visit (and follow!) the real me at my new website, Hungry with Children. I'm excited for what the future holds, excited to write about the inspiration I find in the every day, and yes, still very much excited about all of the food I will continue to enjoy and blog. For now, adieu (pssst, that's your cue to meet me on the other side).