Monday, January 18, 2010

...has no grade-point average

We adults snuck out last evening and left (now) five children to their own devices. Actually, L. was watching the N. Park clan sleep and the boys were doing what monkey boys do at home.

Last night was the final night of the D.C. area restaurant week where a great number of chefs open their places to set-price, fixed menus that usually include three courses and wine for about $30-$40 per person. I guess it’s a chance to control prices whilst luring folks out to new restaurants they’ve never tried. I made us a reservation at Kora in Crystal City which is the new place run by our favorite chef/owner from Farrah Olivia. We talked about the results of this foray on the way home last night and I’ve considered the meal even more throughout today, and it’s only getting worse.

I have no idea what was the genesis behind the new place aside from him needing to close FO when the rent apparently skyrocketed at his Alexandria location. Kora is allegedly an Italian place but the set-price menu didn’t seem to offer what I might consider Italian fare – aside from tiramisu. It’s a bigger venue then FO but the design isn’t anything to write home about; certainly nothing like his last room. The wait staff that we encountered was clearly of the hourly sort, and by that I mean non-professional waiters. FO was full of the kind of waiter that knew the food, understand the menu, and could do more than ‘take orders’ and (maybe) come back. Our group was pretty amateur (the dessert order was lost) across the board. The food was below mediocre and that’s a pretty harsh thing for me to say. I had a seasonal seafood soup (salmon being the season) with bacon bits on top, a mushroom polenta for mains, and tiramisu for dessert. The soup seriously could have come from a carton with some cooked bacon pitched on top. The polenta was a horribly overcooked square that was rockhard on the outside and bit cold in the middle – I imagine someone ‘grilled’ it, but it’s a mystery to me. The mushrooms were a poorly sauteed and poorly seasoned collection chucked on top with a few cherry tomatoes halved around the plate. Dessert may have worked its way up to mediocre but I have a theory that says tiramisu is probably going to always be okay but rarely stunning – they met my theory dead-on. Both the WonderTwins opened with beet salad which at least got “it was good” reviews, and Corey had a lamb shank that he said may have been dead-and-gone for a very long time. I didn’t hear much on the other two desserts around the table but it wouldn’t be enough credit to move everything up to the “we’d go again” grade.

I just don’t get it. If he was going to move (forced to move) why not just re-open FO at the new place? Italian? His style doesn’t seem to even consider Italian as an option and now he’s opened a place (in which there is no way he was at the helm last night) that will not survive until summer, in my opinion. Considering our awe of his fool at Farrah Olivia, the great staff, and the lovely atmosphere it’s hard to believe it’s come to this. Even though the total was a reasonable $190 (w/tip and two bottles of wine) for four adults, Kora is an utter failure in my book. I’m pretty devastated by the whole thing. Word is that he’s looking to open up in the District and if it Farrah O. then I’ll be there, posthaste. If not, he’d have a hard time getting me in the door. For all my readers (!) that loved Farrah Olivia, as of now, it's a goner...

Ah, life.

We are back on for quiz night at the pub this evening. I’ll pass along results.


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