Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Artwork along the staircase
Posh, calm, and collected - MBK ain't playing with their ambiance. Mad respect for them.
I really like the concept:
"Located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Frederik De Pue’s Menu MBK is a local market, casual bistro and six-seat chef's table, offering three ways to enjoy the best seasonal ingredients and cooking that the Mid-Atlantic has to offer." 
We dined at the "casual bistro" that should really be classified as more semi-casual, but maybe one day I'll have an opportunity to try out the chef's table (lol $65/person thanks but no thanks).

Hanging lights!
Like I said, these people are masters of ambiance. This was taken from the general bistrobar seating area; there's a bar and a comfortably decorated (yet still noticeably upscale) lounge behind the open area.

Looking down!
And there's a glimpse of the gourmet mini-market on the first level of the restaurant-building-whatever-the-whole-shebang-can-be-classified-as.

Sorry, I guess I couldn't get enough of those lights. 
Black lentils with grapefruit, pistachio, and mint
Calamari, grilled & fried, with peperoncini, lemon confit, and charred garlic
According to Grace, the calamari was much on the salty side. My couple bites felt okay, but I could see how it could get overwhelming in a whole dish. 

Complimentary bread with bacon bits
We were wondering why our waitress had randomly asked our table if anyone had any bacon allergies, but huzzah for unique complimentary bread! (Not bad, but also not as light and fluffy and buttery as they looked).

Crispy cod with lemon parsley remoulade and fennel
The crispy cod is the chef's interpretation of fish & chips (respectively, the dense, fishy filling & the fried eggroll skin). Considering I just had a Japanese version last month, this was also quite interesting.. but unfortunately also on the salty side. At least the mildy bitter fennel helped to offset the saltiness. 

Sardines with cucumber and olive oil
Josie said she enjoyed her sardines, but the fact that they were presented on a flat, dark gray slate and embellished with thin curls of cucumber automatically ups the cool factor.

Pistachio cake with lemon, olive oil, and candied cherries
Tapioca with cucumber lime, lemongrass, and rhubarb
The desserts were definitely interesting to say the least - you can judge just from the looks that they're not your conventionally sweet, All-American cakes. You can't really tell what you're eating upon the first bite, but  the quirkiness of the flavor grows on you as you continue eating.

Overall, the execution of the three-tiered concept was pretty neat, so what saddens me is the food (of the Bistrobar at least - I believe the chef's table usually garners rave reviews). I think my eyes left more satisfied than my stomach. You can give me pretty lights and pretty food, but the most important factor is if the food lives up in the gustatory sense. If I come back, it'll probably be for free wi-fi lounge chillin' or fancy kitchen dining (a girl can dream).

Menu / MBK
American (New), $$$
405 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20004


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