A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Friday, January 14, 2005

Vidalia

I think Michael's post about Vidalia sums it up, sort of. And by sort of, I mean not at all not exactly. I think my impressions of the restaurant changed while I was on the metro, thinking about my other fine dining experiences and how this one compared. I've been to some pretty swank places, and since Vidalia is one of those "legendary" DC restaurants, I expected more.

My appetizer: A "Shady Lane Salad." The restaurant should rename it the "Chef Salad for Ponces." It was nothing special, really. There were all kinds of goodies advertised--candied ham, herbs, sweet onions, etc.--and none of them save the onions made the dish even slightly noteworthy. Thank god it was restaurant week--that salad goes for $9.75! I am not paying that much for a chef salad a quarter of the size I make at home.

My entree: Winter Fluke served with a "spicy" crayfish sauce, accented with andouille. The combination just didn't work together. The fish was flaky and well cooked, but totally bland. The sauce was great but didn't bring out the flavor of the fish at all. And there was barely enough of the sauce to accent. I would have served a meat over the sauce, or maybe a more assertive fish. Alternately, I would have served the fluke with some citrus and some greens. This is a restaurant where no entrees are under $20--and at that price point, this entree would not be worth it. Wish I had gone for the cassoulet.

My dessert: Lemon Chess Tart. Okay, it was yummy. I can't hate on it much.

The service: was obnoxious and pompous. Especially annoying was our waiters upsell to Michael on the wine, actually bringing over a bottle of the stuff in an attempt to get him to buy a $12+ dollar glass (Michael did buy it, and loved it). Methinks I'm being a little over critical--but that is my way.

The highlight of the evening? The cocktail onions in my gibson. They were huge and I loved them. Of course, the place is called Vidalia--so the onions better be good.

Vidalia looks like a nice deal during restaurant week--but then you see the menu, where many of the dishes have 4-10 dollar add ons. Ridiculous. I can understand some items (those featuring truffles, foie gras, or the like) being additional, but when half the menu is like that it is just annoying.

Will I go back to Vidalia? Maybe. But only if I hit the lottery or go on an expense account. Otherwise, I don't think it is worth it.

(NB: This is not to say I had a bad time. I really enjoyed the company. But something about the restaurant just didn't vibe with me. Alas.)

Edited to add: Michael's review definitely covered his experience. My thoughts were slower in coming. Apologies if there's confusion in the contrast.