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Star Fusion

P J Clarke’s

 

 

 

Imagine my surprise when I found out that PJ’s is a chain and not a one of a kind restaurant?  Looking at the assortment of Virginian oysters and the lone New York Blue Points (that I was certain they had on hand because they were readily available all around DC) this place seemed right at home a short walk away from the White House and the other buildings housing the elite of the US Government.  The chilled seafood was on ice directly in front of the section of marble bar where I was seated with the best Manhattan I’ve had in years.  Lobster, crab legs and oysters.

I decided upon the Shooting Point Salts, Broadwater Salt, and Chincoteague’s.  I had three each plus another type I can’t remember.  Amazing! They were so clean and fresh and shucked to perfection.  There were no shell fragments to worry about.  I should have had a vodka martini to wash them down with but my bourbon was killer!

The house made tater tots with house made spicy ketchup was perfect bar food to watch the Olympics.  The service was outstanding.  My bartender even gave me a bunch of the bourbon soaked cherries I enjoyed so much in my drink.   A look at the menu made me wish I hadn’t eaten so much earlier but not to worry.  I used to work and live in the DC area and have family and friends there.  I will return better prepared next time with an empty stomach and a full wallet.  After about an hour in this place, neither will leave in the same condition!

 

 

 

16th and K streets NW

Washington, DC 20006

www.pjclarkes.com

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

 

When I checked for a reservation to this fine establishment just 500 yards from the White House lawn, I was speechless when they told me they were booked through Monday night.  It was Saturday!!  But after looking at the menu online, I decided to fake it.  I took a cab over and upon arrival asked the host if they served their full menu at the bar.  He said they did so I walked right over to an open seat and ordered a Manhattan.  I’m sure my dinner had arrived before some of the people who had reservations!!  Lesson 23; take chances.  Just kidding.  I don’t have a list of lessons.

I cozied up to the bar and was greeted by a very friendly and patient bartender; despite the level of activity and the hour.  It was busy both in the bar area and the dining area.  I’m sure you’ve experienced a bartender near the end of a shift.   It is not pretty.  I couldn’t see the TV from where I was sitting and the glimpses I gained were of a Nationals game and not the Olympics.  No matter.  I was in a grand rom with marble pillars and an eggshell color with high ceilings and the sounds of people enjoying a night out on the town.

I was full from a day of culinary adventures so I limited my selections to the King Crab appetizer and the Dover sole in a brown butter sauce.  No shell cracking here.  The shells were split and partially removed requiring only the cocktail fork to remove enormous pieces of the sweetest crab.  The purified butter was chilled too.  But the star of the how which made me the envy of the crowd was the Dover sole.  It was prepared tableside!  There is something special about tableside service and I don’t care what it is.  I have felt this way about tableside guacamole in Dallas, Caesar Salad in California, Fajita’s in Arizona or this sole in DC!

The waiter took his time meticulously pulling away first the head, then the fins and lasts the tail of this incredible fish.  Since it was cooked with the bone in, the flavorful goodness of the marrow was inside the delicious flaky flesh.  He reassembled the four strips and then drizzled a lemony creamy brown gravy over the pieces.  He was impressive.  I was delighted.  The taste was out of this world.

Joe’s originated in Miami Beach, Florida in 1913 as a stone crab place.  In 2004 through a partnership, they opened in Chicago as a steak place.  Then in 2004, the opened a location in Vegas a Caesars Palace.  This location is a relative baby, opening in 2014.  Washington is a culinary cauldron of some of the finest restaurant in the United States.  Think about it.  It is home to embassy’s from around the world and is crammed with the elite in politics and business.  Joe’s is a simple name for a place.  I agree.  It’s simply fantastic!

 

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steaks and Stone Crab

750 15th Street NW

Washington DC, 20005

www.joes.net

Catch 15

 

 

 

People make mistakes.  Errors occur everywhere in every profession.  We don’t like them.  Sometimes we don’t like to point them out.  Most people hate conflict.  But to me, how a restaurant responds to a mistake is in some cases as big a part of the experience as the food and service.  Perform well in crisis, and I will give you another chance.  Catch 15 absolutely earned that.

I won’t get into the error.  I will talk about how great my seafood Alfredo was.  It was loaded with squid, shrimp and a few scallops.  The house made pasta was just the way I like it and the pasta was perfectly sauced in a creamy lemony sauce.    It wasn’t swimming in it like you find at most places.  And then it happened.  An error.  I pointed out the issue with the waiter who alerted the manager who came right over.  At that moment, it felt like I went from being a customer to a celebrity.

Needless to say, the service was exemplary.  The food was delicious and I will absolutely return to this place.  I just want to encourage people to remember.  We go out to eat for many reasons.  I’m an excellent cook and I can make many of the great meals I’ve enjoyed out at home.  In fact, I make my own pasta!  I go out to try new things and for the experience of dining out; the atmosphere, service, elegant facilities, and incredible food.  But remember this.  Sometimes an error can turn a good experience into a great one!!  Easy to see how it earned the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award in 2016.

 

Catch 15 Italian Kitchen and Oyster Bar

1518 K St NW

Washington DC 20005

www.catch15dc.com