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[personal profile] attilatehbun
(Or, Why Atti Is Not A Food Reviewer)

As I mentioned last week, I went to Art and Soul this weekend. Art and Soul is one of the restaurants of Art Smith, who you may recognize if you are an obsessive Top Chef watcher. Basically he was adorable and fantastic and charming and his food looked fucking delicious and I wanted to lick my tv screen all the time except that would be gross and dusty and generally disappointing. Also it is hard to see through tongue smears, no lie.

So I knew he had a restaurant in DC, but I hadn't managed to get around to actually going for a long ass time, and finally I was like, "THE SO! WE ARE GOING! CHOP CHOP OPEN TABLE NICE SHIRT MOVE IT."

No, scratch that, it was fucking amazing. First things first, the atmosphere was lovey, the service was absolutely top-notch, and everything was very reasonably priced. (Especially considering that between the two of us, we had two cocktails, two appetizers, a salad, two entrees, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, two espressos, a dessert, and a scotch.) Blah blah blah ONTO THE FOOD

I started with a "country fried quail" appetizer, because I apparently was a cat in a previous life and love to eat teeny tiny birds. I am not usually one for fried poultry, but I make exceptions for quail, because teeny tiny bird. And this was fried so beautifully, it was so crisp and lovely while the meat was still so tender. And it had some kind of unbelievably sour pomegranate sauce on, and sour = the way to Atti's heart every time. The tartness of it (rather than a sweet) balanced the richness of the leg meat and, just. Guh. I would have eaten several platefuls. Granted, after about two bites I had to give up ALL MY DIGNITY THAT I SO PRIDE MYSELF ON because realistically it was just impossible to eat that thing with a knife and fork like a person, it had to be picked up and bitten into and little bits of fry stuff went everywhere, but I did manage to get some of it back by restraining myself from licking up all the remains of pomegranate sauce. Mmmmmm sour pomegranates.

[[The SO had pork belly confit, and I stole a bite, and it just melted in my mouth with such a mellow flavor, and the apple butter on it was just incredible.]]

We split the pickle salad, and I have to say that was the only thing I was kind of disappointed in all night. Partly that was my own expectations, what with hoping for a salad that was entirely pickled things and receiving a mixed green salad with the pickled veggies sprinkled throughout, and partly that was because the pickled veggies were not pickled particularly interestingly. Basically they were just briney. Which, fine, but I can do better. However, the salad DID introduce me to pickled rutabaga, which I need to try to make like four weeks ago so I can eat it right the fuck now, and served me a beet that I ate and did not hate! Also, the buttermilk salad dressing was pretty good, and normally I do not like any salad dressing beyond oil and vinegar. So, not bad, just kind of underwhelming.

The cheddar cornbread, however, was not underwhelming. Not underwhelming at all. I shoved every piece we didn't eat in the SO's takeout box because I need to figure out a way to replicate it so I can eat it every single day. I am drooling right now just thinking about it.

For my entree I had seared scallops in a bacon red-eye gravy, over collards and buttermilk mashed potatoes. OH. MY. GOD. So good. I love me a good scallop, and these were some damn good scallops. I'm not sure I've ever actually had a scallop that was cooked that well. The bacon gravy was the thing of true beauty that only bacon gravy can actually be. Taken on its own, it was way salty, but when taken all in one bite with scallop/collards/mash it was exactly perfect. And the collards. Oh man the collards. I wanted like, a bucket of those collards. I know collards are not exactly the most difficult thing in the world, and I make a mean batch of collards myself, but oh lord were those just un-fucking-believably good. They weren't too salty, they weren't mushy and over-cooked, they weren't hard and bitter and undercooked, they were simply perfect. The ONLY complaint I have about the plate was that it was Soft on top of Soft on top of Soft. There was very little variation in texture, and the over all mouth feel was kind of a mush. Now, admittedly, I like a good mush, and it's not like I couldn't tell that was how it was going to be when I ordered it, but. Still, fairly minor thing.

[[The SO had a lamb shank over brussels sprouts and white cheddar grits. I loathe grits so I did not taste those, but he was very impressed with them. I did have a bite of the lamb, which just fell away from the bone and was rich and delicious and did not taste fatty at all, and considering the fat content of a shank, that's impressive. The brussels and the young carrots tasted like they had been pulled out of a magical lamb stew. Fantastic.]]

My dessert was a plate of teeny baby cupcakes, because I cannot turn down a cupcake no matter how stuffed I am. There was a red velvet cupcake, a lemon cake cupcake, a spice cake cupcake, a carrot cake cupcake, and some sort of weird crunchy tarty cupcake thing with a raspberry inside. I loathe carrot cake, so the SO got that one and he said it was pretty good. The crunchy raspberry thing was AMAZING. Kind of like a doughnut-y taste, but without all the aspects of doughnut flavor that make me hate doughnuts? The crunchy part on the outside was a nice textural break, and the raspberry inside juiced the whole thing up. The spice cake was fine - I don't normally like spice cake but I enjoyed this one, so - but the red velvet cake--

Okay, I need to break here for a second to explain that red velvet cake was invented by angels and magical fairies and filled with sweet delicious crack and given to humanity for the sole purpose of showing us what true happiness is. Okay? Okay. This red velvet cupcake? Was probably the best goddamn piece of red velvet cake I have ever had in my life. I would compose a fucking ballad to that piece of red velvet cake if my talents lay in that direction. I would throw it a goddamn ticker-tape parade. That piece of red velvet cake was joy on a plate. Full fucking stop.

ANYWAY. At this point I felt like I was going to pop, and when we left I had to stand outside for a extra ten minutes than I normally need because I needed to compose myself and long story short (HA) I am so so going again. So going.

And thus ends the proof that Atti will never write food reviews because "Amazing" has just taken a massive beating and fled for the hills and will not allow itself to be used in such a fashion ever again. Whew.


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February 2016

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