There are certain events or holidays throughout the year that people tend to look forward to in great anticipation: Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, vacations, etc. As a Foodie, I look forward to restaurant week or weeks really. I have a terrible time tracking when it actually happens since there is DC restaurant week, Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, Montgomery County Restaurant Week, Bethesda Restaurant Week, Alexandria Restaurant Week…I have actually happened upon a couple restaurants during various restaurant weeks that I didn’t even know where happening.
During restaurant week, all participating restaurants offer a select three course menu ($22 for lunch and brunch, and $35 for dinner). For restaurants that focus on small plates, you might see a four course meal offered. These deals are unbelievable! If you aren’t taking advantage of Restaurant Week, you are seriously missing out. With participating restaurants who often have entrees that can be over $20 alone, this is the best deal you will find for a classy three course meal in the area (especially that lunch deal!). I once took my team at work to PassionFish during Bethesda restaurant week. Almost all of us chose the shrimp and pineapple red Thai curry as the entree (which is normally $18) so we essentially all got an appetizer and dessert for free.
Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try out restaurants you might typically steer away from due to the pricing. With a set price, the only tough decision is which restaurant to choose. My best friend and I usually pick a new restaurant to check out every time Restaurant Week rolls around. It is one of our best friend traditions.
I chose the restaurant this time: Arroz by Mike Isabella. It was a restaurant that has been on my radar for awhile, but like many small plates restaurants in DC, the prices can really rack up.
So, my best friend (Chris) his boyfriend (Andrew) and myself met up in DC after work on Wednesday to enjoy a good meal, making it a family affair. This is going to be a recurring theme in this blog. (These are the two friends I made the mussels for last week). The three of us love to cook together, eat together, drink together. I am going to nickname us the Hungry Trio.
I had not previously realized this, but Arroz sits inside the Marriott Hotel across from the Convention Center. This was one of the most aesthetically pleasing hotels I have been inside.
This Restaurant Week experience was a bit different than any other I’ve had. Instead of having a more limited menu to chose from, they have a four course pre fixe menu. Each course is served family style to the table. We also started of with a pitcher of rose sangria.
The first course included: 1) gem lettuces with marcona almond, aged manchego cheese, green goddess dressing, and crispy jamon; and 2) herb lebneh with spiced tomato jam, endive, chickpea, and za’atar cracker.
The second course included: 1) fried cauliflower with mitmita lebneh and grilled greens; 2) salt cod fritters with salt & vinegar saison, and sherry aioli; and 3) za’atar smashed potatoes with pimenton aioli.
The third course included: 1) moroccan chicken with preserved lemon, crushed green olive, fried almond, and brown butter couscous; and 2) artic char a la planca (san fried salmon) with charred corn, sumac onion, roasted tomato, and spicy lime tahini.
I forgot to take pictures of this course before we served ourselves.
The fourth course included: 1) chocolate custard with brandied cherries, crispy phyllo, and espresso caramel; and 2) a cookie plate (ginger cookies).
I am not going to lie, this was my favorite Restaurant Week experience so far. Each of us had our favorite dish from each of the first three courses. Chris’ favorite was the gem lettuces from the first course; Andrew’s was the cod fritters from the second course; mine was the Moroccan chicken from the third course. The chicken was boneless thigh meat, which was the most tender chicken I have had in a very long time with this crispy skin. I love that they accomplished both of these aspects in one.
The great news is that Arroz is extending their Restaurant Week special another week through August 26. You have to check it out! Even if you can’t make it during Restaurant Week, the food is definitely worth making a splurge.
Look at this bathroom! (And shameless dress shot)