Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PS 7's

*Post by Angela.
Here's a question for all you foodies:  When entertaining guests, either visiting or new to the area, do you take them to tried and true favorites?  Or do you seek out hyped-up hot spots you've been meaning to try yourself?  Mark and I tried the latter approach on Friday night, when we headed to PS 7's, on the corner of 8th and I Street in Chinatown to meet an old buddy of his who had just moved back to DC after a long hiatus.

PS 7's is number 66 on Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants List for 2010, and has recently been getting a lot of press for its creative cocktails, so we thought it would be a fun place to hit up after a long and stressful week...The service was good, the company was great and the drinks were fantastic.  But the food - while pretty creative in theory, and not necessarily bad in practice - could have used a little help.  Bottom line?  I'd go back for Happy Hour in a heartbeat, and I might be convinced to give the food another try, though Mark and I would both order very differently.  But I think I may just take my next guests to Oyamel.

Click below to see what we ate!

We intentionally arrived at the restaurant about 15 minutes before our 7 pm reservation in order to sample a couple of famed D.C. mixologist Gina Chervesani's creations.  The bar was already super-crowded with the happy hour masses, but despite being slammed, Gina spotted us standing around and warmly handed us a couple of drink menus.  I got the gnome water, with Hendrick's gin, cucumber water, lemon, and lavender syrup.  I really loved my drink.  It was light and so, so refreshing - the perfect drink for warmer weather.

Gnome Water

Mark got the sun and Sand, with rootbeer crusta, fresh orange, Brugal rum, and vanilla.  He liked it a lot (think Creamsicle), but I don't think it was quite as good as mine - although I gotta say, I'm a sucker for any beverage with cucumber.

Sun & Sand

Mark's friend showed up right on time, and we were seated and greeted by our quiet but friendly server, who was quick with a smile and recommendations.  When the bread basket arrived at the table, it looked like it could be great.  Unfortunately, the taste didn't quite live up to the aesthetics - all the bread was a little dry and dense.

The appetizers were better, but still had some flaws.  I started with fried oysters, with grapefruit segments, shaved fennel, and a citrus gastrique, as did our guest.  The oysters were fried really well - crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside.  And I really liked the concept of the dish - I love citrus and I have almost inappropriate feelings about shaved fennel, and these lighter elements did balance nicely against the fried main attraction.  But the whole thing was too lightly seasoned (if at all), so the overall dish came out a little bland.  Honestly, a sprinkling of salt would have totally elevated the dish.

Fried Oysters

Mark got the House-Made Petite Hot Dogs with pommes frites.  He thought these were good.  But on a plate like this it shouldn't be the pommes frites that stand out the most.  The dogs were cute but forgettable.

House Made Petite Hot Dogs

For my entree, I ordered the special, pan-seared opah with quail eggs, kumquat, and pork belly.  I liked this a lot - it was a pretty dish, and the opah was very fresh, with a perfect sear (although again, could have stood a little more seasoning).  I loved how the little quail eggs exploded with gooey, yolk-y goodness upon the slightest pressure, and the pork belly was nice (as it almost always is).  It was a little insubstantial, but I was satisfied nonetheless.

Pan-Seared Opah Special

Mark got the pork loin stuffed with a mixture of leeks, spinach, bacon, and Parmesan, and served with a sherry pan jus.  He was really unhappy with his dish, and thought it was completely underwhelming.  While he didn't love the pork, his main complaint is that he wished there were some sort of accompanying side.  I liked the bite I had, but wasn't blown away by it.  (Mark's friend got the rockfish with leeks, mushrooms, cauliflower and pastis, and liked it a lot).

Stuffed Pork Loin

Finally, Mark finished his meal off with the cookies and milk (chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal).  The brown-bag presentation was a nice little touch.

Cookies & Milk, presentation

The three cookies were warm and washed down nicely with a bit of milk.

Cookies & Milk

Our friend got the chocolate Guinness brownie, which was topped with pomegranate grenadine, chocolate crumbles, and a Guinness reduction.  Mark had a bite and shockingly said that it was a little too rich (due in part to the pomegranate).  Our friend seemed to like it okay, though. 

Chocolate Guinness Brownie

He also asked for a side of ice cream, a request our server was happy to accommodate.  The ice cream probably helped with the richness of his brownie.

Side of Vanilla ice cream 

The meal may have had its flaws, but it ended with a nice touch - complimentary chocolate truffles!  They were good, but a bit much for me.  Mark, being the chocolate monster he is, appreciated them more.

Complimentary Chocolate Truffles

Absolutely go to PS 7's for the cocktails - they are as creative, refreshing and delicious as advertised .  Did I mention that we also downed "The Cure" (Miller High Life, Domaine de Canton, and ginger), "Master & the margarita" (Milagro, lime, apricot, marigold tea, and citrus salt), and the seasonal punch (don't ask me, at this point, I was having trouble remembering Mark's name)?  While PS 7's may have earned its place on the Top 100 on the merits of its drink menu... the food?  Needs to catch up a little. 


  1. Great review! I too, love drinks with cucumber, so sounds to me like you made a great choice. =) Sorry the food was a bit underwhelming. The dishes certainly looked pretty at least.

  2. Thanks, Lindsey! I think the problem was that we were really excited about how creative the dishes looked on paper, and then the execution was just a bit off. There's potential there, though...

    The cucumber drink was amazing. I may try to recreate that little gem at home.

  3. Any place that makes a Bulgakov reference on its drink menu deserves a visit, I say. Once dry april is done, I'm there.

  4. Yay! I can't wait for dry April to be done! Gnome waters all around!

  5. Who is that skinny tied d-bag in the Gnome Water shot checking into PS 7's on FourSquare?

    I've said too much.