Monday, August 22, 2011

Restaurant Review: Vidalia

Over the last few years I'd heard so many great things about Vidalia. When I learned summer Restaurant Week (RW) for DC had been officially announced, I quickly made my reservations and had Vidalia in my top 3.

I ended up meeting an old friend there for lunch on a Friday afternoon. When I walked up to the door, I opened it and proceeded down a flight of stairs to the restaurant. Not really a fan of restaurants that are underground but it was fairly well lit, despite not having any natural light.

Prior to going, I'd perused the menu and was happy to see most of their usual appetizers and entrees were being offered for RW. I don't like when restaurants severely limit their options or create special dishes just for RW. It's happened before that I really liked something and went back to have it again but was told it was only something they had for the week.

Moving forward, I was seated at a small 2-seater table with my friend. As soon as I sat down the waiter came over to take my order. He came over another 3 times, while we were both clearly trying to decide one what we wanted. Eventually, I just selected something because I felt so rushed.

For the appetizer, I had the Berkshire Pork Posole. It definitely wasn't at all what I expected. It had the potential to be good if it had been seasoned adequately. I added salt and pepper in hopes of saving it, no luck. Next I had the Cornmeal Crusted Catfish. Fried catfish is one of the few fried things that I eat and also cook, so I know what I like. I figured it was Southern style, fried catfish so it had to be good right? Yeah, not so much. It also lacked taste and I ended up leaving half of it on my plate. I will say the crayfish and andouille sausage that was underneath the catfish wasn't bad, at least it had some flavor. Lastly, I the red velvet cheesecake came out. I love, love, love all things red velvet so I hoped this would redeem an already lackluster meal. That was a negative. The dessert was a small round piece of dry red velvet cake (it was actually pink) with a round, fluffy piece of cheesecake, which was more like a tasteless whipped cream sitting on top.

By this time I was ready to go and before I could say anything, the waiter was there placing our check on the table. Crazy thing is we weren't even just sitting there being squatters because we both had to get back to work. Guess he was in a hurry to turn our table, so much so he stepped on the back of my sandal as I was leaving. I turned around, no apology nothing.

Saying I was disappointed in Vidalia would be an understatement. It was even more so because each of the dishes were so nicely plated, proving looks can definitely be deceiving. Too bad such care didn't go into the recipes themselves. See the photos below. The photo on the far right was my friend's rib dish. The meat was very tender but also lacking in the taste department.

I wonder if Vidalia's former head chef was the driving force behind their success. I've heard nothing but great reviews about his new restaurant, Rogue 24, which opened this summer. Hope it's better than Vidalia, but then again, I'm fairly certain it has to be!


1990 M Street, NW
Washington D.C., DC 20036

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