October 22, 2009
Whew… it’s been a bit hectic as of late, but I’m excited that I was able to try a new restaurant/bar this week. I heard about Tavern Law in Capital Hill a few months ago when they first opened. Shrouded by mystery and a “speakeasy” label, I had to see what the hubbub was all about. Tavern Law is crafted in honor of a time during prohibition when there were dark basements and back rooms dedicated to the art of a mixed drink and the bartenders that made them. I have to say that I am a sucker for a sweet little old-timey cocktail glass. Seriously, they could pour milk in there and I would think it was the fanciest thing ever. Love.
The decor is dark and a bit quiet. There is a lot of dark wood and leather seating. Shelves filled with old books. A fantastic old refrigerator with the big stainless steel handles and glass windows sat behind the bar. I would love to have one of those some day. Probably not the most energy efficient machine I’m guessing, but super cool! So, to get things started I had a glass of sparking rose’ in a sweet low wine glass. Delish. The menu is short and sweet. The portions are small and perfect for sharing. We tried the Truffle Risotto with celery root and the Pork Cheek with beans and plum. Mercy… I love a good pork cheek dish.
The service was fantastic and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable; here is where it fell short for me. Salt. I like salt, but I don’t LOVE salt. I think I have a fairly common palette in that way. So, when you have a dish that is alarmingly salty, it sort of ruins the rest of the fun. I was hoping for a party in my mouth with these dishes. They were beautifully presented. My mouth was watering when they arrived, but both were too salty for me. Truffle is a strong flavor and a little seems to go a long way, so had that dish not been so salty, it may have been delightful. My second cocktail is a favorite of mine. Lillet on the rocks. Very refreshing after the salt lick that was my dinner.
I feel a little bad giving this place a hard time about the salt, but these are talented chefs. Even though they’ve been getting lots of press (including a recent write up in our old friend Gourmet), I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to try Tavern Law again. They do have a small upstairs space through an old steel door and you have to call up before they let you in. I wonder what the code word is. Water? They had a private party the night I was there, so I was out of luck.
I’m off to the Rolling Huts in the Methow Valley this weekend, so I’ll have another post soon. Off I go…
hori hori dig dig!