Zach's dad and J- have been in town for the weekend and took us out to dinner at Farrah Olivia, one of the top restaurants in the DC area. Zach and I had been there for restaurant week last year and, as it was the most delicious meal I ever had, I was very excited to go back. I put on my new black dress with new emerald green heels adn we were off.
The dining room of Farrah Olivia is serene, with huge windows on two sides and a faint African feel to the decorations as a nod to Chef Morou Outtara's heritage. We sat down and the hostess handed us thick, mint green menus which I could have read all night without eating a thing and still gone home happy. Through some coordination, we finally all decided what to get an ordered and then the fun began.
First came a bread basket and small plate with four toppings: horseradish cottage cheese, curry butter, bok choy pesto and tomato paste. I went back and forth between the four but finally decided the curry butter was my favorite. It's golden yellow color and distinctive curry flavor that tasted just like my favorite curries from Denmark won me over. The bok choy pesto came in a close second though with the clean Asian flavors reminding me of summer and our CSA.
Next came a tiny amouse bouche on a straw skewer. Mushroom cornbread with a bacon creme and slice of grilled shrimp. It was a perfect bit with the earthy mushrooms setting off the sweet shrimp and the creamy sauce balancing the cornbread.
Highlights of the first course; my ying and yang hot and cold pea and carrot soup, J-'s salad served in a crisp cone with shockingly yellow dressing on the side and Zach's deconstructed escolar sushi with soy pearls and wasabi powder.
The main event, as with all the courses, came with narration as the servers explained all of the intricacies of the dish. My braised beef rib was perfection. The meat was so tender that it fell apart as the merest touch of a fork and the mushroom puree and bbq essence made the dish taste like my grandma's pot roast times 50, comforting but intense at the same time. Zach's pork tenderloin was juicy but even though the mole perfectly balanced the chocolate, cumin and spice, I was reminded that I just don't like mole. He does though, and loved it.
Farrah Olivia really does save the best for last. Dessert was fantastic. Zach and I had a bit of negotiation but settled (meaning I prevailed) on the mango soup. The dish came out in a shallow bowl. It held a layer of bright orange mango soup with a perfectly shaped quenelle of coconut sorbet with flecks of golden toasted coconut on top. Circling the soup were little jewels of mango and lychee. When I say that this dessert was a triumph of the chef's, I am not exaggerating. We were all well and truly speechless.
At the very end the kitchen sent out a little plate of sweets with a tiny truffle, pineapple jelly and pine nut cookie for each of us. I didn't really need anything more after the mango soup but of course I had to try each. The pineapple jelly sweet but covered in a sour sugar; a very grown up sour patch kid. The pine-nut cookies were crisp chewy and delicious and reminded me yet again of a cookie my grandma used to make, only better (I feel rather guilty typing that one out).
All in all it was a perfect dining experience. Not exactly for the faint of wallet but if you'll be in DC for a few days and want to splurge on one nice dinner, Farrah Olivia is the place to do it.