Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election night at Marvin

What better place to be in the center of all the election night excitement then at Marvin, which is located in the heart of the U Street corridor on 14th street in DC. The pulse of the city was intense that night with the the hopes of Obama being elected. And the comfort of Belgian/ Southern style food was just what we were in the mood for.

The facade of Marvin was very unassuming and I found the style of the restaurant to be a refreshing change to the other eateries in the area. We were quickly escorted to our table and sat down towards the back of the restaurant. As I took in the surroundings I immediately realized how loud the room was. So much so that it could ruin a night for a new couple looking for a romantic dinner for two. Trust me, David and I love our romantic dinners but we were there to research and to experience the excitement in the air that night so we did not mind the noise.

After looking over the wine list we were thrilled to see that they were serving one of our favorite Alsatian wines. Domaines Schlumberger "Le Fleur" Gewurztraminer so without further ado we promptly ordered. Our server seemed perplexed and inexperienced with wine, which was not a good sign. Five minutes later he returned with the unfortunate news that they were all out of the Schlumberger so my next choice was a pleasant sounding French Bourgogne Blanc.

In the meantime we ordered the frisee salad and the shrimp and grits for an appetizer. As we waited for the wine our appetizers arrived. Let me get this out right away. The shrimp and grits were heavenly! The smooth, cheesy, creaminess of the grits had the consistency of perfect polenta and the shrimp were perfectly cooked and seasoned. I selfishly did not want to share with David and was tempted to order another. We also shared the frisee salad, which was lightly dressed as it should with perfect small cubes of bacon. Sadly the most important thing that was missing was the poached egg, which in my humble opinion is an absolute must for frisee salad.

Our frustration grew as we waited for our alternate wine. Finally after finishing our first course our server arrived with a substitute Pouilly Fuisse', since they were also out of the Bourgogne Blanc. I appreciated the fact that it was supposed to be a finer wine, and that he gave it to us for the same price as the less expensive one that we ordered. I was dubious because I have not had many Pouilly Fuisse's that were worth remembering. To me they can come across as flat and austere as many other French whites that we have had. It's simply not my style.

For our main course I ordered the burger served on a brioche bun with bacon. David had the chicken and waffles, which regretfully I did not order as well. The burger was well a burger. It's hard to screw them up. And with all of the other things on the menu I wish I had been more adventurous. I lived in Oakland California for many years before moving to DC so I am very familiar with Chicken and waffles. I was transported straight to the south with their version. The chicken was perfectly crisp on the outside and joyously succulent on the inside. Although the waffle set a new standard it was almost overwhelmed by the heavenly chicken on top. And what a treat it was to have chicken and waffles with real maple syrup. I think it was a first for me.

All in all we enjoyed our experience at Marvin but the waiters seemed a little overwhelmed and a little inexperienced, which can easily take away from a dining experience depending on where you are. The great comfort and sincerity of the food and the casual atmosphere has definitely left me intrigued and I feel the urge building to return. I just need to remember my hearing aids and patience as we leave the house.

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