Métier is simply described on the restaurant website as a French word that means a field of work, an occupation that is someone’s area of expertise and for which he or she has received specialized training. Métier, the restaurant, is much more than just work. Although the chef’s expertise and the staff’s work goes into every aspect of the dining experience, they serve you a long-lasting memory of food-rapture and delight.
Before traveling for a needed getaway to Rhode Island, Peter and I were invited by our good friends to sample an evening reconnecting while experiencing one of the most delectable meals at Métier, Chef Eric Ziebold’s newest restaurant. I was fortunate that my ability to taste had just returned; even though, I still had the unfortunate and uncontrollable symptoms of coughing that I hope did not disturb the other guests.
The evening started with us “metro-ing” to the 7th Street, NW location near Mt. Vernon Square, in between Downtown and Noma (N. of Massachusetts Ave.). The area is undergoing a resurgence so not necessarily the safest place to be at night.
We were standing outside of the restaurant but it wasn’t apparent to us that it was Métier. The exterior was dark and easy to overlook. One had to walk into an alcove to open the door and at first we only saw Kinship written on the left side. Then we saw Métier written on the right.
Kinship, as it turns out is the “less fancy” version of Métier. There’s not a waiting list of months to get a reservation.
After passing through the unassuming doors of the black entryway near the still iffy-area of the Convention Center, we walked through Kinship, Ziebold’s a la carte version of Métier. It’s on the street level. We were directed to a “secret” elevator that brought us to the basement floor where Métier is located and where our friends were waiting. We had hand-crafted drinks, like The American Quarter, which seems to be a version of our favorite Vieux Carré. It has the perfect mix of Ambler Bourbon, Nardini Amaro Bassano, Gran Classico, Cointreau and Orange Bitters. The taste of their appetizer with the lemon verbena granita in a fresh herb consumé served in Japanese tea cups was the most interesting flavors to simulate the Chef’s version of summer. It was perfect on a hot day and that happened to be the last official day of summer. This was all served in the front salon, an intimate French Chateau looking room that could have been someone’s home.
The dinner with wine pairings was exceptional. I just wish I could remember exactly what it was because they’ve changed their summer menu to fall and it’s no longer available on the website. [Be sure to read the Menu Stories about the chef’s inspirations.]
Our server asked us if we wanted to be surprised with the chef’s pics? We all agreed, however, I commented, “as long as it didn’t have sea urchin because the last time I had it at Restaurant Eve it was over the top and unpleasant.” The server said there was one dish that did have sea urchin but it was not the main ingredient and I said let’s go for it. Well, it was my favorite dish!
We have a history with Eric Ziebold’s interpretation of food. CityZen, which was in the Mandarin Hotel, is where we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. It has since closed, but I remember the experience. We had our private dining alcove, the food was superb as was the service and I couldn’t believe Radiohead was playing in the background, which just added to it being one of the best meals, with the only exception being the sea urchin, which coincidentally, I had forgotten that we also had that evening. What is it with chef’s and sea urchin? This time it was perfected. Funny, when the chef came to visit our table, I’m glad I didn’t have this particular recall detail, only that we had a wonderful meal at CityZen and proceeded to thank him for such a wonderful meal at Métier.
I had heard about Ziebold’s new restaurants but it’s rare when Peter and I get such incredible opportunities to experience. Our friend, Adele, had been calling for months. We are lucky for having been the ones chosen to attend. After I broke out the old-fashioned stationary to write our friends a thank you note, which was certainly the very least we could do to express our gratitude, I read this article, The $1,000 Date Night: Had D.C.’s Tasting-Menu Culture Hit a Tipping Point?, about the value meeting the cost of the expensive fine-dining experience. Other restaurants in DC are also testing this market. Ziebold is smart in having two restaurants that offer similar fare but different experiences. You really do get what you pay for.
We were even given the staff’s hand-written thank you note and a bottle each of their home-made vinaigrette with herbs from local farms. We’re going to have to have some friends over to use and celebrate ourselves.
I tried my hand recently at a home-made roasted beet salad. Not bad but I couldn’t compare with the above. Coincidentally, I learned two unexpected things in the process: 1) I didn’t know you could roast beets. I’m so used to steaming them. Roasting only took 15 minutes at 420 degrees and I tossed with mustard ginger and oil, so you can add other flavors. 2) If you freeze the beets, they don’t dye your hands red when handling. I learned this quite by accident. Our fridge temperature needs to be adjusted now that it’s no longer hot outside and consequently, many items inside froze a bit; the beets being some.
Next on the list is making pesto cubes with all the tons of basil from our roof-top garden.