PS7’s, Verizon Center

(See the December 9, 2010 Review here.)

Every time I’m at PS7’s lounge, I tend toward the flatbreads and sandwiches; this time, I forced myself to go “main course,” just to see what this crew is up to.

Gina Chersevani wasn’t working on this evening, so I was unrecognized (at first) and sat through some minor service delays. I started with a glass of 2009 Ponzi Pinot Gris ($10) which remarkably retails for only about $15-16 a bottle, figuring it would work well with my first course, an entree of Green Garlic Gnocchi ($22). As I waited and nursed the wine, a super little basket with two homemade rolls and house made crackers arrived, complete with elaborate descriptions by my bartender (back there churning the butter, too, Peter?)

Then I waited, and waited some more, and was wondering why the gnocchi was taking so long. It arrived, and I just bowed my head in reverence: this is a vegan dish, I believe, made with fresh green garlic in the pale green gnocchi, beautifully plated with carrots, beet greens, trumpet mushrooms, beet sauce, and pine nuts. One of the most visually appealing dishes I’ve come across in quite awhile, this was every bit as good on the palate. If you’re a vegan, then you will love this gnocchi (although I’d ask to make doubly sure it’s vegan).

For my second course, I went whole hog and ordered the Steak & Cheese ($34), the most expensive item on the menu, and one of only two dishes priced over $29. Described on the menu as a “kobe bistro filet,” with bresaola, cheese roll, yellow foot mushrooms, and onions, I was certain that I was going to be getting a small portion, and a low-grade cut of Kobe. Not the case, unfortunately: this was plain old Snake River Farms Wagyu, and I have to give Peter a wrist slap for not saying so on the menu – it says a lot about my confidence in PS7’s that I didn’t even think to ask before ordering, but I was pretty sure after bite number one that this wasn’t actually Kobe.

With this dish, I switched to a burlier red: a 2008 Vajra Langhe Rosso ($10) which is a blend of five grapes (and contains, surprisingly, 5% Pinot Noir). The Steak & Cheese was “guy food” to the max, in direct opposition to the gnocchi which screamed finesse and elegance. Slices of Wagyu, arranged on the plate alongside halved cheese rolls, sauce poured all over the place – it evoked Michel Richard’s carpaccio in a faint way, while being coarse and guttural at the same time. For $34, this just wasn’t good enough (as I type this, I’m thinking about what $34 buys you at a Morton’s or a Ruth’s Chris, and this dish is fifty times better and more interesting than just a generic steak, so please take all this in context of Peter Smith and Andrew Markert being two seriously talented cooks, and me being hyper-critical).

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