Woodward Table, McPherson Square

DonRocks, on 18 Apr 2013 – 12:02 PM, said:

I wanted to get the drinks out of the way so I could focus on one particularly outstanding item. In fact, it may be the single best bagel-based dish I’ve ever eaten. On the bar menu, the most expensive item (except for the burger) is The Fishmonger’s Board ($15.50). If you like bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon, this is the platter of your dreams. Enough for two people to split, this wooden plank is a bounty of smoked, marinated, and house-cured fish and shellfish including two types of salmon, two types of scallops, two types of spreads, smoked trout, an array of wonderful pickled vegetables, and four mini-bagels, conveniently split. It is nothing short of astounding, wonderful, and I hope and pray for everyone that Woodward Table is featuring this on their new Brunch menu – they began serving brunch on March 31st. Do yourself a favor and get this, and be hungry when you do. It’s fantastic! And I finished every single crumb.

Seven months after I previously got The Fishmonger’s Board ($15.50) at Woodward Table, I ordered it again, this time positively raving about it to my young dining companion on our way to brunch. It was this dish that pried us away from Mintwood Place, our other consideration.

While still a good value at $15.50, it’s no longer a “bagel-based” dish; the four mini-bagels it came with in April have shrunk in number to two. And while the amount of seafood is about the same, the quality of what was on the board went noticeably downhill, and it was essentially now a fork-based dish for which the precious two mini-bagels are best conserved as food-pushers – they need to bump this back up to four bagels, even if it means leaving out some seafood.

A pile of small, flavorless, hard (surely defrosted) shrimp typified what was on the platter now, which went from being “the best bagel dish I’ve ever had” to “an ordinary cold fish platter.” There was smoked trout, pickled herring, smoked mussels, mini-scallops in what seemed like a hollandaise-based sauce, etc., but there was nothing special here, there were too many vinegar-based items on the board, and it was not a dish I would go out of my way for (which I did) – what a disappointment this was.

I had it alongside my Diet Coke ($3.25, cheerfully refilled without me asking).

The better of the two items ordered was the Kentucky Hot Brown ($14.75), a regional sandwich (that I haven’t seen in the DC area) with turkey breast, several generous strips of Benton’s bacon, grilled tomato, and mornay sauce, served closed-faced (this is traditionally open-faced) on “toasted brioche” which Matt astutely recognized as “French toast” which is what it was. Highlighted by the piping hot mornay sauce, this was a natural topping for the turkey, and was a very satisfying sandwich – knife-and-fork all the way.

The disappointment of the Fishmonger’s Board outweighed the pleasant surprise of the Kentucky Hot Brown, but this was still a good, satisfying brunch. At around 11:30 AM on a Sunday, parking at 15th and H Streets was surprisingly difficult, and the food took longer than expected to arrive, so this turned out to be a longer expedition than either of us had expected.

Woodward Table is maintained in Italic, but mentally downgraded by me, just a bit.

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