Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor

Last week I headed out to National Harbor to try some of the restaurants in the Gaylord Hotel (above) and spend a night in one of the suites.

I hadn't been to National Harbor before, and was delighted that it was much closer than I had imagined. There's a quick bus from the Southern Ave. metro, and less than an hour after leaving the office I was across the Potomac and on a mini-vacation.

We began the evening with a cocktail at Moon Bay Coastal Cuisine, which has an amazing looking seafood menu (crab cakes, paella) and sushi menu (a roll with shrimp tempura, scallops and green tea mayo). I had the cherry blossom cocktail, with Bacardi Coco, cherry cordial, cherry puree, lime and chocolate shavings.

From there we moved to dinner at Old Hickory Steakhouse, where Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was hosting a wine dinner. The six-course dinner began with passed hors d'oeuvres like beef carpaccio with lentils and a cabbage soup with mustard ice cream.

The wine was fantastic, especially a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, which was paired with a light watercress soup that featured a lovely quail egg in the middle. I loved the Kobe beef short rib served with root vegetables and a Cabernet reduction that was paired with two Cabernet Sauvignons.

Each dish had such great accents (a pan seared scallop was nestled in an artichoke mousseline, a roasted veal loin was served with an eggplant emulsion), and I look forward to going back and trying chef Wolfgang Birk's regular menu.

The meal finished with a plate of truffles and a cheese course assembled by the maitre d'fromage, Carolyn Stromberg.

After dinner, there was a quick visit to Pose, where we sampled infused vodkas from the infusion bar before heading back to the suite.
The room was lovely, and overlooked the atrium of the hotel. The atrium has the feel of being outdoors, and with lots of greenery and fountains, it's an easy mistake.

In the morning, I had breakfast at Pienza Italian Market (right), which was lovely. As much as I enjoy going out to dinner, there's something greatly satisfying about being able to have grits, eggs, fruit and chocolate croissants in the morning.

After breakfast it was back to the city and straight to the office, but I felt like I had gone on vacation. I'm looking forward to returning to National Harbor when it's warmer, and I can take a boat over from Old Town.

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