I first went to 1789 when my now husband proposed. It was a magical evening. The fireplace was roaring in the main room. Love was in the air. The food was *amazing*. You can imagine why we decided to come back.
It’s a cozy restaurant that’s good for birthdays and other celebrations. As adventurous as we are most of the time, we’ve been three times and gotten the same entree three times. Both of us. Normally, I’d say, “BOOOORRRRING.” But their lamb is that good.
We went to 1789 for their “sizzling summer special,” a $40, 3-course dinner (lamb and steak are an extra $8). We invited another couple to join us, and of course they were sharers. Nothing is worse than going to a good restaurant and people won’t share. We even got a small taste of another dinner! One of them ordered something different.
After we ordered, we got an amuse bouche. Delicious! The bite had a sort of a ceviche of rockfish with herbs on a mini tomato on a slice of French bread.
Beef Carpaccio hard boiled quail egg, garlic chips, fried capers and pequín chili oil – The beef carpaccio is quite out-of-this-world. They are generous with the quail egg, garlic, capers, chili oil and salt. I’m not usually a salt fan, but they put the right amount on to sufficiently flavor the beef. I’ll admit I had appetizer envy.
Spiced Northern Neck Cucumber Soup marinated Chesapeake Bay rockfish, summer vegetable slaw, lime and basil – Clearly the loser of the evening. None one at my table really remembered my soup. It wasn’t bland or bad, it just had a funny flavor that I couldn’t really put my finger on. It tasted kinda odd. Not like it was off, just not a flavor I was expecting, and not necessarily in a good way.
Linguini with Clams Pacific geoduck, sun gold tomatoes, and parsley – it was perfectly cooked with the clams and geoduck with some tooth but easily chewed.
Rack of Lamb crisp zucchini blossoms, roasted eggplant puree, pattypan squash, Cerignola olives and white anchovies – Now, their rack of lamb is really why you go and what you should order. Their winter sides so far were better than their summer ones (I’ve been once in winter, twice in summer). Winter boasted beans in a rich herb and fennel broth. It paired beautifully. The zucchini blossoms were a pretty close second. They crunched with a warm soft center.
Chesapeake Bay Rockfish – crispy pork belly, sun gold tomatoes, local white corn, and Belgian endive – The 4th person at our table isn’t a lamb fan. I won’t hold it against him because I got to taste a different entree! The fish flaked apart with ease and was moist and buttery. The flavors blended nicely. I liked the lamb better, but it was a mighty good fish.
Black Mission Fig Gratin – jasmine rice pudding, vin cotto, toasted hazelnuts – This wasn’t the most visually pleasing dessert, but it was far from ugly. The person who ordered it wasn’t as much of a fan, but he didn’t realize that he wasn’t that into figs. I thought it was pretty tasty.
Honey Fritters – yeast leavened fritters, honey vinegar glaze, fleur de sel, peaches, raspberries and vanilla ice cream – I win! I got their amazing ice cream (yes, even vanilla), fresh fruit, and fritters! The fritters were so light and fluffy you wouldn’t believe they were fried. The honey vinegar glaze had just enough sour to make it dance on your tongue, but sweet enough to bring it home.
Chocolate Cherry Crêpes – chocolate filled crêpes, dried bing cherries in brandy, cocoa oatmeal crunch and apricot chocolate chip ice cream – Their ice cream is among the best I’ve had. The apricot and chocolate chips made a party in your mouth. I was glad I only had a bite, though. I was mighty full from the lamb.
Peach and Blackberry Buckle peach sorbet, Santa Rosa plum sauce and crystallized lemon thyme – I need to learn how to make the crystallized lemon thyme. It was one of the most unique and intense flavors I have ever had. I could eat a dessert completely of these. Bottle them up and make them into a drink; I would buy stock in that company. Oh, the buckle was pretty tasty too – the right amount of sugar to let the fruit shine.
In the end, the evening was a delicious success. My dessert made up for my lackluster appetizer.