September 3, 2009
Obelisk is nestled in between the flashy restaurants and bistros in the lovely Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. If it weren’t for the small overhang with chipped letters bearing its name, you would walk right past it without thinking it was more than just someone’s home. Obelisk has made a home and restaurant, and vise versa. You enter into a small entryway and slide back a tiny door a step right into the restaurant. There is no hostess stand and formalities are tossed aside, you’re immediately welcomed as a guest coming into someone’s home in and shown a seat at one of the fifteen tables.
You’re handed a delicate menu that opens to a folded paper with the day’s menu on it. The menu changes so often they don’t bother printing a menu, and you should never expect certain things. Some things are easier to choose than others, sometimes all dishes offered sound lovely, while others sound a bit more adventurous than you may be comfortable with. The beautiful thing about bringing someone with you is that each course only has three choices, so you can try most of the day’s menu in one meal.
The bread is a great hint at what the meal will be like. You can already tell by the simple yet delicious flavors of such a basic staple of a meal that what will follow won’t disappoint. Even the thing bread sticks, which are kept in the middle of the room in a plain tin bucket, which one of the three waitresses grabs them out before delivering them to you, have a distinctive taste, very suprising for a crispy string of bread.
Very quickly the antipasti dishes being arriving. Like the rest of the menu, I’m sure they change almost, if not, daily. Ours began with a cheese very similar in taste and texture to a buffalo mozzarella. Then came the pickled eggplant, with an intriguing sweet and sour taste to them. Next was one of my favorites of the night, fried artichokes. Crispy, soft, and oh were they salty and absolutely delicious. Next was one of frank favorites, lamb and pork meatballs. Their sauce was sweet and very unique. Next up were mushroom and onion croistinis which did not disappoint.
Frank joked that it was a trying-new-foods-marathon for him. He ate so many things he was never even tried in his entire life and I never thought I’d see him try, just in the first course. The great thing about how quickly new food would find its way onto our table is that we never felt bad for not finishing things. In fact, we didn’t have much more than a bite or two of each dish, really.
For our second course he had the Ribollita and I went with the Beet Ravioli with Walnuts. Ribollita literally means “reboiled” in italian, and the dish takes three days to prepare as its a minestrone with a few added ingredients re-made several times. It was delicious and I had to prevent myself from stealing it from him. My ravioli was very good as well, and reminded me, in ways, of the pumpkin ravioli I had when me and Frank had visited Brassarie Perrier.
The servers were delightful to speak to as well as watch. Only three were needed to keep this place running completely smoothly, and they danced around the small townhouse like well-trained ballerinas, never missing a beat.
Like I’ve said before, Frank is generally not a bit adventurous when it comes to food (although this meal really broadened things) so when he’s already tried something I’m a bit sheepish to try, it definitely give me the push I need. So we decided to share the rabbit with procuitto and pesto wrapped inside, and I must say, it was good. I can’t imagine trying it anywhere else, but it was very good.
All of the restaurants we’ve gone to and neither of us had ever done a cheese-course. Maybe its my allergy to milk, or that neither of us really drink wine, but we’re just not cheese people. It was fun to try though, and the sweet tomato jam served with it was sweet and delicious!
The perfect end to a delicious and satisfying meal. The chocolate raspberry cake with fig leaf ice cream was amazing. The cake was amazingly “fudgey” like a brownie, but without being heavy. I had little idea what to expect with the Plum Infusion with Cardomom Ice Cream, but it did not disappoint. Perfectly sweet without being bulky or heavy, the perfect way to end a meal.
In the end, it’s not a cheap place to eat (at $70 a person without drinks) but I can honestly say it’s worth it. I feel it’s impossible for me to find anything wrong with it. I would make a trip to washington just to visit Obelisk again, and love every minute.