We visited Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan soon after it opened and made the grave mistake of not showing up hungry. Sure, I enjoyed the beet pie appetizer and a couple of cocktails, but left most of the menu unexplored.
From the moment our meal began last week, all I could think was, why the heck did I wait so long to come back?
Start with goat cheese and beet mountain pie (named by the Washingtonian as one of DC’s best vegetarian dishes) and the burrata, kales, hazelnut, apple & tamarind. Featured along with the recipe by Joe Yonan in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago, this sort-of-salad will knock your socks off. The kale is fried to a decadent yet delicately thin crisp. Hazelnuts and burrata add to the dish’s richness but apples and a tamarind dressing bring acid and lightness in to balance it all out.
The much-touted 5 grain risotto is a staple on Mintwood’s menu, although the accompanying flavors and vegetables rotate seasonally. I opted for the spring vegetable composition instead and was presented with a tender bounty – carrots, peas, fava beans, fiddleheads, artichokes, ramps, and more – served over a morel puree that’s intensely mushroomy while also light and frothy.
You must order a side of lentils du puy. Cooked to pop-in-your-mouth firmness in vegetarian broth, these tiny brown gems are flavorful in their own right. In the chef’s hands, they are also an excellent vehicle for delivering extraordinary levels of sweet cream. This was the best dish of the night, and possibly the best lentils I’ve had.
Gratinéed potatoes were also satisfying – crispy, creamy, and dreamy – if a tad oversalted. This was the only dish that went sliiightly over the edge.
The dessert menu at Mintwood Place tends to be filled with familiar classics (there’s even a baked Alaska that arrives at the table en flambé). Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Our key lime pie with speculoos crust was as sweet and tart and fresh as should be:
Warm apple & almond croustade à la mode had a flaky crust, caramelized apple filling and homemade vanilla ice cream to top it off. We (er, I) licked the plate.
Mintwood Place stands out because Chef Cedric Maupillier has a gift for making every ingredient all that it can be and every dish the best version of itself, while managing to avoid the pitfalls of excess. Go see for yourself.
1813 Columbia Rd NW