December 30, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Siren


Without planning it to be like this, my time in DC turned into a little Michelin vignette with dinner each evening of my three night stay at a one star place.


After truly stellar stuff at Bresca, my middle night was spent at Siren, a seafood restaurant within The Darcy hotel from chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride. The thing that drew me to it was simply that it was open on Monday evening which wasn’t the case with many other places in the neighbourhood.


I found the dining room well populated. It’s a fairly classic set-up with stylish seafood bar matched with dark wood and green leather booth seating. 


A comedically large menu was soon brought along with the drinks list including an extensive wine list.


As with Bresca, the menu followed the format of small plates and then large sharers, but also included a broad choice from the seafood bar and a selection of main courses.


Rather than dive in on their oysters, I opted to start with a couple of small plates. Following some advice from my attentive waiter, these were the sunchoke brulee with crisp Brussels sprouts, and the sea urchin with English peas and crab custard. I followed with a main of the fisherman’s stew.


First up was an amuse bouche of squash puree in a squid ink cone. It was pleasant.


The sea urchin dish then followed. It was along similar lines to the incredible uni with wasabi green molĂ© I’d eaten at Pujol. Although not to that standard, it was still a really fresh and vibrant dish with a chilled creamy crab custard and plentiful urchins in a lightly spiced broth.


We then had some fresh flatbread served with olive oil and a tuna pate served in a caviar tin topped with a smoky aubergine baba ghanoush. This was unusual but satisfying.


The next dish was a bit of head-scratcher. Jerusalem artichoke brulee was topped with sprouts, kale and mushrooms. It was seasonal and deeply savoury but a strange combination of flavours and textures. It was thought-provoking but odd.


The main course was entirely more classical with some exquisitely cooked seafood, particularly the outstanding scallops, served in an excellent shellfish broth. With lacy squid ink brittle and lobster dumplings, this was a really enjoyable and high quality dish.


I rounded things out with good French press coffee and a glass of tokaji, having had a couple of glasses of pretty good wine with the rest of the meal.


Siren was a highly intriguing place, blending classic seafood dishes with some more unusual combinations. I’m not convinced that the overall standard was quite at one star level, but it was still really enjoyable stuff and a meal that I’ll be pondering for a while.


<b>Scores</b>
Blythe scores Siren
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16.5/20


I ate: squash amuse, flatbread with “tuna ghanoush”, sunchoke brulee, sea urchin, fisherman’s stew


I drank: Champagne, sancerre, pinot noir, water, coffee, tokaji


I wore: unseasonal linen


Total bill: $157.30


Address: 1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW, DC 20005




Written by BKR