Monday, August 04, 2014


Ripple is one of Adam's and my reliable standbys -- we always enjoy our dinners there (under both Logan Cox and Marjorie Meek-Bradley) without its being quite exciting enough for us to crave it regularly.  But we hadn't been in awhile, so a last minute late Sunday dinner seemed like the perfect excuse to head up to Cleveland Park.  Ripple was half-empty, so we were seated immediately.  (Plenty of Opentable availability had suggested that this would be the case.)  I've never understood why Ripple hasn't caught on more in the DC dining scene.

Silky creamed cauliflower soup with saffron, blue crab, cucumber, and radish was excellent, with spots of sweetness from raisins (a classic with cauliflower), subtle vegetal brightness from the cucumber, and a nice portion of crab.  I was surprised by how much I liked a simple-sounding salad of heirloom tomatoes, housemade ricotta, peaches, and cashews.  The cashews were a great, unexpected addition to the more standard combination, and well-seasoned, quality ingredients made for a winning dish.  My only complaint was that there weren't more peach slices; I loved their sweetness with ricotta (see Rose's recent salad) and as a foil to the tomatoes' acidity.  The smoked eggplant agnolotti was a bit disappointing, because the tasty pasta, chanterelles, and cheese (burrata?) were overwhelmed by a perfectly-fine-but-still-just-pesto sauce.  I would like to see what a subtler sauce (and/or more eggplant outside the agnolotti) would have done.

The better of the two entrees was the delicious, Louisiana-evoking head- (but conveniently not tail-on) seared shrimp, flageolet beans, fried okra, tomato, and basil.  (Adam wanted some of the sauce on a grilled cheese later.)  A vegetarian entree of crispy squash blossoms (breaded and stuffed with creamy chopped chard, I think?), quinoa, wild rice, beets, and a Greek yogurt tzatziki was good but needed a bit more salt and acid.

Ripple does a great job of offering interesting, unusual wines by the glass, and we enjoyed our server's recommendations of Fernando "La Torrazza" Erbaluce and a not particularly oaky Chardonnay.  (Staff at Ripple is always very nice about offering a taste of the by-the-glass wines for the indecisive; we opted for full glasses of these two out of three that we sampled.)

The dessert menu had a few tempting options, but nothing that I absolutely had to have, and for the first time, I was there both at an appropriate hour and with sufficient appetite to check out the limited-hours, bar-only grilled cheese menu.  We paid our dining room check and switched to bar seats.  Any pretense of a healthyish dinner went out the window when we decided to try two sandwiches (although we did take half of each as leftovers).  I subbed out the proscuitto in the rich e rich for the seasonal bluberry jam, which sweetened the combo of morbier and truffle butter on brioche enough to satisfy both dessert and grilled cheese cravings.  Adam's choice of the Greek-themed sandwich (I think it was called the Helen of Troy?) of feta, olive tapenade, tzatziki, cucumber on ciabatta (sans bressoala) was tasty but clearly the inferior order.  (I am a master grilled cheese creator, thanks to diligent practice.)  A dry Wandering Aengus cider was a nice light accompaniment.

My leftover grilled cheese made for a welcomed mid-morning snack today.


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