I had high expectations of not having to use this reservation at all. My hope was to go to Rose’s Luxury which I had been dying to try but they don’t take reservations. I got there at 5:27pm, they open at 5:30pm and the line was probably over 70 people already. I waited a bit seeing how fast it would move and still hopeful we could get a table, eat and I would make my 10:30pm flight. My friend Mike had taken the train from Philly to meet me for dinner and we ended up having to bail on Rose’s, as the likelihood of it working seemed close to nil and I headed to The Source to meet him.
On my way, he sent me a text saying: Sam, Wolfgang Puck, seriously? I never expected that from you Mrs. Food Obsessed!
I know, I know. I would normally never book a WP restaurant as I tend to run away from restaurants owned by Chefs who are famous to the point of having frozen foods with their brand and jarred sauces. But I had been told by a friend who loves food that The Source was different, that it was actually very good and with a nice vibe. The couple behind me in line at Rose’s also told me it was good, maybe they just said that because they wanted to jump one slot on the queue.
As we sat down in a very plain and corporate room and read the menu, I seriously considered running out and trying to go somewhere else. But we didn’t have much time before I had to leave for the airport, so we decided to give it a go. But the fact they had lettuce wraps in the menu was really freaking me out, as this was not PF Chang’s and food has moved on from those over 10 years ago. But, sometimes happiness can be the difference between expectations (low at this point) and reality. Sadly, not this time…………
What we ate:
Tiny dumplings with pork belly, black vinegar, chilli oil, ginger and cilantro leaves: they were absolutely beautiful and looked promising but the dough was a bit too al-dente and the filling too dense and heavy. Mike also found a nice piece of bone inside which made us more wary of our other bites. To be fair, they grind the pork at the restaurant and there is always a risk of that happening. They were very apologetic and lovely about it and removed the two dumplings from our bill.
Shrimp and lobster shumai with Shanghai curry and Lobster-Uni emulsion: these ones were tastier but once again, the filling was too dense and when with the creamy “Shanghai Curry” (really?) Lobster-Uni (I doubt there was any uni in it) sauce was a bomb of heaviness that could easily induce a heart attack.
Noodles with mushrooms: this was a vegetarian dish and sounded delish and looked amazing when it arrived at the table. Sadly, the mushrooms were way too garlicky which masked their flavours and the noodles were very thick and chewy.
Hot oil poached halibut with charred ramp puree, xo asparagus fried rice and Szechwan chili sauce: one of the best dishes but the fish was too smothered in sauce and the fish was slightly dry.
XO Lobster fried rice: the best dish of the dinner. Nicely flavoured rice with good chunks of lobster.
In sum: I should stick to my rules in the future and intuition…..as this felt like glorified PF Chang’s. To be fair, I had a list of other places to go in DC but most were closed Monday nights. I didn’t want to go back to Grafiatto to try something new and Mike didn’t want Japanese. Zaytinya would have been way better or even going back to Casa Luca.
At least, we had the brains to skip dessert and walk to Dolcezza for some amazing gelato. Their salted caramel, which really tastes like dulce de leche is out of this world!
The Source DC http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3941
Dolcezza Gelato DC http://dolcezzagelato.com/
904 Palmer Alley NW (between H and I Street NW on 9th Street) and many other locations
Washington, DC 20001
+1 (202) 733-2879