Chef/Management: Jeff Tunks/Management Company that owns TehnPenn, Ceiba & DC Coast
Location: Downtown DC - Mt. Vernon Square
Cuisine: Cajun-Creole French Contemporary
Review: September 2005
Acadiana is a new venture from the DC Coast, TehnPenn, Ceiba people. Jeff Trunks is listed as the chef in charge now, but I don't know who really is the chef cooking in the back? Compared to its sister restaurants, I find the food to be the most detailed, best tasting and presented - yet they do it all in the same price range as the other restaurants - which is relatively low for a nice restaurant.
Decor: The restaurant is very modern, located on the corner of Mt. Vernon square, K Street and 9th street it is corner of a new building - so when you walk in - the restaurant itself is long with an open kitchen through the center. Cool greens, modern contemporary decor, bamboo'ish placemates, with the oh so now popular 'specific dishes for specific dishes' - meaning a set of three cups to serve the trio of soups, a glass plate with 3 indentions to hold eggs, which served the deviled eggs. You'd be surprised how many chefs/managers shop at crate and barrel like purchasing places. Our hostess and waitstaff were very nice, attentive and casual, making the evening relaxing - with a feeling of 'being taken care of'.
Menu:The menu was full of buttery, oyster, creole goodness (which can be viewed here on their website) and it was very difficult to decide what to eat. So what my husband and I do in this situation is order multiple courses of appetizers. That way we have the opportunity to experience a lot more the menu - without being filled up too much on just an appetizer, entree, dessert evening.
First Course: Trio of Soups: Classic Turtle Soup, Gumbo, Oyster Rockafeller($9) & Trio of Deviled Eggs: Crabmeat Ravigote, Shrimp Remoulade & Lauoisana Choupique Caviar($7)
Second Course: Jambalaya Risotto
Third Course: Duo of Pies: Natchitoches Meat Pie with Black Pepper Butterlik Dipping Sauce and Louisiana Crawfish Pies($9) & Baked Oyster & Fresh Artichoke Gratin with Cured Country Ham, Parmesan and Brioche crumbs($11)
The soups were good, but the Turtle Soup was amazing. I know that I will come back to just have that soup. The deviled eggs were great, but the dish they were served on made it difficult to 'delicately' enjoy the eggs. The jambalaya risotto is actually a side dish, but we asked for it as an appetizer and they were happy to accomidate. It wasn't all that great - with an over abundance of gumbo file - and little to no meat, all I had was a strip of chicken meat in mine. We were too crazy about the 'pies' which were just deep fried dough, with some veggie filling, all of which were creole in tasting, but none of which tasted all that different from the others. One tasted like bell peppers, like creole flavored tomatoes with some crabfish in it. I think the lack of 'meat' in the pies was probably due to the fact that the appetizer was only $9. The gratin style oysters was fabulous! It was so rich with buttery, parmesan and brioche - it was amazing. And so cheap for what you got!! We were actually so full from the appetizers we did not have dessert. A poor decision in my opinion - but I can eat twice the amount of my husband and he was probably right to skip it. They were quite generous in their appetizer portions and made our multiple appetizer meal quite pleasant.
Highlight Experience: When we went the city apparently has not given them permission to have their valet on the south side of the restaurant - a most likely and good spot, considering it is the easiest way to get to the restaurant without having to drive about the block, dealing with all the one ways and such with Mt. Vernon square or the funky intersection of L, K, 10th, 9th, Massachusettes and New York Avenue. After driving around each of these streets we finally figured out how to get to the one way street traveling west on the north side of the restaurant were the valet was - making us about 15 minutes late for our reservation.
This is not the weird part though...when we left the restaurant and turned our valet ticket in for our car to be retrieved about 10 minutes went by and I heard a loud 'running' sound - you know the one that a car makes when it is in reverse and traveling well over 20 mph...yes, if you haven't guessed it already - it was the valet, driving our car in reverse down the long, high-modernist block from 10th street to 9th street, in front of the valent station - all at about 20-25 mph. We were horrified...and all we could do was laugh. I guess he didn't want to take the 15 minutes to drive around the one-way streets either.
But as you can tell this is not necessarily a nice 'fancy' restaurant to be comparted to the Inn at Little Washington, but a clean, pleasant restaurant to enjoy some good food and enjoy it with a pretty cheap bill. It is also near tons of clubs and nighlife, so it would be a great date or start the evening off spot, because the inside and out looks so impressive. I look forward to going back and having some more of that Turtle Soup and the Oyster Gratin.