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Zola and Depeche Mode Night

Last night Rob and I joined rebelzero at Zola for their Restaurant Week deal. The decor there is really nice, lush and sleek at the same time; red-velveted booths get a peephole into the kitchen. We blew the whole “bargain” idea right away with a nice bottle of what is, on my scale, really good wine: St. Joseph, Jean Luc Columbo “Le Prieure.” (I do think it was worth it, though.) Right away a plate of complimentary tidbits—like tiny sausage omelette tarts—appear on our table. Next was a basket with cheesy crispy flatbread, accompanied by a ramekin of butter. Well, I figured, I guess we’re supposed to butter the flatbread, unnatural as it seems. All the hip restaurants are encouraging unusual combinations like this, right? Later we found that under the flatbread there were regular rolls that were probably the intended targets of the butter. I wonder if any of the passing waitstaff were stifling giggles as they saw us trying to smear butter on the crisps. :)

For starters: Virginia Farmhouse Cheddar and Pimento Pepper Fondue, Asparagus and Jumbo Lump Crab, and Maryland Sweet Corn and Mussel Chowder. For main course: I had a Lobster Roll, Rob had Lamb, and rebelzero had Caramelized Delmonico Steak. The menu wasn’t very specific about the Lobster Roll; I knew that it involved mint and almonds, and I imagined something like a spring roll. It was more like lobster salad in a long bun, and even though the lobster was very good, it was just too close to Subway‘s seafood sub for my comfort. [I’m surprised to see that Tom Sietsema described it as “a first-class lobster roll that’s missing only the sand beneath your feet.”] I decided that lobster should be prepared as simply as possible, with the diner tearing off big chunks of white meat and maybe dipping them in melted butter. None of this lobster roll, or lobster ravioli, or lobster mac ’n’ cheese. For dessert: I had Chocolate Bombe, Rob had a Creamsicle (an orange/vanilla meringue-ish thing), and rebelzero had a Peanut Butter Trifle. All were very good.

When we got to the Black Cat, the Depeche Mode party was already in full swing. The stage wall featured projections of music videos from a Depeche Mode DVD; it wasn’t synched up at all with the music actually being played, but it was amusing to have the familiar FBI Warning as a (temporary) backdrop. As expected, some songs I recognized and others I didn’t. It probably would’ve been good to eat lighter and earlier than we did; red wine and a Chocolate Bombe don’t make for a light-on-your-toes feeling. At first I rested to let the Bombe settle and regain some momentum. Almost any other music wouldn’t have been able to pull me up from the squishy sofa along the back wall, but Depeche Mode did. I had no choice, really. It was lots of fun. I wish they held this more than once a year. No, Rob does not and did not dance, but I’m glad he got to come; since he had to work this morning, we left “early”, around 1 a.m., I think, to make the walk -> metro rides -> car ride home. (Not to self: it’s winter now. Dress for it.)