1789 Celebrates the American Chestnut with a special tasting menu.

I had the pleasure of dining at 1789 on Wednesday night to try their latest seasonal 3 course, chestnut-inspired tasting menu only available this month. Last month the tasting menu offered apple-inspired dishes. In December there will be a new 3 course menu for just $40. I look forward to hearing what Executive Chef, Dan Giusti comes up with to entice our palates. I was fortunate to be able to sit at the best table in the house, Table No. #14, which is situated in the John Carroll Room (main dining room) which captures the city’s history with prints from George Washington’s days as President, early maps of the city,  American antique furniture, and has the best view of the elegant historic fireplace. On a windy rainy night, sitting in front of the warm fireplace, I couldn’t have chosen a better place to dine.
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Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras

The first couse, the Chestnut Soup is a thick, smooth, hearty soup with an earthy flavor and is topped with a small bite of crispy duck confit, maple-glazed chestnuts, and foie gras. The dark chestnut colored soup itself isn’t very flavorful until you delve into the duck confit and the sumptuous velvety foie gras (“fattened liver” usually of a duck or goose). I don’t eat too much foie gras due to its heavy fat content, but it is definitely a delicacy with its rich and slightly musky and intense flavor. I think it could be described as slightly metallic tasting or minerally.

The second course is a delicous EcoFriendly Farms Roast Poussin (young chicken) with Chestnut polenta, Brussel sprouts, Surryano ham, and red wine jus. Kudos to the Chef for sourcing his poultry from EcoFriendly Farms, a local Virginia farm located near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, VA known for providing DC area restaurants pasture-raised meats. The roasted chicken was deliciously tender, moist, and juicy with superb flavor. The chestnut polenta was light, fluffy, and smooth – a perfect accompaniement to the chicken.

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Roasted Poussin

I have never truly tried brussel sprouts until this week but I have learned that they originated from Belgium and are in season beginning in August through March. With the prevelant stigma held by people of all ages that they are gross, I had no motivation to try them. I tried them for the very first time at Againn, the new British gastropub the previous evening and was quite surprised about their mild flavor and dense texture. It just proved to me that I could like almost anything, if prepared well. The roasted brussel sprouts on Chef Giusti’s chestnut tasting menu were deliciously tender yet firm with a hint of smokey flavor from the Surryano ham. Evidently, S. Wallace Edwards & Sons’ Surry Farm makes the special ham named after a mix of Surry, Virginia and Serrano ham which is made from spotted Berskhire pigs, pasture raised with no antibiotics or added hormones.

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Chestnut and Pear Sundae

For dessert I was served the Chestnut and Pear Sundae with warm Comice pears, chestnut honey, roasted chestnut ice cream and candied chestnuts, a creation of Pastry Chef, Travis Olson. I was totally disappointed by this dish. It tasted very dry and way too starchy. I did some research and found out that chestnuts have twice as much starch as that of the potato – no wonder. The pears tasted okay but the flavors of the ice cream, pears, and chestnuts did not mesh very well at all. I will be happy if I don’t ever have to eat that again. I tried a small bite of the Gingerbread dessert of my dinner companion and it was a bit dry, but flavorful. It was certainly better.

Want to learn how to create this seasonal menu at home? Join Rammy nominated Executive Chef Dan Guisti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson for a cooking class, followed by a 3 course lunch including wine pairings Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 11 a.m. Cost is $75 per person. 

Addy: 1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007-2627
tely: (202) 965-1789

www.1789restaurant.com

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2 Responses

  1. […] – Offers a monthly prix fixe menu for $40 but RW could be an opportunity to try out some of Dan Giusti’s Rammy nominated […]

  2. You do realise that you were eating an imported chestnut , as there are no fruiting trees left in the US.
    Our old Lindsay plantation (the Mount) at Falls Church, had two live american chestnuts behind the house. I tried to get the research people to take cuttings before they were destroyed, but they were not interested. They are gone now. Sad.

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