Mintwood Place is one of the most interesting restaurants I’ve been to in a long while. Very casual, but the food is serious and oh so good. I was not surprised to learn that the Chef is a semi-finalist for a James Beard award and that he recently nabbed honors as Best Chef Food & Wine Mid-Atlantic.
As is often the case, the appetizers were the best and most unusual part of the meal. We started with a burrata and kale salad, which looked nice enough, but tasted great. The kale was crispy, the burrata was creamy smooth and the sprinkling of apple and hazelnut on top added a bit of crunch. Really awesome.
Having read reviews online beforehand, I knew we needed to try the goat cheese and beet mountain pie even though I had no clue what it was. What it turned out to be was the most unusual beet dish I’ve ever had. Though it sounded unappealing from the description our server gave us, the four of us devoured it in seconds. As my son said, Arthur Bryant’s wasn’t the only restaurant up in arms when Hostess stopped making Wonder Bread, because this “mountain pie” featured two pieces of Wonder bread enveloping the goat cheese and paper thin slices of beet. Somehow the pie is closed up and the bread is toasted, sealing in the ingredients so the goat cheese can melt without oozing out until you slice it open.
Photos on the internet showed that the Tagliatelle Bolognese was a treat to behold, and the real thing was just as enticing. The noodles had been wrapped tightly and topped with a mound of Parmesan cheese that made my husband think he should order it despite the fact that he doesn’t eat meat. Instead he got the best of both worlds: the chef made him a vegetable pasta with a myriad of vegetables, and the same mound of grated cheese.
We happened to go to Mintwood on a Sunday evening, which is Porchetta night. I’ve always shied away from ordering this Italian preparation of a pork roast because of the huge ring of fat that envelops the actual meat, but the server convinced me that it wasn’t overly rich, and that I wouldn’t regret it. So I went with his glowing recommendation and wasn’t disappointed. Yes, there was that huge ring of fat, but just like with a big piece of prime rib or a hunk of steak with the fat still on, you can just cut that part away and dive into the middle….which I did, and it was fabulous. The meat was pink in the middle, which made it moist and flavorful. A mustard-flavored charcuterie sauce accompanied the dish, but I preferred it unadulterated. The dish came with one side and I chose the Brussels sprouts. Roasted with ham, they were a bit smokey for my taste, but otherwise flawless. The better vegetable was the roasted broccolini, with glazed bits of nuts and onions.
Though we had had more than enough to eat during this last meal of a marathon weekend of eating, we couldn’t resist trying one of the desserts. The key lime pie and the pecan pie were hard to pass up, but we went for a brownie sundae, whipped cream on the side. Good choice–the ice cream was full of chocolate chips and the brownie was chewy and fudgy.
Mintwood’s decor deserves a mention as well, though it’s a struggle to describe. It fits right in the Adams-Morgan section of DC, epitomizing a neighborhood restaurant where patrons can have a drink and nibbles at the bar, a full on dinner, or a hungover brunch on a Sunday morning. The wood walls and tables offer a nice contrast to the tile floors, and the rusty machine parts displayed throughout the room give the interior a funky look.
There’s nothing casual about the service. Servers are well-trained, friendly, capable and knowledgeable.
If our evening was any indication, this hot spot of the moment in DC is not going to fade anytime soon.