Jamie and I were going to the temple on Valentine’s Day, a too-rare treat now that we have a daughter and have to face Beltway traffic. Roy and Michelle had celebrated a couple days earlier, and had offered to watch Jane for us.
And then it snowed. Just a couple inches—New York would have barely noticed, but it was enough to make the federal government open two hours late Valentine’s Day. And to close the temple. So Wednesday morning I searched OpenTable.com to see if anybody had a table open for 7:00 that night. And, wouldn’t you know it, 100 King had room.
I was hesitant. I like 100 King, but that would be our third time eating there. And we like to try new places. On the other hand, they had a table available at 7:00 that night, and that night was Valentine’s Day. So I made the reservation.
100 King has the best service, bar none, that I have ever experienced. Even if their food were mediocre (it’s not—more on that later), it would be worth it for the good vibe you get. The maitre d’ recognized us from our previous visit, a month earlier. We got a great seat on the second floor by a window overlooking King Street. After the meal, we couldn’t find our coats (it was a CHILLY night, and there were at least three or four coat racks in service that night), so another gentleman, who was neither our server nor the maitre d’, helped us find them. Everybody smiled. When we didn’t order any wine, our waiter offered us each of glass of champagne. On the house. Apparently on the theory that nobody should be without a glass of wine on Valentine’s Day. (We don’t drink, so we didn’t take him up on his offer.)
And then there was the food. The menu is standard French bistro, except that it’s not so standard. Jamie and I rarely loved the food at the bistros we ate at in New York. In our experience, there tends to be something—maybe a reverse je ne sais quoi—unappetizing about bistro food. It’s too heavy, or greasy, or something. 100 King manages to avoid whatever it is that I usually dislike about bistros, and what’s left is simply wonderful.
The restaurant offered a special pre-fixe Valentine’s Day menu; the lamb sounded wonderful, but we are not huge lobster fans, and the appetizer choice was lobster. So I started with a great duck confit, while Jamie enjoyed her French onion soup. (She makes a great French onion soup, but it is so labor- and time-intensive that, in a post-daughter world, it makes a lot more sense as a restaurant, rather than a home-cooked, dish.)
I had a deconstructed lamb pot pie for my main course. The lamb wasn’t Farrah Olivia’s, but it was a good comfort-food dish. Jamie’s scallops were cooked perfectly, however.
For dessert, I ordered the bread pudding that Jamie wanted, and Jamie ordered the chocolate gateau that I didn’t want to want. (I make a mean molten chocolate cake, which is what the gateau is, and I’d had it last time we ate there.) After a couple bites each, we traded. The chocolate gateau is surrounded by a basil-mint sauce that is just strong enough not to be overpowered by the chocolate. The only herb better than basil in a dessert is rosemary, but rosemary wouldn’t have worked as nicely in this dish.
After a near-perfect Valentine’s Day dinner (did I mention that it’s the first time we’ve gone out on Valentine’s Day since we’ve been married?), we braved the freezing wind to get back to our car and back to our little girl.