Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Alexandria, VA 22314
If you're going to eat in Old Town, Cathal Armstrong's restaurants have to be on your list of places to visit. I've tried two of them (Eammon's and Virture Feed & Grain) and today I decided to have lunch at The Majestc. It was a gorgeous Spring day and I had just gone through two pretty harsh days at work so I decided to put some time aside for a nice leisurely lunch of good book and some catching up on my reading I'm reading Catching Fire which is the 2nd book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I can't put them down and they are so much more than just teen reading. And no, I've never read Twilight. Really, no.
I chose The Majestic for lunch because while I was looking over menus for places to go, The Majestic had three of my all-time favorite ingredients in three different courses. They offered a fried oyster appetizer, a pasta dish with morel mushrooms and a vanilla panna cotta for dessert. For the appetizer, I ordered the Fried Local Oysters with what is described as a creole caper remoulade and chives. Besides the slightly pinkish color which maybe indicated some creole spices, I didn't taste the kick I would expect something labeled as creole. The capers seemed to take over the sauce and was more akin to a smoother tartar sauce which worked quite well with the oysters and reminded me of the sauces at Eammon's. The batter on the oyster was lighter than it looked (still no Pearl Oyster Bar like I mentioned in my post about Hank's Oyster Bar) and there was little enough as to not mask the oysters. There were some soggy bits of the batter but overall a lot of different flavors from the savory oysters and crunchy batter to the sweetly tart sauce, made this dish very successful.
For dessert, I got the Vanilla Panna Cotta with a rhubarb passion fruid coulis. The panna cotta was sitting in a rich red coulis with raspberries and blueberries interspersed around the bowl. On top there was a twig of basil and what I'm guessing to be a strip of the peeled skin off of the rhubarb. I didn't eat the basil this time but I tried the strip of rhubarb which was rather flavorless and I wasn't sure of why it was even included. The vanilla panna cotta was cool and creamy without being overly heavy and the vanilla component was just right as to not override the creamy flavor of the panna cotta. I did like how it paired with the coulis and fresh berries which gave a nice balancing tartness to the panna cotta. The color of the coulis, though, was a bit off-putting and along with the consistency reminded me of a spaghetti sauce which wasn't a pleasant association for dessert for me.
Of all the Cathal Armstrong restaurants I've visited so far, The Majestic was by far the best meal of them all. They gave me three nicely composed dishes which all melded flavors very well. It was fortunate that they featured three of my all-time favorite foods but they presented all of them in a manner that reminded me why they were my favorites. I would come back here any day but after this meal, I've set my sights on eating at the flagship called Restaurant Eve.