Monday, November 21, 2011

The Source

I smile every time Wolfgang Puck is featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate. His joy for life and for food is contagious. As California kids, Wolfgang was the first celebrity chef we ever knew. Several years ago, Chef Puck brought his California style to DC and opened the Asian-inspired The Source next to the Newseum. I had the flu the first time we dined at The Source back in 2008. I couldn't taste anything, but remember liking the atmosphere and being impressed by the beauty of each dish.

I was thrilled to return to The Source with my sense of smell and taste intact. We met two of our friends for dinner and had a fantastic time celebrating their recent marriage.

We started with two sets of dumplings recommended by our waiter.

In addition to being beautifully presented, they were delicious. B thinks most dumplings taste about the same, but even he admitted these were pretty stellar.

For my main course I ordered the night's special lobster dish. It was prepared table-side by our waiter who delicately removed the meat from the shell, leaving me with a plate of plump lobster meat in a spicy, tangy sauce. All delicious lobster meat with no work to get it out of the shell = win. (the eerie lighting is from the street light outside the window... this dish looked much more appealing in real life)

B ordered his 999th zillion lamb dish and boy, what a dish it was. He devoured it so quickly that I couldn't even tell you how it was prepared.

For dessert, we couldn't decide what to order so we split a variety of things. The warm blueberry crumble and 15-layer carrot cake were among the best desserts we've had in town. The warm chocolate chip cookies were so good that our friend contacted the chef for the recipe.

While Wolfgang is probably rarely (if ever) in the kitchen at The Source, his joy is passed through to his Executive Chef Scott Drewno who has created a somewhat whimsical and completely yummy menu. A trip to Asia via The Source is not cheap (despite the crappy and splintery disposable chopsticks), but it is a special occasion meal that is likely to leave you smiling too.

Second Thoughts from B

Maybe you do get a second chance to make a first impression...

While I was fully healthy for our 2008 trip, something just didn't click. Maybe it was an off night, maybe I ordered the wrong thing, maybe they've revamped the place since then. I don't know. All I know is that this latest trip completely changed how I now view The Source. In one meal it quickly went from overpriced yawner to special occasion contender.

Let me set the record straight on this lamb obsession I have. I won't argue with the fact that I love it. Lamb has all the things that I crave about a great steak, plus just a touch of sweet gaminess to make it that much more interesting. I feel this adds complexity to any dish and offers good chefs with another angle to play off of. And, you don't put lamb on your menu if you don't know what you're doing (unlike many a steak dish).

J has made it no secret that I love lamb, but she always somehow fails to note that she encourages me to order it, especially when it comes highly recommended by the staff. That was certainly the case here. When the lamb is talked about in such glowing terms, how can I refuse? And our waiter was right! The Asian flavors perfected by Chef Puck in Los Angeles, especially the sweet soy and black bean, paired seamlessly with the meat that was cooked perfectly.

Hall of Fame pitcher, Lefty Grove, was once described as being able to throw a lamb chop past a wolf. (Even though Grove pitched in the 1930's, years of listening to Vin Scully makes you know things like this) Wolfgang Puck, or "Wolfie" as J likes to call him, might not be much of a baseball player, but he sure hit this lamb chop out of the park (insert rim shot here).
The Source on Urbanspoon

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