Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini, located a few blocks up from Farragut North, describes itself as “a unique, upscale, sophisticated and casual place to enjoy great food and drinks, do business and more importantly have a good time!” I suppose a place can be “upscale” and “casual” too, but it does seem like they’re trying to be a whole bunch of things at once. On the day that I went, they were trying to be a night club in addition to restaurant. They had a live band playing near the back, which was anything but fun times. It was so loud I could barely hear a thing over the din, even though I was sitting in a nice rounded booth so it wasn’t as though I had to yell across the table or anything. The fact that the bar area was right next to the dining tables didn’t help the noise level either. Service was just okay, ranging from a little absent to overly eager. I guess this contrasting service is a reflection of their own confused identity. We would ask for extra plates for sharing, get them, and then some other waiter would walk by and sweep them away! (Perfectly clean plates, mind you. Why would they do that?? Clearly those plates were sitting there for a reason!) I was a bit flabbergasted after the second time that happened…

The food, however, was actually quite good. Pictured above is the chipotle honey glazed Cornish hen with grilled papaya salsa, sauteed vegetable medley and orange zest infused yellow rice. It was absolutely delicious. The glaze did amazing things for that Cornish hen, leaving the skin crispy and golden while keeping the meat tender on the inside.

The rest:

Roasted beets and goat cheese with extra virgin olive oil and tamarind-balsamic reduction. This is always a winning combination – the sweetness of the beets with the tangy goat cheese go perfectly together. I thought this was an elegant presentation! I sort of wished there was more of it, though.

Crispy sea bass with red-skin garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Another wonderfully composed dish! The fish was flaky and gorgeous, and the potatoes creamy and divine. Loved it.

We got an apricot meringue cake for dessert. Not too bad, though nothing stand out about it either. Light and not too sweet, and pretty to look at.

I walked out feeling full and satisfied, but with a little ringing in my ears.

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