The Source, Washington DC

August 5, 2008

Wolfgang Puck’s first restaurant in Washington, DC is The Source, on the first and second floors of the Newseum, the new museum about journalism and news at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, NW.  Marilee and I, Linda, dined there on July 30, 2008. We would eat next time at the lower level tapas-like bar/restaurant instead of the upstairs Asian-influence dining room.  Since the museum closes at 5 and our reservation was for 6, we ordered our bottle of Henriot blanc de blanc champagne at the sleek, quiet (at that hour) ground-floor bar and watched delicious small servings of food go by to other bar tables or regular tables along the windows.  The champagne accompanied us through most of the meal.

Upstairs we enjoyed a nice corner table and our dinner, but the noise level in the restaurant by 7 pm was deafening. Perhaps the Engstrom Design Group, which Puck’s website cites as creating the space, can find a way to correct the conversation-busting noise level. Marilee ordered an excellent starter, crispy suckling pig with plum purée, sweet beans and pickled cipollini.  My Maine lobster daikon roll with sweet and sour dressing was much less interesting. 

Marilee’s wok-fried whole sea bass with yuzu ponzu sauce was very good.  There was also a choice of a hot sauce, which was brought even though Marilee did not ask for it.  She tasted it and it was indeed a palette killer. My main course was laquered chinese duckling with bing cherries and stir-fried chow fun noodles.  The duckling was fine but nothing special.  I sent back the first dish of noodles because the hot red pepper flakes in it were so visible that one small taste showed me this otherwise-interesting dish would ruin my palette for the evening.  A second bowl of noodles was brought, still with some hot red pepper flakes, but some noodles were edible. Why kitchens want to kill diners’ palettes remains a mystery to us. We had a nice half bottle of Fontodi Chianti Classico 2003 with the main course. And we split a good dish of two scoops of 50-vanilla bean ice cream and one scoop of mango sorbet. 

Our waiter was good and the service fine. As remarked in the lead, the best bet for eating at The Source would be downstairs, and maybe for lunch.  The museum closes at 5 so dinner and bar service opens at 5:30.

The Source website.

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