Thursday, May 8, 2008

15 Ria

Yet another lackluster meal, this one in Washington. We were looking for somewhere to lunch (or brunch) before taking in History Boys at Studio Theatre (see the subsequent post). Our friends suggested 15 Ria, which received an "excellent" rating from Zagat in 2006. Our experience on Sunday suggests that either the kitchen has fallen apart over the last couple of years or that the reviewer was smoking something that obliterated his/her taste buds. In short, our meal was a far cry from the claims touted on 15 Ria's web site ("contemporary American cuisine, using a bounty of fresh local products") nor did it live up to reviews.

Rod and I ordered a vegetarian cannelloni that was undercooked and unappetizing, the dough chewy and the vegetables raw. It was cold to boot. We sent it back to the kitchen. Worried about making our 2.00 p.m. curtain, we ordered omelets, which are quick to prepare. The best thing I can say is that they were edible. Dry, tasteless, they reminded me why I usually refrain from souffles and omelets in restaurants. At home, I can ensure proper execution of these dishes, and I accord eggs the delicate handling they deserve. As a child, I remember my father teaching me how to make proper scrambled eggs, emphasizing light beating and gentle stirring over a low flame. I quickly acquired a taste for slightly runny, tender eggs, not the plastic foam one too often encounters in American restaurants.

While it was pleasant to sit outside on a glorious spring day, the patio service was grudging at best. One waitress was responsible for the outside dining area, and she was sullen and slow. Dishes crawled out of the kitchen, and we twice asked anxiously about the state of our lunches. We had budgeted 90 minutes for lunch, certainly a reasonable time in which to order and eat a meal.

Clearly, we will not return to 15 Ria.

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