Adventures in…U Street Dining (Happy Birthday Jamie)

About a month ago, I hopped onto the metro and went up one stop to U Street (I’m not lazy…just really, really bad with directions), a neighborhood I know little about. I was meeting Jamie (not to be confused with my friend James…two completely different people, trust me) for dinner at Creme Cafe and Lounge and didn’t want to be late. I opted to take the metro instead of wandering around aimlessly in hopes of finding the restaurant (did I mention I was bad with directions?). When I walked in, I immediately got a good vibe from the place. Although it’s small, the seating is strategically placed to optimize the space. The lack of a drop ceiling and the sharp, earthy colors also contributed to an open feel. Even better, the placement of the seats actually made intellectual conversation possible. The atmosphere was great, but I’d “been there done that” with cool ambiance and poor food, so I reserved my judgment. Warning: these pictures were taken before I got the new love of my life, so they aren’t the best…

In the grand tradition of eating with me, Jamie and I agreed to share our food. Honestly, I don’t even want to eat with someone who isn’t willing to share. But because Jamie loves food almost as much as I do, he didn’t have any problem declaring his plate a dining companion allowed zone (that and I think he realized I may stab him with my fork if he didn’t). It just so happened Jamie knew the waiter (whose name rhymes with the restaurant…no kidding, it really does), who turned out to be a fantastic server. In fact, he gave us the recommendations for our entire meal.

We started with crab cakes (unfortunately not a great picture) and the wild mushroom masterpiece (their name, not mine). I was so enthralled with the mushroom dish that I forgot to take a picture. I am usually of the breaded crab cake fan base, so I was a little disappointed when the dish was placed in front of me and there was no breading. Instead, the crab cake was enveloped in a thin spring roll sheet. But I was very pleasantly surprised to find I really loved this dish. The portion of crab was generous and seasoned perfectly. Even better, you could tell this was real, fresh crab and not something that had been hanging around for a few days. The Dijon mayonnaise only complimented the cake, giving it a nice sharp bite.

Mere words, however, cannot describe the amazing taste of the mushroom dish. I still can’t identify what the chef sauted the mushroom in, but it made the entire dish. And to top it off, shaved Manchego cheese!!!! Yes, there was cheese! It took everything in me not to snatch up the plate and eat the entire thing myself.

For the entrees, I chose the Meat and Potatoes Americana (pictured above) while Jamie went for Mary’s Little Lamb (someone at Creme has a wicked sense of humor). I had enough on my plate with the huge ass portion of short rib presented by the server, so I didn’t taste much of Jamie’s dish (pictured at the beginning of the post). The short rib was fall-off-the-bone tender and had an almost fruity reduction. If I could figure out what was in that sauce, I would never leave my house (except for more cheese). The slab o’ beef also came with a potatoes gratin that was cheesetastic! Jamie swore he could make the same thing himself, but I’m skeptical (it was damn good).

I wasn’t able to finish everything (I did have a short rib that was the size of, well the whole damn cow), which meant there was (sadly) no room for dessert. But I have every intention of going back (especially for their brunch) so dessert will be saved for a later date!

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