Sunday, February 1, 2015

Unum in Georgetown, DC

Okay, okay. I know this post is late, but hey - better late than never, right?

I had initially planned on only visiting Bibiana for DC Restaurant Week, but when another food-loving friend asked me if I had mid-week dinner plans to try a new place out I just couldn't pass it down and especially not Unum's deal: appetizers, two small plates, and dessert for 35.15 a head. Between the two of us, we managed to try out everything we were interested in the menu and walked waddled out agreeing that it was possibly one of the best dining experiences we have had in a long time.

Lobster bisque // grilled pineapple + chilli + tarragon 
With four giant lobster tail pieces plucked out of the shell for our own lazy enjoyment swimming (pun intended) in a delicate, milky broth it was much lighter than the typical bisque which was much appreciated as an opener. And the sweet pineapple + licorice-y tarragon gave it so much depth. Read: flavor complexity = winner.

Chorizo stuffed squid // saffron-lemon risotto + fried calamari + honey-line sriracha sauce 
I'm not much of a ground meat person so the chorizo didn't quite swing well with me but the moderately tender squid + creamy risotto + briny (what I think is) squid ink sauce were absolutely delicious. After the rather disappointing risotto experience at Seasons 52, Unum restored my faith.
Pan seared duck breast // roasted sun choke puree + kale with figs and pine nuts + kumquat chutney + aged balsamic 
I love sunchokes. I think. Earthy/milk sunchoke puree + perfectly seared duck + sweet chutney, possibly my favorite dish of the night. I've never had western preparations of duck but oh wow, where has this been my entire life? Mind completely blown.

Grilled branzino // celery root puree + basil-mint fennel slaw + crack green olive vinaigrette 
Crispy. Perfectly crispy. So crispy that I had to hold back my tears of joy for fear of the moisture messing up that perfectly prepared branzino skin (okay, that was a tiiiiinnnyyyy exaggeration). I tend to shy away from ordering branzino because it is so expensive, but of course all bets were off for restaurant week. Not too big of the fan of the slaw, but the green olives were spot on for contrasting with the fish's sweetness.
Boneless short rib pasta // baby root vegetables + red wine braising jus
I make it a rule to never order pasta in restaurant but because all rules are thrown out for restaurant week (see branzino above) and after reading all the rave reviews on Yelp, I had to order it. Wow. Falling apart short ribs + crunchy/earthy vegetables livened up with an acidic kick from the red wine. I swear, this is probably a never-ending bowl of pasta. My friend and I ate and ate and ate but it looked like we barely made a dent!

Pan roasted grouper // oysters + mussels + fennel + leeks + whipped potatoes + curry broth + fried oyster 
After so many amazing dishes, the group was a complete disappointment. The flavors were muddled and not clearly defined or developed and while I like the coconut-y broth there was nothing about the rest of the dish that particularly jumped out at me. I'd pass on this.

Blackberry-apple crisp // salted caramel-toffee crumble + vanilla ice cream
Unum sundae // chocolate cake + cocoa-marshmallow cream + banana ice cream + sour cherries + caramel popcorn
Even after three courses each of course we still had room for dessert. And yes, they were as good as they looked.

In typical Georgetown fashion there is not much of Unum (definition: small), but it's an intimate setting well worth paying a visit to. I'd be more than happy to come back.

Unum on Urbanspoon
2917 M St NW
 Washington, DC 20007