Summer 2012: Chic Date Night on a Budget

Beautiful presentation of the yummy arctic char. Photo taken before I realized how heavenly the basil pistou gnocchi is.

Through the chaos of the move, I received a gift in the form of an email. A representative from the web site Restaurant.com reached out to me to introduce their site and ask me if I’d like to use it and go out to dinner.
Umm?
Moi? Eat?
Mais oui!
It was music to my ears – an excuse to head out for a nice dinner without my kids in the midst of life amongst boxes and moving trucks.  No one was going to have to twist my arm or convince me to agree to it. Truth be told, I wasn’t familiar with Restaurant.com before she reached out. Turns out, this site works with over 18,000 restaurants nationwide and much like Open Table, you log on, search for the kind of restaurant you want, based in the zip code and then easily make your reservations online. We chose PS7’s in Penn Quarter and within 10 minutes of making my online reservation on the Restaurant.com site, I received not only an email confirming the reservation but an automated phone call confirming the reservation. I liked that attention to detail.
What distinguishes Restaurant.com from other sites is that you are purchasing a bargain and you can do it either for yourself or for someone in your family, all with the click of a button. For example, for $20, you can purchase a Restaurant.com gift card equal to $50 with the participating restaurants. Like any deal sites, however, there are fine print details that I urge you to read in advance. Two examples:  alcohol cannot be used as part of the gift card and some days of the week are restrictive with participating restaurants (i.e. weekends). It’s always worth it to be a thorough consumer but moi loves to eat and moi loves a bargain in a chic place, so this was a perfect match from the start.
How was PS7’s, you wonder? Spoiler alert: we can’t wait to go again. Located just above the chaos and fray of Penn Quarter, at 7th and Eye Street, the interior of the restaurant is modern and chic. Parking is also easy despite this downtown location because there is a parking garage located next door. The service was exceptional, the chef sent out a delicious summer cocktail and the pastry chef brought out a beautiful pineapple upside down cake. The wait staff was attentive and so helpful. But it was the food…we were there to really eat and try out the menu and it’s criminal that someone didn’t just roll us down the street when we waddled out of there.

Ridiculously good appetizer. Now, I didn't eat that whole thing. But I didn't leave much either. Oink oink.

I started with the open-faced bread topped with the “Nutty Goat” – which included goat gouda cheese, arugula, walnut butter and toasted shallots (umm..yummm) while Mr. Wired Momma started with the 3 hot dog starters. By the time we were done with the first course, we begrudgingly admitted we were already getting full and we shouldn’t have eaten so much.
Then came the salad. Mr. Wired Momma chose the heirloom tomato salad – which he said

The warm spinach salad was heavenly. Trust moi. Oink oink

was delicious and looked so – and while it was a solid choice because now is the time to order the tomato salad – I mocked his choice because we can make something similar (though not as good) at home. I ordered the warm spinach salad – the house made dressing was warm, and the bacon pieces, cheese, mushrooms and crispy onion rings made this salad a home run. At this point, Mr. Wired Momma conceded that in a rare moment, I had made the slightly better food choices.
I relished this small victory. As we both finished off the delicious salads and wondered how in the world we could eat another course.
Then came the main course. I ordered the arctic char and Mr. Wired Momma ordered the smoked gnocchi with basil pistou and peas. I toyed with also ordering the gnocchi because of the basil pistou. We had one of the best meals of our lives in the South of France one summer (shocking, I know) because of the basil pistou in the soup. We still talk about that particular meal even though it was 5 years ago.
Sure enough, my arctic char was absolutely delicious but the gnocchi with the basil pistou was show stopping. It was exceptional. The combination of flavors and the texture of it left us only regretting that we’d already eaten so much because frankly, we are such pigs, we wanted to be able to eat more of the gnocchi.
But we just couldn’t. The madness had to stop.
Also noteworthy, PS7s has this really awesome summer menu option where you can order a summer picnic, centered around fried chicken, and they even set the table with a separate red and white check table cloth to fit the picnic theme. I loved that this modern, chic restaurant doesn’t take itself so seriously and instead offers its guests some kitschy summer fun. There was a table of 6 older adults who looked like they’d been great friends for about 40 years enjoying the picnic table option menu and I almost wanted to pull up a chair to their fun table too.
Our meal really was exceptional. We ate too much food. We drank a little more wine that we anticipated going in. We indulged. It was fabulous. And the best part was we indulged on a budget through Restaurant.com. Our bill totaled $145 but with the Restaurant.com gift card of $50, we came away with an exquisite meal for under $100 (I realize this isn’t necessarily budget friendly but we also don’t usually order three huge courses like that…we were celebrating our move and the house – so we indulged – could have spent quite a bit less). I will absolutely be using this site again and you better believe, I’ll be visiting PS7’s again. Maybe next time, we just don’t need to order quite so much food.
Oink Oink.
Disclosure: Restaurant.com compensated me for my meal at PS7’s, I didn’t disclose to the restaurant that I was there as a Restaurant.com guest. My opinions here are all my own.

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