On yet another business lunch, we went to The Oval Room, located (and likely named after) near the White House. As it was a rather formal outing, I tried to keep it professional, and restrained myself from taking photos of the meal. Each dish was excellent and had an unexpected touch. The white asaparagus soup ($11), for example, was smooth and creamy, punctuated with sharp, herbaceous notes from sorrel leaves. The halibut ($23) was surprisingly earthy, served over a bed of fresh sugar snap peas, shimeji mushrooms, and a deep brown broth.
But the most surprising, and beautiful, dish was the dessert–coconut custard with lemon-lime sherbert, mango lhassi, and candied mint ($10). I was expecting a sweet, tropical dessert, but what arrived was much more sophisticated. While the coconut custard had a subtle coconut flavor, it was more of a vehicle for the other components. The mango lhassi had a sharp, spicy chile flavor, reminiscent of Southeast Asia. The lemon-lime sherbert added strong acidity and complexity.
I also loved the dessert’s gorgeous presentation, garnished with lovely violets and green mint leaves. I (clearly) couldn’t resist taking a photo. Hopefully my professional career doesn’t suffer because of it, but such are the occasional perils of being a food blogger.
The Oval Room
800 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006