Dining Out: RIS

Restaurant Week was short for me this year- just three places, once of which I’ve been to before. Then I literally couldn’t find Todd Gray’s Watershed. (Seriously, drove around and around and around and no sign, no street numbers, no nothing, not even the hotel I discovered after calling, that it was supposedly housed in.) So it was down to two. Yikes. There goes my rep.

Luckily, I made it to RIS.


I’m sure it has a meaning, “RIS”, but as far as I’m concerned it just means “a lovely spot for American cuisine located between Dupont Circle and Georgetown”. In reality, it’s probably something simple like “yummy”.

For Restaurant Week they offered three appetizer choices, three entrees, and three desserts- I picked a warming, delicious trio of soup, game, and a house made ice cream (ice cream, especially made in-house, is warming, okay?).

Started off with the Minnesota wild rice and duck soup with toasted almonds. Creamy, hot, delicious.

The butter dish was a little thing I recognized from working at Crate & Barrel over the holidays. Yes. I notice these things. I also know they don’t carry that pattern anymore.

For the entree I chose grilled quail served over creamy polenta studded with sweet corn, topped with mushroom ragout and a bourbon cherry sauce. The cherries were delicious and tart, the bourbon slightly sweet, and people who can think of nothing else to say about wild caught bird than “it tastes gamey” need to try this and have their consciousness raised. I’m sayin’.

When I arrived, the servers were getting briefed on the dishes on offer, including a pecan carrot cake ice cream. Which I couldn’t get out of my head! It turned out to be an amazing carrot ice cream (not too sweet) with cream cheese and graham crust chunks and pecans. It came with two housemade cookies- which they thoughtfully wrapped up for me to take home. Very inventive!

Full marks for RIS: I ate alone and was treated with care and respect, the food was wonderful, and it’s in a great space. My server made a great wine recommendation as well: Red Wine Blend, Jeff Runquist 1448 from California (2009). Amazing with the duck soup and the quail entree. Plus, did you see their knives? Specially ordered from Fortessa in Sterling.

It’s the little things that, savored individually, make one a glutton for the overall experience. Definitely going back.


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