Saturday, February 28, 2009

Visions Restaurant

What I've found at Visions restaurant in the recent 2 trips I've taken there: innovative mussels, fried-to-perfection calamari, and well done classics like mac and cheese

The first trip was on Valentine's Day, and I was hesitant to come back. While all the food was delicious, the service was effing terrible! I understand that it is a crazy night for all restaurants, but when we first arrive, the restaurant was still slow enough that there was no excuse. Our server didn't come over until we flagged down a non-English speaking busboy and tried to communicate that we'd like to order sometime that night. Then our food came out very slow, slower than the food at surrounding tables. THEN he brought out the wrong entree for my friend and dealt with the situation in the worst possible way: 1) he didn't apologize 2) he gave us an inaccurate estimate of how long it would take to get the correct entree ("It'll be just a second"... 15 minutes later...) 3) he left my food sitting there getting cold and 4) he ignored the shit out of us while they were preparing the new entree, not asking if there was anything he could do while we wait.

Understandably we were ticked by the time it came to pay the check, but fortunately for Visions, they sent out a coupon in the mail the following week. Now that we're in the second great depression, I can't resist a coupon! My second trip was greeted by a sweet, attentive waitress who was friendly and tried hard to make up for any lack of knowledge. The food again was excellent, except for the spring rolls. They were solid, but just not up to the high standards Visions set for itself.

The crayfish spring rolls with a Thai peanut sauce. They could have easily been improved with a little more crayfish, but that is my only criticism of all the food.

Some fresh, and I mean fresh-piping-hot-straight-out-of-the-oven foccacia bread. Our waitress said she had been munching it in the back, and it was just too good not to share.

My amaaaaaaaazing mussels that I dipped my fresh focaccia bread in! I get mussels at almost every restaurant I go to. So by this point it is getting hard to impress me with a new, inventive way to prepare them. Visions was up to the task. This was basically mussels in a burrito style - black beans, tomatoes, leeks, and bacon. It may sound odd, but I vouch that it is fantastic and alone worth the trip to Visions.

The chicken mac and cheese, which they made special for us, since the menu had recently changed to a crab mac and cheese instead. I had tried this at the Taste of Bethesda, and it was just as good as I remembered.

A blurry picture (sorry about the photography skills) of my oysters rockefeller from the first trip. The oysters weren't terribly plump, but they were loaded up with delicious toppings!

My friend's calamari with lemon aoli. It was absolutely perfect! Lightly fried and not too chewy. Next time I go, I am going to make a meal out of the mussels and calamari alone.

My tuna steak entree with a creamy risotto and grilled squash. The tuna was slightly over cooked but still flavorful and delicious (before it got cold waiting for my friend's entree to come out.) The risotto was sort of an interesting side choice (rich with raw) but somehow it worked. Maybe only because I like risotto and tuna so much, though.

The long awaited rockfish. Obviously Visions presentation is not top of the line, but I appreciate that they are putting the effort where it counts more, meaning even though the rockfish looked like just a pile of stuff, it tasted amazing. The sauce soaked into everything but was still light enough that you didn't get sick of it.Finally for desert a banana foster and long stem, chocolate-dipped strawberries. So rich and delicious.

So my conclusion paragraph of this very long story is that I realize Visions is trying to do the best they can having only been open about a year and half and having the last 6 months dominated by the new depression. The decorations are sparse, the presentation is basic, the servers are just kids, but the cooks pour their heart and creativity into their food. I don't know if they will make it through the next year, but if they get the chance to build Visions into what they aspire to, it will become a must visit. One day. First they need to fire that a-hole who waited on me this past Valentine's.

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