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Prose, Arlington

R and I had dinner with the in-laws last night at Prose in Arlington. I really wanted to like it; Prose is a cute, little, ten table restaurant in the neighborhood. I've read in other reviews that it's pretty much a one woman show with the chef/owner running the front and back of house. Although it was a Friday night, the restaurant never had more than 3 other tables filled, which was probably a good thing given how green our server was. He was a young boy, probably 17 years ago; very, very sweet but so terribly awkward. I would have guessed that this was his first night, but he made a comment, as he precariously (and incorrectly) stacked our entree plates on his arms, that we should have seen him last week. He was very attentive, checking back between each course and ample water refills. He made an awkward comment about how the food “sure looks good,” Kudos to him for not breaking anything, because I would have put money on it.


Back to the food, the bread basket was a generous assortment of breads from Iggy's and the butter was nice and soft. For starters we had the corn soup and roasted cauliflower with pesto. The soup was good, not spectacular, it was well seasoned with lots of fresh corn kernels (which would later show up two more times). The cauliflower was way over salted, I don't know if it was from a heavy hand with the salt, or that pesto made with aged Gouda is just not that great of an idea.


For entrees, my father-in-law attempted to order the skirt steak, but the young whippersnapper came back (timidly) and said that they were out of the steak. Out of steak at 7pm??? That's supremely bizarre, especially given the emptiness of the dining room. My guess is that there was no steak purchased for the evening, for whatever reason. The menu options were limited, with only 5 entrees (and now without the beef, 4 entrees) so we were able to try them all. R had shrimp with fresh corn (appearance #2) over a red pepper coulis. The shrimp was small (30-40 count), but tender. I was excited as the menu had pan seared monkfish liver with corn (appearance #3) and I have never had it before. Monkfish liver is sometimes called foie gras de la mer (foie gras from the sea) and there are very striking similarities in flavor and texture, except of course that it's fishy. It sounds like something I would like, doesn't it? And I did, it was smooth and earthy and fishy. I think it's not for everyone, as R tried it and was not a fan. He describes it as “very fishy, and not in a good way.”


FIL ended up getting roasted late summer vegetables after the steak debacle and was served artichokes, fennel, beans, cauliflower and other veggies. I didn't deem it interesting enough to try, so I didn't. He seemed to enjoy it. MIL ordered the smoked ham with three bean salad. Her ham was delicious, with a sweet honey glaze and smoky undertones. I think she won the best entree contest.


Dessert was mundane, both in-laws got the chocolate roulade with mocha cream. I felt the cake was a little dry. I had the maple custard which had a nice flavor, but inconsistent, lumpy texture. R got a tres leche milkshake; it was thin in texture and had a strange tartness to it. He liked it, but I didn't.


Note on the overabundance of corn; I appreciate that fact that she is using locally grown, in season produce, but she could have attempted to use the corn in different ways. Instead of shaving the kernels off and tossing them in everything, she could had have a lovely corn pudding or souffle to highlight it's flavor and freshness.


One last thing, dinner was a three hour affair. I think a tortoise coated in molasses would have beat us to the finish line. All in all, I don't think we'll be returning to Prose anytime soon.

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