I’d like to tell you to stick to acting and not restaurants, but I’m having a hard time choosing the lesser of the evils here.
Ketchup? What were you thinking? Obviously, not much other than “I want a hip looking place that has a great sounding menu with all kinds of hipster servers.”
Thanks to my fabulous friends, I was able to experience Ketchup at the National Harbor for dinner last weekend. We were all very excited to try it out and had been looking forward to it for weeks. Being the foodies we all are, we had perused the menu before arriving and knew we’d need at least two of the “Threesome” appetizers. Ashton, this is a fried potato lovers dream. The trio consisted of seasoned curly fries, waffle fries tossed in roasted garlic, and sweet potato fries. The carb load came with six (six!) different ketchups: housemade “regular,” smoky chipotle, spicy chili, golden barbecue, creamy herb, and tamarind. Tamarind! That’s what that weird tasting one was. Lee, our mohawked and over enthusiastic (but under motivated) server left that descriptor out!
Laden down with a table of potatoes and our ketchups and beverages, we tackled the menu. $12 for one slider (yes, it was a slider, not several, as one would expect) seemed a bit excessive. We pondered and pondered while we waited and waited for Lee to return to clear our table, refill our drinks or, I don’t know, take our order. Once he finally came back, Ashton, he told us that two of the menu items were unavailable. Cool.
NO, Ashton, NOT COOL. He didn’t tell us ANY of this until AFTER WE HAD ORDERED SAID ITEMS (specifically, the ribs and fried chicken and waffles). So, off he scampered while we looked over the menu AGAIN. (And for another 15 minutes, at least. Dude, our choices were obviously now severely limited, so we had LESS to choose from so, really, we probably didn’t need EXTRA TIME.)
Among the seven of us, we ordered a variety of dinner entrees. I had the Shake and Bake chicken. It was two chicken breasts, pounded thin and allegedly crusted with a bourbon-cider glaze. I got the shake and bake. I got some rosemary (much to my dismay and I wish that you had included that small bit of info in the menu). My chicken was a bit dry but, luckily, the delicous barbecue baked scarlet runner beans and geen beans laden with butter made up for it. The dish was missing the spicy pecans that the menu promised. At $18, this was a good meal, considering I finished only half of it before I surrendered.
Among the other dishes we ordered were the Fish and Grits (grits were a bit bland but okay with the fish, which was a relatively small portion considering the enormity of the bowl in which it came), the Crabake Entree (the two snowball looking crabcakes that had a little more filler than promised were lukewarm but the red pepper coulis they were served sitting on top of was tasty. The avocado remoulade was negligible), and the $18 Black Angus Burger (I mean, good going on that one…you can’t really go wrong with a burger).
One of my friends ordered the salmon special, which came Hawaiian style all adorned with giner and pineapple. No complaints on that one. Wings, veggie chili, and a spinach apple salad rounded out our orders…neither of which were horrible but, again, nothing to write home about.
By the time we finished eating, we had been at the table for a good two hours (Mohawk Lee would scurry by in a tizzy and say how hard he was working quite often…though, to us, it seemed as though he only had two tables). Luckily for you, we enjoy the pleasure of each others’ company. What we did not enjoy was having to ask several times to have our table bussed and to have our drinks refilled.
Speaking of drinks, your wine list was commendable, having a favorite of one of my friends that isn’t always on a wine menu.
Now, I usually have much more to say when I write my restaurant reviews. Maybe it’s because a week has passed. Or maybe because there really wasn’t much to say. Mediocre, at best, I think. Nothing was great. Nothing was horrible. In an area as “happening” and up and coming as the National Harbor, you and your staff and your consultants and your chefs and your entourage are going to have to work a little harder to draw people in. What you have going for you is that this is a location that does cater to the tourist, which means that return customers may not be high on your list of priorities. But for those of us who live in the area, it would be nice to have Ketchup as an option.
Thanks for tryin’,
PS you should have gotten higher billing for your role in Valentine’s Day. It was, pretty much, your movie. Though, I hate to admit it, not such a good one but for McSteamy and Mr. Cooper, from whom you stole a lot of screen time.
PPS the best part of the meal was dessert…thanks, girls, for the awesome variety pack from Alexandria Cupcake.