I’m back, baby! And this week, a reservation I’ve been holding on to for a few weeks: Chloe! I’m surprised I even made a reservation at a restaurant called Chloe considering that it’s a name a thirteen year-old girl gives to a Chihuahua, and I’m not really sure I remember how or why I found out about this restaurant in the first place (I thought it was in Shaw, but it definitely isn’t), but here we go. Stupid names aside, the inside was beautiful. I liked their comfy chairs and many succulent plants, as well as our clear view of the kitchen. I love to see the inner workings.
I’ve seen few things that are hands-down ridiculous, but here’s one of them: Chloe carries two breweries–draft from Hellbender here in DC, and cans from Prairie in…Oklahoma? What? Why? Ready for it to get more ridiculous? While the draft beers were a normal DC price of $9, he cans cost TEN DOLLARS. In what universe is a canned beer more than a draft beer? I’ll tell you where–the same ridiculous universe where a draft beer constitutes eight ounces, served in a stemless wine glass. Aka The alternate universe we know as Chloe.
The Prairie beer was okay, the Hellbender beer was okay, and my rum cocktail was pretty delicious. In short, drinks were nothing to write home about. But we weren’t expecting CopyCat and that’s not why we were there. Our waiter told us about their small plates-based menu. “For a table of four we recommend ten to fourteen dishes.” So….your whole menu then? Let’s just do the math here. If we generously assume that each dish you order here costs $15, 14 of them would come out to $210, and that wouldn’t even include drinks. So no. I ordered bread for my bread-loving mother-in-law, the house pickles, butternut squash salad, crispy cauliflower, salmon, and the chicken, which is one of the “larger” dishes.
One thing I appreciate is how vegetable-forward they are here. There were very few meat dishes at all. On the other hand, I feel kind of stupid paying $17 for some arugula and butternut squash that I could have just gotten at the Whole Foods salad bar.
Bread came first. Let’s just pause here to make a prediction. How much would you pay for five tiny slices of bread? Here’s a picture for reference (I shrunk the picture a little to more accurately represent the actual size of the bread):
If your answer was “Nothing, you dumb dumb, because bread is supposed to be free and unlimited!” then you would be wrong. If you said, “Four dollars!” then you are both correct and insane. Let’s just say, not a great first impression.
The pickles made a slight recovery. Of special note was the pickled garlic, which didn’t even taste or feel like garlic but was undoubtedly delicious. The peppers were great too–neither too spicy nor too mild, but they needed more of these and the cornichons.
The rest of the food, save for the chicken, came out fairly quickly. Next we had the butternut squash salad. Once again, it tasted fine, but $17 fine? I don’t even know what $17 fine means. A $17 steak would probably be fine. A $17 plate of arugula with a few pieces of squash is definitely not fine.
Cauliflower was the next thing out. This was the only thing that was truly delicious. It was a great crispy texture and tahini and pine nuts are always winners. It was something I had just never thought to combine into one dish, but my husband reminded me, “You could do this at home and it would probably be better.” So he earned his brownie points for the night I guess!
The quinoa-crusted salmon (or, as my father-in-law might call it: “Quin-what?”) was cooked well, extremely flaky and buttery, and I liked the extra crunch that was lent it by the quinoa. But again, way too small.
I regret that I didn’t get a picture of the chicken, but we were so hungry by the time it arrived that we basically ate it off the serving plate like cavemen. It was the only thing that was a reasonable size. I liked the crispy skin (although my husband thought it had a weird texture), and the Asian greens were cooked well. Bone-in chicken doesn’t make a good share plate, though, and the “chili-lime sauce” (aka fish sauce with some chili flakes) was lackluster.
We left and went across the street to Bluejacket where we all pigged out on dessert and had reasonably-priced good beer. No regrets.
Price: Like many of my best-laid plans these days, there is a huge disparity in how much we spent vs. how much one would have to spend in order to be fairly satisfied. I’ll say the range could be anywhere from $40 per person to $100 per person.
Bottom line: Chloe was good, but good is not fair when you’re paying $25 for a chicken leg. Our waiter was not lying when he said that 10 plates would be a good size meal for four people. But Bluejacket is across the street and they have a brownie sundae, so…