Monday, October 8, 2012

An Epic Experience

I have spent plenty of time in and around BBQ smokehouses all over these great United States. I was excited when I heard that there was a new a new smokehouse in the Crystal City area. I was hungry to no end and was ready for some good BBQ in the drizzly rain of the weekend but didn't want to travel far. We walked in and the space was much larger than it appeared from outside. On the restaurant side, the booths are swathed in dark leather and there are sleek copper lights that illuminate the dinning tables. Epic has a sleek, modern feel about it. If you look up there are tilted mirrors on the ceiling that capture the diners & servers movements and feels like you are watching a film strip from the '40s.

We attempted to order appetizers but were told by our server that they were "out". To be honest it would have been easier if he just told us the two appetizers they were able to serve, instead of playing the order & guess game. They did have the Applewood Smoked Scallops. This is a cold-smoked scallop dish with crispy kimchi. The kimchi was perfect & complimented the scallops sweetness perfectly. This was a great way to start out our meal.

I was in a chili mood because of the cruddy weather and order that as my starter. My boyfriend ordered the Berry Salad. The chili was the consistency of sloppy joe mix and would have been better suited on a bun severed "pulled pork sandwich" style than in a bowl. The meat, a mixture of both pork and beef, was cooked perfect & full of flavor. Unfortunately, the flavor was overrun with red chili powder and there was a layer of oil over the whole dish. The Berry salad was crisp & fresh, other than the frozen then thawed strawberries that are the dishes namesake. I ordered the Smoked Brisket and my boyfriend ordered the Pulled Pork & Chicken Platter. We shared the Pancetta Mac & Cheese and the Grilled Leek & Potato Mash side dishes.

We were both disappointed in the food and that is putting it as kind as I can. I ate no more than three bites of my brisket. The menu states that it is dry rubbed and slow smoked. If this is the case than my plate should not have come out with a layer of liquid that the brisket floated on. If they do dry rub & smoke the meat, the next step is allowing it to steep in water so that it looks and tastes boiled. There was NO flavor in the meat and had the texture of wet cardboard. The BBQ sauce that was served with the brisket was very good though. Had a good blend of sweet and smoke. Too bad it couldn't save the food though. I tasted the pulled pork and chicken platter that my boyfriend ordered. It was no different than my brisket; flavorless with a boiled taste. The side dishes would have stood a chance if they were not served cold. 

I was done with the whole situation that I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I pushed my plates to the side, asked for the check and paid an infuriating amount of money for food that we barely touched and would not take home because I couldn't save it with any of the variety of spices I have in my kitchen. My boyfriend has spent may years in the restaurant business and as much as he was disappointed with the food, he was more disappointed with the General Manager. Who did not engage the customers but continually engaged with chit chat with the staff. As we walked out the door, I asked my boyfriend if he would take me to Wendy's so that I could eat something I know would be good. He found it very entertaining that I was as judgmental & frustrated as he was with the dining experience. What he forgets (and I will remind him) is that this was his recommendation & my recommendation a few weeks ago was Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray which is EPICALLY AWESOME!

Epic SmokeHouse on Urbanspoon

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