"The first time I saw the menu at the Book Bindery, I was unimpressed. It was dishwater dull, common, and so full of standard, workhorse, customer-friendly dishes done elsewhere that it seemed, even when brand new, already faded on the page--a copy of a copy of a copy.
There were sweetbreads with brown butter emulsion, a duo of pork (a roasted chop, paired with the ubiquitous pan-seared hunk of belly), and an apple salad with more pork belly--a dish so indicatively Washington 2010 that it might just as well be salmon. Their seared, striped bass went half a dozen directions at once, with Spanish piquillo peppers, pine nuts, olives and satsuma--the Japanese fruit mutant, like a nerdy little orange that'll bruise if you look at it cross-eyed. And then there was hamachi crudo, the ahi tuna carpaccio of the new millennium--a dish so over-served that there's probably a class at the Culinary Institute of America dedicated solely to its study and production: a kind of Apps For Tedious-Ass Bastards 101."
I could not have been more wrong about the Book Bindery. About the menu, the space--everything. My first meal there turned out to be an absolutely stunning experience, and offered me one of the smartest, bravest and most brilliant examples of modern American cooking I've seen in a year.
You'll have to read the full review tomorrow to see what I mean, but trust me: rarely has there been a restaurant which has promised so much and actually delivered. Get a reservation right now if you can. Beg if you have to. You'll thank me for it later.