There’s a certain understated elegance to Ris. You could almost miss it if you’re driving by, and believe me I’ve done that many times in the past. Walk inside and you’ll find dark lighting, which somehow works to both set the tone for a romantic date or a loud coversation at the bar. It’s classy, minimalist, and not-stuffy.
As the name suggests, Ris is the dream of owner Ris Lacoste. Chef Lacoste left the famed 1789 in Georgetown back in 2005 and more than four years later started Ris in West End.
The thing about contemporary American cuisine is that it can go so wrong if not done correctly because that “modern” description means that you can pretty much put anything on your menu. Ris shines with its different items and special touches to each dish.
What is my favorite dish here that I could almost have 10 of it weren’t strange? The scallop margarita! I hate sno-cones and parfaits, but somehow this treat works for me. There’s really nothing better than scallops in a margarita glass. In that glass is a mix of sweet and salty flavors – lime marinated scallops with chiles, orange, avocado and tequila ice. The tequila ice gives you that unexpected zing in each bite.
My other favorite appetizer is the bowl of mussels, which comes with tomato, chorizo, garlic, herbs and grilled bread. I always love it when this dish ends up on the Restaurant Week Menu.
Entree-wise, a fantastic choice is the Monkfish Osso Buco on Champagne lobster risotto with buttered cabbage, with mushrooms, tomato fondue and truffle oil. The downside to this dish is that the presentation left something to be desired, then again, maybe it was just the lighting at the bar. If you want it, get it soon — the bartender tells me it’s a seasonal item that won’t be around much longer.
Before I forget, my favorite drink here is by far the Easy Winter Chill. How can you not like a drink that has apple cider in it? The bloody wasabi is also good, but I can’t really distinguish it from any other good bloody mary…and I am a bloody mary connoisseur.
Ris is one of those places that just a little more than one year after opening shows no signs of growing pains. The owner knows what she’s doing, and that comes through clearly when you’re inside.
Oh, and if you want to know how to make the delicious scallop margarita, get the secret info from Washingtonian. And try Ris out for its new Power Hour Lunch. I still have no idea why it runs until 4pm…not complaining though.
Ris is located at 2275 L Street, NW. The closest metro stop is Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange Lines). For more information, call 202-730-2500.