901′s motto, “Sexy. Sophisticated. Sharing.” had me a bit–how do I put it–standoffish, because sometimes you just want Simple. Straightforward. So mine. But last week, the Penn Quarter restaurant debuted their entirely new, revamped menu. One that actually matches the concept. Previously, the menu was haphazard and inspired by: all over the place. But the restaurant owners acknowledged their shortcomings and refocused the food, creating a brand new menu meant to be shared, and with a decidedly Asian flare.
Charged with redesigning a new menu is no easy feat, but a young, energetic chef tackled it head on. At only 26, Chef Tom Hall, formerly of Ten Pehn restaurant, created a range of new dishes, and most of the dishes he tested, made it on the menu. Some standouts included seared scallops with an asparagus and wild mushroom risotto, topped with bacon jam (that’s mah jam) and sweet soy drizzle, an oxtail wonton ravioli with orange glazed carrots and oxtail jus, and a delicious chinese spiced duck breast, served atop a sweet potato and pumpkin puree, with a crispy serrano ham crust, and covered in balsamic ginger cherry chutney… beautiful colors, excellent flavors. For dessert, the chocolate chipotle creme brulee was a rich, decadent mousse with just the right spice kick, cooled off by a chantilly cream and fresh strawberry. The service throughout was also incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.
And for your boozing pleasure, 901 boosts an impressive selection of craft beer. 901′s sister restaurant, Capital City Brewing Company, is just a stones throw away, and provides a lot of the locally brewed beers. At 901, you see the mass selection of pale ales and stouts stocked right there, enticing you to get your hops on.
The space is inspired by Miami. South Beach, to be exact. So you will have your unique/over the top touches–a menu that lights up and screams Apple trademark, drinks with dry ice and smoke–and some more comforting aspects, like a chef’s table that is intimate and right by the center of action. The bar is buzzing at happy hour, with a prime location around major offices, but an unfortunate massive construction site that would put any restaurant at risk of demolishment itself. I do look forward to the summer when the patio will become a full space of green plants and white umbrellas, for a little concrete vacation. And given this weather, that may happen quicker that you think.