Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hunting Creek Steak Brunch Review

Steak with Eggs and Roasted Potatoes

Michael Nayeri knows a thing or two about fine dining: He already owns A la Lucia, our favorite restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. So when we heard about Hunting Creek Steak, Nayeri's new steakhouse at 1106 King Street (formerly home to Le Gaulois, and most recently the disastrous Notting Hill) we got a little excited. Truth be told, very excited. It was (still is) a fantastic space with as nice a patio as you'll find in all of Northern Virginia. Steak & potatoes (and Nayeri?) Time for brunch.

As luck would have it, Mother Nature must have known I was coming (she and I seem to have "an understanding.") Mid-60's and not a cloud in the sky. I announced my reservation, and was asked where I'd like to sit. Hmm... Patio, patio, patio! Master Sommelier Mark Slater (of Citronelle fame) guided me to a cozy corner in the back, told a few stories (he's quite the card) and left me in the most capable hands of server extraordinaire Christian. Let's eat!

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Brunch opened with complimentary sparkling water and a house Mimosa ($6.) Alas, no bread (I referred to A la Lucia's as a "basket of perfection," so I was mildly disappointed.) Not to worry however, as I quickly switched gears and ordered a Mozzarella and Tomato Salad ($10) which turned out to be a "plate of perfection." Granted, it's a simple plate; but the best tasting plates usually are. Kudos for fresh ingredients across the board.

Mimosa

It's hard not to fall in love with your surroundings. Giant umbrellas over each table, keep out the sun (and the subsequent heat.) No suits and ties either (thank goodness) as Hunting Creek aims for smart casual... at least on the weekends. One couple actually brought their well-behaved dog, who was instantly treated to a bowl of water (nice touch) so it's safe to say, Hunting Creek is Old Town-friendly. Music is nondescript but classy, and unobtrusive (take that Notting Hill.) Christian and his fellow servers took turns making sure I wanted for nothing: That means swapping clean flatware, quickly removing plates and even pouring my water for me.

Sausage Links

On to the main event, and my brunch entree (Steak with Eggs and Roasted Potatoes, only $14.) Steaks vary: Today's daily cut was sirloin, cooked perfectly (MEDIUM, as asked for) with visible salt & pepper. It was a tad fatty at one end; but ├╝ber flavorful all over. Expertly scrambled eggs were cleverly placed on top; and Hunting Creek's roasted potatoes were evidently picked straight from Heaven, and dusted with spices on the way down. Fabulous! Also worth noting (my greed knows no end) two juicy sausage links, ordered as a "side." What can I say? I was curious. Lucky for me, my inquisitiveness was richly rewarded (they're small but really, really flavorful.)

Delectable Cheesecake

Mark and I wrestled over dessert (as in whether or not to have it.) I didn't think I had room; but there was no convincing Mark of that. Minutes later, I was presented with a half-slice of incredible homemade Cheesecake, which proves Hunting Creek is willing to negotiate (even though they refused to charge me. Thank you. Thank you.) The cheesecake was a perfect blend of lightly-crunchy (on top) and pillowy soft inside & underneath. More basil and sliced strawberries (with decorative laces of strawberry sauce) means A la Lucia's famous Gelato has some competition.


There's still a little bit of room for improvement (the bar is upstairs... not ideal, although it's really nice up there) and word has to spread (especially amongst the area's many visitors.) Lucky for Hunting Creek, that word is positive; and under Nayeri and Slater's watchful eye, it can only get better. Rest assured, I'll be checking up on them... frequently (smile.)

Upstairs Dining Area

Patio Oasis