Every aspect of your dining adventure is well-planned with an unbelievable attention to detail. When my husband, Richard, and I arrived for our meal, we barely had time to step into the area outside Citricos and Victoria & Albert’s, before the Seating Hostess, Diane, whisked us into the restaurant. How did Diane know we were dining with them this evening? Well, Victoria & Albert’s has a strict dress code – jackets for men (no tie required) and a dress or pants ensemble for women, and I am sure we really stood out in the crowd. Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by Israel Perez, Maître d’ Hotel and escorted to our table. No air of superiority. Both Israel and Diane really made us feel at home and were quite engaging. In an instant we were seated, Diane had the purse hanger in place and one of our servers, John, was at our side. John and Dan, our other server, really struck a nice balance – we never felt neglected, yet never felt rushed either.
It wasn’t until seated that we could really focus on this beautiful dining area. A lovely chandelier surrounded by an intricate mural, grandiose floral arrangements, elegant wall treatments, and an exquisite harp. Recently the carpets were replaced and now there is a Hidden Mickey in the carpet. How fun!
Onto the most important part – the meal! We began with pre-dinner cocktails followed by the amuse-bouche. Instead of just one bite-sized tasty temptation, there were four – a plethora of amuse-bouche each one more delectable than the one before. For our first course, I chose the shrimp with Watermelon Radish, Kohlrabi and Vanilla Aioli, and Richard chose Minnesota Elk Carpaccio with Olives, Artichokes and Chorizo Vinaigrette. I am always drawn toward the seafood choices, as most Marylanders are, and this offering did not disappoint.
Which brings me to the awesome second course wherein I made a huge mistake in trying to be frugal – I did not order the Wild Turbot. Richard did not make this mistake, and in true chivalrous fashion shared his treasure. The Wild Turbot with Toasted Capers and Meyer Lemon is THE best fish I have ever tasted. Seriously, I cannot stop thinking about this extraordinary dish, and will willingly pay the upcharge if available the next time.
Next course was the Poulet Rouge with Mushroom-Truffle Ragout, St. George Mushrooms, and English Peas. Another magnificent creation well-suited to a mushroom-lover such as myself, and a marvelous lead-in to the main course. I was NOT frugal in my main course selection, and ordered the Australian “Kobe” Beef Tenderloin with Smoked Garlic-Potato Puree. The beef was tender, flavorful and a remarkable complement to the garlic infused potato puree. Absolutely worth every extra penny!
At this point, even though the portion sizes were small, I felt as if I had been stuffing my face non-stop. The White Chocolate Gelato with Tableside Shavings was exactly what I needed to cleanse my palate and prepare for the finale – dessert.
For dessert I ordered the Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, and Richard ordered the Grand Marnier Soufflé. Now before I am blasted, especially by chocolate lovers, for my simplistic choice, you need to understand that unfortunately for me most chocolate desserts trigger migraines. Sad but true. When I ordered my dessert, John warned me that I was about to have the best crème brûlée in the world. I’m fairly certain John was correct in that assertion! Just the right amount of caramelization on top, and lots of creamy delicious custard underneath.
At the conclusion of the meal, we received personalized menus and a rose. A perfect ending to the perfect meal.
I know for many it comes down to pure economics. At $125 pp for the meal and $60 pp for wine pairings, (the cost will increase to $135 pp for the meal and $65 pp for the wine pairings on June 3, 2012), it is not a budget meal. I can hear the resounding “I would love to eat there, but Victoria & Albert’s does not accept dining credits!”; however, that is not entirely true. Anyone booked under a Magic Your Way Platinum Package may use their meal credits at Victoria & Albert’s. In addition, this restaurant participates in the Tables in Wonderland program – an unbelievable savings!! Is it worth the cost? Absolutely! I will definitely be dining there again in November, and cannot wait!