As I have mentioned before, SM and N live in the building right behind me and their couch has become my second home. It is so convenient to have good friends a few yards away at all times. I will bring my smelly roasted vegetables over to eat if I need some female company after the gym, or force them to try the latest experiment I’ve conducted using the food processor my sister got me (life game changer, by the way). SM and I grew up together, so we have been very close for years. Although N and I went to the same college and were a part of the same sorority (so technically I paid damn good money for her friendship), we hung out different groups and I did not get the chance to really get to know her until she moved in with SM last February. Fast forward a year later and she is now one of my closest friends in the city. I was super excited to celebrate her birthday at the beginning of the month, especially since a group of us had booked a session at The Escape Room on Wisconsin Ave. Basically, we paid someone to lock us in a room together with a bunch of puzzles that we had to solve in 45 minutes in order to be released. As strange as that sounds, I highly recommend it! It was challenging but really fun and made me realize that I could never be James Bond because I am apparently horribly unobservant. After pretending to be spies in a Georgetown basement, we headed over to Cleveland Park for the a birthday dinner at Ripple.
Ripple opened back in 2010 and has gone through a number of chef changes in the past few years before settling with Marjorie Meek-Bradly. The restaurant seems to have found a star in Meek-Bradley, who was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for Rising Star, a Food & Wine award for Best New Chef, and Rising Culinary Star of the Year by the RAMWs. Her menu focuses on seasonal ingredients, and the dishes change almost every week to reflect this. I have not been back to the restaurant since Meek-Bradley took over the kitchen, and I was excited to finally get to experience what people (including my extremely picky roommate) have been raving about.
This warmly lit restaurant is located right on Connecticut Avenue. We were seated in the very back at a long table and admired the cozy atmosphere. Everyone was ready to chow down so we decided to order a few small plates for everyone to share: the spicy Amish chicken wings, deviled eggs, and brussel’s sprouts with pastrami. While waiting for these, the waitress brought out two skillets with warm cornbread. This moist, slightly sweet bread was served with honey butter and disappeared quickly into our mouths.
Deviled eggs are one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres so of course I enjoyed this starter. They were slightly spicy, and served with cornichons. The Amish-style chicken wings were also tasty, although not very remarkable. The brussel’s sprouts with pastrami were my favorite appetizer. I always love when brussel’s sprouts are fried until crispy, but when they are also cooked with well seasoned pastrami it just ups the delicious factor up by ten.
Then came our entrees. I had been looking forward to the lamb leg all week, and it did not disappoint one bit. That big piece of baby sheep was the most tender, perfectly cooked lamb I have ever eaten. Each piece fell right off of the bone with a light touch of my fork, and every bite was a smoky, luscious, heavenly experience. The lamb was served over some cooked radishes and sausage. I did not want this plate of food to end, even as my pants were starting to feel much more snug. This was the perfect dish to warm up my stomach on a frigid night. Everyone else at the table raved about their entrees as well: N ordered the Berkshire pork and gave it a birthday girl approval, and the fish was also received praise.
Even though everyone was feeling relatively stuffed, we knew we had to get dessert, but birthdays need to end with butter and sugar (unspoken rule, right?). We ordered the butterscotch pot de creme, and the brown sugar bar spread. The waitress was kind enough to put a candle on the butterscotch pot de creme, and after N blew it out we all dug in.
A word of advice for future Ripple patrons: the desserts are worth your time. The pot de creme was rich and buttery, and the brown sugar bar was a crunchy treat. We finished off these desserts and thanked our waitress for her fantastic service.
This restaurant is a neighborhood gem worth venturing over to Cleveland Park for. Once I dropped some girls off and parked the car, I went upstairs to my apartment and immediately unbuttoned my pants. I briefly debated making my way out again in the cold to meet up with some friends….. but after such a good meal, I ended up curling up under the duvet and reveled in the pleasure of having a delicious baby animal digesting in my stomach.