Let’s be honest…even with all the rain, this has been a pretty sweet late spring and early summer. We’ve had some beautiful days (and evenings) and we’ve even avoided the stifling humidity that usually settles in toward the end of May and sticks around until late September.
If you’ve got the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to do a couple of outdoor lunches before it’s too unpleasant. And if you’re near the White House, there’s a relatively new outdoor dining option – the modern-meets-classic-Mediterranean Siroc. With a fenced-in patio that faces McPherson Square, Siroc provides a great chance to enjoy the outdoors in an upscale setting.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet a business associate for lunch. We had both heard good things about Siroc’s menu, so we decided to meet there and give it a shot. The weather was too good to ignore, so we opted for a table outside. With a refreshing sparkling water in hand, we turned our attention to the lunch options.
The Mediterranean influences came through loud and clear time after time. Beef carpaccio, housemade sausages, octopus in pesto, panini served on ciabatta or focaccia – all of them caught our eyes and made us wrestle with our decisions.
What did we choose? And how was it? Find out after the jump.
Well that photo of the beef carpaccio before the jump should have been a clue – it was too good to pass up. My associate dug into her appetizer with abandon, enjoying the dish but thinking that it could have done with a bit more of an acidic bite than it had. Me? I went with the housemade rabbit and black truffle sausages, which were served over a bed of creamy polenta.
The sausage were masterful – at once silky-smooth and meaty. The black truffles added an earthy, rich note. Taking a bite of sausage with a bit of the polenta and some of the savory liquid, I was struck by just how well everything came together. This was a hell of an appetizer and – although it was a bit heavy for outdoor dining – it was a great introduction to Siroc’s kitchen.
With our appetizers cleared, it was time to move on to our entrees. Because I had opted for such a decadent starter, I decided to lighten up for my main course. A salad of shrimp, kalamata olives and blood oranges over frisee and fennel combined salty, sweet and bitter flavors in a bright and refreshing dish. From one extreme to the other, maybe…but I was satisfied.
My companion’s entree was a bit heartier – and definitely a classic Italian presentation. She went with a black cappelini pasta made with squid ink and served with oven-dried cherry tomatoes, baby clams and roasted garlic. A bit of salty brine made its presence felt immediately, but it worked in the larger context of the sea-sourced plate.
The man behind the meals at Siroc is Chef Martin Lackovic. He’s got experience cooking in some of Washington’s most storied Italian restaurants of the past twenty years, including I Matti and Galileo, but he’s also got some new tricks up his sleeve. The food reflects the more current approach to Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh combinations of flavors and less of a reliance on big, heavy sauces. On a warm afternoon, it worked perfectly.
Overall, our meal at Siroc was a pleasant way to conduct business: over great food in an inviting setting. If their dinner offerings are anything like the lunch options we enjoyed, I look forward to getting back to Siroc soon.