Thursday, February 21, 2008

Guest Foodista Courtney Gets It On At Marvin

Courtney is a hip NYC chickie. She's passionate about food--especially bananas! "I eat a banana every day. Whether it’s part of my breakfast in my cereal, my lunch on a sandwich or fried up with ice cream as a dessert--bananas are my favorite food." Courtney enjoys cooking for herself with top quality ingredients and even considers herself a "vegequarian" (cross between seafood and veggies--go figure). Below she reveals her unique experience at an inventive and elegant Washington D.C. eatery called Marvin--feast your eyes and enjoy!

Marvin - 2007 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

I had the pleasure of dining at Marvin in the ever so hip and historically rich U street area. Eric Hilton, one of two DJs that make up D.C.’s famous music group Thievery Corporation, opened up the restaurant in October of 2007. He named it Marvin after Marvin Gaye, a perfect fit for the corridor which has apartment buildings named for Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington just a few blocks away. Gaye, a native Washingtonian suffering from bankruptcy and drug addiction moved to Belgium to clear his mind, relax and refocus. The restaurant boasts a Belgian theme in his honor.

Like Hilton’s other business, the 18th Street Lounge, Marvin has no sign other than a simple metal plaque on the door (see above). The first floor is covered in rich cherry wood and smells like oak and cinnamon. Its warm and relaxing environment is paired with an equally friendly staff and warm comfort-food like cuisine.

The menu, prepared by Executive Chef James Claudio boasts a variety of European delights such as a moules frites (mussels and fries) and duck confit. For the southern soul foodies, not only can you order shrimp and grits, but also fried chicken on Belgian waffles. I shared a cheese appetizer which came with fruit and nut bread, honey and three different types of cheeses, including the best brie I’ve ever enjoyed. My friend Will ordered a steak which came smothered in blue cheese (his favorite) and an accompanying basket of crispy red peppered fries and a salad. My Alaskan halibut was a delicate dream accompanied by onion puree, tomato confit and beurre blanc.

Service and Cost:
I heard that the service was poor and the staff not so nice before I went, but this was simply untrue in my experience. The waiters all look like they had once been Malcolm X’s personal assistant. They were cool and formal, but attended to our every need and offered great recommendations for food and wine.

The appetizers were around eight to fifteen dollars and the main courses were all under thirty. The wine and beer menu is full of rich flavor and decent prices, particularly the premier Belgium ales (around $8-$10)—a must have treat at Marvin.

The Perfect Night Cap...
After two Irish coffees, we strolled upstairs to check out the lounge area. We found a long, fully stocked bar and large outdoor patio space with plenty of mushroom shaped heat lamps to keep the winter loungers warm. The lounge is a laid back, emerald colored and perfect for philosophical musings or just catching up with old friends. Marvin left us feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside and I intend to go back there many times to enjoy the comfort food and the promise of Thievery Corporation’s excellent music under D.C.’s night sky.

3 Mmmms

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