Review of The Riggsby
PHOTO: Jimmy's Special House "Chopped" Salad at The Riggsby (c) Sery Kim
While east 14th Street to 1st Street, buttressed by the flourishing Union Market, has seen more than its fair share of new restaurants, Dupont Circle has remained blandly the same. No reason has been given for the lack of interest in the hot restauranteurs from why they chose to stay in the aforementioned grid rather than branch out (noteable exception for CityCenterDC), but thankfully TICO’s Owner/Chef Michael Schlow has confidently ventured where few have gone.
The Riggsby, located inside the newly renovated Kimpton hotel The Carlyle in Dupont Circle by Riggs Street, attempts to harken to the days of Prohibition in a limited -- “intimate” -- space with 75 seats in the main restaurant and another 45 in the bar and lounge. Art deco interiors would be interesting except the tiny table-tops makes for difficult elbow space and simply detracts from the pleasure of lingering over the meal, a fact only relevant in America where the expectations are for wide-open dining tables rather than the European model of intimacy.
Despite the sold-out tabletops on a weekday night, service was impeccable and the ordered appetizers arrived promptly. Forget the Jalepenos Tator Tots, which despite its popularity was missing a tasty heat and crunch oft associated with jalepenos and tator tots. Additionally the too-cute by half minature portions -- akin to a tootsie roll -- were unimaginative. For those who have eaten at TICO, Chef Schlow’s dishes there carry a vibrant imagery and the Jalepenos Tator Tots were missing the creative element one comes to expect from him.
Instead focus on the delightful Jimmy’s Special “Chopped” House Salad. Here Chef Schlow’s creativity shines with the combination of flavorful elements (clearly farm-to-table) and the slightly spicy salad dressing provides the ideal kick to this veggie centric dish.
While waiting for the main course to arrive, skip the mostly bland Riggsby Libations, which veered from either too much alcohol or too little alcohol, and focus on ordering just the Mule on My Mind. In this, the combination of vodka, creme de peche, falernum and ginger beer came together symbiotically to create a refreshing drink which had just the right hint of alcohol, cleansing the palate for the Schnitzel.
For the main course, Schnitzel “A La Holstein,” a German favorite, came alive in Chef Schlow’s kitchen with the capers cutting sharply with the zucchini and artichoke to harmonious add ZING! to the dish. This is the go-to supper dish and when the amazingly soothing Riggsby Ice Cream Sundae arrives to close out your evening, you will be thankful to have ventured into Dupont Circle for your meal.