"I've never opened a restaurant," says veteran chef Will Artley, whose credits include Orso's pizza restaurant in Falls Church and Nonna's Kitchen in the district. "I'm usually hired to to repair Restaurants. "
Scotts So is a departure for the 41-year-old chef. Not only does this represent his first deployment, but the venue also offers a new style of cooking for Artley: English. The "British Brewery", as he calls it Scotts, was created by Simon Lowe, a hotelier, restaurateur and English philanthropist. The establishment, which includes a member-only club and is reserved for Scotch fans, is reserved for members and follows the space previously occupied by Co. Co. Sala in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
While the menu left room for maneuver on the menu, "Simon was adamant about a trolley," said Artley, who has returned from nearly a year of cooking at the Zamora hotel. from St. Pete Beach, Florida, to help develop Scotts.
Good call. The silver wagon carrying a rotating piece of meat – roast beef, leg of lamb, roast pork – is a substantial pleasure, both entertainment and party. The conversation interrupts while the guests watch a waiter decorate a plate with just-cut slices of roast (crispy pink beef, in my case), and make a meal with horseradish cream, Yorkshire pudding and a choice of two vegetables. (Professional advice: follow the flow and ask the peas for cream.)
But first, you'll need sunny, pleasantly flowing scotch eggs wrapped in a thin strip of Cumberland sausage (pork), or a salad of chicory and grilled onions mixed with crumbled Stilton and sweet pear. The salad takes advantage of bitter endive and strong cheese, as well as a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. A dinner can also be cautious in the wind and slip into a ramekin of cognac-tipped chicken liver pudding, the surface of which is paved with a glossy port jelly. There are also crab cakes, made with Maryland crab and placed on the rémoulade.
BLT's gnocchi take over from Artley's past at the Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria. The dish is rich in truffle cream, bacon and parmesan, but surprisingly unidimensional, even with tomato roasted at the assembly. The fact that spinach and potato gnocchi are gummy does not help.
It simply means there is more room for the cranked pappardelle, covered with a lovely wild boar raguo and sweet roasted pumpkin; a pork shank the size of a fist, coming out of a puddle of butternut squash polenta; or a whirlwind of steamed mussels, topped with homemade Italian sausages crumbled and tasty from their hot bath of wine, butter and garlic.
The Scotts English Sundae is a nod to the owner, whose favorite treat for children was vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and flaked almonds. (Children should not have all the pleasure of having fun: let yourself go.)
The 70 seat dining room is clubby without being dusty. Sharing the interior with book shelves and tartan cushions, there are orange chairs and green benches, as well as a lively wall with a floating vegetable mural.
Lowe, who has a daughter in the Washington area, intends to deploy more Scotts. Next stop, says Artley: Miami, followed by New York and Boston.
"I missed D.C. when I arrived in Florida," says the chef. Scotts is proof that the scene is better for his return.
927 F St. NW. 202-628-7000. scottsrestaurants.com. Entries, $ 16 to $ 39.