Next we had the fried mozzarella and fennel sausage plate ($11). This one was not bad, the sausage coming locally from the Smoking Goose. It had a distinctive fennel taste, but was warm and hearty and I enjoyed it even if sausage doesn’t tend to be my favorite thing. Hubby particularly enjoyed it. The fried cheese (cheese made in house) wasn’t bad either, but I guess maybe there is only so far you can go with fried cheese. There was a red onion/tomato jam served alongside which again was good, but maybe just a tad sweet for me. Actually, that was probably my main problem with this dish and our next one, they were a little too on the sweet side for me. I realize that these kind of sweet rich flavors are often used in fall and winter dishes, but there was just something missing to balance it here for me.
The same was true of the last dish we shared---the buttermilk fried quail with cheddar polenta, roasted apples and bacon ($23). The quail was good. I really enjoyed the buttermilk fried part of it—I would love to maybe see this on some chicken or something a little bigger as gnawing on small bony birds isn’t as much fun (for me anyway—this one had most all of its bones in it still). Like I said, the quail itself was tasty, and I do appreciate the slightly more gamey taste to other larger birds. The polenta was not bad, but there wasn’t a lot of cheddar flavor to me and I don’t know, the sweetness of the apples just wasn’t doing it for me either. The whole dish was also drizzled with a maple syrup type glaze. I think maybe my problem was there just wasn’t enough other flavors to balance out this amount of sweetness. Also the slice of bacon on the plate was completely undercooked, totally soft and white. I looked at it for a long time before I even realized what it was.
The main thing we sort of discussed as we ate the dishes is that they just didn’t seem to come together the same way as they did the first time we were there (and the second time I went, without hubby, I found both my dishes very under-seasoned). I think maybe I will wait til spring and go back when they offer some brighter flavors. I just wasn’t really digging most of what we had.
Ok, for dessert though, when you are wanting and expecting sweets, we really enjoyed the flavors in the caramel pie. It was a special and was made with a chocolate crust with basically just lots of ooey, gooey, and salty caramel pouring out of it. There was whipped cream on top (way too much actually) and some more smoky salt. We both quite enjoyed this. But here, even with a pure sweet, it was better balanced with the salt.
So, the thing is, nothing was BAD, and nothing was great. I am not writing off Black Market though, because I totally know what they are capable of. I am just really glad neither of these last two meals were my first, or I might not have as willingly returned.
922 Massachusetts Avenue