It had been awhile since we had been to Black Market, and we had a show to see at the Murat, so we needed to eat early and figured it would be a good time to go without having to worry about a wait (since they don’t take reservations).
I was really drawn to many of the appetizers (as is my way), so we started with two specials—the house mozzarella sticks ($10) and the Indiana Asparagus salad ($12). I have seen the mozzarella sticks on the specials board on many occasions and had never tried them. They are huge sticks, like the size of a pretzel stick or something. They use their own homemade mozzarella for them and then bread them with saltine crumbs and serve them with a housemade red sauce. These are good mozzarella sticks—even for a person who doesn’t get that excited about such things. They are nice and crunchy on the outside and smoking hot and cheesy on the inside. The red sauce is nice and chunky-you can clearly pick out soft hunks of garlic and onion. It was hard for me to eat more than one of them though—they are big and filling (you get three per order), but hubby was happy to munch on them throughout the meal.
I liked the asparagus salad more than hubby did. There were 5-6 stalks of asparagus topped with marcona almond/ramp relish, cherry rhubarb compote and a slice of local “Brianna” cheese. Honestly, the asparagus was kind of superfluous to what was essentially a really good little cheese plate. I loved the cheese with the bits of almond relish and the rhubarb/cherry relish (which makes more appearances throughout dinner) was really good—just the right amount of sweet and tart. The asparagus was fine, but didn’t make the dish—it was the other things that were really the highlights.
For our main dishes, we ordered the entrée of duck leg confit and potatoes ($27) and another appetizer—the chicken liver pate ($9). Both were really good. That duck was some of the best I can remember. The meat was so tender and not dry at all, while the skin was super crispy, but not greasy. The duck on its own totally shined, and I could have eaten it by itself and been perfectly content. The greens, boiled egg and slice of Smoking goose jowl bacon were all good (and there was more of the cherry/rhubarb here as well) but were barely necessary—and frankly kind of hard to get all on a fork at the same time. There was also some sort of creamy sauce, can’t tell you what it was at this point, and didn’t really add anything at all so we didn’t really eat more than just a sample of it. This is definitely a dish worth ordering.
We really enjoyed the chicken liver pate—it comes in a little jar and is topped with some micro greens. They serve a little dollop of mustard with it as well as more of the cherry rhubarb compote. There were nice toasty slices of Amelia’s bread and homemade herby crackers to spread it on. I was torn about which I preferred. The bread was heartier, but the crackers had a nice texture and herby, slightly salty flavor that was nice with it. I liked both the mustard and the compote with the pate, but not at the same time. I liked making one bite more savory, and then one with the sweet/slightly tart kick from the compote. It’s an extremely rich dish, but a great thing to share with a few people. It’s very well done.
This was top to bottom, a very good meal. Black Market continues to put out a consistently good product. It’s a more meat-centric, slightly heavier restaurant than would be my first choice usually, but what they do, they do well.
922 Massachusetts Avenue