While the majority of adventure finds me in less populated, rural areas for hiking and such, my home here in the Cumberland Valley puts me within an hour or two drive of some major mid-Atlantic cities, where we attend a dozen or two shows each year. One of my favorite parts of visiting cities like DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia is the opportunity for new dining experiences. There is never a shortage of places to enjoy a meal, and sometimes it can be tough to choose because so many of them look (and are!) so delicious.
Most often choosing begins by looking at what’s close by, followed by what type of food we might be in the mood for, and then it’s a matter of narrowing it down based on menu and reviews. It’s not always an easy task, and sometimes I prefer to walk a little and get a vibe from the actual location itself, but sometimes it’s easier and less time consuming to consult the little computer in my hand, and that’s how we stumbled on Gypsy Kitchen DC this past weekend.
This place had some pretty convincing reviews and there wasn’t an ounce of disappointment in any part of this experience. We were seated on the second floor rooftop patio, surrounded by lush greenery and the trees extending up from the street below providing a cozy treehouse ambiance. Once we started looking at the menu it became clear that choosing our plates would be much harder than choosing where to eat! Everything looked amazing.
There are many small plate options, which means you can choose multiple dishes to share, and is great for indecisive people like me (I am a Libra, after all). We started with a cheese board, which included Smoked Duck Prosciutto; a welcome alternative to the pork products that usually accompany this plate. I’m a big fan of cheese so this was a total win and I could easily have made this a main course. The Green Goddess salad was the perfect companion and I can now add pistachio’s to the list of nuts that I love in a salad.
The servers ensured that nothing was brought out before we finished the previous plate. This is important to truly being able to savor each part of a meal and enjoying it at the perfect temperature. We also had plenty of time to go slow and savor every bite. When our main dishes arrived (we chose two small plates to share) we were ready for them. The Mushroom Toast you see above includes a 63 degree egg, which prompted us to do some googling and now I totally want to try this at home too.
The Roasted Asparagus included labneh, which I hadn’t had before, and this is where this place really won me over…..one of the staff who had checked in on us a couple times already, provided great detail on this part of the dish as he explained the process, making me feel even more connected to the meal. Dining out is a whole experience for me and isn’t just about a great meal. I love the connections that occur as well as seeing the excitement that the staff expresses over your interest in the meal they so carefully prepared for you (yes! presentation matters too!). And when you are provided the entire bottle or pitcher of water so you can serve yourself, but your server notices that your glass is low as you are eating and they come over to fill it for you, well, that’s the practice of someone who truly wants you to enjoy your time in their establishment.
Everyone went above and beyond, and the place was pretty full when we arrived. There were no moments where I felt like the staff was overwhelmed and everyone was eager to make sure each patron was taken care of. I would happily spend an afternoon fighting DC traffic just to have another meal at this place.