Every summer the Oval Room serves a summer-themed three course menu. Last year, it was a tomato menu, with dishes showcasing the summer ingredient like tomato risotto and tomato cheesecake. We tried it and loved it. This year, it’s a Provencal menu, highlighting the ingredients of summer in the south of France.
Like last year, this year’s summer menu is a hit. Sampling it is like taking a quick trip to the south of France, except it’s much more affordable and you get to skip the jet lag.
The first course options epitomize the fresh summer ingredients of Provence. Ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, a classic niçoise salad, and a ratatouille tart. The ratatouille tart was the winner for me, with an elegant house made, fennel-infused tart shell filled with smoked eggplant that is adorned with colorful roasted tomatoes, spiralized zucchini and pearl onions. It was sweet and savory and light and airy.
After that, you can choose ravioli, or my recommendation, a black truffle omelet. It sounded uneventful, but as the French always say, there is an art to cooking an omelet and this is one of the most beautifully crafted ones I have ever sampled. Soft, with a moist center, perfectly seasoned and crowned with heaps of fragrant, earthy black truffles, this is the omelet of a lifetime. Best of all is the butter brioche sticks on the side. No-carb dieters, this is the exception you need to make. The brioche is crisp and chewy. Buttery bread has never tasted so good.
For dessert, I would recommend everyone at your table try a different dish, so you can sample them all. Provence is famous for their lavender fields and so the lavender infused madeleines are a quintessential representation of the French region. They are also buttery and delicious. The lemon tart with pine nuts and whipped cream tart is sweet and oh so light. Ice cream is also available if you are crazy and neither of the above two options appeal to you.
As we all know, Oval Room is one of DC’s high-end restaurants; the Provencal menu is a good opportunity to sample Chef Bryan Moscatello’s food without spending hundreds of dollars. The lunch time three course Provencal menu is $32, and dinner is four courses for $65. If visiting Provence isn’t in the cards for you this summer, this is as close as you will get. With a glass of wine and an order of the lavender madeleines in front of you, you can close your eyes and it feels pretty damn close. The menu is available from now until August 10th.