COURTESY YELP Scion serves up contemporary American dishes with a twist, including their fried pickles with a yogurt and dill sauce.
COURTESY YELP
Scion serves up contemporary American dishes with a twist, including their fried pickles with a yogurt and dill sauce.

4/5 stars

$$

When looking for a restaurant with great ambience and sensational entrees, one need look no further than Scion, located in Dupont Circle. Ranked the winner of the Best New Restaurant in Washington, D.C. in 2010 by Washington City Paper, Scion serves up contemporary American cuisine with international influences and prides itself on being a welcoming feature of the neighborhood. Upon arriving, customers can choose between two charming seating areas: the atrium, with flower boxes and an impressive street view, or an indoor portion featuring large photographs of the D.C. area. The inviting atmosphere of Scion is the ideal place for a special occasion or a great place to consider for parents weekend.

Scion is home to both brunch, lunch and dinner and the menus fuse together a medley of traditional American food with international cuisine for savory dishes. Plenty of gluten-free and vegan options are offered as well, so the menus are accessible to all diners.

I began the night with the fried pickles; served with a tangy yogurt and dill sauce, they were the perfect way to begin the meal and were thin enough so that the salty flavor was not overwhelming. For those seeking something more indulgent, order the honey glazed baked brie, served on crostiniwith toasted almonds and strawberry preserves, or the Five Cheese House Recipe mac and cheese.

Pair your appetizer with one of Scion’s cleverly named specialty cocktails. If you’re in the mood for something fruity, try Planet of the Grapes, a citrusy combination of Smirnoff White Grape, champagne, grapefruit and lemon. For dessert before the main meal, order Death by Chocolate, a rich blend of Patron XO Dark, Baileys, Smirnoff Espresso and caramel syrup.

The main courses arrived quickly. The filet au poivre, or filet medallions, was cooked to specification — medium rare — and coated with spicy, crunchy peppercorn. It not only cut like warm butter, but was finished off with a rich brandy mushroom sauce, a colorful mountain of roasted potatoes and freshly steamed broccoli, all of which were delicious. Everything paired perfectly together and was immensely satisfying. The sake teriyaki chicken was liberally doused with both the teriyaki sauce and sweet, tropical fruit salsa. The interesting combination of flavors was tempered by the neutrality of the wild rice and a medley of grilled bell peppers. The portions were generous enough to necessitate takeout boxes.

The entrees demanded a return visit, since the contemporary twists on American dishes included mac and cheese with lobster meat, bacon and jalapeno and Mediterranean duck pasta with shredded duckragu, spinach, feta, pine nuts and cavatappi pasta. Despite the decadent pairings of rich ingredients, the prices are reasonable and nothing rises beyond $25.

However, the meal ended with minor disappointment. Although the hot chocolate lava cake was wonderfully presented with chocolate shavings and warm, gooey cake, it lacked the exceptional quality of the rest of the meal. The huge gobs of whipped cream detracted from the taste of the chocolate, and the cake-to-whipped cream ratio was highly skewed. For those with a sweet tooth, however, have no fear. Scion has a wide variety of desserts, from a classic cheesecake to a pomegranate walnut creme brulee that hopefully will stand out more than the lava cake.

Overall, the service was very friendly but very slow to clear the plates and bring a check as business picked up.

If you’re looking to head out for a good meal, Scion’s food is delicious. The quality of the meals stands up to the standard set by its slightly high prices without being outrageously expensive. Scion is an excellent place for special occasions, but not the best place for the college student looking for a night off from his usual pizza or microwavable noodles.

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