Wolfgang Puck's The Source in DC has gotten mixed reviews, and mostly diners feel "meh" about it (but rave about the Dim Sum brunch they offer on weekends). Generally, I try to stay away from restaurants that get those types of reviews because when I spend my hard-earned money on dinner, I want to be happy after I drop $200, and feeling like it was worth it.
Despite the warning signs from Yelp and UrbanSpoon, I pushed on to The Source because I have had some of Chef Drewno's creations at charity events and they were tasty. I wanted to give The Source a fair shot to wow me where others were disappointed.
We arrived for dinner on a Saturday night around 7pm. It was a gorgeous fall day so I asked the hostess (who, in all honesty, was a bit snobby) if the patio was open for seating. She noted that it was closed. What? Closed? On a perfect 70 degree fall day? Uh... okay.
The dining room was simple and clean with walls of wine bottles, glass, and high-ceilings. Our waitress was very friendly, attentive and nice as we started off our meal. I thorougly enjoyed the pear martini-type cocktail and the DC Brau beer they offered on the beer menu. And the sesame seed green beans with candied pecans were a yummy way to start off dinner.
For an appetizer, I would highly recommend the spicy tuna tartare. It was outstanding and the sesame-miso cones added a great flavor and texture to the tuna.
My husband ordered the garlic chive dumplings (and we shared, even though I shouldn't have). They were doughy and delicious, served with a sort of sweet and savory sauce.
We definitely grilled the poor waitress about what are the best dinner options and she happily obliged with a set of recommendations based on our flavor preferences. I opted for the pork in a thai red curry sauce (I needed the spice). The curry sauce was good, and the pork was tender and succulent. The dish was solid, but nothing quite outstanding.
My husband selected the laquered chinese duckling served with mission figs and an anise-plum wine reduction sauce. The crispy, caramelized skin was a delicious sweet flavor to the savory, tender meat. It was a great dish.
At this point in the meal, the restaurant got busier and we seemed to lose our waitress. Dirty dishes sat on our table for some time as we were forced to sit a little too close to the table next to us and could not help but overhear a conversation that I wanted no part of. <Insert record scratch here>
Finally, our servers re-emerged but by then, it was a little too late. It was time to get out and fast, or I could be stuck at the table for another 30 minutes. We managed to get our check in a reasonable amount of time and then made the long, three flight journey to the restroom (this thorougly displeased my date).
In summary, this restaurant gets a lot of hype due to the "celebrity chef" that owns it and delivers a quality meal but not without some service and ambiance hiccups.