Whenever I'm invited to support a charity, I always feel guilty when I end up disappointed. After all, these people gave of their time and energy to put together something to help those less fortunate, while I was probably out having a great time supporting myself!
But you can't really turn off that portion of your brain -- the part of you ingrained to measure, to evaluate, to compare -- even when it's for a great cause. Thankfully, during November at RIS (2275 L St. NW), I don’t have to judge. I can breeze through a three-course, $25 prix-fixe menu at one of D.C.'s most comforting restaurants while supporting the needs of our service members and veterans.
RIS is donating 20 percent of each "Salute to Our Veterans" meal purchased throughout November. The selection is limited, but filling, and there's not much time left, so get going!
The first course is a choice between local pumpkin soup topped with a swirl of Vermont maple cream, or what I ended up choosing, the Iowa Maytag bleu cheese salad tossed with sliced apples, cranberries, endive, walnuts and "silky port" vinaigrette. The fresh texture of the salad mixed sharp cheese buttressed by sweet cranberries and slight sugary tang of the vinaigrette.
The main course is either the Texas quail, with white hominy grits and collards splashed with a touch of icy bourbon cherry sauce, or a pan-fried North Carolina trout, with beets, dill-roasted potatoes, horseradish cream and cucumber.
I loved the color of the vegetables gently propped upon the nondescript but perfectly cooked trout. The splash of green next to the bright pop of yellow beets and red roasted potatoes was as close as I’ve seen RIS get to an Andy Warhol painting. Fun!
The last course was average. I wouldn’t necessarily ever go to RIS just for their desserts, and neither selection of the Pennsylvania apple pie or the hot fudge sundae changed my life. I thought the apple pie was basic and the hot fudge sundae seriously lacking in fudge. But I took comfort in the fact I ate well for lunch and supported our troops at the same time.
Overall, it's a decent menu for an honorable cause. You can get it between 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through November.