In the heart of DC…in the Penn Quarter…is an island of mouth-watering seafood dishes with a European twist. Welcome to Azur.
Helmed by Chef Frederik de Pue and assisted by Chef de Cuisine Robert Rubba, Azur is more than a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Set on the site that once housed Café Atlantico, Azur is a festival of blue, white and airiness. You feel refreshed just by walking inside. Once you’re seated and open the menu, you are in for a treat…especially if you love fish as much as I do. There’s a virtual cornucopia of dishes from which to choose.
I asked my waiter for a drink recommendation. I wanted something alcoholic, light, but not terribly sweet. He suggested the Azur. It was just delicious and contained Adami Prosecco, Don Diccio & Figli, hibiscus liqueur and hibiscus flower. I admit, I have no idea what these ingredients are, but when served together in a glass, they become perfection…so perfect, in fact, that when I returned for a second visit I again ordered the Azur, and it was just as good as the first time.
On my first visit, I ordered the Hand Harvested Sea Scallops, coupled with asparagus, pine nut purée, grapefruit and puffed red quinoa. The scallops were seasoned perfectly. Everything about this dish was wonderful. If I could have licked the plate I would have. My dining companion ordered the Steak Frite—a grilled flat iron steak served with a bernaise sauce and pomme frites. It came just as requested—medium rare—and she was in heaven. She also loved the fries—nicely salted and crisp. For dessert we split the Grapefruit &Honey—a brown sugar meringue with moscato granite. I’m not much of a meringue person, but this was tasty and my friend gave it a solid thumb’s up.
For my second Azur visit with another friend, we decided to split an appetizer—the Crispy Calamari served in a nuoc cham vinaigrette (Vietnamese), spiced peanuts and mint. It was positively yummy. We then went on to the entrée. My friend chose the Branzino with farro verde, gribiche sauce (mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce) and bacon. It was presented like a work of art and she ate every morsel. I decided to try a fish I’d never before eaten—a lightly poached Pollock paired with young carrots, tokyo turnips, pearl onions, fava bean and dashi bouillon. The Pollack was absolutely delicious—light and tasty. We had no room for dessert, but will definitely be back to try one out.
Azur offers a Pre-Theatre three-course prix fixe menu ($35), available daily from 5pm – 7pm, which allows you to get to one of the nearby theatres in plenty of time. My goal is to work my way down the wonderful menu and finally branch out in my drink selection. I can’t wait to go back. Care to join me?
Lunch: M-F 11:30am-3pm
Bar: M-F 3pm-5pm
Dinner: M-Th 5pm-10:30pm
405 8th St. NW, DC 20004