what was consumed: hangtown fry (with oysters, eggs, and bacon), vermicelli prepared with pudding (the grandfather of today's mac 'n' cheese), jumbalaya, strawberry shortcake dessert, wiiiiine~~~
i am a jose andres fan. let's just get that out in the open right now. i've been trying to get reservations at 'mini bar' for some time now and am willing to dish out bucks to eat there. and so, i'd say, jose andres can do little wrong in my book.
when america eats tavern took over cafe atlantico, i was a little sad because i enjoyed much of what cafe atlantico offered (mostly the guacamole. which i can eat gallons of). but when i heard about the join effort between jose andres and the nat'l archives, i was intrigued (as was the rest of the dc/metro community, i imagine). so, when friend made the suggestion and was able to score some reasonable reservations, we were on our way. yay!
we walked into the restaurant and were quickly seated in our seats. the interior of the space is the same as cafe atlantico (of course) in that there are multiple floors of dining, but the space is rather ... narrow. but wide enough to have some privacy among different dining parties. the walls are also filled with historic (?) american art reflecting some of the history of u.s. food. there were already quite a few diners present, already eating food. the interior seemed the servers quickly came to take our drink order and explain the concept behind america eats (their website does a far better job than i could, so i'm going to forego that story here. but it's really cool!).
m and i decided to split a 3-course meal between us. i figured that'd be enough food (and it was). we picked a few favorites (mac 'n cheese) and an oyster dish (i had read that some sort of oyster dish was a must! works for me! and yes, i read about food (and others' opinion about food) rather frequently) that i heard was really good. they also had great oysters on the half shell (which i enjoyed on a subsequent visit to america eats) that was served with a variety of citrus add-ons. i will have to say that the mac 'n cheese made with vermicelli is something i could eat every day. loves it.
for our entree, we chose the very shareable jambalaya (in fact, it's supposed to be shared). it was chock full of shrimp, sausage, and other goodies, served with a fresh salsa/salad of peppers that was a nice and cool addition to the piping hot jambalaya. the jambalaya, while prepared in the kitchen (of course) is plated right at your table. very nice, very nice. i will have to say that the jambalaya was a bit of the salty side. but it's supposed to be that way ... ??? frankly, i really would've have it another way. so much so that i had it again at a subsequent visit. haha.
and, of course, dessert. neither m nor i are big sweets fans. but we do appreciate fresh and in-house-made things. our strawberry shortcake dessert was fresh, light, not too sweet, and a nice end to our meal.
america eats has a nice selection of beers and wines as well, and options that aren't overly expensive. that's always nice to see.
i've both been back to america eats as well as visited the exhibit at the national archives (though, both times i've been to the archives, i hurried through the museum because i was running short on time. maybe the third time will be the charm? and really, i can't seem to see the declaration of independence and constitution enough! do you blame me? nerd.) and still look forward to going back. again. next time, i'll be sure to get something other than the jambalaya. but it's so good! sigh.