Esquire magazine has named Barton Seaver as its 2009 chef of the year. Seaver is the chef at Blue Ridge, a restaurant in the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. After eating two meals at Blue Ridge, this decision makes me shrug my shoulders.
Did Esquire's critic ever eat at Seaver's Blue Ridge? Don't get me wrong. I had good meals there, but they were far from exceptional. Far from what you'd expect from the chef of the year.
Although I think Tom Sietsema's 1.5 star rating (out of 4 stars) for Blue Ridge may be a little low, I share some of his observations about Blue Ridge.
The housemade potato chips with charred onion dip were excellent. My trout was good, but the burger I ordered the next time was totally blah. The sweet potato fritters were okay, but they were misnamed. They were more like dumplings than fritters. And the apple pie turned out to be more of a crumble and was mediocre -- especially considering how much our server praised that dessert.
I will probably dine at Blue Ridge again at some point, but it won't be a "destination restaurant" for me. And if Seaver is as talented as they say he is, then he must not be a regular presence in Blue Ridge's kitchen. Anyway, I'm not the only one who's raining on Seaver's parade.