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Razzle Dazzle

BY Nevin Martell | January 4, 2017 | Feature Features National

The Backroom at Kingbird is a swank and swinging hit at the new The Watergate Hotel.
Seared rib-eye cap with a bone marrow and parsley crust

There’s a lot of glimmer and gleam to the recently revamped The Watergate Hotel. The lobby shimmers with silvery accents and a wall of golden bottles. Downstairs, beehive fixtures float above a space dominated by a swirly column of chrome representing a tree—it’s the perfect setting for this restaurant within a restaurant known as The Backroom at Kingbird. Servers dressed in tuxedoes evoke the black body and white chest of the restaurant’s winged namesake; they flit between standalone tables and those nestled against candy-apple-red banquettes in the 60-seat dining room. A clubby soundtrack prevails, making me unconsciously bob my head as I read over the menu.

Diners choose between three or four courses, which can sometimes be supplemented by a fifth option, such as a seasonal truffle dish. The options change on a rolling basis with a couple of new additions appearing every week.

Meals begin with bubbly. “We believe Champagne is a food group,” says my server as he pours a glass of Charles Orban Champagne Rosé, which has a subdued sweetness and a tart raspberry undertone.

Canapes arrive on a crystal pedestal. There’s a beet financier with an earthy sweetness that gives way to a buttery richness and a coral-colored cannelloni filled with fermented carrot mousse. An amuse-bouche follows: a hot-from-the-fryer blue crab croquette lightened by a crowning dot of lemon lavender aioli.

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