The new Darcy Hotel in Northwest is named for that taciturn hero of Jane Austen’s, who must overcome his own pride — to say nothing of Elizabeth Bennet’s prejudice — in order to get to the requisite climactic wedding of the 1813 novel.
On the ground floor of The Darcy is the latest restaurant venture from chef extraordinaire Robert Weidemaier, called Siren. The motif of Siren can’t help but bring to mind a nautical motif, with seafaring touches and mermaid murals that evoke that legendary creature of Greek myth who lured hapless men to her island for a feast of her own.
The cocktail lounge is a bit noisy for a Friday evening at an upscale hotel, but my companion and I pass the time awaiting our table with drinks whose names go along with the theme of the place: Call of the Siren and The Gent, both of which are satisfying.
The Siren traffics mostly in seafood, and their raw bar certainly does not disappoint. Oysters from Prince Edward Island in Canada are delightful and expertly presented; an entire meal could be made of them alone.
For the first course we are recommended to try the baby soft shell crab and the sea urchin. Sea urchin is a new cuisine for me, and the way it is prepared in a souplike concoction makes it both delicate and tasty. (If you’ve never tried sea urchin before, this is the place to do so.) The baby soft shell crab served in a tamarind sauce is beautifully presented, if perhaps a tad underwhelming in taste.
The entree course consists of swordfish for myself and halibut for Victoria seated across from me. The swordfish is divine — prepped absolutely tenderly and bathed in a remoulade sauce that is unforgettable, and complemented by asparagus. Victoria’s halibut is tender and served alongside baby carrots for a fine platter as well. The carrots with wagu beef must also be experienced.
To go along with our meal, we choose from the extensive wine list a Pinot Gris Willakenzie Estate from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Its acidity pairs well with all of the seafood courses on offer, showing the expert tastes of the sommelier.
There is simply no room for dessert, but I am hoping to get into that side of the menu on another visit soon.
Siren is situated on the first floor of The Darcy, located at 1515 Rhode Island Ave NW Washington, D.C., 20005. Call 202/232-7000 or visit TheDarcyHotel.com for more information.