I love bacon. I really do.
The sweet, smokey, salty, and savory flavors of it dance with my eggs, swim in my black bean soup, and flavors my vegetables (hey, I'm a Southern girl). So imagine my joy to find out that a restaurant here in Virginia loves bacon (and pork in general) as much as I do.
Restaurant Three created its Week O' Bacon to celebrate all things bacon according to one of the managers that I spoke with as I was rolling my bacon filled belly out of there. During one week in October diners can enjoy a three course bacon tasting menu that showcases bacon and all of its porky glory in every part of the meal for a mere $30.
I was sold. Three course bacon menu, even including a bacon dessert?! I'm there! I recruited two sidekicks to endorse my shenanigans and we were off to indulge. My friends and I went all out and tried everything on the menu except for the bacon on the stick. We left that one off because we wanted to retain some pride that night and seem like sophisticated diners rather than bacon addicted women.
I started with the Bacon Martini. That's right, bacon infused vodka, vermouth, and an olive and piece of bacon as garnish. Sadly, I was not a fan of the use of bacon vodka in a martini. As the glass got closer to my lips, I was being confronted with the not so appetizing smell of bacon fat, and I don't mean in a Saturday morning breakfast kind of way. Who knew I would ever turn down a martini or a bacon product? Refusing to believe bacon could do any wrong, I decided that maybe the bacon vodka would be better fitting in the Bacon Bloody Mary--another feature of Bacon week-- and I was correct. The spicy Bloody Mary mix and the bacon vodka created a BLT in a glass in terms of flavor and bacon vodka redeemed itself.
When it came time to order, we all ordered something different so that we could try everything offered on the menu. The bacon explosion appetizer was crispy and smokey, and shockingly not heavy despite being deep fried sausage, bacon, and cheese. The BBQ dipping sauce was nice but not necessary, the bacon explosion could stand on its own. Course one consisted of potato soup and the classic wedge salad. The potato soup was surprisingly light and fresh to be cream based (perhaps the beer lightened it up?), and the bacon definitely was the star contrasting with the starchy potato and tangy cheese. The wedge salad was good, but nothing terribly unique. The bacon that was sprinkled atop the wedge was delicious and cured in house.
Next came our main courses: shrimp and grits and bacon wrapped pork. As a girl raised by southerners, I know my grits so I get nervous when I see them on menus up here. Three put my fears to rest with their shrimp and grits because the grits were cooked perfectly and the asiago cheese was not overpowering. I was also impressed by the quality of the ingredients! The shrimp where whole, the tomatoes tasted vine ripened, and the barbecue reduction was sweet and tangy. Lets not forget the bacon! The bacon embraced the flavors of the reduction, added a nice smokey flavor to the cheese grits, and enhanced the flavors of the shrimp-- I was in heaven. The bacon wrapped pork was also good, very moist and well-seasoned, but it didn't speak to me the way that the shrimp and grits did because I feel like the bacon got hidden with all the starch on the plate (stuffing and potatoes). The mashed potatoes that came with the pork lion were fluffy and delicious, they were definitely made from real potatoes (not those creepy flakes), milk, and butter...just as potatoes should be.
Finally, dessert! I'd heard about Restaurant Three's Bacon Waffle with Maple Bacon Ice Cream for some time now, but just hadn't made the 1/2 mile journey down the road to try it. I never thought I could say this: I think there was just a little too much bacon. I think the bacon waffle would have been better served if the ice cream was just maple flavored or if the waffle had been plain and the ice cream was maple bacon flavored. Despite a bit of bacon overload, the dessert was good, the waffle and ice cream were very fresh-- I just think it was more savory rather than a salty-sweet balance.
If you can't tell, I enjoyed my bacon filled dinner. Surprisingly it wasn't heavy due to the innovative ways bacon was added to each dish and Restaurant Three definitely showcased bacon and all of the flavors it can add to a meal. Sadly, Week O' Bacon ends tomorrow, but much to my delight there has been talk of featuring the shrimp and grits even after the end of bacon week. Also, you can indulge in bacon infused vodka drinks and their salty sweet dessert any day of the week. Finally, if you just can't get down here at all, you can eat with your eyes, Restaurant Three will be featured on the Travel Channel's Bacon Paradise on November 24.
Bacon week aside, Restaurant Three offered excellent service, a creative menu, and quality ingredients so I definatly plan on going back for dinner. So, if you happen to live in the DMV or if you'll be visiting the area check them out. You can find them a few blocks from the Clarendon (orange line) metro station.
2950 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
*Sorry for the lack of photos, lighting wasn't good for picture taking so I'd rather put up nothing than put up crap. If you must see what I ate, check out my twitter feed from that night, I was able to snag a photo of the martini, salad, shrimp and grits, and dessert.