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A professional, if not a genius, is someone who can who adapt to public criticism while still maintaining a sense of personal integrity. Chef Peter Smith is such a person. When diners found his opening day menu at PS 7’s too baffling to parse—a sort of build-your-own tasting menu, back when people still had money and thought they wanted to blow it on 10 courses—Smith quickly retreated and developed more approachable ways to showcase his talents. His latest menu, unveiled in late May, is without a doubt his best attempt yet to expand the dining experience without overwhelming anyone. The menu sports a section called “For the Table” that features sharable plates, from his signature petite hot dogs to his delicious flatbreads topped with duck confit and other juicy morsels. But the menu also disposes with the traditional appetizer course in favor of a two-pronged section of “Cool” and “Hot” bites, including scallop ceviche, “oxtail tots,” and foie-gras-studded braised short ribs in pastry. The beauty of this approach, of course, is that some of these bites are so enticing that you want to…well, build your own mini-tasting menu.777 I St. NW, (202) 742-8550
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