City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: BLT with truffled frites
The Location: Poste Moderne Brasserie, 555 8th Street NW, (202) 783-6060
The Price: $12
The Skinny: It’s 4:15 on a Tuesday, and I’m caught in that annoying, no man’s land of D.C. dining—-the period between lunch and dinner, when just about every restaurant of note regroups for the supper crowd. After getting turned away at IndeBleu, which doesn’t open for dinner until 5 p.m., I walk over to the bar at Poste Moderne Brasserie, which serves up a tidy menu of well-conceived American classics. I order the BLT ($12) and the truffled frites, which are available a la carte for $8. The bartender says that the sandwich already comes with fries, but that he’d be happy to substitute the truffled frites for the regular ones. I’m expecting to pay for the fungal-scented fries since truffles don’t exactly grow on trees. (Well, OK, they grow underground near trees, but you get my drift.) The BLT is precisely what you’d expect from Chef Robert Weland: faithful to the sandwich’s simple tradition but built from ingredients that smack of taste, in both senses of the word. The BLT starts with two slices of slightly over-grilled rustic bread studded with sunflower seeds; the kitchen slathers the toast with a spicy mayo, sprinkles on some arugula, and tops it with thick meaty tomato slices and strips of Nueske applewood-smoked bacon. The flavors are more subtle than a classic diner BLT, mostly because the bacon is lean and the mealy tomatoes are not yet at their summer prime. The sandwich seems to ask that you enjoy its finer pleasures—-the smokiness of the bacon, the texture of the toast, the juiciness of the tomatoes—-until just a few moments after you swallow. That’s when the heat kicks in. It’s not a scorching burn, but a noticeable pungency that proves to be the sandwich’s charm. Almost as charming: The bartender didn’t charge me for the pricy frites that are tossed in white truffle oil, which tends to dampen the fried spuds’ crunch but amps up the flavor.