This week is Restaurant Week here in DC, so sprite and I have sampled the wares of two local eateries, neither of which we’d visited before.

On Wednesday night, we dined at Zola, located above the International Spy Museum. The restaurant is very modern, with dark lighting and warm wood and burgundy highlights throughout. The service was attentive, and the food was very, very good.

For my appetizer, I enjoyed a tuna tartare, served in with a finely-diced cucumber salad atop the tuna, which was infused with lime juice. Taro chips were used as the serving medium, and the taste was extraordinary. My entrée was a grilled, sugar-glazed monkfish fillet, served over glazed yams and garlic spinach, with applewood-smoked bacon garnish. This was a most unusual melding of tastes, but it worked well. Monkfish is usually served as “poor man’s lobster,” and this dish dispensed of such stigma. My dessert was a “flight” of three homemade butterscotches made with 12-year, 15-year and 21-year-old scotch. It was divine: a lovely flavor that was more intense and succulent as the whisky got older.

sprite enjoyed a roasted beet appetizer, a main course of what can best be summed up as a “polenta cheeseburger”: two spiced polenta cakes that sandwiched a mushroom cap, some eggplant strips and mozzerella cheese. There was also a sauce involved, and it tasted very, very good (the polenta, itself, was a bit bland, but the other ingredients brought it to life). Her dessert was a peanut butter trifle that was most yummy.

After Zola, we were both stuffed, so our post-dinner activities involved a lot of digestion.

Last night, a couple of friends joined us for dinner at the Tabard Inn on N Street. The atmosphere at the Tabard is Old World cozy, with a touch of eclectic (wood-beam ceilings of old, with more modern artwork on the walls). It was definitely more intimate. The food was good, too, though not as good as Zola. I had another tuna appetizer – this time, a seared tuna strip with daikon and cilantro garnish and a ginger-miso dressing. T’was tasty. My entrée was a miso-glazed salmon filét, served over mushrooms, jasmine rice and baby bok choi. It wasn’t quite as good as the Zola meal, but it was quite filling. Dessert was a rum-infused pineapple upside-down cake, served with mango sorbét. The table shared a lovely bottle of shiraz, a Sonoma Valley wine of 2004 vintage.

sprite’s meal consisted of a “Thai chicken soup” that wasn’t quite as expected (there wasn’t much coconut in the broth, so it didn’t seem quite right to me). The entrée was a pasta dish that was a bit small in portion, with more onions than mushrooms (our fellow diner bought the same dish and ended up with the opposite issue). Dessert was a lemon mascarpone cheesecake, garnished with berries that was quite tasty (per sprite’s word).

Our other friend had an entrée of roasted duck that looked most delicious, and had a Godiva chocolate cake that was too wonderful for words.

The service at Tabard Inn was very good, too, and they are noted for their brunch, so we’ll head back sometime in the warmer months to sample their Sunday finest.

As a whole, it’s been a good Restaurant Week: a perfect sampling of restaurants we wouldn’t normally patronize, but will certainly recommend in the future.