Although we have had a rainy couple of days, it is safe to say that spring has (finally) sprung, and restaurants and bars alike are seizing the opportunity to showcase their “spring fever”. With the celebration of May Day came The Gibson‘s opening of their back patio and their next-door neighbor Marvin‘s spring menu debut. Exposed brick walls and a beautiful wooden bar makes The Gibson’s patio the perfect spot to grab a drink and some sun while enjoying their spring cocktail menu for Happy Hour before making one’s way to dinner. Then after dinner, head upstairs to Marvin’s year-round rooftop deck and lounge.
Marvin provides a laid back and relaxed ambiance, perhaps an attribute to the fact the restaurant pays homage to the DC native, “son of soul”, Marvin Gaye and self-imposed two year exile to Ostend, Belgium. (The huge mural of Gaye on the main dining room wall is pretty hard to miss.) Marvin combines the comfort and enjoyment of soul food with the robustness of Belgian cooking as apparent from their eclectic menu. Think everything from southern style shrimp and grits to Belgian waffles and moulles-frites. Marvin debuted their spring menu of 10 new dishes created by Chef Angel Franco and some caught more than just my eye, but also my taste buds.
- If you are looking for a light, zesty, and filling meal, then the Grilled Salmon (grilled asparagus, roasted lemon, caper relish) is for you. Despite the fact I usually do not enjoy capers; the caper relish truly made the fresh salmon flavors pop.
- More of a pasta lover? The Potato Gnocchi (pea puree, wild mushrooms, pea tendrils) will probably disappear from your plate faster than you would like. The gnocchi is light and fluffy, however its the pea puree and wild mushroom mix that will have diners at Marvin singing its praises.
- Marvin’s salads also proved to be tasty and enticing, in particular the Roasted Beet and Strawberry Salad (goat cheese, pickled strawberries, almonds, on a bed of fresh arugula) was a refreshing mix of citrusy and hearty flavors.
- The Tuna Nicoise Salad (olive tapenade, crispy potato chips, watercress, roasted tomato) was deliciously savory. However, the crispy potato chips and deviled egg stole so much of the show that I almost forgot the salad was the focus!
- Finally it was the Wild Pan Roasted Sea Bass (roasted spring vegetables, olive oil broth) that caught my attention. Not only is the dish beautiful in presentation, but a great alternative for those wanting to try something a little different. The vegetables give the sea bass a robust taste, and the olive oil broth is so pleasant that you will most likely grab any extra pieces of bread for dipping.
Come in for the food, then stay for the drinks while enjoying a soundtrack of rare funk, soul, ska, and jazz created by Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton. A small, classy yet rustic restaurant without a specific dress code, Marvin is a great spot for a more intimate date or a group of friends wanting a quality cocktail. Definitely a place to frequent for lovers of fresh and hearty cuisine.
2007 14th Street
NW, Washington, DC