After a long day of meetings, a co-worker and I decided to grab a meal at Clyde’s in Reston. I had been by Clyde’s in the Reston Towne Centre several times, but I had never actually been IN Clyde’s. I was going to use this opportunity to try something new for the blog.
We arrived and were seated promptly. He had invited a couple other co-workers, but he didn’t expect they would be showing up for another half-hour or so. We got a table and sat down. As the waitress rattled off the lengthy beer list, my co-worker, a fellow beer connoisseur, asked me what I might recommend. He’s from the West Coast, and wasn’t familiar with a couple of the beers, since they were from East Coast breweries. I asked him if he’d ever had anything from Magic Hat Brewing in Vermont. He had never heard of it, so we ordered two Magic Hat #9s. If you’ve never had the pleasure, Magic Hat #9 is a unique, crisp, lightly-hopped beer.
Our beers came out, and I noticed my glass was very cold. We toasted our glasses; “Cheers!”, and I took a moment to admire the clean beer and wonderful head. I brought the glass to my nose, closed my eyes, and took a deep inhale of its wonderful aroma.
All of a sudden, I felt a “gush” as the beer began to pour all over me. In an instant, I opened my to see what had happened, as beer cascaded off the table onto my shirt, rolled into my lap, onto the booth, and dripped onto the floor.
Had I broken the glass in my hand? No, I looked at it, and it still looked fine, but conspicuously empty of beer.
Or was it still fine? I looked closer, and the bottom inch of the glass had “fallen off” the pint glass. Too many hot washes and immediate placements into the bar’s freezer had left their mark hidden in the hysteresis of glass. Adding a luke-warm beer (cool, but not cold) to the glass, coupled with our light “tink” of a toast, had set the molecular dominoes in motion to cause the glass to split under the weight of the beer, allowing gravity to take its course, leaving the glass empty, the table a mess, and me soaking wet.
Immediately, there was a small army of servers and bus persons, commanded by an elite officer corps of managers, orchestrating the cleanup. My co-worker never even stood up, as the table was repaired to its pristine state from 7 minutes earlier. I, on the other hand, just laughed. There are plenty of things that aggravate me, cause me to get upset, cause me to raise my voice, or just cause me to tighten up. This, however, was not one of those events. After realizing the simple untimeliness of what was otherwise “bad luck,” I laughed, headed to the bathroom, and took off my soaking wet dress shirt, revealing my beer-stained, but mildly drier, undershirt. There was nothing I could do for my pants. When I came back to the table, I said, “my seat’s still wet.” My co-worker asked if I would like to move. I pointed out that probably anywhere I sat, the seat would end up wet. He nodded in sympathetic understanding.
Finally, the manager (David Smith) came over and asked if there was anything he could do. I said that I would really like to see the glass again, and get a picture of it. I figured it might be nice to have a little proof of what happened. I could just imagine explaining to the police officer, “Honest, I only had one beer,” as the smell permeated the fabric in the car. But, perhaps most immediate in my mind was the blog, I wanted a picture to show that “the bottom just fell off.”
The manager, who was very friendly, and appropriately contrite, brought the glass back, and said, “Since we gave you a glass of beer with no bottom, we’d like to offer you a bottomless glass of beer tonight.” He said “no pun intended,” but I didn’t believe him then, and I still don’t believe him in hindsight. I forgave him for his polite fib, as I thought it quite clever, and even chuckled aloud. He also offered to pay the dry cleaning bill for my clothes, which I told him was unnecessary, but I appreciated the offer.
Our other co-workers arrived after all the commotion. We related the above story. They ordered drinks. We finally were able to order dinner. As it turns out, it was Restaurant Week in D.C. At Clyde’s they had a small selection on a fixed-menu, including one salad/appetizer, one main course, and one dessert for $21.95. I ordered the calamari as an appetizer, and the jumbo lump crab cake for my entree.
Our food took a little while to come out, but it was worth the wait. The selection of salads and my calamari all looked wonderful. The calamari was not the best I’ve ever had, but it was far above average. It was, perhaps, a little over-breaded and not as “crisp” as the freshest of calamari usually is. It was good, though, and the generous parmesan cheese on top certainly added to the overall flavor.
The jumbo lump crab cake was top-notch. Anytime I have a crab cake, and I think it’s good, I always want the Wife to try it for me. Since she’s from Maryland, she has a particularly discerning taste when it comes to crab cakes. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there to enjoy the meal with us, but I somehow imagined her providing her seal of approval on this particular crab cake; lots of large lump crab meat, with minimal filler, all very-lightly fried. It was also served with a sweet potato gratin, which was better in name than in execution.
After dinner, our server asked what would like to have for dessert. The dessert menu was extensive, with several tasty-looking options, including a butterscotch blondie, a brownie, cheesecake, and apple pie. I elected to have the dulce du leche cheesecake, which was perfectly-sized, and remarkably well-crafted. It was rich, without being too rich, and thick without being heavy. Unfortunately, it looked so good that I ate it before I remembered to take a picture. You’ll just have to trust me on it. ef="http://hungrywanderers.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/img_1967.jpg">
Clyde’s is, in many ways, a staple of professionals in the D.C.-area. Once again, I’m surprised I managed to miss out on it all the years I was in the area, but I’m glad that I have been able to discover it as a visitor.