The Source: Re-Source

I’ve been wanting to try the lounge at The Source by Wolfgang Puck for some time.  I dined at the upscale restaurant last summer, right before I started blogging.  But The Source catapulted to the top of my list again after winning Best Fine Dining restaurant at last week’s RAMMYS.  I am nothing if not shamelessly influenced by awards and praise from restaurant critics.  (The Source is #3 on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants 2011.)

Great food abounds in DC and resources about where to find it are plentiful.  I almost always refer to the professional critics before I dine somewhere, just to give myself a baseline.  Blogs and websites also offer opinions on nearly every venue in town. But in the end, when I’m writing a post about a restaurant, obviously I have to base it on my own experience- taking into account the thoughts expressed by my dining partners.

I go to The Source lounge with two friends for a weeknight dinner.  I arrive first, in time to conduct a serious review of our options.  They are sufficient, considering I am dining with two pescaterians, one who eats shellfish but no dairy, and one who doesn’t eat shellfish. I always peruse the menu online prior to visiting a restaurant and look for information about specific dishes, but you never can be certain about the reliability of online menus.  This time the internet is a reliable source.  (see how I worked that in there).

We begin with tempura green beans with a pickled ginger vinaigrette.  They are lightly fried and crispy and the sauce is sweet and tangy.  It’s a perfectly sized portion for three to share. These are very nicely done (particularly when I compare it to a similar dish I have at Proof a few days later which is not nearly as good).

Two of us share lobster and scallop spring rolls. The presentation is beautiful.  I like the crispy, salty outside and the sauce is once again sweet with a little tang. My friend doesn’t particularly like this dish. I am not blown away but I can’t find fault with it either.
Next we have spicy tuna tartare in a sesame miso roll.  I had this last year as an appetizer and really enjoyed it.  I appreciate that they give us the option to order three pieces.  My favorite thing about this dish is the rolls themselves which are crunchy and sweet.  This is a really nice contrast to the raw tuna.
My friends share yellowtail sashimi with pickled jalapeño and citrus ponzusashimi.  I am not a sashimi fan so I just have a taste.  I find it okay but this isn’t my thing. My friends like it but say it’s nothing special.
I think about trying one more dish but instead we opt for dessert- warm blueberry crumble with salted streusel and vanilla ice cream.  The ice cream is smooth and creamy.  The crumble tastes like a biscuit. I like my desserts with a little more sugar.
According to a description on Zagat, the Source has “a “lively happy hour when its downstairs lounge fills with hip DCers digging in to recognizable faves and Far Eastern izakaya (Japanese small plates) in an atmosphere akin to Vegas, LA or New York.”
My own summary presents a dilemma. I like the food.  I like it very much.  But something about the experience as a whole isn’t wowing me.  And, I want to be wowed  at such a top-rated venue.  My friends aren’t any more enthusiastic than I am, so it’s not just me.
If you’re looking for a fun and satisfying evening out with friends, I’m happy to recommend the lounge at the Source. But if you’re looking for a rave review, you’ll just have to try a different source.
The Source, 575 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
My rating (on a 1-5 scale):   3.6
The Source on Urbanspoon


  1. hungryinthedistrict says

    This looks amazing. I have always wanted to go the Source too. Hopefully I'll make the trip soon (along with MiniBar). I started my own food blog,, for restaurants in DC. Check it out!

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