Burning Questions

The NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent shares his favorite power lunch hotspots.

Jul 28, 2010

 

Bravotv.com: Were you a Top Chef fan before? What has been your favorite season/chef? 
My favorite chef has to be Spike Medelsohn because his restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, provides fantastic food and a great atmosphere when I need a reprieve from covering Capitol Hill.

Bravotv.com: What were you expecting when you sat down at the table?
I expected to learn about the intricacies of the food business from Art and Gail and eat a substantial amount of food. Both of my expectations were accurate.

Bravotv.com: When you think of a successful “power lunch” dish, what comes to mind?
The most important thing about a “power lunch” is that the invited party leaves happy. Obviously a worthwhile hearty meal can greatly assist in bringing forth that happiness. I think of a perfectly cooked steak with succulent potatoes, I think of fresh fish, and I think of wonderful sides.

Bravotv.com: What do you usually eat for lunch? Both power and otherwise?
Covering Capitol Hill keeps me pretty busy so I tend to eat on the run. I try and eat especially healthy during the week, so I’ll pick up a chicken salad or a chicken wrap. I eat a lot of fruit salads, and I’m a big fan of low-sodium V8 juice.When I go to a power lunch I treat myself to a New York Strip steak and a side of broccoli.

Bravotv.com: What were the most memorable dishes for you? (both for good reasons and bad)
I really enjoyed one of the salmon dishes. It was presented in such a unique way that frankly it looked odd and I told myself I would not enjoy eating it. Surprisingly, once I had one bite I was hooked. It was actually the only dish where I ate every bite.

Bravotv.com: What do you think the biggest mistake the chefs made was?
One of the chefs put way too much butter on the lobster dish. It ruined the authentic ocean taste of lobster, which I really enjoy.

Bravotv.com: What are you favorite “power lunch” hotspots in NY, D.C., etc.?
In D.C., I like the Palm and Johnny’s Half Shell. I’m also a fan of Chef Geoff’s and Billy Martin’s Tavern. In NYC, I like Café Luxembourg and the iconic PJ Clarke’s on the Upper West Side.

Bravotv.com: How was the overall experience?
I really enjoyed my Top Chef taping. Having a chance to talk about food with Art and Gail certainly had to be the highlight for me. While I enjoyed the food, eating so much in one sitting put me out of commission for the rest of the day. As soon as I got home I napped and didn’t make it out that night!

Bravotv.com: Have you been watching this entire season? Do you have a favorite yet?
I like Ed, from Boston. He seems like a genuinely good guy and his food is honest and from the heart.

Bravotv.com: We believe we heard you say you like a good Obama burger, and we know that’s from our own Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. Do you go often? What else do you like from the menu? Have you tried the marshmallow shake?
I try to go to Good Stuff whenever I get a moment off from covering the Hill. The “Obama Burger” is fairly good, but lately I’ve been ordering the Colletti’s Smokehouse. The milkshakes unfortunately do not fit into my diet these days.