As a child, Peter Smith’s Italian grandfather cooked Sunday-afternoon feasts with him and this is where Smith cultivated his love of food. In September, Smith (former executive chef at Vidalia) opened his own restaurant, called PS 7’s, on I Street in the Penn Quarter. The name blends his initials and the restaurant’s address, 777 I St.
The restaurant specializes in contemporary American cuisine. As you enter the lobby you turn either right into the lounge or left into the restaurant. The lounge is sleek and modern, framed by a light-yellow lava-stone bar and tastefully decorated in grey and mocha-brown tones. The cozy tables and sofas in the lounge are well suited for after-work get-togethers or romantic rendezvous’.
Danny Boylen, the general manager, emphasizes that the lounge stocks only “high-end spirits and boutique wines and beers.”
In order to maintain the ‘7’ theme, the cocktail menu features seven classic cocktails and seven cocktail ‘creations.’ Boylen, demonstrating the classic cocktail’s current renaissance, was keen to highlight the sidecar, which he says “pays homage to the cocktail.”
It is made with Pierre Ferrand Amber Cognac, Cointreau and sweet-and-sour, and is served with a sugared rim. The sweet-and-sour mix is made on the premises and their bartenders do not use pre-made mixers in their cocktails. The Manhattan is also delicious.
The wines-by-the-glass menu features boutique and unique wines ranging in price from $6 to $12. A glass of Moscato D’Asti is the prefect way to start the evening ($9). The Quivira Sauvignon Blanc ($10) comes from a small vineyard in Sonoma County, Calif., which distributes fewer than 1,000 cases a year.
In keeping with the popularity of blended wines in Australia, the wine list includes Kaesler Vineyard’s Stonehorse GSM ($12), which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, and comes from the renowned Borossa Valley in South Australia. Another noted wine is the Pelligrini Carignane ($12) from Contra Costa County in California. The Carignane grape is thought to originate in Spain.
The lounge menu provides a delectable array of starters including soup shots (that change nightly) ($12), fried oysters of the day ($14), a trio of fois gras (which also changes nightly) ($18) and wild mushroom spring rolls ($10). Boylen emphasizes that the restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients to prepare its food.
Overall, PS 7’s, with its regularly rotating wine list, is a great place to meet friends and sample new and interesting wine and food.
PS 7’s is located at 777 I St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001