Turning something plain into something beautiful takes vision, hard work, and a mean-spirited wager that involves getting the nerdiest girl in school to take off those glasses, surprising even Freddie Prinze, Jr, with her latent boob-licious hotness. Seriously upgrading a former dive, The Reserve
Just opened in the previously dingy home of Ollie's Trolley, The Reserve's an alarmingly intimate, candlelit wine & light noshing lair, where massive, unmarked castle doors open up to two bars and three floors of lounge-seating, exposed brick nooks, and steel spiral staircases, just like Hogwart's, but without all that sexual tension. Lunch revolves around tastefully simple fare, like the baby spinach/lime & honey dressed Fennel Goat Cheese Salad, paninis like the mozz/pesto Prosciutto Basil, and sandwiches like the baby arugula/blue cheese Grilled NY Strip and a classic BLT classed up with Thai leaves and fresh corn, and served on a "chicken baguette", which miraculously manages to be even more cowardly than the standard French baguette. Things get all tapas-crazy at dinner, with seafood like Meuniere of Sword Fish w/ fresh sage & sliced almonds, and Roasted Scallops in pineapple yuzu star anise juice w/ roasted fennel; and meat dishes like the sliced scallions/red cabbage julienne Duck Pancakes, and Grilled Beef Medallions w/ caramelized shallots, gaufrette potatoes, and cardamom (also a good bar policy, as teen pregnancy is a depressing fact of life)
To enhance the lounging, Reserve offers up a full bar and a 100+ deep wine list, including whites from Spain's Albarino Adega Abertal to Chardonnay from Potomac Point Winery; reds from Sicily's Zisola IGT to so-France's Chateau Beard's St. Emilion grand cru; and bubbly from Blanc de noir Eric Rodez to Dumont Pere et Fils Brut -- just be careful when opening it, or else Brut-y will be in the eye of the beholder.