Rick Mahan’s The Waterboy is a place I’ve visited a few times, but never felt it lived up to the hype. My most recent visit proved me wrong.
Placed right on the corner of 20th and Capitol, it is next door neighbors with Rubicon. (Insert: comic strip pane about them asking each other for a cup of sugar.) These two eateries are on the opposite ends of the scale, which is why they can be so close and still be successful.
On this night, it was an easy decision to check it out again, as the group I was with had never been there. I have always felt it’s a place you have to try at least once.
The first thing you see when you walk through the door is the bar. A great thing to greet you, in my opinion! While small, it accommodates a wide range of spirits and is where specialty cocktails are shaken, stirred, and otherwise poured.
After being seated, the server came round to introduce himself, tell us the specials, and put the bottle of prosecco we’d brought on ice, and the bottle of chardonnay in the cooler. Eating should be fun and when you’re with friends, the experience should be savored, enjoyed, and memorable… this visit was about three hours worth of memorable!
Our server didn’t hover, he wasn’t too absent, and let us take ample time to decide what we wanted. I’ve always thought that pacing, for a server and the kitchen, were art forms! I get annoyed when the entree comes out before I’m finished with the salad/soup/whatever. So the pacing here was wonderful.
We started with the necessary order of oysters. They kindly split up the dozen kumamotos into two plates without us even asking, which I felt was a nice touch.
After that, came deviled eggs. These are devilishly delicious! I absolutely love deviled eggs and was excited to try these. You have the option of adding shrimp to them, something I’d never heard of, but decided to have them the plain ol’ way. Well, these are not your grandmother’s deviled eggs with a sprinkling of McCormick’s paprika from a bottle. Oh no, The Waterboy has to do them up grand, with a rich, umami flavor that tasted like it came from anchovy paste. I think I could have gone hog wild on these and turned myself into one big egg.
Next was the corn soup. This was also sublime. The sweetness of the corn was matched perfectly with the ginger scallion butter drizzled on top.
Also on the table…
Baby Beet and Avodado Salad with watercress, cucumbers, shaved fennel, and a citrus drizzle.
Bitter Greens Salad, with walnuts, blue cheese, bacon, and crouton and balsamic dressing.
Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads with pork belly, a poached egg, and mushrooms.
For the main course, Seared Dayboat Scallops on a bed of tomato-saffron risotto with a bacon braised endive “roll,” with watercress, lemon & tarragon. The risotto was fabulous – rich, creamy, and al dente. My taste buds were incredibly happy with this!
The other dish was called Mixed Grill of Quail and Crisp Pork Belly. This dish is not for the faint of heart! Wolfe Ranch quail stuffed with sweetbreads, leeks, pugliese & herbs with pork belly confit, grilled polenta, artichokes, cranberry beans & balsamico. Not only is that mouthful to say, I’m pretty sure it was a mouthful to eat! The couple splitting this said it was fabulous and very filling… I think they were very glad they ended up splitting it!
A chocolate mousse cake… chocolatey, chocolatey, chocolatey!
Bread pudding… without raisins! I completely loved this. It was sweet, spongy, served warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Bottom line, if you haven’t been to The Waterboy, just check it out! I am wondering about its consistency, but I”m pretty sure it won’t suck!
On another note, they also have cooking classes! Some friends have participated and not only had tons of fun, but learned quite a bit in the process.
Ambience: 3.5/5 It’s not all that private, and the acoustics make it difficult to hear the server. The dining room wasn’t full on this visit, but it is, it might be challenging to hear people at your table.
2000 Capitol Avenue