(photos above from first visit to Rat's in September 2009)

Last year, I asked around for tips for a special place I could celebrate my birthday.  Someone suggested Cheesecake Factory, but I said, no chains!  Finally, someone suggested Rat's inside Grounds for Sculpture.  Unlike others, I was not put off by the name... on the contrary, it amused me to no end because one of my favorite sayings, anyway, is "drats!"

So off I went for lunch with my husband and we exercised the calories off with me posing all over the grounds with unsuspecting sculptures.  It was such a magical place that I'd always dream of another occasion I could celebrate there (in fair weather, of course, so we could enjoy the grounds at the same time).  And that occasion did come this  summer, when we celebrated my son's graduation.  This time I was able to share the delicious eats with my parents and kids along with my husband.

We started off with the cheese plate, which is always fun especially when the servers explain the pairings, and the beer sampler.  Pictured above is the risotto, salmon, and steak with frites.  We also had creme brulee for dessert, which was a generous portion, enough for everyone at the table to get a taste.  The service and atmosphere were outstanding-- even though the place was packed, we felt like the only guests inside someone's cozy cottage.

P.S. If you don't already recognize the guy I am posing (incognito) with, his name is Kevin Sbraga.  He was the executive chef at Rat's until he won Top Chef DC!  We took this photo right after the first episode aired, so he had not won yet.  I can't wait to visit his restaurant when it opens!  (Congrats, Kevin!)

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v money said…
oooh, go there for a sunday brunch in the spring! $50 for a brunch buffet which also includes an entree (i had chicken confit and my boyfriend had shrimp with the heads still on) as well as including a glass of champagne or mimosa (i think those were the choices) AND entrance to the grounds! excellent all around.

make a reservation because once the weather gets nice it books for weeks in advance!