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grilled lemon pepper scallops | ici urban bistro | sofitel d.c.

Scallops (along with hamburgers until the age of 19?) have long been one of the foods I irrationally disliked since a very young age. I love every other form of seafood, and while I have generally let go of all other irrational dislikes and expanded beyond my potato, I had not gotten past indifference when it came to the scallop.

Until today.

For my office holiday lunch today, we went to my firm’s go-to power lunch destination — ICI Urban Bistro at the Sofitel. Although I normally opt for a lunch that comes with their to-die-for sweet potato fries, I wanted something a little lighter and refined. I was drawn to the grilled lemon pepper scallops with shaved and braised fennel, citrus and capers because it is designated as the “De-light” entree on the menu, which is described as:

De-light’s menu is based on the European wellness brand of Thalassa Sea & Spa, which harnesses the intrinsic healing powers of seawater and promotes balanced nutrition. This menu offers guests options for a decadent and tasteful three-course meal with less than 500 calories.

Three course meal with less than 500 calories? Score.

Except the De-light appetizer was the salmon tartare, and I wanted the pomegranate glazed shrimp with green dragon apple and avocado salad. Well, I thought, I’ll probably forgo the dessert (which was yogurt and honey) anyways, and I knew that the appetizers were not big.

pomegranate glazed shrimp with green dragon apple and avocado salad | ici urban bistro | sofitel d.c.

The deconstructed and visually appealing appetizer was actually quite light and refreshing, so I did not regret my choice.

And when the server took our orders for dessert, I ordered a macchiato and was fleetingly proud of my discipline.  As the server continued to go around the table, I continued to stare at the dessert tray, which was filled with beautiful mini french confections. Who can resist a mini French dessert? Apparently, not I. More specifically, I caved to layers of pastry cream sandwiched between puff pastry. Pastry cream + puff pastry might be my favorite dessert combo.

mille-feuille | ici urban bistro | sofitel d.c.

I never know what to call this layered delight (in Rome, I just pointed through a glass case at a massive mound of it), but our server referred to it as its proper French name, mille-feuille, which I of course had to Wikipedia to learn how to spell. Although commonly known as a Napolean in the U.S. (and I thought Napoleon was the strawberry, chocolate, vanilla ice cream combo?), “mille-feuille” actually means “thousand sheets.”

So, no, I didn’t quite stick with the 500 calorie three-course French meal. But. I did end a long and inexplicable reign of discrimination against scallops. And I actually really enjoyed them, so I may make up for lost time by elevating them to be among my my most favored entree items!