In what is perhaps her last review with the Washingtonian, having departed for LivingSocial this past summer, Kate Nerenberg takes a hard look at Virtue Feed & Grain for the magazine's October issue. Even though restaurateurs Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong are behind several successful restaurants, including Restaurant Eve, Nerenberg finds that their latest project "winds up feeling like the brainchild of novice restaurateurs who had lots of money and ideas with no one to edit them down."
The best thing about a plate of thinly sliced ox tongue was the fresh arugula salad on top. Main courses didn’t redeem things. A cut of salmon was overcooked, and roast chicken had an oddly pungent brine. Smoked-haddock chowder was tasty enough—if you like drinking heavy cream straight from the carton.
Ultimately, Nerenberg offers Virtue just one star and concludes that perhaps the Armstrongs' "ambitions have outpaced their abilities." [Washingtonian]
In this week's Young & Hungry column, Chris Shott reviews ketchup. Not the restaurant named Ketchup in the National Harbor (although that does is where the column begins), but the entire concept of house-made ketchup. He is not a fan, having sampled recipes from Ketchup, Boundary Stone, Ripple and, of course, America Eats Tavern where José Andrés has been leading the efforts to bring back old-school catsup. But even the Spanish chef cannot convince Shott:
"Andrés can worship history all he wants, but there is a good reason blueberry ketchup went extinct: It sucks. And glorifying an inferior product seems less like a celebration of American culinary achievement than an insult."
The City Paper critic would much prefer it if you would just go back to using pure, processed Heinz 57, DC restaurants. [WCP]
The Washington Post's Tim Carman checks out the newly opened Soupergirl brick-and-mortar operation in Takoma Park: "I was particularly fond of the Moroccan-style chickpea-lentil soup, a hearty bowl brimming with pulses and meaty hunks of tomatoes (and perked up with boulder-size croutons). I'd skip the bread nuggets, though, with the garlicky white bean soup, a surprisingly complex, root-vegetable-heavy mixture that was only weighed down by the extra starch." [WaPo]
THE BLOGS: EatMore DrinkMore really enjoys dinner at District Commons and hopes it'll put Foggy Bottom back on the map; DC-Wrapped Dates was not overly impressed with the breakfast pizza at Red Rocks but found that Posto fit the bill for a special occasion; Prince of Petworth debuted a new food truck review feature and began by awarding the BBQ Bus a 4 out of 5; The 42 says that lunch at ShopHouse is a win-win; Borderstan determines that Buffalo Billiards is just an average bar, but good for watching sports; We Love DC says that the Blackened Gold at Toki Underground is a drink that is both clever and delicious.