There were some high hopes for Cleveland Park's Le Zinc, a French bistro from two Brasserie Beck alums that opened in July. But Tom Sietsema isn't so impressed with what the restaurant has to offer, awarding it just one sad star. Over the course of three visits, the Washington Post critic finds a few things to like — French onion soup, mixed greens salad, escargot and oysters that "provide six excuses to go off any diet you might be on" — but mostly he finds the bistro doesn't live up to its potential. Starting with the entrees:
"Roasted cod finds white on white on white; the fish is served on a pool of celery root puree with a winy cream sauce that together leave a slick, sweet trail on the tongue. And that veal blanquette tastes as beige and dull as it looks."
And the desserts get the worst skewering, as Sietsema warns, "Le Zinc should offer safety goggles and a chain saw with its lemon tart." Ouch. [WaPo]
Similarly, chef Todd Gray's new endeavor Watershed disappointed the Washingtonian's Ann Limpert, who gives it just 1.5 stars. Among the drawbacks is the location, which is not only in NoMa but in a Hilton Garden Inn. But then there's the food. She cites a few dishes that were lacking in flavor like the succotash or the water ice, but other dishes had the opposite problem:
"The sautéed mushrooms that smothered wedges of crostini were swimming in butter, while the oysters in a sandwich disappeared in thick fry batter. Even Gray's justifiably famous crabcakes suffered from a drenching of brandy-cream sauce."
She does like the hushpuppies, calamari and chocolate chip cookies, though, and recommends that you eat them on the lovely patio. Or just go to Gray's other restaurant Equinox. [Washingtonian]
Todd Kliman and Ann Limpert revisit three local restaurants to see if they're still living up to expectations. It turns out that Reston's PassionFish and Brasserie Beck are still pretty hot — in particular a Belgian waffle at the latter that "will send you flying over the edge." But Joe's Noodle House in Rockville is seeing more misses than hits these days. [Washingtonian]
Meanwhile, Todd Kliman added H Street's Shawafel to the list of restaurants where he's eating now: "The slices of beef-and-lamb shwarma sport nicely crusted edges, the hummus is a rich but surprisingly well-balanced whip, and the small discs of falafel, made from chickpeas and fava beans, are marvelously light and crunchy." [Washingtonian]
Bonnie Benwick says the downtown food scene is improving with the help of places like Eat & Joy and GoFresh. Of the former, she declares " it's easy to understand why" the pides are the most popular menu item, though the hummus is "oddly bereft of any brightness." [WaPo]
Last week, Chris Shott wrote not a review but an "off-the-cuff first-impressions-style riff" on the just-opened Burger, Tap & Shake. The signature shake is "an instant diabetic coma in a cup" while the bacon on the Big Daddy burger "certainly doesn't suck." [WCP]
Le Zinc [Photo: Facebook]