Tom Sietsema ventured to the burgeoning Atlas District for this week's review of the aptly named Atlas Room. The critic dubs the restaurant, run by two chefs who met years ago working at Vidalia, "the most ambitious kitchen on H Street NE" and throws two stars its way.
Holding the Atlas Room back from a higher distinction would be the overdressed fritters and desserts that Sietsema says weren't worth finishing. He offers some unsolicited advice: Rather than preparing an array of mediocre desserts, why not just make one truly great dish? But Sietsema otherwise likes the flavors on the Atlas Room's unconventional menu — almost as much as he likes the dining room itself:
Two hundred thousand dollars is a drop in a coupe when it comes to staging a restaurant, but that's the amount Cordes says he spent to retrofit the former Napa 1015 and make it his own. This diner is impressed by how much luxury and romance he imbues in the place, not to mention how the first-time restaurant owner makes the most of a small situation. (The office, coat closet and wine are hidden from view by those lovely draperies.)
Sietsema notes that the Atlas Room is booked on weekends, but adds that it deserves to be filled with diners on weeknights, too. [WaPo]
In a follow-up to last week's post about Bangkok Golden's Falls Church branch, this week Todd Kliman revisits the original Fort Washington location and approves: "Nothing else was quite so memorable, but there were no duds, either. Several dishes I'd gladly return for: crunchy filets of salmon in a light brown sauce with green and red peppers; a tangy, crunchy papaya salad; and a pork kaprow noteworthy for its thin, tender strips of meat and good, firm green beans." [Washingtonian]
Michael Grass relives his teenage years with a trip to the Shanghai Tea House in Glover Park. Having once worked at a Chinese take-out, Grass is pleased to see a menu that packs more than kung pao: "These aren’t the best dumplings I’ve ever had, but they’re mighty fine—simple and freshly made, and miles beyond what I was introduced to in my teenage years. If you’re going for a simple, satisfying meal, an order of dumplings ... is filling, good to share, and pairs well with soup."
The Washingtonian's Rina Rapuano visits Bayou Bakery and mostly seems to like the beignets: "Luckily, Louisiana native David Guas has opened Bayou Bakery, which makes authentic versions of the Big Easy’s answer to doughnuts. The pillows of fried dough (three for $3) are blanketed with powdered sugar and can accompany a French press of chicory coffee, if that’s your thing."
THE BLOGS: Capital Spice seizes the occasion of CommonWealth's closure to dub Jamie Leeds' Hank's Oyster Bar the "solid go-to" choice for seafood; Capital Cooking likes pretty much everything at Eola, especially the service; We Love DC checks out Bistro Cacao on its first anniversary and enjoys the trout; and New Columbia Heights finds a solid meal at La Cabana but prefers El Rinconcito II.
Atlas Room [Photo: pam z./Yelp]