Tom Sietsema discovers some impressive counter service in this week's review of the Carbon Peruvian Chicken & Grille located out in Rockville Town Square. While the critic says he usually doesn't like taking more than 30 seconds to order at a fast food restaurant, he gave this one a full five minutes of his time — and then awarded its signature chicken two stars:
"Carbon" is Spanish for "charcoal," the fuel over which the restaurant's chickens are broiled to juiciness. The skin is supple rather than crisp, but the birds burst with flavor from their 24-hour soak in a marinade of vinegar, herbs, wine, cumin, oregano and "a lot of garlic."
Sietsema also sings the praises of the beef heart, "inky" black beans and the kitchen's attention to detail, explaining that "tomato slices alternate with cucumber slices, just so." Carbon is the sister restaurant to the more upscale La Canela just up the street, also owned by Lilian Clary and her family. This, Sietsema says, "is a family to follow." [WaPo]
Todd Kliman visits the new location of the original Ledo Restaurant and deems it a "smart updating of a '50s-era restaurant." He also remains a fan of the rectangular-shaped pies: "As for the pizzas? I didn't notice much difference at all, if any, from the old days on a recent visit. The family trucked in the old oven, the cheese of the house is still smoked provolone, the sauce is still slightly sweet, the crust is still a kind of buttery biscuit." [Washingtonian]
Chris Shott samples the Atlas District's Argonaut, which reopened in January after a devastating fire last summer: "For Act III, it seems, the restored Argonaut has managed to step it up on both fronts. Its renewed focus on domestic crafts, in particular, seems a direct challenge to H Street neighbor Granville Moore’s status as the neighborhood beer mecca. The culinary recalibration, meanwhile, includes a concerted effort to hop aboard the locavore bandwagon." [WCP]
Washingtonian writers check out CapMacDC and the Big Cheese Truck this week to help their readers make educated decision in their Food Truck Fight, but first issue a disclaimer: "If you put bread and cheese together in any form, odds are very good that I’ll like it. The odds go up even more if there’s butter involved." And an early look at Sabor'a Street reveal some intriguing options: "Bigger appetites can opt for the smokey burger: "A mix of grass-fed beef and Spanish chorizo on a rich brioche bun with manchego and, in the future, the option of a fried egg)."
THE BLOGS: DC-Wrapped Dates seriously digs Estadio but finds Bayou merely a "better than average" experience; We Love DC is disappointed in brgr:shack; the Examiner says the menu at Ardeo + Bardeo is too ambitious; and Deepthroat's Guide to Washington DC analyzes Mike Isabella's participation in the Number 68 Project Top Chef-style.
Carbon Peruvian Chicken & Grille [Photo: Cristian B./Yelp]