This week, Tom Sietsema gets around to reviewing Galileo III, which opened in October. The critic explains he was waiting for Robert Donna's latest venture to prove that it had "staying power," given the restaurateur's previous issues with unpaid taxes and unpaid employees. And while he acknowledges rumors that some of those same problems followed Donna to Galileo III, Sietsema is sold on the Italian restaurant, giving it 2.5 stars.
Though the anonymous critic admits he was recognized on every single visit to Galileo, he doesn't think his treatment was much different than what other customers get from the "charmer" Donna and staff: "For veteran customers of the chef's Laboratorio del Galileo, the thrilling restaurant-within-a-restaurant in back of Galileo, seeing him on stage again, interacting with guests, recalls the good old days."
Sietsema found a few things on the menu that he didn't like (black ravioli, for one), but mostly seems pleased — and especially with a tasting menu that he calls "riveting:"
"The supporting evidence starts with winy and fatty veal feet on fingers of potato; moves on to tender lamb tongue with sauteed pearl onions and greens; and gets racier with tiny ravioli filled with lamb's brain and ground chicken, a course that swells with flavor, thanks to rosemary, butter and veal jus in the sauce. The most inspired choice slips a crust of potato flakes on thin slices of sweetbreads, which are mounted on sauteed apples."
Sietsema concludes on a ponderous note: "Will the restaurant endure? Is this Donna's last chance for success?" [WaPo]
Chris Schott debuts at the Washington City Paper with a mini-review of the breakfast tacos at Taqueria Nacional. Seems he couldn't get any horchata, but describes his tacos thusly: "a double layer of white corn tortillas, spread with a thin goo of melted cheese, topped with softly scrambled egg and, at my request (and additional charge), piled high with crumbled chorizo. The bits of spicy sausage are so abundant that they’re prone to tumble all over your table and lap, if you don’t cradle your taco with enough care." [WCP]
Todd Kliman goes all the way out to Beltsville to check on the lamp chop masala at RJ Cafe: "Hameed returns bearing a huge plate of cinnamon-scented basmati rice and a salad, along with a shallow bowl containing three New Zealand lamb chops ($16.99) in a fabulous curry masala, the luscious, mouth-warming red gravy punched up with slivers of fresh ginger and chopped cilantro." [Washingtonian]
The Washingtonian's Rina Rapuano wasn't as impressed by Ashok Bajaj's Ardeo+Bardeo as Tom Sietsema was a few weeks ago, expressing mixed feelings. But still: "Bibiana had similar growing pains in the beginning, though, and we anticipate that Ardeo + Bardeo will hit its stride soon enough. Bajaj rarely settles for anything less than perfection."
THE BLOGS: Capital Cooking says her meal at The Source by Wolfgang Puck was "a taste of heaven" from chef Scott Drewno; Mango & Tomato raves about her birthday meal at Estadio, especially the blistered shishitou peppers; EatMore DrinkMore didn't dig the logistics of dining at Hill Country, but was happy with food.
Galileo III [Photo: Norry H./Yelp]