Though clearly not a fan of the noisy dining room, Tom Sietsema has some nice things to say this week about one of DC's most recent New York imports, Hill Country. The Washington Post critic is generally happy with the multiplicity of meats — admitting a heretic preference for the pork over the brisket, a Texas specialty. Some sides are tasty while others fall flat. But it's the atmosphere that gets the most attention in this week's review, starting with observations of the restaurant's countrified decor:
This frenzy of carnivorous feasting takes place in a Texas-size hall, slightly bigger than the New York model, that is equal parts convincing and Central Casting. Look around, and you'll see steer horns mingling with neon-lit beer signs sharing space with black-and-white photos that capture the simple life.
Oh, and the noise. Sietsema mentions the din a few times in his review — and the critic even brought a sound meter along with him on a Monday night. It registered 105 decibels. "That's the equivalent of a jackhammer," he notes. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman undertakes the task of comparing the new Ren's Ramen to the old Ren's Ramen. The outlook is good: "My two bowls on a recent visit — one miso, one soy — were better than anything I'd eaten previously at Ren's. The miso I'll likely be thinking about for months, a complex broth whose balance of saltiness, sweetness and richness compels you to keep slurping long after you've had your fill."
THE BLOGS: DC-Wrapped Dates was surprised to find Sushi Taro good but "nothing amazing;" EatMore DrinkMore says Vento was a pleasant surprise while Lincoln was a disappointment; We Love DC takes a first look at Fiola; Don Rockwell muses about Virtue Feed & Grain's opening day.
Hill Country [Photo: Amy McKeever/Eater.com]