In Tom Sietsema's review this week, New Heights' loss was clearly Ripple's gain. The Cleveland Park restaurant has been around for about a year, but just recently lured chef Logan Cox away from New Heights — and to great effect. In his two-and-a-half star review, the Post critic extols the chef's talents from one end of the menu to the other. Even the salad draws a full paragraph of praise. And while Sietsema is sick of all your deconstructed dishes, he concedes that the deconstructed s'mores at Ripple are pretty satisfying. As for the chef's cooking style:
"He isn't afraid of unusual marriages of ingredients or throwing diners the occasional curveball. Witness his semicircle of cool squares of cucumber topped with fluffy farro and rillettes of smoked cobia. Their plate is pink with a salmon "vinaigrette" made with the oil in which the fish was poached."
But Sietsema also has some critiques for Cox, who he says falls into the same traps as other "young male chefs" like busy presentations and overuse of foams. All the same Sietsema declares that "the modern American bistro has evolved from a shiny bauble into a certified gem" — and that bodes well for the whole of Cleveland Park. [WaPo]
There's no follow-up yet to Todd Kliman's take on America Eats Tavern, but the critic did discuss Anacostia's Pimento Grill in his chat this week. He finds considerable "care and finesse" in this Caribbean cooking between the tender goat, a vinegary jerk chicken and even the not-too-sweet sodas. But it's the cabbage that does it. The cabbage, he says, is actually worth eating: "And not just as some sort of crunchy intermezzo, permitting my palate a break between bites of spicy jerk chicken or spicier curried goat. No: worth eating alone." [Washingtonian]
Rina Rapuano reviewed Malik's Kabob and Cafe in Fairfax for the July issue of the Washingtonian. The chicken kebabs, "knockout" Lahori chicken karahi and even the hummus all get shout-outs. And while this is a plastic cutlery kind of place rather than a fancy restaurant, Rapuano says this merely signals that the restaurant "is for people who care more about flavor than atmosphere." [Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: Don Rockwell pens a lengthy critique of Graffiato, a kitchen whose quality he says is impressive, but still not worth the hype; EatMore DrinkMore tried out the hot pots at Mala Tang; DC-Wrapped Dates takes a look at the first date potential of the recently opened Blackbyrd Warehouse; U Street Girl finds El Centro DF to be not as bad as she heard it would be.
Photo courtesy of Ripple