For this week's review, Tom Sietsema checks out longtime Alexandria staple Evening Star Café, which reopened in December following a revamp. Though chef Will Artley has moved on from the restaurant, former CityZen line cook Jim Jeffords earns Evening Star two stars from the Washington Post critic, who mostly seems enamored of the Southern touches from the native Georgian chef.
Describing dishes such as dirty rice, risotto with black-eyed peas and tasso ham or a scallop, corn cake and chowchow dish, Sietsema declares things like, "The South rises again" and "It's like a Vespa ride through the back roads of Dixie." Which sounds like fun. But, of course, "Southern charm evades some dishes," according to the critic — in particular the "so restrained as to be pious" shrimp and grits and the fried chicken that Sietsema's Atlanta food critic friend won't try a second time.
Overall, though, it's good news for the brand new Evening Star Café. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman adds Rice Paper and Mio to the list of restaurants where he's eating now, writing of the latter: "In its five fitful years, Manuel Iguina's restaurant has endured more identity transplants than a snitch in the witness protection program and more mood swings than a teenie pop star. It's currently up -- way up -- thanks to new chef Giovanna Huyke." [The Washingtonian]
Rina Rapuano checks out Kloby's Steakhouse in Laurel for the Post, where she finds a really large smoker for all their barbecue needs. All the meats — pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, baby back ribs — all win her approval, though here's a tip: sides like corn bread and fries apparently don't work all that well as to-go orders. She recommends the hush puppies. [WaPo]
Going Out Guru Alex Baldinger checks out the newly opened Fuel Pizza on K Street this week. Trying both pizza and some wings, he writes of the former: "The pizza itself was agreeable, though unspectacular to anyone that has become accustomed to the wood-fired artisanal pies being tossed at just about every D.C. pizzeria this side of Naples." [WaPo]
The City Paper's Chris Shott also tries out Fuel Pizza, though the wings distract him from the pizza as they are described as "#!^%@ So, of course, he orders some to find out just how hot. Well, Shott only managed to eat two out of nine wings and "the lingering capsaicin sting lasted about an hour." Oof. [WCP]
Don Rockwell offers impressions of a handful of DC-area restaurants, including Et Voila, Northside Social, Smoke & Barrel, Cedar and Trummer's on Main. He compares lobster rolls at Freddy's Lobster & Clams and Luke's Lobster and declares Corduroy as his Restaurant of the Week. [DCDining.com]
THE BLOGS: DMV Dining has a solid meal at both District Commons and Medium Rare; We Love DC loves the food but not its presentation at District Kitchen; Bitches Who Brunch are big fans of the hangover brunch at The Passenger and only wish they could have bigger portions; DC-Wrapped Dates had a busy week trying out the new Taylor Gourmet location, Blackbyrd Warehouse and Belga Cafe.
Evening Star Café [Photo: R. Lopez]