For his First Bite column, Tom Sietsema swings by Shawafel, the Mediterranean restaurant in the H Street NE neighborhood. The critic likes the falafel and the lamb, as well as some appetizers.
Smoky baba ghanouj is eggplant seemingly mashed with a campfire. Garlicky hummus tastes bright with lemon juice and rich with lashings of olive oil.
He's less excited about the pita bread, though he says the restaurant provides plenty of options for vegetarians. While Shawafel stuffs its sandwiches with french fries, Sietsema prefers the potatoes on the side: "A dusting of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac negates any thought of using ketchup." [WaPo]
Over at Roll Call, Warren Rojas swings by the new Union Market, and calls the Rappahannock Oyster Bar the "breakout star" for on-site dining.
"We were bowled over by the juicy pork and tender oysters inhabiting the signature Barcat oyster chowder, inhaled a plate of bacon-fat-poached scallops bolstered by curried vegetables and marveled at the boldly spiced tuna tartare."
When it comes to takeout there, Rojas likes Border Springs Farm, for sandwiches and pot pies. The shaved lamb sandwich was good, layering tender, rosy meat, peppery arugula and piquant horseradish sauce atop a crusty baguette", he said "The gyro was better, marrying succulent lamb and crunchy root vegetables in dill-spiked yogurt sauce and enveloping it all in pillowy pita. [Roll Call]
Russell Warnick visits Quill, the bar at the Jefferson, for Washington City Paper's Bar Bites column and he admits that what got him there was the promise of $2 fries on "Fry-day" after 2 p.m. Those fries, though, were "oversalted and overfried slices of potato with barely-worth-mentioning red pepper aioli.", so so much for that. But the ravioli du jour made up for the lackluster frites, even if you have to fork over $12 for an appetizer portion or $23 for an entree. [WCP]
Don Rockwell has a busy week, finding everything he ordered at Jaleo Crystal City "good to very good" (his son liked it too), enjoying a crab cake and a sweet potato tempura at Fusion Grill on Barracks Row, mopping up butter sage sauce from his ravioli at Al Tiramisu and praising the quality of the veal at Chesapeake Room.
The execution of this pleasant, peasant dish was anything but stodgy: large, bite-sized chunks of veal were mixed in with roasted root vegetables (turnip, carrot, onion), and served atop good, garlicky mashed potatoes (the fourth root vegetable) with a veal gravy reduction. [Don Rockwell]
THE BLOGS: DC Wrapped Dates calls The Brixton an "awesome hangout space for pre-concert drinks, fried British goodness, or sit-down dinner." Tyler Cowen says that Chantilly's Karaikudi "clearly the spiciest place around." And Girl Meets Food swings by Cafe Saint-Ex's "Pass the Peas" event, eating salty shrimp and grits and decadent pork belly mac and cheese.
Shawafel [Photo: Facebook]