District Kitchen opened in January with a farm-to-table menu and exposed brick walls — which meant it sounded like a lot of other restaurants that have been cropping up around town. Tom Sietsema acknowledges the potential for predictability in this week's review, but instead declares that the restaurant "maps its own world" as he awards it two stars.
Sure, there are the ubiquitous mixed nuts and some misses like "gluey" creamed greens, but Sietsema mostly seems impressed from the sausage meatballs, the hash, the "two-part pleasure" of the duck leg confit and the "lusty pork shank propped upright and arranged with tangy sauerkraut and bread dumplings spotted with duck bacon."
The critic also points out that the arrival of District Kitchen is still a boon for Woodley Park, finally providing "an alternative to all the middling menus between Dupont Circle and Cleveland Park." [WaPo]
The Washingtonian's Ann Limpert kicks off her two-star review of Bethesda's Food Wine & Co. with some advice, writing, "this is not a place to eat delicately. This is a place to eat like Paula Deen." Among her favorites on the menu are the fried calamari and the hushpuppies, and there's also "a glorious mess" of a hickory burger. Former Butterfield 9 chef Michael Harr does have some misses, she notes, including "flimsy-crusted, floury pizzas" and a pork blade steak that is first too rare then too well done. [The Washingtonian]
Jess Voelker hits up Wara Wara in an Annandale strip mall for the Washingtonian's February issue, an izakaya from the folks behind Honey Pig. Though she notes that most people seem to go to Wara Wara for the karaoke, there's plenty in the way of portion sizes: "A pork-packed omelet sprinkled with bonito flakes and green onion could feed a family of four, and scallion-studded pancakes rival Neapolitan-style pizzas in size." [The Washingtonian]
Warren Rojas visits Del Ray Pizzeria for Northern Virginia Magazine on the heels of President Obama, who stopped into the pizza place before the holidays to pick up a few pies. Rojas finds wings that are "just OK," but solid sandwich options and a preference for the thin-crust pies. Also, he lets everyone in on the off-menu fried pickles: "vinegary cukes, battered, deep-fried, sprinkled with cheese and flanked by ultra tangy, house-made remoulade." [NVM]
THE BLOGS: We Love DC takes a first look at Sixth Engine; meanwhile, DMV Dining takes a first look at Haven Pizzeria Napoletana; Bitches Who Brunch offer the Daily Grill an A-; DC-Wrapped Dates finds "adequate South American food" at El Chalan and lots of trendiness at Bangkok Joe's.
District Kitchen [Photo: R. Lopez]