Tom Sietsema heads out to a suburban strip mall in Silver Spring for this week's review in which he awards Jewel of India 2.5 stars. Like Todd Kliman and Tim Carman before him, Sietsema notes that the restaurant is reminiscent of Rasika Penn Quarter with its beaded curtains and other design notes. And though he might not bestow upon Jewel of India all of Rasika's four stars, the Washington Post critic does indeed seem impressed, particularly on the heels of his own recent trip to India:
...more of my time at this restaurant, where water is poured from handsome copper pitchers and the design incorporates the colors of an Indian spice cabinet, is spent thinking about how much attention it devotes to the fine points. Also, enjoying how closely the food resembles my better meals on the subcontinent.
There's a long list of dishes he loves and a short list of dishes that didn't work out. Sietsema also notes the value of the lunch buffet, a vegetarian-friendly menu and makes the requisite remark that a restaurant named Jewel of India "is truly a gem." [WaPo]
Washingtonian critic Todd Kliman updates his list of where he's eating now with quite a few new spots this week. Making the cut this time around are Moa, Society Fair, Sidebar, Meaza, Cork and the recently opened Green Pig Bistro, which he writes is, "One of the best and most intriguing of the current crop of Hipster Farmhouse restaurants (dishtowel napkins, bluegrass in the air, repurposed wood and yard-sale tchochkes throughout)." [Washingtonian]
The City Paper's Chris Shott wasn't expecting much from the food at Chez Billy, but after a pleasantly surprising first visit, he wondered: "Had the Hiltons finally made the food match the atmosphere? Alas, return visits proved much less pleasing. A shared bowl of onion soup ($10) tasted too sweet and a plate of skate ($22) smacked of too much salt. My friend and I barely touched the pile of bland pan-fried gnocchi ($18) atop its disquieting green pea puree." [WCP]
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans visits Stone's Cove Kitbar in Herndon, where the chefs are your bartenders and the bar is the kitchen. It also channels Guy Fieri, according to Gans: "Just as Fieri invents words, a Food Network signature for sure, Stone’s Cove spent years trademarking the blending of nouns. While the restaurant is interesting enough to lure customers away from The Cheesecake Factory, it stays familiar enough to appeal to safe eaters." [NVM]
Fritz Hahn of the Going Out Gurus files a review of Town Hall in its new location — and is especially enamored of its outdoor spaces: "The patio has already become a popular spot for weekend brunch. There are above-average waffles, huevos rancheros and spicy Bloody Marys that come with a choice of vodka or tequila. And as temperatures become more consistent, the owners are talking about crab feasts and other themed parties." [WaPo]
The Washingtonian also stopped into three area restaurants to take their pulse and it seems that all three could use some work. Dogfish Head Alehouse had "hit or miss" food, while Cesco Osteria "seems to be struggling in its airy new digs." As for Cafe Saint-Ex, "Some combinations on Billy Klein's menu--sweetbreads in Buffalo sauce, sweet-potato soup with bacony pecans--taste like they were meant for each other. But fried orbs of minced shrimp with apricot jam and risotto croquettes with ranch make you wonder what Klein was thinking." [Washingtonian]
Rina Rapuano's Good to Go review this week focuses on H Street's The Big Board and its gourmet burgers: "To-go burgers are thoughtfully packaged, the patty and its condiments placed in the container beside the bun to keep it from getting soggy. ... More interesting burgers draw from international cuisines, such as the outstanding Straight Outta' Dublin burger ($9), which gets a Guinness-based marinade, Irish Cheddar, braised cabbage and a sweet, creamy Jameson whiskey pan gravy." [WaPo]
THE BLOGS: Mango & Tomato treated herself to lunch at Johnny's Half Shell; Girl Meets Food reviews Roti and Et Voila; DC-Wrapped Dates concludes that Sei is probably not worth it, even at happy hour; Bitches Who Brunch have a "barely edible" meal at Cafe Deluxe; DMV Dining finds that Rockville's Cava Mezze has still got it; a New Columbia Heights reader takes a first look at Maple.
Jewel of India [Photo: Sumita P./Yelp]