Candy Sagon fills in for Tom Sietsema this week, filing a review for the Washington Post on Old Town Alexandria's The Light Horse. Sagon finds you can get a pretty decent meal there, so long as you steer clear of, well, pretty much all of the meat dishes. She loves chef Adam Stein's seafood options — sea scallops, East Coast cioppino, Prince Edward Island mussels — but has plenty of criticism for the meat-centric dishes:
The chicken-fried pork chop was also disappointing. The traditional Texas technique -- batter-dipped chopped steak that’s fried and served with a peppery cream gravy -- is applied to a bone-in pork chop. The coating was crunchy; the meat, juicy. But the gravy was wimpy; a thin, under-seasoned white rivulet with no pepper power. And the shredded apple on top of the chop? It lent nothing to the dish.
Sagon's also not crazy about the design scheme over at The Light Horse, but in the end awards the restaurant two stars. [WaPo]
Washingtonian critic Todd Kliman writes a full review for East Pearl in which he awards it three stars and declares that he's tempted to call this Rockville's best Chinese restaurant. The Hong Kong style cuisine has two kitchens, one churning out a menu more suitable for seated dining and the other creating street food-type dishes. Unsurprisingly, Kliman prefers the latter and proceeds to give instructions on how to order, including steamed Chinese broccoli, stir fried egg noodles, a fish platter, and the shrimp dumpling soup.
Get acquainted with the casseroles—complex, low-and-slow concoctions served in bubbling cauldrons that stop conversation when they’re borne steaming through the room. I love a version with bone-in bites of chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and enough garlic to choke a vampire plus another highlighting the yin/yang perfection of oysters and ginger.
And if it seems like Kliman is taken with the place, he offers some evidence that he's not alone in that — apparently the parking situation is horrendous given East Pearl's popularity. [Washingtonian]
Alex Baldinger checks out Columbia Heights' new addition Maple for the Washington Post this week. Though the menu is still developing thanks to a small kitchen space, there's plenty to like: "What could become Maple’s signature sandwich, the short-rib panino -- tender braised ribs dressed in fontina cheese and pickled onions ($15, served with a bean salad or mixed greens) -- isn’t strictly Italian but it exemplifies Maple’s blending of gastropub fare with a Mediterranean sensibility." [WaPo]
The City Paper revives its bar food column, starting off with a look at Clarendon's Green Pig Bistro. Justin Kennedy writes: "The duck liver gravy poutine is stoner food for the epicurean crowd. A heap of skin-on fries is dowsed in deep, booming-rich gravy, dotted with slivers of seared medium-rare duck liver, and topped with a house-made cheese concoction that is more Velveeta than Valençay." [WCP]
THE BLOGS: EatMore DrinkMore also files on Green Pig Bistro; DC-Wrapped Dates takes a first look at The Pig; Bitches Who Brunch embark on a champagne campaign at Lost Society; and Eat the District checks out Red Toque Cafe and Arthur Treacher's in Shaw.
The Light Horse [Photo: Official Site]