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Tom Sietsema Awards Two Stars to Curry Mantra

Tom Sietsema revisits Curry Mantra in Fairfax City for this week's review and finds a changed place from his First Bite back in March. For one thing, owner Asad Sheikh opened a second dining room in April that "is unlike the first and intentionally so." But while the setting may be different, Sietsema's takeaway of the restaurant as a "welcome reward" hasn't much changed from his March visit, resulting in a solid two stars.

This is a kitchen where no two sauces or curries taste alike. Pistachios, almonds and cinnamon lend their accents to the velvety gravy of the golden shahi lamb, while coconut milk, curry leaves and mustard seeds impart a sweet heat to the lamb masala. I got stung by the goat vindaloo — and I loved every pinch of it.

Sietsema recommends that you probably shouldn't bother saving any room for dessert, but otherwise doesn't offer much to dispute how apparently some Curry Mantra customers have nicknamed Sheikh "the little Ashok Bajaj." [WaPo]

The Washingtonian's Anna Spiegel bravely took on the lobster roll that's off-menu at some Quizno's locations, concluding it was not actually so bad: "The dominant flavor is industrial-strength mayonnaise, which could be worse considering the unknown origin of the “and seafood” portion of the meal ... The little knuckle-like nuggets of lobster were tasteless, but speaking purely from a visual point of view, they simulate lobster pretty effectively. And as one relieved cubicle-mate astutely noted: 'At least it doesn’t smell bad.'" [Washingtonian]

Nevin Martell checks out Fish Scale at the FreshFarm Market near the White House for the Washington Post, now serving fish burgers. He offers some advice: "Because each burger is cooked to order, you will have to wait a few minutes while it’s prepared. It’s also advisable to arrive early: Fish Scale has sold out before the close of market each week thus far." [WaPo]

USA Today's travel section visits DC's iconic half-smoke joint, Ben's Chili Bowl: "While I think the chili-cheese fries at Ben's could use improvement, they are strangely addictive and a real crowd pleaser. However, the half-smoke, which is excellent, has little room for improvement, except when topped with the house chili, a match made in heaven." [USAT]

THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch award The Argonaut at B+ while giving a C+ to the "hit or miss" Bayou; DC-Wrapped Dates delights in dinner at Birch & Barley; DMV Dining writes that Bourbon Steak is clearly one of DC's best steakhouses; Eat the District loves the tacos at El Chilango and is "pleasantly confused" at Alexandria's Flying Fish.

Curry Mantra [Photo: Facebook]

Curry Mantra

9984 Main Street, Fairfax, VA