In this week's review, Tom Sietsema is glad to see Chez Billy arrive on Petworth's dining scene, not only for filling a major gap in the neighborhood but also for serving French food with "the restaurant pendulum seemingly stuck at Italian." To that end, he awards the Hilton brothers' project two stars for a solid menu with a few misses:
It wouldn’t be a bistro without steak frites. The kitchen does better by the entree’s cool watercress salad and lemony bearnaise than the routine flat-iron steak. Duck confit, crisp and succulent, draws more attention than its sliced roasted potatoes, which taste like warm-overs. As for the beef daube, it’s straight out of Paris, where L’Etoile apprenticed for six months.
And apparently the moules-frites at Chez Billy "make life more worth living" even though the critic notes that mussels are just everywhere these days. Sietsema concludes with a wish that the prolific Hiltons might someday give Petworth even more of this style of dining. [WaPo]
Though she spots some issues with pacing and small plates, Washingtonian's Ann Limpert dubs Vienna's Alegria one of the DC area's best Mexican restaurants, awarding it 2.5 stars: "Bazin gets creative with tacos, often to excellent ends. The star is a corn tortilla filled with tempura-fried cod and accented with pickled jalapeño and lime-spritzed cabbage. The combination is fairly traditional Baja style, but the acid-heavy slaw makes it taste more like an homage to fish and chips than something you’d find in a SoCal taco truck." [Washingtonian]
Todd Kliman is full of praise for another local Mexican restaurant, Mama Chuy in Columbia Heights, which he writes brings some authenticity to a city lacking authentic Mexican. The critic explains: "The mom-and-pop shop—in this case, bro-and-sis (Joe and Dinora Orozco are the proprietors)—is dishing up the kind of precise, explosive cooking you’d expect at pricey, fashionable spots such as José Andrés’s Oyamel, but at about a third the price." [Washingtonian]
The Washingtonian's Jessica Voelker takes a first look at Bistro Bohem, where she writes that the best dish is the chicken schnitzel: "Servers ferry plates of the juicy, panko-crusted chicken, accompanied by rich potato salad, to tables in the 35-seat dining room and outside on the lovely patio. It tastes great with a glass of crisp white wine or a cold Pilsner—a combination as easy to like as the friendly neighborhood bistro itself." [Washingtonian]
Going Out Guru Fritz Hahn gets in on the Washingtonian's lovefest for Mexican restaurants with a review for District Taco, which he warns is pretty much impossible to get into around lunchtime. But if you do: "Try the breakfast taco: a corn tortilla full of eggs, chopped potatoes, melted cheese and a touch of tangy, citrusy green tomatillo salsa to cut through the richness. It’s the kind of taco you find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished, especially if you upgrade and add some chorizo." [WaPo]
Sam Hiersteiner takes a look at BlackSalt's happy hour for this week's bar bites column in the City Paper: "If your noble aim is to taste as much of BlackSalt’s fresh fish as possible in one dish, the Provencale seafood stew ($10) will help you realize it. The version I had was packed with the perfectly cooked bounty of the fish counter—salmon, swordfish, tuna, tilapia, calamari, shrimp, mussels—in tomato broth. I admit to being a little disappointed that the broth wasn’t as rich and fishy as in visits past, but I find it hard to go wrong with the dish." [WCP]
THE BLOGS: Eat More DrinkMore writes that H &pizza is more like H &awesome; Bitches Who Brunch gives The Brixton a B- and a B for Paolo's; Eat the District checks out the Far East Taco Grille and the Seoul Food truck.
Chez Billy [Photo: Leo Schmid/Thrillist]