Washingtonian critic Todd Kliman declares that the local, seasonal trend is here to stay and its subgenre is now the "hipster farmhouse." The leader in the subgenre, he writes, is Clarendon's Green Pig Bistro, which he awards 2.5 stars in the August issue of the magazine. Kliman describes the hipster farmhouse elements of the restaurant's decor, but also in chef Scot Harlan's cooking:
Once upon a time, chefs wanted you to appreciate how much detail went into their plates—the repeated strainings it took to produce a consommé, the precision of the knife work in the brunoise. The hipster-farmhouse chef wants you to think he just whipped something up on a moment’s notice and to revel in his witty synthesis of high and low.
Kliman notes some misses on the menu — overrichness seems to be a problem as well as a chewy steak and overcooked sweetbreads. While many of the dishes are loaded with pig (not pork, mind you), Kliman finds "that many of the best plates are the simplest, such as a cheeseburger that is—surprise—not made with pig innards. It’s just a very good burger, with well-seasoned beef..." [Washingtonian]
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans affirms that Kliman was really onto something with that "hipster farmhouse" description of Green Pig Bistro. Though she doesn't use the exact phrase in her review this week, she does describe it as "rustic farmhouse" and fitting a "hipster ideal" that has been so roundly mocked on Portlandia. All the same, Gans writes that the food at Green Pig Bistro is "pretty good" but that the restaurant "seems to have played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, grabbing trends and blindly sticking them wherever." [NVM]
Nevin Martell visits the West End's mostly buffet-style Orange Spoon with a guide on which items to seek out and avoid from the buffet line, as well as some thoughts on the sandwich offerings: "Most of the sandwiches here boast about-town names, such as the beef gyro Wolf Trap ($7.25) and the Cherry Blossom, packed with steaming roast beef and melted provolone ($7.95). Unfortunately, the D.C. Festival ($7.25), with Boar’s Head roast turkey, a couple of cold bacon strips and not-quite-ripe avocado bits, was not the party in my mouth I was hoping for." [WaPo]
Justin Kennedy checks out happy hour at the Dupont Circle restaurant that "under-promises and over-delivers," Scion, for the City Paper. Of the cheeseburger, he writes: "The cheese, for example, is applewood-smoked mozzarella, and the onions are deeply caramelized and golden. The pickles are lightly breaded and fried, and the ketchup is laced with peach puree. It’s surprising that no one flavor dominates; instead, as with any good burger, the toppings merely back up the beef." [WCP]
Green Pig Bistro [Photo: R. Lopez]