In this week's review, Tom Sietsema heads out to McLean to see if the wealthy suburb finally has a great restaurant in Bistro Vivant. Well, apparently it does not, as the Washington Post critic awards it 1.5 stars. But Sietsema does seem to like the restaurant well enough and encourages it to aim higher:
There's a better restaurant waiting to break out of Bistro Vivant. If I sound like a cheerleader, it's because McLean, despite its residents' wealth, doesn't have many high-quality restaurants going for it. The joke that explains the problem: Too many personal chefs.
Appetizers and desserts are the safest orders at the McLean restaurant, including escargot, a "lush" chicken liver pate, creme brulee and more. The main dishes, however, are a little rockier considering a description of a lamb brochette that "rests on a gloppy risotto with a dull mint aftertaste." That said, Sietsema urges diners not to overlook mains — and the restaurant itself — completely. [WaPo]
The Washingtonian's Jessica Voelker checks in on Turmeric, the sit-down Indian restaurant that was once the fast-casual Aditi. And it seems the changes have been plenty: "Since his Aditi days, the restaurateur has been encouraging his chefs to hold back on fats and to use olive oil in place of ghee, the clarified butter employed in abundance in other Indian kitchens. The result is food that's vibrant with flavor but doesn't leave you feeling stuffed or unenthusiastic about your next meal." [Washingtonian]
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans also reviews Bistro Vivant and similarly finds an uneven menu, so much so that she recommends filling up on bread. But there are some good finds and she notes that "if the parking lot expenses reflect wallet size, Bistro Vivant might manage to pull off uneven cooking in an area known both for its money, but also, its ability to shutter restaurants." [NVM]
The Washington Post's Tim Carman checks out the newly opened Dumpling Dojo in Bethesda's Westfield Montgomery Mall. He likes the baowich, but other dishes remind him that he's in a mall food court, waxing, "Here we were, thousands of miles from anything our forefathers and mothers would have recognized as native soil, noshing unceremoniously in this garnished encampment of tables, advertisements and bastardized foreign food. Perhaps only in a food court could I experience this simultaneous sense of pride and embarrassment: that America is big enough (in almost every sense of the word) to embrace the flavors from all parts of the world and cheap enough to continue to feed us mass-produced junk." [WaPo]
Bistro Vivant [Photo: Facebook]