You can dress a place up, but the food is what really matters. That's according to Tom Sietsema, who revists the remodeled J&G Steakhouse at the W Hotel. The short ribs are terrific; the fish dishes are disappointing.
The big dessert curiosity is a single, bun-size profiterole filled with banana ice cream. The whopper looks as if it ran away from a chain restaurant. Indeed, after tasting the outsize confection, a companion speaks for the table when he says, "It looks like somebody did a stage [apprenticeship] at the Cheesecake Factory."
In conclusion, the critic writes, "The goal of a makeover is to refresh its subject. The designer got the message here; the kitchen appears to have missed it." Two stars is the verdict. [WaPo]
Tyler Cowen says Arlington Kabob has "some of the best kabobs around." "They serve the best chapli kabob, fresh and fragrant, full of herbs, that I have had in the U.S. It's not just some piece of gritty, fried spicy stuff, rather it will change your conception of chapli kabob. Lots of lamb," he writes. [TC]
For the First Bite, Sietsema goes to Mix Bar and Grille, formerly Bezu in Potomac. The goal of the new place is to get away from fine dining. The results are a lot more affordable. "The menu brims with crowd-pleasers. They include Caesar salad and a peppery tuna tartare veined with avocado to start, and grilled calamari and a cheeseburger among the hot selections." Worth a try: short ribs and creme brulee. Not so great: hummus, trout. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner treks to Leesburg to give Thai Pan a try; it's one of the area's many gas station restaurants. "I was, for example, beyond skeptical when the waiter recommended the mixed seafood with basil for $16.95. What appeared was a plate brimming with fresh scallops, mussels, shrimp and carved squid, each piece supported with a backing orchestra of flavor, from Thai basil or crunchy lengths of green beans." He recommends dishes with a two star spice rating (or higher). [WaPo]
It's Warren Rojas' turn to visit Rose's Luxury. He tries the strawberry pasta, among other dishes. "A summery twist on traditional Italian cuisine, strawberry pasta features a sauce of the red-skinned berries and their acidic fruit cousin, the tomato. The reduced strawberries are quite prominent (almost jammy) but are complemented by piquant red onion and defiant black pepper. A dab of tangy ricotta ties the whole thing together, producing a salty-sweet-savory-tangy union not often exhibited at noodle joints." [RC]