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Tom Sietsema Slams the Salamander Resort

Tom Sietsema took to the travel section to write a review of the Salamander Resort and its accompanying restaurant, Harrimans. It wasn't pretty.

Three of us order cocktails; after an epic wait, only two drinks materialize. The third, a server informs us, is "coming from another outlet." (Another outlet?) When the glass is finally delivered, it turns out to be a shot of Sazerac whiskey rather than the requested Sazerac cocktail. The thirsty member of my group clarifies that he wants the New Orleans classic. "Can you tell me what goes in it?" asks The Server From The Other Outlet. Uh-oh. "I'll take a Manhattan," my friend replies.

It's not just the drinks that he criticizes. "Sweet diver scallops crunch with grit and share their plate with bok choy so vague that you wouldn't recognize the vegetable with your eyes closed. Smoke is the lone flavor we detect from a plate of grilled shiitake mushrooms garnished with sesame brittle, cloying in its sweetness. Potato gnocchi with duck Bolognese — a case of the bland leading the bland — has us looking at our watches, too." [WaPo]

The critic gives the full review treatment to Buck's Fishing and Camping, which is hitting its tenth anniversary this year. The kitchen prepares excellent onion rings, aged steaks and salads.

James Rexroad is only the fourth person to helm the kitchen. Like his predecessors, including the memorable opening chef, Carole Greenwood, he opts for good sense over high style. Rockfish gets framed in basil-laced cranberry and kidney beans, while plump roast chicken is brightened with lemony pan juices. Both dishes are more about ingredients than a chef showing off. [WaPo]

This week's First Bite column is a new entrant to the fast casual market: Newton's Noodles, home of the "chork" serving utensil. "Your Chork is best applied to Fuzu, a made-up name for a toss of rice noodles, carrots, scallops, shrimp, fried shallots and more that's one of the most popular plates at Newton's Table. Newton's Noodles offers Fuzu two ways: original soy ("salty and sweet with a touch of heat," goes the mantra) and "coco-curry," with peanuts, cilantro and a creamier sauce. My preference is for the tried-and-true original." [WaPo]

Northern Virginia Magazine treks to Fredericksburg to get a taste of Peter Chang's cooking, and the trip is worth it. Stefanie Gans writes, of Peter Chang China Cafe, "The flavors have stayed put in the few months I have eaten at Chang's restaurants, first at China Grill outside of Richmond in Glen Allen and then in Fredericksburg. I am late to the Chang game. I am a convert." [NoVa Mag]

The $20 Diner checks out the new Duke's Grocery. Sandwiches like the banh mi and the "Ruby on Rye" are huge and delicious. "Regardless, Duke's is part of a new generation of sandwich shops in the District: A place that carefully constructs its bread-based creations, top to bottom, while desperately trying to hide its craftiness under a veneer of calculated nonchalance. You can count Sundevich, Taylor Gourmet, Stachowski Market & Deli and the recently opened G among these more craft-conscious shops." [WaPo]

THE BLOGS: FooDCrave checks in on Central.

Salamander Resort [Photo: Facebook]

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