Baby Wale, Tom Power's latest place, gets the full review treatment from Tom Sietsema; the verdict is pretty positive, as long as diners avoid the pupusas.
There are only a few true main dishes. One is a chicken for two that's roasted to order and requires 45 minutes to get to the table. Brined before it hits the heat in garlic, thyme, black peppercorns and lemon peel, the three-pounder makes fabulous eating, both in the restaurant and at home at midnight. (Hey, I'll admit such.) Another example, crisp-skinned salmon set on corn seasoned with dashi, the Japanese broth, is a dish that could be served at Corduroy and no one would arch an eyebrow.
The wine list is a little off, but Sietsema has kind words for the soups and the lobster salad; two stars is the result. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner heads to the relocated Taqueria Nacional. Tim Carman says it's a great place for vegetarians. "They can opt for the egg-and-green-chili taco from the regular menu (the curds are so light, the pepper heat feels ferried by air) or select a veggie special advertised at the ordering station near the tortilla griddle (such as the recent combo of fried eggplant with pickled vegetables and feta, a salty and sour and altogether gratifying bite)." The restaurant also has excellent guacamole and tart margaritas, even if they don't make their own tortillas. [WaPo]
Don Rockwell makes multiple trips to the Red Hen and is delighted. "What a triumphant restaurant The Red Hen is. A neighborhood restaurant that's also a destination restaurant, it makes me wish I lived in Bloomingdale." [DR]
Tyler Cowen gives quite the endorsement to Boqueria. "Right now the best tapas place around. It's not dramatic or even especially original. But on execution it is very consistent." [TC]
Warren Rojas sees what the newish Vendetta is all about in Roll Call. The wine list is affordable, and there is, of course, bocce.
The signature cocktails, however, are the real show stealers. Barkeeps shake up everything from woody bourbons to curiously nutty liqueurs, cutting bold stuff with disarming sweeteners, spiking neutral spirits with bitter interlopers and cleverly spicing up everything in between. [RC]