Tom Sietsema visits Bar Charley, Jackie Greenbaum's Dupont Circle bar and restaurant, and finds the pricing refreshing, despite the fact the cooking could use more finesse.
There's a hamburger, because of course a bar has to offer one, and a fish version that finds a patty of lightly ground ahi tuna reinforced with a seaweed slaw and serrano oil instead of lettuce and tomato. Both sandwiches are served in a basket with golden potato chips that are warm from being fried here. The sloppy Joe is not unlike the loose and messy filling I remember from school cafeteria days, although Bar Charley's version gets snappier pickles, fab onion rings and a better bun. (Doesn't toasting improve everything?)
That said, he's a fan of the cocktails, including the daiquiri and the Mai Tai. "For the moment, however, the pleasures at Bar Charley rest more in the glass than on the plate." [WaPo]
The H Street outpost of RedRocks is the site for Sietsema's First Bite. The lowdown: order beer and order pizza. "RedRocks No. 4 is best for pints and pies. There are nearly 20 beers on tap and as many different pizzas. The latter, with raised edges and a nice crackle, are Neapolitan-ish, relying on buffalo or fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and mostly 00 Caputo flour." [WaPo]
It's time for gyros at the $20 Diner, which features Yi Ya's Kitchen in Beltsville. "Let me try to say this without offending my kin: I've never known any relative, from grandparents on down, whose recipes or skills could result in dishes as refined as those at Yia Yia's. Perhaps you think I'm exaggerating, but there was such elegance and craft in some of Yia Yia's dishes that I strained to remember I was in a fast-casual spot with harsh florescent lighting." [WaPo]
In his weekly chat, Todd Kliman adds Kogiya and Bangkok Golden to his list of places he's eating right now. Of the latter, he says, "I was tempted to say this a while back, but didn't. I will now, after a recent knockout visit: I'd rather go here, for the Lao menu, than Little Serow. The range of tastes is vast, and every plate is alive with flavor -- bright and pungent and smoky and funky." [Washingtonian]