Tom Sietsema is no fan of the name of Vin 909 Winecafe, but he still thinks it's worth the trek to Annapolis to sample the restaurant's lobster bisque and pizzas.
The chef's gas-fired brick oven produces some terrific pies, one of the more unusual being the spinach-dappled Popeye. Its thin crust is dressed with a veneer of cheese, tangy tomato sauce and lashings of orange oil. The last accent is unexpected -- bright and sunny -- punctuation. The chef uses a rolling pin to stretch the dough, which he allows to rest, then massages by hand.
The critic awards the restaurant two stars. [WaPo]
Also in the Post is a critique of the newly renovated Morton's Steakhouse, and Sietsema is not a fan. Diners can still get a good spinach salad or cheesecake at the longtime steakhouse, but that's about it.
"Want me to keep that warm for you?" a manager sorta-kinda apologizes for a server's mistiming. Actually, even if the crab cake sandwich had been remade, it still would have been built with less-than-prime seafood and served with french fries that taste as if they'd started off frozen. [WaPo]
Roll Call's Warren Rojas stops by a bunch of new restaurants, including the Serbian Ambar and the Russian Mari Vanna. Of Ambar, he says:
The strongest performers to date include ultra creamy white veal soup, saucy cevapcici and a masterfully crafted burger. Both the cevapcici, which is billed as a "kebab" but is more spiced roll, and the aforementioned pleskavica are fashioned from a 50-50 mix of never-frozen, house-ground beef (80/20 cuts of beef shoulder and tenderloin trimmings) and pork (shoulder and belly). [RC]
WaPo's Good to Go column highlights Batter Bowl Bakery from the Ethiopic team. From Nevin Martell:
Of particular note are half a dozen open-face sandwiches, each named after a nearby street and accompanied by a lightly dressed salad. All are built upon inch-thick slices of springy sourdough with a chewy crust. The Fourth Street ($7.95) begins with a schmear of tangy cream cheese, then tops it off with pink ribbons of lox, large salted capers and lengths of chives. [WaPo]
Tyler Cowen hits up the new Ruz Uz in Arlington, and has a pretty lukewarm reaction.
Worth a visit, though it could be better. The appetizers are only so-so and rely too much on the qualities of "fried" and "bready." The manti and the fried pasta with lamb (your best choice) were both quite good. [TC]
Washingtonian's Todd Kliman adds The Bistro at Old Line Fine Wine & Spirits to his list of places he's liking at the moment.
I don't know which is more impressive and improbable — the fact that a bistro has set up shop in Beltsville, a town best known for cows with holes (the research wing of the USDA is headquartered there), or that it has set up shop in a former Circuit City. [Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: Eat More Drink More likes the menu options at Woodward Table...DMV Dining thinks DGS Delicatessen is "terrific but slightly overpriced"...also reviewing DGS: FooDCrave blog, who suggests lunch rather than brunch.