Tom Sietsema visits the Balkan-inspired Ambar and awards it two stars. The restaurant loses points for noise and desserts, but Sietsema is overall impressed with the food.
This is for the most part subtle food, free of fireworks. Because the dishes don't hide behind a lot of spices or sauces, the quality of ingredients must be prime. Only fresh beef and pork go into the kebabs, for instance, which emerge from the grill springy and succulent (with an assist from pork belly and club soda, Bocvarov shares). A nest of cheese-sprinkled soft red peppers -- Serbs love their red peppers -- turns the links into a party. [WaPo]
For First Bite, Sietsema heads to the new Edgar in the Mayflower hotel and seriously slams the service.
Does anyone at Edgar get training before they hit the floor? Greetings are slow to be made, bills can take forever to retrieve, calls to the restaurant go unanswered. When I placed a request for a glass of chardonnay featured on the menu, my server asked, "That's a white, right?" Another afternoon, someone spilled water on the floor, a puddle that no one bothered to mop up for the hour or so we monitored it. The unsmiling staff appears to have been recruited from the Soviet school of hospitality. [WaPo]
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans visits Alegria and says the dishes need some work.
The cheese dip lacks depth, the chocolate and mole poblano caked on a chicken thigh doesn't excite and the masa dough cakes (sopes) can't focus, spilling black beans which refuse to coalesce with the running yolk. It's a dish in parts, not whole. [NoVa Mag]
Gans also checks out the grilled cheese selection at Falls Church's SpaceBar, and likes the sandwiches, even if calling them "grilled cheese" is a stretch. "The curated selection of craft beer is the real draw," she says. [NoVa Mag]
For WaPo's Good to Go column, Nevin Martell checks out the latest addition to NoMa: Thaaja, a fast casual Indian restaurant. "The well-spiced poultry and generous dominos of cheese were my favorites; the boneless pieces of New Zealand lamb shoulder had an earthiness that proved distracting," he says. [WaPo]
In Washingtonian, Todd Kliman's love letter to DGS Delicatessen is now online. The restaurant earns 2.5 stars and praise for chef Barry Koslow.
His matzo-ball soup demonstrates his classical French training. (The broth is a beautiful consommé, the matzo ball as light as a quenelle.) His borscht is an explosion of color and flavor. Crisp latkes are good on their own, but Koslow adds silken slices of lox and a dollop of crème fraîche dotted with salmon roe. Koslow excelled at his previous places with terrines and pâtés. Here, the one pâté on the menu is the chopped liver, which is lighter and better than any version I've had. [Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: We Love DC can't stop going to Tash on Barracks Row...DMV Dining is high on the crabcake at Rappahannock Oyster Bar...Bitches Who Brunch don't understand why Kellari Taverna doesn't get more love.