Kicking a restaurant when it's already down? Nope, just a publisher's nightmare. Turns out Tom Sietsema's searing review of Capitol Hill restaurant Suna had already gone to press by the time the restaurant announced its closing last Friday. And the verdict wasn't good: the critic awarded just half a star to Johnny Spero's tasting menu-centric restaurant above Acqua Al 2.
Both dishes, it turns out, are jokes without punch lines. The soup, in which a broth of charred ginger and leeks is poured over a soft-cooked egg and fried salsify, is dreadful the first time. Blame fell on a tepid consomme. But even a second round, with warm stock, didn't make me a fan of what goes down like canned fried onions in water. As for the salad, some of the vegetables were so cold, it was as if we were eating them straight from the tundra. Frigid temperatures and bursts of cloying sweetness from candied celery root sent the dish back to the kitchen largely untouched. Curiously, no one asked why.
There are more harsh lines to come, such as "the grains (farro and bulgar) impress me as something the fowl should have eaten," and "by my third visit, I'm tempted to ask for the bill before the tedium — er, tasting — is over." Ultimately, the critic concludes "The unfocused Suna calls to mind a pique of mine: restaurants that taste like rehearsals but charge full admission." [WaPo]
In his weekly chat, Todd Kliman has a new find for Peruvian food: Asi Es Mi Tierra in Wheaton.
The dish every table orders is the big and bountiful jalea mixta, with three portions' worth of fried mussels, calamari, shrimp to pick at; it's crowned with a heap of vinegared, thin-sliced red onions, and there's even a small dish of ceviche on the side.
Kliman recommends diners stick with the fish and seafood dishes. [Washingtonian]
Bethesda Magazine heads to Wildwood Kitchen, where Carole Sugarman learns the restaurant's focus on healthy cuisine has been scaled back a bit, and that some dishes sing while others need work. She singles out the short ribs and pan-seared sea bream as favorites.
While Wiedmaier's latest project may not be a strict interpretation of his original plans, that's fine by me. The food is sort of Mediterranean, sometimes healthy and often very good. And the setting manages to be comfortable, elegant and neighborly all at the same time. [BM]
Sietsema's First Bite column is on Curry Mantra 2 in Falls Church. Not a whole lot is said about the food, with the focus on details like the open kitchen, valet parking and plans for expansion. There are some new dishes added to the menu, though. "The fresh draws include wispy fried spinach brightened with pomegranate seeds, tender shrimp draped with spinach puree, and chicken cooked in a paste of yogurt, cilantro and mint." [WaPo]
Tim Carman's The $20 Diner highlights Nha Trang in Eden Center, where he finds delicious grilled pork rolls and housemade noodles in Eden Center. "As we happily slurp our soups, I tell my tablemates that if Nha Trang were in one of the prime storefronts that face a parking lot here, this restaurant would be a star, the next Four Sisters of the Eden Center." [WaPo]
In Good to Go, Nevin Martell visits House of Steep in Arlington, which serves up healthier fare like rice bowls and soups in a teahouse setting. "I liked the simple yet well-executed seaweed salad, with its sesame oil and hint of heat." [WaPo]
THE BLOGS: Capital Spice likes kale salad and beef at Range...DMV Dining left Et Voila!smiling...Bitches Who Brunch give American Tap Room a B+ for brunch...New Columbia Heights accidentally spends too much on lunch at Room 11.