If there's a breakout star in this production, it's Fargione's squid appetizer. Spicy Sicilian salami and ground raw shrimp are stuffed into an ivory tube of squid, which is scored so the pink filling is visible. The seafood is arranged on braised, thread-thin leeks and a saffron-tinted pool of garlic sauce. There's a lot to contemplate, and enjoy, in this complex "comfort."
Though he raves about the pastas, Sietsema says he did have one off meal at the restaurant, which he awards 2.5 stars. [WaPo]
Less appealing to the critic: the new Grill Room and Rye Bar at Capella, which made headlines for its high prices for cocktails (Sietsema singles out a high priced chardonnay by the glass as eye roll-worthy).
Reading the menu is like popping Zolpidem. Food enthusiasts in particular are apt to nod off as they spot all the grilled meat and side dishes that sound as though they came from a steakhouse rather than from a chef who has worked around Europe. Eyebrows go north when the amuse-bouche is set down. Bone marrow with a web of cheese on top makes a curious introduction. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner highlights Falls Church's Panjshir, home of a terrific pumpkin and lamb dish, Tim Carman says.
The food that comes out of Panjshir's kitchen is not complicated, a reminder that Afghan cuisine is often based on home cooking. The nuggets of marinated kebab meat arrive on the table lanced with a skewer, each piece charred (and sometimes dehydrated) from the high-heat cooking; stick with the lamb kebab, which takes the heat better than the chicken or beef, while still delivering a high lemony kick. The bulanee kachalu is a potato-heavy cross between a samosa and a fried wonton, a starchy finger food elevated with an application of that ubiquitous tableside hot sauce, the Afghan version of chutney [WaPo]
Todd Kliman adds Rockville's East Dumpling House to his list of current favorites.
The size of the tiny kitchen would seem to argue against their being made long in advance, frozen, then dumped into a steamer when the time comes; the bright freshness of the fillings would seem to argue against that, too. Make sure to supplement your order with small dishes of garlicky, peppery cucumbers or shredded tofu skin with cilantro. [Washingtonian]
Don Rockwell visits both Woodward Table and New Orleans Cajun Kitchen. He's not impressed with the wine list at Jeff Buben's restaurant but likes the Fishmonger's Board, which he calls "t is nothing short of astounding." He calls the Po Boy at New Orleans Cajun Kitchen " a very good shrimp sub." [DR]
CityEats highlights the new Mothership restaurant, which Rina Rapuano says "Wines are thoughtfully chosen and budget-friendly." [CE]