Tom Sietsema stops by Etto, the union of the Standard and 2Amy's teams, and is rather impressed for his First Bite.
Try to start with some of what the menu calls Fishies — maybe meaty Spanish anchovies on a sauce made green with parsley and mint and vibrant with garlic and lemon zest — before moving on to one of more than a dozen pizzas. The seasonal numbers include morels with ramps and asparagus with mint, toppings scattered on chewy crusts with billowing lips and pleasant amounts of char.
The critic also has positive things to say about the salads and the Negroni. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner pays a visit to China Canteen in Rockville, where Tim Carman wants more heat.
Take our order of Chongqing chicken, a plate piled high with neatly chopped pieces of chicken stir-fried with an obscene amount of dried red pepper, then garnished with sesame seeds. The sight of the plate alone is enough to make the weak faint from fright, but the dish is a toothless croc. The pepper husks are mostly ornamental, barely passing along their capsaicin content to irritate the tongue. [WaPo]
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans treks out to Casanova, Va. to visit Manor House, where there's much to like.
Another reason guests weren't ordering dessert: they were probably finishing their plates because much is good here. A bisque balances creaminess by letting flavors of the sea pop through. Plump mussels, still in the shell, float in the almost gravy-like soup, as does a tender scallop. [NoVa Mag]
Tom Sietsema visits Azur where he likes most of the seafood offerings. The restaurant earns 2.5 stars.
The main course that calls to me most is dorade, also known as sea bream, cooked in a salt crust and neatly filleted at the table if you wish. Juicy and delicate, the white flesh of the fish is flattered with a buttery lemon sauce and a succotash of green and yellow vegetables, among them fava beans and coins of summer squash. Close behind on the pleasure scale is branzino, crisp and meaty (with bacon) and resting on creamy farro, an ancient grain made contemporary with fresh herbs.
He recommends, however, that diners avoid the calamari and the grilled offerings. [WaPo]
Warren Rojas takes a trip to Bub and Pops sandwich shop.
His Bolognese Parmesan is a prime example: Rather than rely on the mealy orbs and cloyingly sweet sauce employed by competing operations, this grinder on steroids pours a generous serving of Sunday gravy — rich tomato ragout bolstered by maddeningly tender meatballs, savory shredded brisket, unctuous pork belly and bitter arugula — into the cottony roll and then smothers the slow-simmered proteins with shaved pecorino romano.
The brisket and the Italian are also worth a try. [RC]