La Tagliatella in Arlington makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics. The Italian concept, an unfortunate import from Europe that plays up 400 combinations of pasta and sauce, is so distasteful on so many different levels, I was tempted to dismiss it after just one visit. I changed my mind when I considered its prime corner real estate in Clarendon and the Poland-based chain's intention to expand elsewhere in the United States.
Sietsema has harsh words for a calzone, Caesar salad, minestrone, salty pastas and too many cream sauces. And the pizzas aren't great, either. "Shrimp on a cracker, anyone? That's what I thought when I sliced into the 'Di Mare' pizza with tomato, mozzarella and nice-enough seafood." The restaurant earns a half star and even prompts Sietsema to take a trip to Olive Garden, to see if comparisons are fair. Olive Garden fares better in the critic's estimation. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman adds The Red Hen to the list of places he's eating right now, and has a glowing appraisal. "I don't think it's a stretch to call this Bloomingdale restaurant the surprise of the Spring season. As a matter of fact, I don't think it's a stretch to say that it's the best restaurant to debut in DC this year." [Washingtonian]
Sietsema's First Bite is focused on Fairfax City's Le Mediterranean Bistro. That place is a good find for deals, he said. There's a French-focused menu with dishes like onion soup, roasted squab and steak au poivre. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner decides to visit restaurants that have good bar food. Places not thought of as cheap end up being better deals at the bar, including Mintwood Place, Fiola and more. [WaPo]
No reason to worry, Bon Chon fans. Don Rockwell says the Korean chicken joint's replacement in Annandale, Chi Mc, is just as good. "it was wonderful – everything Bon Chon ever was, and perhaps more." [DR]
Tyler Cowen calls IMM Thai Cuisine a "Thai restaurant created for, among otherse, non-Thai Asians." Most of the dishes at the Annandale restaurant are above average, according to the critic. [TC]
Bethesda Magazine checks in with hot-dog favorite Bold Bite, where they're now making burgers. "Believe me, you won't want to drown out the flavorful meat with too many toppings," says Carole Sugarman. "I had the Naked, and even that was a little too fully clothed." [BM]