For this week's First Bite column, Tom Sietsema visits Del Ray's Sushi Bar, which has gotten plenty of hype for months now, due to its no-kids policy. His article touches on that fact, but also evaluates the food from chef Saran "Peter" Kannasute.
His raw fish on vinegared rice, including delicate yellowtail and buttery fatty tuna, is for the most part pleasing. Small plates are billed as "tastings" and run to a satisfying tuna tartare made creamy with avocado and zippy with tomato salsa, a snack scooped up with tortilla chips. Sushi Bar's rolls include novel Japanese "sandwiches," pressed triangles of sushi rice and nori (representing the bread) filled with spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber slices and delivered on a slender white plate piped with glistening mango sauce.
That said, Sietsema says some dishes are too sweet, such as eel sushi with a soy sauce glaze. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman adds Curry Leaf in Laurel to his list of places of the moment, where the former chef at Udupi Palace is cooking up a variety of dishes, from Indo-Chinese fare to biryani.
Some Indian food can be characterized as spicy. Krishnan's is that more elusive beast -- it's spiced. Heat is not the end game, though he certainly doesn't shy away from it; the thing you take away from many of these dishes, however, is the way a gravy or a sauce appears to change as you eat it, the way its complex, carefully coaxed flavors deepen and reveal new and different truths as you go. [Washingtonian]
Tyler Cowen reviews Panda Gourmet in D.C., who boasts the best dan dan noodles he's ever had. "It is in a dump of a roadside motel. You must of course ask for the secret Chinese menus, as the Chinese-American fare does not appear to be of interest. They have have a special Shaanxi noodles dish, get it." [TC]
Don Rockwell heads to Clarendon's Tallula which he says doesn't deserve to be empty. "Tallula it was, on a deserted Sunday night, and I didn't recognize a soul at the restaurant. Yet, every single course, with one small exception, was a hit. My dining companion and I ordered a bunch of small plates, and just said "bring them whenever they're ready." [DR]
Stefanie Gans comes away unimpressed with DelMarVa's Southern Cafe, which she says misrepresents local eating.
Problems persist throughout the menu, in creations that do not honor this area, such as the mac and cheese skillet with avocado, bacon and tomato. The tropical avocado, not steeped in Mid-Atlantic or Southern cuisine, doesn't enhance the dish, as the buttery texture mimics the soft noodles, and vanishes in the one-note melted cheese. The tomatoes were mealy, as they always are when it's not late summer. The bacon helps, but the pig can't save the dish. [NoVa Mag]