For this week's First Bite, Tom Sietsema visits Decanter, the newly remade restaurant within the St. Regis. It's a mixed review — avoid the lobster tater tots — but the critic has good things to say about dishes like the lemon tart and the calamari burger.
A native of Saint-Jean-de-Luz in southwestern France, Rondier, soon to be 38, shares little stories on his menu to explain the presence of, say, a calamari burger. The seafood sandwich is of Spanish origin and first impressed Rondier when he was a child attending a birthday party for his grandfather. The version at Decanter stars a soft patty of ground squid, capers, preserved lemon, parsley and cilantro tucked into a lightly toasted brioche bun. Served with a glossy green salad, the burger tastes like something Michel Richard might whip up for a beach party. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner turns its attention to Pho Bar & Grill. Tim Carman finds that when the chef is on vacation, the food suffers. At first, dishes like lemongrass chicken impress. But then...
Had my eating stopped there you might be booking a table now, yes? But summer has begun to tumble dry the District again, which makes it prime chef-vacation season. Poor timing for Pho Bar and Grill, but the confluence of chef's departure and critic's arrival made for some unhappy meals. Then again, dining dollars spent on the scrimmage team are the same as those spent on the Pro Bowlers. [WaPo]
Tyler Cowen goes a bit more mainstream with his visit to The Red Hen. "Excellent food, sometimes called Italian but fundamentally American in my book, with some pasta courses to make it even more American." [TC]
THE BLOGS: The 42 Bus names its favorite D.C. restaurants...Eat More Drink More likes Casa Luca before it is even open...DC Wrapped Dates gives 2.5 stars to Al Dente...FooDCrave likes the pizza at Ghibellina...Unsilent Eats thinks the barbecue at Smoke Bethesda is sad.