The full review for Stephen Starr's Le Diplomate is out, and it's a 3 star rave from Tom Sietsema. The critic praises the restaurant for its consistency and reliability.
Adam Schop does a dead-on impression of a French chef, although he was born in New York and grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., before going on to beat out a bunch of Gallic names to get the position he has now. No matter which path you take on his menu, you encounter something you can't wait to eat again.
That includes dishes like asparagus soup, roast chicken, veal escalope and more. There are caveats —escargots fail to impress — but they are few. [WaPo]
Meanwhile, the critic finds plenty of room for criticism for Mi Cocina, a Tex-Mex chain that made its D.C. debut in Chevy Chase.
The best part about a main course of lime-marinated shrimp and slaw swaddled in soft corn tortillas is its side salad of lettuce and avocado; one bite of the funky seafood kept me at bay. Texas, Mi Cocina is all yours. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman also heads to Le Diplomate, but he is less enraptured than Sietsema. The gist: good, but not great.
But if there's not much that's as dazzling as the design, there's also not much that will make you look down at your dish in disappointment. The hanger steak is properly crusty and rosy in the center. The roast chicken isn't the understated showpiece that the dish can be, but it was cooked with care and its well-developed juices provided a good, light gravy for a crock of vigorously whipped potatoes. The list of wines by the glass isn't long—given Starr's pedigree, it really ought to be longer, with a wider range of countries, styles, and prices—but it contains a number of earthy, medium-bodied reds that go down well with these simple meats. [Washingtonian]
The $20 Diner focuses on raw meats with a review of Lucy Ethiopian.
Once you get over the fact you're eating like a lion in the Serengeti, you can truly savor the pleasures of the flesh. Lucy serves the freshest, richest kurt (also known as tere sega) I've ever had. The cool chunks of rib-eye easily yield to the bite, their buttery fat mixing with the dipping sauces (such as the chili pepper-based awaze) and powders (the mitmita spice blend) to provide contrasting delights. [WaPo]
Washingtonian also has a review of Del Campo. Ann Limpert acknowledges that smoke is kind of a schtick at the restaurant, but that doesn't mean it can't produce good results.
But really, the main reason to come is the beef. Cuts are smoked just enough to enhance, not overpower, their flavor, then grilled and served atop wood platters with halved heads of garlic and long shanks of bone marrow. [Washingtonian]
Tyler Cowen points out a new set of dishes at Merrifield's Elephant Jumps, while also highlighting New Orleans Cajun Seafood. "I don't like Po Boys more generally, but if I were going to have one in NoVa, I would start here," he says. [TC]
Here's another take on Del Campo, from D.C. Magazine's David Hagedorn.
It's been awhile since I've looked at a menu and been intrigued by practically every item on it. But that's the feeling that overtook me when I first glanced at Del Campo's menu—every item has been touched by the grill. It's fresh, appealing and straightforward cooking, but deceptively so. What seems simple, in fact, requires extraordinary talent. [DCM]