Tom Sietsema takes a visit to Curry Mantra 3 for his First Bite column, and finds the lunch buffet to be a good value.
Lunch finds a deal of a meal in the form of the buffet: 10 or so dishes that always include butter chicken and goat curry, at just under $10 a taker. And among the "Seven Wonders" at Curry Mantra 3 are attractions such as lamb meatballs in a cloak of yogurt zipped up with mint, cilantro and green chilies; and tender chicken arranged with spinach and yellow lentils. Indian standards such as chat masala and sag paneer are executed well, too.
News bite: Yes, a Curry Mantra 4 is in the works, probably in Alexandria or Arlington. [WaPo]
Candy Sagon reviews Alexandria's new Osteria Marzano and finds plenty to like, awarding it two stars.
The menu comfortably straddles the line between food for a casual evening with friends and elegant entrees for an all-out date night. And although you won't find anything truly adventurous, it's still vintage Marzano: top-quality ingredients and impeccable execution.
The critic recommends such dishes as the Deborah pizza and the bucatini all' amatriciana. [WaPo]
Add Todd Kliman to the official list of Rose's Luxury lovers. He raves about the bread basket, Vietnamese pate, octopus and more. Dessert needs work.
To say that this is a restaurant whose sum is greater than its excellent parts is true, but it's also misleading, because the food is the reason for all those happy faces in the dining room. Aaron Silverman's menu consists of 14 small courses and two "family-style" plates. The influences are almost comically eclectic—as if an ADD-afflicted culinary student had composed it after a night of drinking. [Washingtonian]
The $20 Diner gives Kochix's fried chicken a try, and inevitably compares it to BonChon.
The fact is, on her best days, Karen Park double-fries some terrific Korean chicken, similar but different to the ones at BonChon. The thin eggshell coating of her wings and drumettes (no kiddie white-meat strips here) crackles under tooth as well as anything from that better-known Korean fried chicken outlet in the 'burbs. But her coating has a rugged appearance, with occasional crater-like protrusions on the surface, as if she were applying the batter (or the baking powder in the batter) with a heavy hand. I'm not complaining, just reporting.
The sauces here "speak softly and carry a big stick," Tim Carman says. [WaPo]
Northern Virginia Magazine takes a quick look at Alexandria's Columbia Firehouse.
The tavern steak ($22), the least expensive cut, is a sirloin that our server swears "goes through a long tenderizing process." She keeps the sell going: "We have cows that are set aside for just our restaurant." Like a steakhouse, sides are extra and the green beans in a mini casserole arrive still alive—snappy and snuggly in a mushroom cream sauce topped with thin rings of fried onions. The steak's texture is satisfyingly chewy, but tastewise, leans on the salty side. But that's nothing a dip in a side of bernaise ($2) can't remedy. [NoVa Mag]
Don Rockwell orders takeout from Oriental Gourmet. "'ve been enjoying #S28 on their carryout menu: Fish Fillet and Bean Curd in Hot and Red Bean Sauce ($13.45). While this might sound odd, it has the flavors (sans pork) of a very mild Ma Po Tofu – a lot of Ma Po Tofus are just too numbing for me, and while this has some of that, it's just a hint, not a dominant feature. There is a *lot* of fish in this dish, and it's an excellent value for the money – I've ordered it twice in a row." [DR]