Tom Sietsema filed multiple reviews this past week, in addition to his massive 2014 Fall Dining Guide. He awarded 2.5 stars to R.J. Cooper's new Mosaic District restaurant Gypsy Soul, marveling over the fact that the restaurant goes through 50 pounds of chicken skins a week. In addition to the cracklings, he sings the praises of the chicken fried quail, oyster stew, pig tails, hamburgers and marrow-lined beef bone. In fact, Sietsema says may have over-indulged.
If there’s a complaint here, it’s the richness of the food. I’ve never left Gypsy Soul without feeling as if I had just finished Thanksgiving. The kitchen doesn’t skimp on the dairy in the creamed corn or the smoke and bacon in the smothered greens. In fairness, however, no one is forcing me to drain, say, the frogmore stew from its bowl. I have only myself to blame for erasing any sign that shrimp, corn and rouille-slathered croutons had been dropped off in a stainless-steel pot. [WaPo]
He also logged time at CityCenterDC to review the new Del Frisco’s Double Eagle for First Bite, writing that while there isn't much new or original on the menu, the restaurant does right by the steak and other main courses.
The bone-in rib-eye, one of about a dozen (mostly prime) cuts, is 22 ounces of pure beefy pleasure, seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper and better for the delicate crackle imparted by a hot grill. As long as you’re splurging, fix the steak up with some onion rings that challenge the city’s height restrictions. [WaPo]
Washingtonian's Todd Kliman thinks the design at Silver Spring’s NaiNai’s Noodle & Dumpling Bar is so slick, it almost seems like a chain. But the noodles prove to be the real thing.
These are the genuine article, hand-rolled and hand-pulled, with exactly the heft and chew you hope for. And the kitchen is generally smart about dressing them. Of the seven varieties, I’m craziest about the pai gow—in which those noodles are tossed in a heady stew of ground pork, bean sprouts, and mustard greens; dashed with a smoky chili oil; and blitzed with ground peanuts—and a Northern Chinese preparation called mahjong noodles, which gives the Sunday-gravy treatment to a thick tangle of noodles, cucumbers, carrots, and bean sprouts, drenching them in a rich sauce of peanut butter and sesame paste. [Washingtonian]
In his online chat this week, Kliman also filed mini-reviews of H Street’s Ocopa ("24-year-old chef Carlos is a talent"), Fairfax’s Saba (" The two must-orders are the haneeth and the fahsa"), Ray’s to the Third in Arlington ("Best burger around"), Dupont's DGS Delicatessen, Mount Vernon Square's Baby Wale and Gypsy Soul. [Washingtonian]
Carole Sugarman of Bethesda Magazine thinks that Macon Bistro & Larder is charming and the food is gracefully executed. And the desserts deserve top billing too.
Gigi Mama’s Coconut Cake, named after Brown’s 97-year-old grandmother who lives in Birmingham, Ala., makes me wish she was my grandma, too. Sweet and super-moist, the dessert is sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with sesame ice cream—interesting (but not essential) contrasts added by chef de cuisine Mike Matis. [Bethesda Magazine]