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Tom Sietsema Says The Tasting Menu at U Street's Nonna’s Kitchen Is Delicious

Plus, the best damn Peking duck in Northern Virginia.

Alphonse DC/Facebook

In a double review for the Washington Post Magazine, Tom Sietsema gives two stars to Alphonse Italian Market and Osteria and 2.5 stars to its more formal restaurant-within-a restaurant Nonna’s Kitchen. Sietsema falls for Alphonse's homey atmosphere, yeasty crust pizzas, pappardelle and the kitchen's cannoli, which he thinks might be the best in the area. And at Nonna's Kitchen, Sietsema believes the tasting menu is good enough to put U Street on the map as a fine dining destination:

Guys in ties lapping up $90 tasting menus on ... U Street? Half-smokes and chicken wings, meet monkfish carpaccio and Super Tuscan wines. I wouldn’t have predicted it, but recent dinners at Nonna’s Kitchen, romantic in red and a mere 24 seats, suggest there’s a future for fine dining in the neighborhood. [WaPo]

Sietsema is decidedly unimpressed by Bangkok Joe’s transformation to Southeast Asian-French eatery Mama Rouge. "And truth be told, the roster of pho, curry, barbecue, banh mi and daily-changing French specials, fish stew and steak au poivre among them, offers little to draw me back," he writes. The lemongrass pork bahn mi is not changing his mind:

Peppery pork and a fistful of vaguely pickled julienned vegetables packed into a blimp-size baguette will not remind diners of any Vietnamese sandwich they’ve had at Eden Center in Falls Church. But the sub surpasses much of the rest of the menu. [WaPo]

Tyler Cowen calls Rockville's Super Bowl Noodle House a "revelation and a knock-out..." His recommendations:

Order the Shanxi Noodle Soup but also – above all – at least one of the Spicy Dry Hot Pots, one of the best dishes around in any restaurant. It is hard to describe if you don’t already know it but very yummy. Get the flatbread with pork inside, the Chong Qing Dry Chili Chicken, the spicy cucumber salad, the soft tofu with numbing, and then ask for the specials. I don’t know of any other Chinese place around which serves food like this. [TC]

The Washington Post's Tim Carman makes the controversial decision to vote for Vienna's China Wok over stalwart Peking Gourmet in the battle of who makes the best damn Peking duck in Northern Virginia:

The pancakes are warmer at China Wok, and they have this lush, fatty mouthfeel. The skin from Wang’s duck also has a shattering texture that Peking Gourmet’s can’t match. [WaPo]

THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch give an A- to Second State...Girl Meets Food goes to DBGB Kitchen + Bar...DC Beer tries all the holiday sampling packs available in the D.C. market...Johna Knows Good Food goes to Georgetown's Rialto.