For his First Bite this week, Tom Sietsema finds Dunya to be a cozy addition to the scene, even if he wouldn't recommend that people go out of their way to get there.
Lamb shank gets cooked in beer with cloves until it's tender and sweet, then transferred to a bed of pearled couscous. Nice enough. Chicken is flavored with preserved lemon, green olives and cumin— accents that help a diner forgive the fact that the roasted entree is dry in parts. Finesse is not this kitchen's strong suit.
But there are good desserts and friendly service to make up for any errors. [WaPo]
Bethesda Magazine gets a first taste of Gregorio's Trattoria.
The arancini here were a little odd—the interior risotto separated from the fried coating like an egg hatching, and the pasta e fagioli soup was wan and watery. The truly garlicky garlic knot rolls were the best of the starters. And while the white pizza had a cholesterol-clogging coating of cheese, the thin-crusted New York-style pizza wasn't a bad imitation of the real thing. Every neighborhood needs a family friendly Italian restaurant. Gregorio's may not be the love fest described in the website, but it's a likeable addition. [BM]
Osteria Morini gets a review from Ann Limpert in Washingtonian this week. The New York import is praised for several of its pastas, though some of its seafood dishes are treated with skepticism.
Meat and game are a different story. To start meals off, there's an array of charcuterie, including a lovely duck-liver mousse glistening with wine gelée as well as a wonderful guanciale-and-poached-egg salad sweetened with caramelized onions and just enough vinegar. A wood-burning grill gives a tender and hefty pork chop the right amount of smokiness and was responsible for one night's star entrée—a bountiful platter bearing lamb chops, skirt steak, pork-and-fennel sausage, and decadent slices of pancetta. [Washingtonian].
Tyler Cowen reviews Thai Spoon in Falls Church. "Yes Eden Center now has a Thai place. It's pretty good, but not some holy grail of southeast Asian authenticity. The best dishes are the fish, the whole fish, and with the complex sauces." [TC]