This week, Tom Sietsema files a two star review of Urban Butcher, Silver Spring's latest restaurant.
Can the market bear one more house-churned sausage, another charcuterie plate? Urban Butcher makes a compelling case for a trend that shows little sign of fading. Mendizabal had me at lomo (cured pork loin), and again at his racy Spanish chorizo, then at tocino, or pork belly. Big chunks of grilled Italian bread, gherkins and mustard come with the cured meats; as with prime oysters, however, they need no distractions. Eating the pât é forestier puts me in mind of damp woods and earthy mushrooms: a daydream for $5 a slablette.
Not everything works here — avoid the fries and the ratatouille ("It's not Urban Garden," the critic remarks). But seafood is solid. [WaPo]
Two shorter reviews emerged from Sietsema this week, and neither are raves. The critic turns his attention to Silo in Mount Vernon Triangle (where the chef has already departed) and says, "The best thing about Silo? Getting the check." Meanwhile, Bidwell gets a lukewarm reception from the critic.
"It wasn't lust at first sight at Bidwell for this diner. "Crispy" deviled eggs provide proof that frying doesn't make everything taste better. An apple dessert arrives oddly dry and fruitless. A return visit found more to like, including those tender meatballs and a "sharing bite" of spinach ignited with dried red chilies, "a carry-over from Red Sage," says Mooney. Unevenly cooked roast chicken is bested by its plate mates of braised kale and crisp diced potatoes." [WaPo]
Bethesda Magazine also took a visit to Urban Butcher, where Carole Sugarman believes meat eaters fare better than vegetarians. "Take the plunge with the lamb tartare, a mound of house-ground raw lamb mixed with a bright, citrusy dressing of lemon juice, fenugreek, paprika, thyme, garlic, cayenne and other spices. It's served on homemade oval flatbread with a generous slather of hummus. Even those hesitant about raw meat should give it a try, as the flavor layers are both intriguing and compatible." [BM]
At Roll Call, Warren Rojas checks out the changes at Bearnaise. "Although the prix-fixe section has its admirers, other key performers — including the aforementioned paillard, a generously proportioned pork chop and well-dressed "brasserie" burger — have been promoted to featured players. Meanwhile, former anchors (farewell, locally sourced oysters) have been shelved in favor of more exotic tastes (bonjour, globe-spanning moules). The steamed mussels, in particular, have made quite a splash. The quartet of mouthwatering renditions (think: herby marinere, zesty Provencal, boozy Dijon and citrus-spiked curry) pulls double duty as shareable starters or self-indulgent mains" [RC]
Urban Butcher [Photo: Jamie Liu/Eater.com]