Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Aggio, is definitely worth a visit, according to Tom Sietsema. The critic gave it three stars this week. "Introduced with an online wink, Aggio has morphed into a certified wow," he says.
A particular from Range that carries over to Aggio is the superb pasta. No matter their shape, the noodles (and their enhancements) deserve the oohs and ahhs that greet them. Supple spinach pasta makes a fine nest for sweet crab and what sounds like a mistake: "buttered popcorn." The element works in the dish's favor, however, when it's pureed with corn, strained and used as a sauce. Lamb ragu, made with meat from the shoulder and aged fat, is ladled over whole-wheat lumache, or snail-shell-shaped pasta, and made more intense with shavings of smoked pecorino. The kitchen even manages to turn homey spaghetti and meatballs into something grand without sacrificing the soul of the Italian staple. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner heads to Hyattsville for La Fondita. Tim Carman says the restaurant is worth the hassle involved to score parking. Get the tacos.
"I've had a number of tasty plates at La Fondita over the past weeks, but whenever I walk in the door, I immediately crave tacos. I swear this longing must be based on a subliminal smell that greets you at the threshold, perhaps the faint aroma of griddled tortillas, which activates a section of my brain that screams irrationally, and repeatedly, for tacos, tacos, tacos! Then again, it might be because La Fondita's tacos are hot bundles of delight." [WaPo]
Tyler Cowen has two Chinese restaurant reviews this week, China Star and 88 China. Of the former, he says new owners have improved the place.
Scallion fried fish is good again. Green beans are pretty good, as is braised fish. The specials are worth trying, definitely, even though they are only in Chinese. I very much like their crispy rice dish. The place is not perfect, and their "American-Chinese" dishes are still pretty dreadful. But I go here often, and I am happy to recommend it to anyone who has at least a clue as to how to order well in a Chinese restaurant.
Arlington Magazine has a review of Water & Wall up online. Walter Nichols writes, "Every time I eat at Water & Wall, I'm already anticipating subsequent return trips and wondering what chef and co-owner Tim Ma will come up with next. His blizzards of daring flavors—thoughtful takes on modern American cooking with Asian accents—are always a revelation. I dig the way this guy teases the senses with every bite." [AM]
Don Rockwell reviews Palena Cafe and Del Ray Pizzeria. Of the former, he says it's a place where one can actually dine without gorging themselves. "The food portion of this meal (the crudo and the striped bass), while reasonably ample, contained what I would bet is less than 1,000 calories. Not only was it perfect, it was also the epitome of health food." [DR]