Tom Sietsema checks out the new Menu MBK in Penn Quarter and decides the multi-concept venture is logical for the large space.
Yes, there's a lot going on here. However, as much as I enjoyed De Pue's original recipe, Menu makes more sense for more consumers. By day, they can grab a cup of coffee or a sandwich and scoot, or linger with their purchase on a sofa or chair in the lounge. At night, they can graze on small plates, or, with some planning, feast on a five-course dinner narrated by one of the chefs.
Come for the veal meatballs; stay for the steak tartare. [WaPo]
Meanwhile, Toro Toro is the focus of the First Bite, where fish is a better bet than meat, surprisingly.
Ruby-colored cubes of raw tuna combine with soft bites of sweet potato and crisp quinoa to add up to a seviche of distinction. A slick of fiery cilantro sauce and a loose cake of corn and fingerling potatoes impress me as much as the rope of tender grilled octopus they accompany. Chewy, button-size arepas are topped with creamy seafood: minced prawns, scallops and calamari. The sleeper of the many small plates is a dip of smoked swordfish offered with crisp plantain chips for scooping. Going, going, gone.
A $41 steak isn't as impressive. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner reviews TD Burger, from chef Timothy Dean. The decadent Jean-Louis burger is a hit, but there's a general sloppiness to the place.
It starts with the service, which balances friendliness with neglect. Sooner or later, you will sit there, waiting on an order or a check or even just a plate on which to eat your pizza, wondering if you've somehow been outfitted with a CIA cloaking device. If you ask about the D.C. Brau on draft (as I did on every visit), the answer will typically be one of two: It's either tapped out or it's a beer other than the one promoted on the pull handle. TD Burger exudes the laissez-faire vibe of a classroom in which the students are rewarded just for showing up.