For this week's First Bite, Tom Sietsema visits Southern Efficiency, where he finds pretty solid food from a chef overseeing three restaurants at once.
Shapiro offers the less-seen Country Captain, tender curried chicken bedded on Carolina Gold rice, a one-dish supper made sweet with raisins, crisp with almonds and fragrant with cardamom. The chef also makes a terrific peanut soup, a beige bowl that rallies the taste buds with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions and a duel between sherry vinegar and sour cream in most spoonfuls. The heartiest of the lot is the lamb-rich Hoppin' Gilson, a play on Hoppin' John, in which black-eyed peas sub for the traditional rice. It was the perfect quilt during the Winter That Wouldn't End.
Pulled pork isn't amazing, but there's nothing wrong with the whiskey. [WaPo]
Meanwhile, The $20 Diner is off to sandwich spot Bub and Pop's. There are "defects" here and there, but none really diminish Tim Carman's enjoyment of any sandwich, he writes.
"[Jonathan] Taub braises his own briskets, roasts his own porchetta, forms his own meatballs, whips up his own mayonnaise, fries his own addictive chips (complete with custom-made French onion dip, which I would lick off the sidewalk if necessary), pickles his own vegetables (the terrific kiwi with Napa cabbage faces East for inspiration) and bakes his own desserts." [WaPo]
Roll Call reviews the meat-centric restaurant, The Partisan. "Cayenne-spiked Andouille fired on all cylinders from the get-go, delivering three hunks of spicy sausage complemented by seductive roasted peppers. And forget about hunting around for plain bread or crackers to pair with each lusty morsel. Team Partisan has come up with something much better. The house bread is the tigelle, a baked flatbread that's soft and chewy in the middle, but sports a firm, lightly browned crust." [RC]
Capitol File takes a trip to Rose's Luxury, where the menu "harmonizes flavors from Roman trattorias, Asian markets, Low Country picnics, and French country kitchens. While some popular items—like pork and lychee in coconut broth, crispy roasted cauliflower with yogurt, and Vietnamese pâté with peanuts and herbs (shown above)—may remain on the menu, this spring will look decidedly different at the eatery." [CF]
Don Rockwell visits The Happy Tart. "What a delightful bakery, and what a great location – just a few steps removed from the action, but still so full of life – this bakery screams "Del Ray" and is a wonderful addition to an already-wonderful neighborhood." [DR]
Southern Efficiency [Photo: Missy Frederick/Eater.com]