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Tom Sietsema Finds Mari Vanna Generous

Tom Sietsema pens a First Bite of Mari Vanna this week (surprising, as they've been open more than a year), and says diners likely won't complain about portion size.

The savory baked pies known as pirozhki appeal to me no matter the season. They come three to an order, their shiny tops hiding fillings of minced meat, caraway-laced cabbage or chopped, cooked egg with scallions. The last, and best, would make a good breakfast sandwich. The lightest of the starters is nevertheless substantial. Ribbons of eggplant wrapped around a mash of Swiss cheese, walnuts and garlic, presented on a bed of chopped tomatoes, is a meatless introduction that could easily serve as a satisfying main course. [WaPo]

The $20 Diner heads to Kite Runner Cafe, where the hummus "feels as right as a sunrise over the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan."

Both his chicken and lamb kabobs are marinated for hours with yogurt, ginger, garlic and tandoori spices. Despite their similar preparations, the chicken conveyed the aromatics and heat with more conviction, perhaps because the fowl includes an extra kick of lemon, which seems to amplify the entire dish. The one drawback to the chicken: The boulders of bird tend to dry out over the gas grill. ]WaPo]

Thai Taste by Kob gets a review from Todd Kliman who considers it an excellent addition to Wheaton. "The addition of Thai Taste to a three-block stretch that already includes Ruan Thai and Nava Thai—the area's two best Thai places—means that the rich just got richer. It might be premature to talk of a Little Thailand, but diners can already start savoring what's sure to be a deliciously competitive battle." [Washingtonian]

Also in the magazine, a quick nod to Gringos & Mariachis, new to Bethesda.

We tore through corn tortillas holding grilled carne asada with avocado salsa, al pastor-style pork with pineapple, and best of all, fried fish with Sriracha and slaw. Drinks are similarly tough to choose from—whether the bracing jalapeño-cucumber margarita, the just-sweet-enough ginger-hibiscus version, or a smoky spin dashed with mezcal. But you could always linger at the reclaimed-wood bar over an order of duck nachos and knock back all three. [Washingtonian]

THE BLOGS: EatMore DrinkMore has brunch at Zaytinya...

Mari Vanna

116 Knightsbridge, , England SW1X 7PJ 020 7225 3122 Visit Website

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