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Tom Sietsema Eager to Return to Soi 38

Though the restaurateurs' previous projects aren't show-stoppers, Tom Sietsema is nonetheless dazzled by their newest endeavor: Soi 38 in Foggy Bottom. The newcomer earns 2.5 stars.

Their good grazing is ours. Even Thai standards like lemon grass soup with shrimp (each spoonful charged with the herb sometimes called "barbed-wire grass") and steamed whole fish (strewn with cilantro, lime and fresh Thai red chilies) seem more vivid here than at just about any competitor. Meanwhile, lesser-seen plates, like the aforementioned pork liver, stamps of rich meat that pick up crunch from toasted rice, impart something fresh to the city's Thai scene.

Start a meal with a cocktail, the critic recommends; they're stellar. [WaPo]

For First Bite, Sietsema takes a trip to Macon Bistro & Larder. There, the chef is "sending out plenty to please, including pickled yellow cauliflower with melt-in-the-mouth cheese coins, thick slices of fried green tomato garnished with squares of pork belly, and raclette presented in a little casserole with boiled purple potatoes and pickled pearl onions. Those biscuits, baked to order, cost $7 for four. I say, splurge." Vegans can try the cauliflower steak. [WaPo]

The $20 Diner gives two stars to Elephant Jumps in Merrifield.

"The menu at Elephant Jumps ranges farther and wider than most Thai establishments, reflecting the backgrounds of its owners. Songtham calls southern Thailand home, where the chili heat could cause a pachyderm to drop dead, while Panida hails from the country's northern section."

The critic recommends diners give the chalkboard specials a try. [WaPo]

Bethesda Magazine makes an early visit to No. 82 Steak Out. "hat about the steak? Cooked to order, it should have been the star of the show, yet mine was chewy—the kind of meat that gives your teeth a work-out. The problem may partially be the cut—a sirloin flap, which is leaner and less beefy than the skirt and hanger steaks often used in steak frites dishes." [BM]

Todd Kliman visits Sibarita in Arlington. The silpancho is their signature dish.

A sizeable portion of lamb, beef, or chicken is pounded to the thinness of a paperback book jacket, fried, blanketed atop a pile of fried rice and potatoes, and crowned with fried eggs. The accompanying pico de gallo is for brightness and acidity. You'll need it if you have any hope of getting halfway through the plate. Don't even think about finishing. [Washingtonian]

THE BLOGS: DMV Dining visits Campono...Capital Cooking tries out The Fainting Goat...District Brit hits Dino's Grotto.

Soi 38

38 Mcilwraith Place, , VIC 3000 Visit Website

Macon Bistro & Larder

5520 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, , DC 20015 (202) 248-7807 Visit Website

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