For his First Bite, Tom Sietsema revisits Jack Rose, where new chef Russell Jones is making the place more than just a (great) place to drink.
Clam dip mixes chopped Manila clams with cream cheese, sour cream, horseradish and soy sauce, a blend spiffed up with minced chives and lemon zest and quickly devoured with house-made potato chips. Snack Dinner recalls the chef's Southern upbringing, when his family grazed on finger food, sometimes while watching sports on TV. Enough for four to share, the spread of deviled eggs, pickled vegetables, fried head cheese and more is presented on vintage aluminum trays.
The hamburger and the wings are hits as well. [WaPo]
The critic also reviews Thally from Ron Tanaka. Though Sietsema wasn't wowed by the place when it first opened, the chef has won him over.
In true modern American fashion, Tanaka's cooking borrows ideas from around the world. Carnitas sope — braised pork on thick saucers of fried masa — can launch a meal; with your eyes closed, you'd swear you were eating the meaty treat, fired up with red chili sauce, in a Mexican mom-and-pop. Grilled chicken breast is among the follow-up acts. The entree veers clear of the usual with its vibrant pesto coaxed from (who would have thought?) dandelion greens and sunflower seeds. The chef calls it his "lawn" pesto. [WaPo]
The $20 Diner visits Il Mee Buffet in Annandale. The sushi is skippable but diners can still enjoy the barbecue.
As the server grills your meats tableside, you can munch on the banchan with a bit of rice to balance the heat and salt. Once the proteins are cooked and scissored into acceptable bites, you start to assemble your lettuce (or pickled radish) wraps. Don't be afraid of the meats described as "spicy." Their marinade purrs with a sugary sweetness, which curls up gently next to the more ferocious Korean condiments, like the fermented paste known as gochujang. Once you get the hang of the process, which takes, oh, seconds, it's virtually impossible to create a poor wrap at Il Mee, even if you're an utter novice. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman pays a visit to Fiola Mare. It isn't cheap, but D.C. has a restaurant worthy of its waterfront view.
Thrilling as it can be when the chef allows the product to speak for itself, it's even better when he chooses to speak for himself through it—pairing, for instance, wild turbot with fork-smashed smoked potatoes and charred spring onions, showing how fire and water can coexist. You can easily imagine his olive-oil-poached sea bass perched atop a mound of cheesy polenta, along with some wilted greens: a nice, summery plate. But Trabocchi, intent on proving that you don't need pork, beef, or lamb to create something rich and memorable, sets the pearlescent fish down into a foamy zabaglione sweetened with Cape Cod oysters and melted leeks. To finish: a crowning dollop of spoonbill caviar...At Fiola Mare, nothing succeeds like excess. [Washingtonian]
David Hagedorn reviews The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm for DC Modern Luxury. The critic says chef Tarver King "is thriving" in his new home and has a way with seafood. Dishes display a "sophisticated balance of textures" and desserts mix savory and sweet. [DCM]