Tom Sietsema gives two stars and some words of praise to 701 Restaurant, now operating under a new chef. Some dishes are a little weird, and desserts are forgettable, but there are gems to be found.
701's luxe origins are recalled in the butter-poached Maine lobster, the sweet claw meat affixed to the plate with shimmering tarragon puree and accompanied by a lobster boudin with the texture of custard. Seafood calls to me at lunch, too, when the sandwich selections include a very good shrimp roll that lines up chopped seafood, mayonnaise and bright herbs on a toasted bun. A mountain of thick-cut potato chips is winnowed to a depression — mine, for having so little self-control.
Tom Sietsema says the new incarnation of Masala Art is the place to go for Arena Stage pre-theater diners.
Since mid-July, when the second restaurant made its debut, loyalists have had rich reasons to dine closer to home. One is chicken tikka, its moist nuggets elevated with basil and lime leaves. Another is a south Indian fish curry that gathers chunks of cobia in a turmeric-tinted coconut milk gravy...Tender baby eggplant draped in a thick cloak of pureed peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind makes for a meaty vegetarian meal." [WaPo]
The $20 Diner travels to Richmond and singles out such finds as Mamma 'Zu, Taqueria El Tacorrey. Fat Dragon, Hardywood Brewery and more. On Mamma 'Zu:
Should you miss out on the pies, you'll find plenty of other home-style comforts: a sweet, wine-intensive veal marsala; a peppery, pancetta-spiked carbonara; slices of pork tenderloin draped in a rich tuna sauce; an appetizer of scungilli that will make you rethink your position on conch (the pressure-cooked sea snails are soft and slippery, not tough and rubbery); and a tiramisu that almost lives up to its billing as the "best in the world."
Todd Kliiman reviews the affordable Cafe Rue in Beltsville. "You're not in a restaurant—you're in someone's home. Someone who really knows how to cook. The mini-crabcakes ($8) aren't all mayo and filler, as these snacks often are; they taste of crab. The Brussels sprouts ($7) are fried to such a crisp that the leaves separate slightly, like baked-potato skins; a seasoning shot of coconut oil and a drizzle of clover honey and you have one of the best renditions of this oddly trendy dish I've seen all year." [Washingtonian]
Arlington Magazine has a review of Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church.
The brunch menu brings...a decadent pie known as Big Country, which layers the chewy crust with two types of cheese, a bonanza of meats, fresh cream and a runny egg, topped off with maple syrup. Also in the delicious-but-messy-meat-fest category is the Fellows Burger on house-made foccacia, which piles shaved ham, bacon and a fried egg on top of a burger patty made with ground beef, sausage, chili flakes and maple syrup. A non-carnivorous brunch option is the sourdough twist on French toast, which stands up well to a generous caramel drizzle." [AM]
Northern Virginia Magazine checks out the international pizzas at Pizzanese. "The Indian-themed pizza smells vaguely of the subcontinent's spices, but it features mozzarella when paneer would continue the charade. The crust holds up well to the oven's 600-degree heat and can handle multiple proteins and sauces, so best to concoct one yourself. This includes a dessert pie that you can load with peanut butter, Nutella and marshmallows." [NoVa Mag]
Tyler Cowen goes to Gypsy Soul which he finds expensive but enjoyable. "The frogmore stew was my favorite, and it is hard to find that dish around here. The fish and shrimp in the stew were plentiful, fresh, and tasty. I recommend the okra as a side. The rabbit was fine but I don't think I would order it again." [TC]
Don Rockwell reviews Falls Church favorite Spacebar.
stopped by Spacebar last night and had a #11, House Tuna Salad ($8.50) with Provolone and Swiss on Rye, and it was good – they grill the tuna salad on the flattop before doing anything else, so it's a variation on a tuna melt that stays hot the entire time it's in front of you (i.e., the heat is radiating from both inside and out). What's more impressive than the sandwiches is the selection of draft beers – there are twenty-four (yes, 24!) taps of North American craft(-ish) beer, some of them very interesting and not all that common around here." [DR]