Tom Sietsema pays a visit to Macon Bistro & Larder, and with an awarding of 1.5 stars, largely agrees with Ann Limpert's less-than-stellar sum-up — yes to appetizers, no to entrees. A corn soup starter was exemplary, the pork belly/fried green tomato dish, not so much.
If corn soup were the only appetizer you tried here, you'd be texting your pals to join you for dinner. ... But the soup keeps company with some less savory characters. Frisee salad with a soft-cooked egg and a hailstorm of lardons might be improved with fewer bacon bites and less grit in the curly greens. Saucer-size fried green tomatoes topped with chunks of pork belly and an underliner of tomato-pink mayonnaise would be a better threesome if the meat weren't posing as shoe leather.
He did like the ratatouille-topped cauliflower steak, though. [WaPo]
Sietsema also hit Boss Shepherd's for a preview. Spoiler alert: get the fried chicken.
The bird takes its time getting to the table, but your patience is rewarded with a golden half-chicken that crackles between your teeth, spurts hot juices, stains your fingers and puts all conversation on hold while you inhale the pleasure of a perfect American meal. The parts, cooked in lard, don't beg for a dunk in the house-made hot sauce, but thrill seekers will relish the slap to the tongue. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman was pleasantly surprised about Sushi Capitol, whose "juicy" sushi he gave three stars. He book-ended his sushi with experience with plates of popcorn-esque cooked crabs and lobes of uni. But the sushi thrills:
This was nigiri of subtle elegance, each slender slice of fish draped over its pad of rice like a napper flopping onto a chaise longue. Just as inviting: Each was sheened with moisture, evidence the fish hadn't lingered too long at the dock or dawdled in transit. [Washingtonian]
Kliman also went to Punjabi Junction in Dulles. Impressed with the intense heat of the dishes — and the restaurant's deft hand with fried foods — Punjabi gets two stars.
Surely not everyone is game for heat this blistering, but even so, there's another takeaway: This is a kitchen admirably willing to cook for Westerners with the same passion and intensity it does for natives. [Washingtonian]
Bethesda Magazine went to Brian Voltaggio's Lunchbox — and it missed the mark for food editor Carole Sugarman.
Sure, the ingredients are high quality, but after trying a soup, salad and a few sandwiches and sides, it seemed like inventiveness got the better of good taste. That cabbage slaw dressed with coconut milk, buttermilk, jalapenos and cilantro clanged with an overpowering, off-putting flavor, and the unattractive pimiento oil slick on the surface of the Eastern Shore soup added little zip to the bland, creamy liquid beneath it. The meatloaf sandwich, with its pineapple ketchup, red onion marmalade and blue cheese on a chive biscuit, had one or two too many specialty ingredients (give me a potato roll and some Heinz), and the weighty combination of beef, blue cheese and biscuit could be a recipe for an afternoon nap. [Bethesda Magazine]
Tyler Cowen heads to Saba, the newest Yemeni staple on the block. "The lentil soup and the breakfast dish clay oven bread mashed with honey and dates stand out as my two favorites." [TR]
THE BLOGS: DC Vegetarian tries Compass Rose on for size...District Brit drinks at Barrel...Bitches Who Brunch give The Ritz Carlton Georgetown an A.