For his First Bite column, Tom Sietsema visits the new DC Harvest on H Street NE. He appreciates the farm-to-table restaurant's emphasis of vegetables.
Without preaching, the menu encourages diners to eat mindfully by playing up vegetables and grains. Thus, pan-roasted scallops line up beside a hedge of corn, cherry tomatoes and beans, and the chef's house-made pastas include linguine made with spelt. The thin noodles benefit from Swiss chard, mint and crumbled lamb sausage in the bowl. Other good-for-you entrees include sauteed turkey breast and quinoa cakes with a yellow tomato sauce. [WaPo]
Sietsema also files a travel review to John Shields' new Riverstead. He says the cooking style isn't for everyone, but he finds plenty to like himself.
"The kitchen regains my interest with surf and turf: sweet Dungeness crab laced with rendered lardo, or pork fat, and served on a light but intense broth coaxed from caramelized squid. "Seafood as meat," says Wavra...Braised lamb shoulder is equally fascinating. Draped over the meat is a golden crepe with the lightness of a handkerchief and the texture of a frittata." [WaPo]
The $20 Diner samples the menu at Bete Ethiopian Cuisine and Cafe. Eat on the back patio, he recommends.
Consistency, it would appear, is not Bete's strong suit. Or maybe Bete, like so many other Ethiopian restaurants, has been burned once too often by amateurs who recoil from the pleasures of raw kitfo. So the kitchen merely opts to play it safe and not waste its precious resources. Either way, you may need to press your server to receive an authentic Ethiopian experience, but your pushiness will be rewarded. [WaPo]
Bethesda Magazine tries out the new Blaze Pizza. Carole Sugarman writes, "With ultra-thin, crisp crusts and judicious use of cheese, these pies are neither heavy nor gooey; they're kind of like the easy listening music of pizza. Unobjectionable and pleasant to eat, but they won't have you tapping your feet. Toppings sometimes border on skimpy and lacking in pizazz." [BM]
Northern Virginia Magazine reviews Ciao Osteria.
First out was the tomato and cucumber salad, then a plate of squash blossoms. Most chefs stuff the marigold-hued blossom with ricotta and then fry it. But here, the Brooklyn-born, Sicilian-raised Di Nicola, sautees them. The already pliable blossoms turn limp, barely able to capture the ricotta rupturing into an overlay of creamy pesto. It is a dish built for bread to swish through it, and we swipe the plate clean with gratis rolls. It is a simple, beautiful dish that accentuates Ciao's farmer-chef relationship. [NoVa Mag]
Don Rockwell is unimpressed with Reston's Penn Station East Coast Subs. "The moment I walked in, I knew I was in Sysco City – when you're halfway down the line, you're faced with a wall consisting of industrial-sized, gallon plastic tubs of items like Heinz, Hellman's, etc. These are proudly displayed as *decoration* – I guess they're trying to impress the consumer with their commitment to quality, but this consumer was, at best, repelled knowing the mediocrity I was about to dine on." [DR]