Tom Sietsema awards 2.5 stars to Rural Society, praising both meat and non-meat dishes alike, though it's clear what the focus is here.
Rural Society buys good beef, then doesn’t do too much to it before adding the meat to the flames; salt, pepper and a brush of butter stained with malbec are all that season the lean, grass-fed rib-eye and tenderloin from Uruguay. Same for the domestic lomo, prime strip loin that gets its mineral tang from dry-aging.
Tim Carman tried out Riverside Hotpot Cuisine, lamenting to his waiter that he went overboard with the fixin's — which isn't hard to do when there's 24 things to choose from. He stresses that it's up to you to make your meal good.
It’s sort of like Mongolian barbecue: There are no rules, and your meal is only as good as the available ingredients and your ability to mix and match them with a dipping sauce (or three) of your own design. Make sure to wear a shirt and pants you can sacrifice to the cause; broths burble and spit, dipping sauces drip and strips of hot juicy beef fall from your chopsticks.
Northern Virginia Magazine's Stefanie Gans headed out to Mele Bistro. She was impressed by the French/Mediterranean food — the menu design, not so much.
The menu is hard to comprehend—and this is coming from someone who deciphers menus for a living. Dishes repeat on multiple pages, with varied pricing, sides and sizes. Many items on the menu are either sold out or simply not available (even on repeat visits). Pages titled "traditional dinner menu," "dinner specials," "small plate specials" and "specials" leave diners flipping and turning and generally confused about what to eat, or what this place is about, which is a shame, as is the slow and sometimes negligent service (tables received meals without silverware, even after asking, and servers rush through questions about the menu). This is only upsetting because the food here can be lovely.
Don Rockwell tried Foti's in Culpepper, and was almost too blinded by the affordable sparkling wine options to enjoy his medium-rare lamb: "Served with oven-roasted potatoes, ouzo-pickled cucumbers, tomato-braised local beans (are you paying attention to all this?), and tzatziki." [DR]
Tyler Cowen also ventured out to Rural Society: "I don’t doubt the meat here is pretty good (and pretty expensive), but going the meat-only, large plate route to me seemed like it would be a bore, I don’t think I will ever try that." [TC]