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Crane & Turtle Gets 2 Stars from Tom Sietsema

Photos: R. Lopez

Tom Sietsema tried out Crane & Turtle, the latest from Paul Ruppert and his partners. He awards the cozy spot two stars.

The dish that more or less sums up the restaurant, the composition that ought never take a vacation, brings together three sweet scallops separated by dainty tapioca dumplings whose centers hide a pleasant shock: chorizo. Filling in the blanks of the elegant bowl are a froth of coconut milk foam infused with fresh ginger and hillocks of wilted baby arugula. It's a lot to think about, true, but also a lot to like. [WaPo]

Bryan Voltaggio's Lunchbox, though, gets a less-than-stellar First Bite review from Sietsema. Don't skip the soft serve, but be wary of many of the other items, he says.

It's dislike at first bite of the flat-tasting banh mi, unrecognizable as the Vietnamese sandwich that helps pack the parking lot at Falls Church's Eden Center. A catfish sandwich takes me a minute to identify, since the fish in the potato roll is all but obscured by a mass of gooey cheddar cheese. Braised pork shoulder "in 23 flavors," with a mere veneer of kimchi, is a stretch. "One-note" is more like it. [WaPo]

The $20 Diner has a good experience at Wheaton's Thai Taste by Kob. "The menu here is vast and sometimes difficult to interpret. There are categories that seem to imply that some dishes are more authentically Thai than others. There are separate sections devoted to street foods and noodle soups, as if the two don't share some of the same origins. My advice? Don't fret about assembling the perfect meal. You'll find authentic touches in almost all of the dishes, which range from the familiar to the previously unknown. If you need assistance, ask one of the young servers, who are friendly and helpful." [WaPo]

Todd Kliman gives two stars to Bistro 7107 in Arlington, a rare option for Filipino food locally.

No dish captures this crisscross of Europe and Asia quite like the crispy pata, a massive portion of pig's leg that will have you recalling the infamous table scene in Tom Jones. Pare off the meat with your knife, digging beneath the cracklings-like skin to prize out the tender richness within, then dunk your discoveries in the pinch bowl of sauce—a blend of soy, rice-wine vinegar, and chilies that resembles a ponzu. Even better is a dish called sisig. Imagine a sizzling cast-iron skillet of fajitas—only instead of strips of chewy meat, substitute tiny cubes of pork belly, its skin rendered until crunchy, and crisped pig ears.

Bethesda Magazine makes an early visit to NaiNai's Noodle & Dumpling. Carole Sugarman finds the dumplings a bit thick. Overall, it's "a loveable venue for homemade dumplings and noodles; worth a trip even though the food isn't a wow." [BM]

Don Rockwell files several reviews, including Ravi Kabob I, Dulce Bakery and Empanada Shop and Ghibellina. He endorses the chicken curry, a generous portion. "Ravi Kabob over the years has not lost a beat, and if I recall, I've never had a bad meal here. Yes, the gentleman at the cash register is still as hostile as ever (he didn't smile, or say thank you, or acknowledge me in any way when I left a 10% tip), but in no way does that detract from the quality of the food." [DR]

THE BLOGS: The Pasta Man visits Indigo restaurant...District Brit hits Pop's SeaBar...Bitches Who Brunch give an A- to Macon Bistro & Larder.

Lunchbox

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, DC 20015 301-360-0580

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