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Tom Sietsema Declares The Pennsylvania-Themed Second State 'A Disaster Area'

Plus, judging barbecue at The BBQ Joint's new outpost at Union Market.

R. Lopez

Tom Sietsema visited the Pennsylvania-themed Second State for his First Bite review and he did not think it does the state proud. He writes:

The young restaurant should be declared a disaster area by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, so great are its culinary misfires. Salads are overdressed, cheese pierogis drown in butter, pheasant gets roasted to dryness, venison is so undercooked it practically snorts, and baked beans have the misfortune of being cooked with root beer. [WaPo]

He says the restaurant's banh mi "might be the sorriest version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich I’ve ever had," and the staff appears "to have had zero training." He does like the decor and at least one thing on the menu. "As far as this diner can tell, the only reason to pick up a utensil here is the aforementioned squash soup, a steamy antidote to winter that’s laced with a suggestion of vanilla." [WaPo]

As previously mentioned, Tim Carman weighed in on the John Wall burger at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom. Verdict: not a fan. For The $20 Diner, he also visited the BBQ Joint's new outpost at Union Market. The juiciness of the brisket left him with so many questions:

The first time I ordered Evans’s brisket, I was struck by its succulence. His slices were so moist they almost sweated, even when carved from the lean, traditionally dry side of the brisket. This kind of juiciness is as rare as tempeh in a Tennessee smokehouse, particularly for meats smoked at another location and transported to a retail spot via insulated coolers, as is Evans’s barbecue at Union Market. My brain searched for answers to his moisture miracle, even as my stomach begged for another bite. [WaPo]

Carman even goes to the original BBQ Joint location in Easton, Md. to compare the two, "the full-frontal barbecue experience, as opposed to the peekaboo version..." Interestingly, some of the menu items are better in the District, according to Carman. [WaPo]

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