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Yona Wins Over Tom Sietsema

Plus, reviews of the Requin Pop-Up, Chase the Submarine, and more.

R. Lopez

Tom Sietsema reviews Yona in Arlington for this week’s First Bite column in the Washington Post. He approves of the waitstaff who seats him before the entire party arrives and also offers free sparkling water. He enjoys the small plates like the uni waffle, chicken wings, and a salad of bean sprouts, mint, Thai chilies, and mizuna. Of course he also tries ramen, which is the focus of Yona’s menu. Sietsema writes:

"It’s tempting to fill up on small plates at the expense of noodle soup. Show some restraint. The one ramen I sampled, the strapping Miso Porky, encourages me to explore the other three bowls, too. The fine noodles have welcome resistance, the sliced meat is divine and the broth is the heady amalgam of Japanese tahini, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, chilies, fermented bamboo shoots and bones that have simmered for a long time." [WaPo]

After traveling around the country for months, Sietsema also released his ranking of the top 10 food cities in the country. Portland, Ore. came out on top, and D.C. ranked ninth. Sietsema cities Indian food, Spanish tapas, and avant-garde dining as D.C.'s strengths, while a dearth of food traditions is its biggest weakness. [WaPo]

Tyler Cowen likes almost everything he’s eaten at the Requin pop-up in Mosaic District. He recommends the potatoes with sausage, roast chicken, bouillabaisse, and soufflé for dessert. He writes:

"The execution is first-rate and they even taste original. While this place isn’t cheap…, for what you get it is reasonably priced…Right now…this is one of northern Virginia’s very best restaurants." [TC]

Cowen also goes to Venezuelan restaurant Café Azul – Caracas de Ayer in Hyattsville. He says nearly everything is good, particularly the tamales and catalpas. He also likes the arepas and Cuban sandwiches. [TC]

Don Rockwell thinks the D.C. area might have a new benchmark in sandwiches with Chase the Submarine, Tim Ma’s sandwich shop in Vienna. He’s initially overwhelmed by the idea of a veal sweetbreads sub and orders the steak and cheese instead. He writes:

"The Steak and Cheese was one of the finest I’ve ever eaten – it’s thinly sliced rib-eye, peppers and onions, cremini mushrooms, provolone cheese, aïoli, and lettuce on a soft white sub roll, and what makes it so special is the cremini mushrooms, which taste like truffles... – it’s a perfect mushroom for this sandwich, and I can’t remember seeing them on any other steak and cheese subs in the DC area – I’d remember the taste."

He eventually works up the courage to try the sweetbreads sub and also likes the Virginia Italian sandwich, beer battered french fries, and creme fruit wings. [DR]

Rockwell also eats at Dumpling Queen in Chantilly and declares the Xinjiang-style pork ribs one of the area’s classic Chinese dishes. He’s surprised by the quality of the pho and stir-fried chili lemongrass chicken at Pho Ngoc Hung in Bailey’s Crossroads and is horrified by the hygiene at Chutneys Vegetarian in Herndon. [DR]

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