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Sietsema Says D.C. Wins the Battle of the DBGBs

Plus, eating healthy at Hälsa, and new reviews of Thip Khao and DCity Smokehouse.

DBGB Kitchen + Bar
DBGB Kitchen + Bar
R. Lopez

The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema calls it: D.C.'s version of DBGB, the brasserie from famed French chef Daniel Boulud, is better than the DBGB in New York.  The critic took a trip up to NYC to taste test the two. He writes: "But my big takeaway from 212 was this golden nugget: 202 is — hold onto your forks — more seductive. Of the dishes offered on both menus, only the desserts tasted as if the same talent made them."

Sietsema gives D.C.'s DBGB two and a half stars, and decides the restaurant has matured since it opened with a rocky start. "DBGB, you’re a late bloomer, but ILU now," he abbrevs. The critic praises chef Ed Scarpone, and recommends diners order sausage, fish and definitely poultry:

If an ingredient flapped before it was cooked, order it at DBGB. There’s no finer coq au vin in town right now than Scarpone’s winey chicken lavished with smoky lardons and near-melting pearl onions, dropped off with a little casserole of squiggly spaetzle. Brined, fried chicken is almost as good, its savor pulled from cayenne and honey. Hauter than either is the duck, two bars of crimson fowl arranged on a sumptuous swirl of nutty wild rice and roasted beets, jolted with pomegranate. The duck is cooked so that each bite commences with a crackle of skin and continues with an "ah" as the sherry-glazed meat registers on the taste buds. [WaPo]

Sietsema also files a preview of Brookland's new, health-focused fast-casual place Hälsa. He thinks it would be right at home in Sweden (the name means "health" in Swedish) and despite all the buzz words, he zeroes in on what the concept reminds him of:

Think of Hälsa as a meat-and-three restaurant, set in the North rather than the South. Of the proteins, I favor the house-made chicken sausage over the dry lentil-mushroom "meatballs." Of the greens, my vote goes to the chard splashed with garlic butter. The most seductive of the "grains" listed on the menu is a mash of cauliflower and potatoes seasoned with nutmeg and lemon juice. I’m not surprised when Penton later shares the secret to the richness of the puree, "one of the only dishes with dairy": butter and cream. [WaPo]

And Hälsa's trendy bone broth gets Sietsema's seal of approval. "Sip, tease. More, please," he writes. [WaPo]

Tyler Cowen says that barbecue at DCity is good, no caveat: "This is by far the best barbecue in town, not just 'good for the DC area' but truly good, holds up to the best of many of the classic barbecue locations."

He also went to Thip Khao in Columbia Heights, and assesses it thusly: "If you could put the best qualities of this branch and the mother ship together, you would indeed have a perfect restaurant. In any case you definitely should go, even if you think 'Why should I? Bangkok Golden is already close to me.' This place is different, and in some ways better, though not all." [TC]

The Blogs: Bitches Who Brunch give Ping Pong Dim Sum a D+. Cori Sue writes: "At this point, I was impressed by everyone’s ability to act like adults in the face of such a bizarre meal."... DC Wrapped Dates gets in one more visit to the soon-to-close Mothership...DC Beer chats about Port City's fourth anniversary...Eat More Drink More gets coffee and baked goods at The Wydown.