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Tim Carman Thinks Everything at Columbia Firehouse Is Too Busy

Washingtonian's Ann Limpert reviews China Chilcano, plus an authentic taqueria in Arlington, a new pizzeria from Seventh Hill and more.

Columbia Firehouse
Columbia Firehouse
Facebook/Columbia Firehouse

Tim Carman's Washington Post Magazine restaurant review has the headline "Columbia Firehouse review: A new chef comes to the rescue," but that seems at odds with the single star review. Carman begins with this unappetizing description of the food and it doesn't get much better from there:

Every one of our mains had already begun its descent toward leftovers. The fried chicken was cold and sweating grease, as if the fryer oil were as underheated as the entree. The "seamless" goat cheese ravioli, these golf-ball-size orbs closer in spirit to gnocchi than stuffed pasta, were beginning to feel gravity’s flattening effect. The duck had gone tepid, the muscles slowly tightening back up. The strip steak with hazelnut-marrow butter could have been used as a cold compress. [WaPo]

Even with the efforts of new chef Johnny Miele, Carman assesses Columbia Firehouse as: "busy restaurant, busy wait staff, busy dishes."

Washingtonian magazine post its review of José Andrés's China Chilcano, and Ann Limpert is fascinated by the chef's take on Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese fusion. She recommends the restaurant's nikkei menu and the fried rice on the chifa menu. Limpert writes:

It’s not the easiest lineup to navigate—in fact, your meal can be downright cacophonous—even if you luck into a server like Alex, who exuberantly directed us to some excellent dishes and gave mini-history lessons along the way. It doesn’t help that portions are unpredictable—ceviches tend to be more bountiful and filling than, for example, lamb pot stickers or fried shrimp-and-pork dumplings (and don’t get me started on the single steamed pork bun for $9). But the thing to remember is that the most rewarding dishes bear Asian accents. [Washingtonian]

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema visited pizzeria Seventh Hill's new outpost in the Palisades and the pizza gets Tom's seal of approval. He writes, "I appreciate the consistency of the raised lip, the dance of yeast and the char on everything touched by the oven’s flames." Just steer clear of the spicy tuna sandwich, which Sietsema thinks could've been served out of a vending machine.

For the Washington Post's $20 Diner column, Tim Carman orders a ton of food from Arlington's La Jarochita No. 2, including gorditas stuffed with cabeza meat, cueritos tacos packed with braised pig skin and sesos tacos, or cow brain. He writes:

The taquerias that have opened in Washington lately, even the good ones, feel sanitized for our protection. They stick to a strict business plan: Don’t push customers too far. Beef tongue tacos are as daring as they get. La Jarochita No. 2, by contrast, still feels rooted in a Third World economy. The folks here will stuff your tacos with almost every part of the animal, short of bones and eyeballs: intestines, stomach, brain, skin, head meat and so on. [WaPo]

Northern Virginia magazine posts another guest review from their four-year-old critic in honor of their kids' issue. Bennett Kaufman gives Falls Church's Koi Koi Sushi & Roll "100 stars."

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