This week, Tom Sietsema revisits Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar. He awards the restaurant 2.5 stars in his full review in the Washington Post. It recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Fatigued by all the new hot spots on 14th Street, Sietsema finds the Georgetown mainstay refreshing. He writes:
"My reunion with Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar in Georgetown reminded me why snails baked in garlic butter and floating island are icons right up there with Catherine Deneuve, and more significantly, what a fine chef Washington has in Swiss native George Vetsch, 56."
Sietsema continues to fawn over chef Vetsch, who has been at the restaurant only since April. He has improved upon dishes inherited from the previous menu by using fresh lamb instead of frozen, slicing the liver a bit thicker and using seasonal vegetables. [WaPo]
Sietsema's dining experience at the new Reston reincarnation of Neyla is less successful. He tries the restaurant for his First Bite review in the Washington Post. The first indication comes when a server assures Sietsema's dining companion that they can make a gluten-free tabbouleh with couscous. It's downhill from there. He writes:
"An initial meal at Neyla showed promise…Tonight? The sweet kibbeh suggest dessert, and the roasted branzino is meh. Consistency is one of the hardest things for a restaurant to achieve, and Neyla isn’t nailing it — not yet, at least." [WaPo]
For his $20 Diner column in the Washington Post, Tim Carman visits Super Bowl Noodle House in Rockville. It offers a giant, 10-page menu with dishes from all across Asia, including Korea, China, Taiwan, and even Japan. Carman writes:
"A theme soon emerged at Super Bowl, one of positive-and-negative attraction. Numerous dishes, no matter what region they called home, strayed from classic preparations but still packed enough charm to compensate for their apparent hubris. Sometimes dishes varied from their own advertised preparation. Recipes, in short, seemed as nailed down as clouds."
After trying several dishes on the menu, from Shaanxi pork stuffed in griddled bread to Malaysian red curry noodle soup, Carman decides his favorite is the Chongqing-style dry chili with chicken. [WaPo]
Carole Sugarman also goes to Rockville to file a review of Peter Chang for Bethesda Magazine. She's disappointed, but not surprised, that the chef is rarely in the kitchen. She writes:
With all the hype surrounding the Harry Houdini of Hubei and his authentic, fiery cuisine, I was expecting to be consistently blown away by the cooking. After three visits—during at least one of which I know Chang wasn’t in the kitchen—I found several of his signature dishes to be sensational, while other choices were nothing special.
She determines the best dishes to order are appetizers, especially from the fried category. Scallion bubble pancakes, dry-fried eggplant, bamboo flounder and pork belly all impress. But she finds the so-called "hot and numbing" main courses a little too mild. [Bethesda]
David Hagedorn reviews the renowned Inn at Little Washington for DC Modern Luxury. He calls it "a Brigadoon of civility and refinement to be experienced at least once in a lifetime." Hagedorn loves everything about it, including the service, unique setting, and the prix-fixe meal. He actually calls the lamb carpaccio with Caesar-salad ice cream "as close to perfect as a dish gets, with its balance of color, texture and flavor." [DC Modern Luxury]
THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch love the story behind Compass Rose...Girl Meets Food welcomes Blackwell Hitch to Old Town...Capital Cooking says the new menu at Del Frisco's Grille's will please the masses.