Two different reviewers rave about Clarity in Vienna this week. In his full review in the Washington Post, Tom Sietsema awards three stars to the new restaurant by chefs Jonathan Krinn and Jason Maddens. He loves everything about the food, from the slow roasted lamb shoulder to the ricotta gnudi with garlic chips. He writes:
The kitchen turns out dishes that can be as beautiful as they are delicious… The seafood, presented with crisp pancetta waving from a cut in each caramelized scallop, is served on summery creamed corn and wilted spinach. A little surf, a bite of turf, a note of sweet, a touch of smoke: What a score!
Of course, Sietsema still has a few complaints about the decor and noise level. He's also a little disappointed in the simplistic dessert options, but he still thinks the dark chocolate cupcake and the vanilla custard are well-executed overall. [WaPo]
Stefanie Gans of Northern Virginia magazine isn't quite as lavish with her praise for Clarity, but she still files a complimentary review of the chefs' playful dishes. Like Sietsema, she's a fan of the lamb shoulder and other rotating meat selections. She wasn't as fond of a "bland" chicken entree and scallops that were unevenly cooked. [NoVa]
Sietsema also goes to Philadelphia in his search of the country's best food city for the Washington Post. After speaking to some of the city's most famous chefs like Marc Vetri, he concludes the city's food scene is defined by substances over flashiness. [WaPo]
Also in the Washington Post, Tim Carman reveals three restaurant that he's visited for his $20 Diner column and decided they didn't quite make the cut. These include Cam Ranh Bay Pho and Grill in Wheaton, Andrene’s Caribbean & Soul Food Cafe in Petworth, and the new U Street location of Yamas Mediterranean Grill. According to Carman, all of these restaurants have some good dishes and much potential, but there are too many misses to include them (in...a longer review?) right now. [WaPo]
Tyler Cowen visits Baan Thai and recommends the tapioca chicken, Isan sausage and Thai vermicelli in chili peanut sauce. He declares the Logan Circle restaurant one of only three or four places in the area serving real Thai food. [TC]
Don Rockwell writes four reviews this week. He revisits Et Voila! in Palisades for the first time in a few years. He’s shocked to be confronted by trout tartare, a European dish that he’s never head of before. He writes:
What a great dish this was, both in presentation, freshness, and flavor… and I urge curious diners to go here and try this. My server told me this is a river trout from Virginia, and that makes sense because although it was cut into small pieces, and appropriately dressed, it tasted like it was just pulled from the water.… Bravo, Chef.
He also tries Olivia’s Diner just south of Dupont Circle where he seems generally satisfied with their diner fare like a chicken-fried steak eggs Benedict and Cobb salad. Then he goes to Rice Paper in Falls Church where the garden rolls and lotus salad are nothing special, but he loves the crispy marinated roast quails. Finally, he tries Bawadi Mediterranean Grill & Sweets Cafe in Bailey’s Crossroads, but doesn't find the Kanafeh dessert very compelling. [DR]