Tom Sietsema delves into trendy Filipino cuisine at Purple Patch. In his full review for the Washington Post, he awards the Mount Pleasant restaurant two stars. From the lumpia to the sisig (shredded pork stir fried with onions, chilies and vinegar), there’s really nothing he dislikes, although the use of soy sauce is a bit excessive in some dishes. He writes:
"The other small plates of note include fried guajillo pepper chicken wings and skewers of grilled pork...The barbecued pork reveals a fruity sweetness that comes from pineapple juice in its marinade. Both appetizers come with a dynamite papaya salad that I could eat all day." [WaPo]
Sietsema is also enchanted with new restaurant Masseria, which is chef Nick Stefanelli’s attempt to recreate an Italian country house outside Union Market. In his First Bite column for the Washington Post, the critic approves of the design that combines "both luxury and grit" through the use of low couches, gravel flooring and Mediterranean tile. As for the food, Sietsema writes of the fixed priced menu:
"One of the most alluring salads around is Masseria’s riff on crudites….My starter proved a fashion statement wrought from raw vegetables...along with edible flowers, fresh herbs, vegetable purees and a lemony dressing to brighten the landscape. Another noteworthy first course finds sweet lobster paired with braised tripe in a dark pool that smacks of both herbs and the sea." [WaPo]
Several local restaurant critics have visited Clarity recently, and this week Todd Kliman of Washingtonian magazine gives his take on the Vienna restaurant. The cuisine is more casual than what chefs Jason Maddens and Jonathan Krinn have done in the past, but they haven't compromised on quality. Kliman calls the unexpected combination of foie gras and strawberries "stunning" and gushes over a few other dishes, too. He writes:
"Just as good, on a recent visit, was a plate of asparagus and morels, a duo as favored by chefs as peanut butter and jelly is by kids. This wasn’t how the dish was advertised—the headliner was the wrapperless ravioli called gnudi, but the ricotta dumplings existed to emphasize the freshness of the vegetables."
He concludes that Clarity is a now a destination restaurant instead of just a neighborhood spot. [Washingtonian]
Don Rockwell tries the newly opened Garrison in Barracks Row. After taking the bartender's recommendation to order the heirloom tomato salad with burrata, vanilla and mint, he urges diners:
"Go to Garrison *this week*, while this Heirloom Tomato Salad is still on the menu, and order it...Drop all plans you have, get over to Garrison this week before the salad changes, and after your first bite, remember me asking you to please tell your friends about our community. That’s the best way you can thank me, and I promise you that you’re going to want to thank me."
The accolades don’t stop there. Rockwell also raves about the poppyseed gougères and sweet corn tortellini, but the whole roasted eggplant is a little too spicy for him.
Rockwell also searches for the rumored Issan menu at Urban Thai in Crystal City, and theit Urban style duck curry puff is a standout dish. Lastly, he also reviews Baby Wale, where he orders a huge amount of food (lobster bisque, mortadella pizza, squash blossom pupusas, lumpia, and more), all for $22 thanks to happy hour pricing. "This is some of the best bar food in the city," he says. [DR]