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Tom Sietsema Likes What Comes Out of the Smoker at Due South

Plus, reviews of Alley Light in Charlottesville, Slipstream and Barrel & Crow

Due South
Due South

For his First Bite column in the Washington Post, Tom Sietsema goes to Due South, which just opened in Navy Yard.  He’s generally enthusiastic about chef Rusty Holman's Southern cooking that includes chicken wings in Alabama white sauce and Brunswick stew made with pulled pork and brisket prepared in the restaurant’s smoker. He writes:

"The chef takes liberties with some classics. His hush puppies, for instance, are shaped from shredded yellow summer squash and arrive with a dip that gets its kick from roasted jalapeño; one golden orb leads to another. Shrimp and grits is pleasant if a little busy, with tomatoes, kale and a thatch of fried leeks."

He saves one barb for the end, saying the Nashville hot chicken sandwich "packs about as much heat as a matchstick." [WaPo]

For his full review, Sietsema visits Charlottesville to try Alley Light and awards the restaurant two and a half stars. Helmed chef Jose de Brito, the critic calls it one of the most intriguing restaurants in town. The most successful dishes, like a terrine of smoked mackerel and a boudin noir casserole, are linked to the chef's childhood in France. [WaPo]

For his $20 Diner column, Tim Carman samples the food at coffee-centric Slipstream near Logan Circle. He's amazed they're able to turn out three meals a day using only induction burners, a small oven and other tools. He tries everything from coffee cocktails to designer toasts, to pastry chef Sarah Cotton’s sweets. He also writes about the sandwiches:

"You could say chef Preston Martell knows his way around bread: His charcuterie sandwich on the lunch menu is milky, crusty, meaty, spicy and peppery, a bite for the ages. His Slow-Braised BLT on a glossy brioche bun goes down like barbecue, its smokiness more pronounced than a Famous Dave’s combo plate." [WaPo]

Ann Limpert reviews Barrel & Crow in Bethesda for Washingtonian magazine. She’s quite impressed with chef Nick Palermo’s frying skills and raves about the fried chicken, green tomatoes and soft-shell crabs. She continues:

Once you get away from the fried stuff, the menu ventures in different directions. Some dishes lean toward a brasserie...others channel an Italian bistro... Among the more ambitious plates—a boring, shreddy short rib, a nicely cooked duck breast with dull accompaniments—the standout was a cut of mackerel with grilled-corn salsa.

She decides it’s best to stick to "the crispier side of the menu" complemented by a salad and one of pastry chef Rita Garruba’s desserts. [Washingtonian]

Don Rockwell tries Willard’s Real Pit BBQ in Chantilly. He has a coughing fit after swallowing some hot sauce the wrong way but says little about the food. He writes:

The barbecue was finished over the course of the afternoon – there was too much sauce (the meat was pre-sauced), and the collards really weren’t all *that* hot; it’s just that the trachea isn’t necessarily fortified against ghost peppers, or whatever Satanic mixture is in that XXX sauce!

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