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Maura Judkis Likes SER But Says It's Too Loud

Plus, reviews of Rito Loco, Centrolina and London Curry House.

R. Lopez

Tom Sietsema is on assignment this week, so Maura Judkis reviews SER in Ballston for the Washington Post. She awards the Spanish restaurant two stars. She likes most of the dishes, from the "perfectly crisped" suckling pig to paella and Spanish sandwiches. She writes:

"Washingtonians are sophisticated enough to know their basic tapas, all of which are well represented at SER: aioli-striped patatas bravas, croquetas oozing with mashed potato, and the roulette game that is a plate of pimientos del padron, with the occasional spicy bite in the pile of deep-fried peppers."

For Judkis, the restaurant's only problems lie in the oversweet sangria, a few unsuccessful dishes like pork cheeks and beef tartare and the loud dining room. [WaPo]

Becky Krystal approves of the breakfast pupusas at Rito Loco's newly-opened brick-and-mortar shop. For the Washington Post, she writes:

"The pupusas -- thick, stuffed corn tortillas -- originated with some of Rito Loco's more recent employees, including one who makes them every week for her family. The current filling consists of pork, bell peppers, onions and cheese, slow cooked and turned into a gooey paste that pours out of the crispy on the outside, soft on the inside corn shell." [WaPo]

Todd Kliman files a review of Centrolina in CityCenterDC for Washingtonian magazine. He finds inconstancies after three different meals that range from great to bad at the combination Italian restaurant and market. He writes:

"Dessert was a dud, and the other dishes we ordered were more good than great, but this was a three-star meal. I couldn't wait to return. Unfortunately, no dish that second time matched those two great ones, and I began to wonder whether there were only a few discoveries to be made at Centrolina and I had already made them."

The critic urges readers to order carefully while dining there. He does, however, rave about the porchetta, octopus and chef Amy Brandwein’s pasta making skills. [Washingtonian]

After many delivery meals, Don Rockwell ventures out to London Curry House in Alexandria. He offers readers a pro-tip:

One insider secret about London Curry House is that their best seller is the Butter Chicken ($15)… a much better value is the Chicken Tikka ($17) which comes with probably twice the chicken meat... – get one Butter Chicken, one Chicken Tikka, and literally dump the entire order of Chicken Tikka into your order of Butter Chicken. You’ll have three times the chicken meat, and there’s so much sauce in that one order that you won’t need any more."

Back at the restaurant, he starts his meal with papri chaat crisps and a gin and tonic. He’s satisfied with the Madras Curry with Goat and naan but calls the upscale restaurant "somewhat pricey" even though the food is good.

He also returns to Sweetbites Cafe and Bakery in McLean where he’s sorely disappointed in the ham, egg, and cheese biscuit breakfast sandwich. Despite the excellent biscuit, the sandwich contents are cold and dry. He concludes, "the strengths here are not in the breakfast sandwiches, and I cannot justifiably rave about mine." [DR]

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