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Sietsema and Kliman Each Have Their Own Take on Momofuku CCDC

Plus, reviews of Hula Girl, Convivial, and ABC Canteen.

Momofuku CCDC
Momofuku CCDC

Tom Sietsema tries Momofuku CCDC in his full review for the Washington Post. He awards two and a half stars to David Chang’s first restaurant in D.C. He loves the "sunny" service and most of the food, especially all the buns. He writes:

"The joy starts with a pillowy steamed bun slathered with a zesty mayonnaise and swells with a springy fried shrimp cake and cool shredded lettuce. Bulkier and similarly divine is the steamed bun spread with sweet hoisin and crammed with a slab of roast pork. Yet another filling features sliced shiitakes crisped on the grill and, like all the buns, nestled by the pair in a steamer basket lined with a banana leaf..."

But he has some strong words for the ramen and says Toki Underground’s soup is superior to Momofuku’s. He also calls the pork jerky "more chew toy than treat." [WaPo]

Coincidentally, Todd Kliman also files a review of Momofuku CCDC this week for Washingtonian. He recounts the glories of his interview with David Chang last fall, and then eventually gets to the food. The pork and brisket buns were "extraordinary" during the first visit. The shiitake mushroom buns further impressed him on the second visit. But it was all downhill from there. He writes:

"The third time? The slabs of pork belly were fatty, and the shrimp bun looked (and kind of tasted—oof) like a cross between a Filet-O-Fish and a hash-brown patty."

Unlike Sietsema, though, Kliman really likes the ramen's "labored-over" broth. He still prefers the beef noodle soup, though. [Washingtonian]

Laura Hayes goes to Hula Girl in Shirlington for Arlington Magazine. Hawaiian dishes like ahi poke and spam masubi and may have some potential (the "sickly-sweet" sticky ribs, not so much), but they're not quite transportive yet. The service was actually the most off-putting part of the experience. She writes:

"Service could benefit from a more laid back, aloha spirit. On a slow Tuesday at early bird hours, we were under constant pressure to make decisions because of overly attentive servers. Once, after a plea for one more minute, a two-server team stood tableside to listen in on our entrée deliberations. It was as uncomfortable as dental work." [Arlington]

David Hagedorn explores the menu at Convivial for DC Modern Luxury. He doesn't have any complaints about chef Cedric Maupillier's new Franco-American restaurant. Although he likes everything, favorite dishes include escargots in a blanket, scallop-and-chive mousse, pot-au-feu, and the bacon cheeseburger. He also tries Convivial's most well-known dish:

"Coq au vin fried chicken is a breakout star. Pieces of juicy, bonchon-esque fried chicken are bathed in rich red wine sauce and keep company with mashed potatoes, lardons and roasted cippolini onions." [DCML]

Don Rockwell returns to ABC Canteen in Fairfax to try the tamales again and explore the rest of the menu. He finds the tamales a touch dry this time but corrects it with extra sauce. He also likes the chicken wings and steak mojo sandwich, but hush puppies are the highlight. He writes:

"Perhaps the highlight of the meal was a justifiably vaunted, highly touted order of Hush Puppies ($2.50), which were delicious for reasons I wasn’t expecting: the flour inside was pale, and there were no kernels of corn; the batter and the fry-job were both perfect, and the texture, consistency, and halbtrocken palate presence were absolutely appropriate, and these were a perfect accompaniment to our sandwiches." [DR]

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