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Tom Sietsema Feels Grateful at Bad Saint in Columbia Heights

Plus, reviews of The Source, Tupelo Honey Cafe, The Grill Room, and others.

Bad Saint
Bad Saint
R. Lopez

For his full review in the Washington Post, Tom Sietsema dines at Bad Saint in Columbia Heights. He awards the Filipino restaurant three stars. His only gripes concern the long wait for a table and cramped dining space. There are no complaints about the food, which includes dishes like a shredded yuca and shrimp fritter, chicken adobo, bitter melon, and more. He writes:

"The best word to describe much of this cooking: bold. My preferred chicharrones these days are the fried pork...skins dusted with Cheetos-orange XO powder and presented as a bouquet alongside a bowl of chili vinegar. Even the salads lean in. Chopped purple cabbage tossed with toasted almonds and bites of pomelo...gets downright saucy in tandem with a habanero vinaigrette." [WaPo]

David Hagedorn files a review of The Source for DC Modern Luxury. He tries the special hot pot table and approves of chef Scott Drewno's other new Chinese dishes. He writes:

"Drewno’s talent sets his crispy whole fish apart from others I’ve sampled around town. He deftly fillets the fish from behind the head to the beginning of the tail, removing the bony skeleton and reconstructing it before dredging it in seasoned flour before its plunge in the fryer. The crispy snapper rests majestically on its belly in a pool of Thai basil black-bean sauce. Not having to perform surgery to remove bones as I eat is a welcome relief yielding a reward of flesh crunchy on the outside, and succulent and moist on the inside."

He also urges diners to try the dumplings, roast duck, and 15-layer carrot cake for dessert. [DCML]

Hagedorn has a less successful meal at Tupelo Honey Cafe, which he reviews for Arlington Magazine. He writes:

"...a large, fluffy buttermilk biscuit arrives topped with large flecks of coarse black pepper, prompting the first in a series of whys. Why put black pepper on a biscuit? Why bread and deep-fry already fat-laden avocado and then put those hot morsels on top of cold salsa that’s been puréed to mush in a blender?

He takes issue with the restaurant's puzzling reinterpretations of Southern classics. Think shrimp and grits with goat cheese and pimento cheese served warm. He also points out inconsistencies in execution and management problems. [Arlington]

Don Rockwell is ready to award the Grill Room a Michelin star after reviewing it twice in one week. He calls the boudin blanc "phenomenal" and "exceptionally wicked."  Other meal highlights are the bread plate (especially the biscuit), red snapper, gnocchi, venison loin and pork belly duo, and the Mont Blanc for dessert. The restaurant’s Rye Bar also gets its own, glowing review thanks to an excellent alcohol-free cocktail and "one of the greatest hamburgers you’ll ever eat." [DR]

He also recommends both the roasted lamb and the roasted chicken with potatoes at Simply Fresh in McLean. He writes:

"It’s a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won’t regret coming here, although it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu." [DR]

Tyler Cowen visits Yemeni restaurant Marib and Springfield and highly recommends the lentil soup, boiled vegetable fish called saltah, as well as the chicken mani. He also goes to Queen Ammanisa in Crystal City. The the best dish at the Uyghur restaurant is the dry spicy noodles. [TC]

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