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Tim Carman Spins a Whaley’s Love Tale

Plus, reviews of Casolare and more

Interior at Whaley’s
Whaley's [Photo: R. Lopez]

The Washington Post’s Tim Carman docks at Whaley’s, comparing its layered seafood tower to a page-turning novel with a "slow escalation of brininess and oceanic flavor."

Whaley’s, he sums up, is a love letter to the aquatic life:

Chef Daniel Perron had composed a tale of the sea as much as he had built a seafood tower. His multilevel creation revealed the diversity of American and Canadian waters while carefully maintaining a through line. A through line of brine.

Memorable tower highlights include Alaskan coho salmon with a hint of citrus, fresh grilled Rhode Island calamari, and "perfectly cleaned curls" of Alabama shrimp that tasted as if "they had been poached in a seafood stock with herbs." Overall, the raw bar and restaurant is "simultaneously nostalgic and modern" and comes across as a "slice of Ocean City boardwalk" right in Navy Yard.

However, dishes that stay from the central seafood theme aren’t as great. He calls the family-style serving of seafood risotto, for instance, a "shimmering pool of swollen rice, which was so jacked up on vadouvan-steeped seafood stock it talked over the other ingredients." [WaPo]

Tom Sietsema's been counting down his top ten restaurants in anticipation of the upcoming fall dining guide. The reveals so far: Convivial (5), Minibar (6), The Inn at Little Washington (7), Little Serow (8), Rasika (9) and Komi (10). All but Convivial (three stars) get four stars from the critic.

Washingtonian’s Ann Limpert heads to Casolare, which features a menu that "celebrates fish and vegetables over meat" and makes "several detours on the Italian coast along the way."

Cocktails are the choice starter here, like the "terrific grappa-spiked lemonade, several riffs on the Negroni, and a frothy, chamomile-scented gin sour." Overall, the "unabashedly rustic aesthetic and an Amalfi Coast color palette" creates a "lived-in and warm" ambiance, while the kitchen has room for improvement.

Pastas are a little all over the place, ranging from a gigantic plate of maltagliati "cooked past sogginess" to "perfectly crimped—and perfectly al dente" ravioli. Same goes for the chicken dishes: The stellar "giant" chicken Parm "lives up to its billing and is just as decadent and gooey as you’d hope,"while the "sad-tasting chicken alla diavola" is "more salty than spicy and coated in flabby skin." [Washingtonian]

FOM THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch stop by The Bird pop-up at The Pig.

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