Tom Sietsema tries Conosci inside Alta Strada for his full review in the Washington Post. He awards Michael Schlow’s new crudo bar three stars. He loves the "chic environs" as well as the bar cart service with cocktails mixed table side. His drink of cachaca, yuzu, lime, and lemongrass is meant to complement the many courses based on raw seafood ($45 for six courses or $135 for 15). Sietsema writes:
"Three bites of hamachi let you pretend you’re at an expense-account retreat, gilded as the fish is with glinting caviar and custardy monkfish liver. Tying the treats together is a liquid stripe billed as 'miracle sauce.; Suffice it to say, the grace note coaxed from soy sauce, Thai basil, sriracha, rice vinegar and other enhancers does wonders for whatever it touches. 'I’m a sucker for spice,' says Schlow, whose miracle sauce serves as Exhibit A."
There's more to try than just crudo, though. Sietsema loves the unique preparations of "market veggies" like snap peas and radishes with fresh mint, walnuts, and pecorino. Consci’s small kitchen doesn’t allow for a selection of desserts, but the gratis treat of chocolate ganache topped with salted caramel and piped buttercream does the trick. [WaPo]
For his First Bite column in the Washington Post, Sietsema dines at All-Purpose in Shaw. Pizzas are the focus at this Italian-American restaurant from the owners of Red Hen and Boundary Stone. He writes:
"Certainly a lot of diners can get around his pizzas, sprung from fermented dough, baked in deck ovens and sporting pillowy, full-flavored crusts that are simultaneously crisp and chewy — "bready" in the parlance of Friedman. An early favorite of mine is the Ferraro, a verdant tribute to spring spread with pistachio pesto and scattered with artichokes, ramps and stinging nettles."
But it’s not all about pizza. He also like the fried calami, sweetbreads, and mozzarella-stuffed meatballs. Desserts by Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop (located next door) also get a stamp of approval, including the "not-too-sweet" rainbow cake. [WaPo]
Tim Carman explores the food options at local breweries (Denizens, Vanish, Caboose, Right Proper, Bluejacket, and Mad Fox in Falls Church) for his $20 Diner column. He finds some hits and several misses. But his favorite beer and food pairing is at Vanish in Lucketts, Va. courtesy of barbecue made by Bryan Voltaggio. He writes:
"The chopped Virginia pork (smoked four hours, finished in a low-temperature oven, chopped and mixed with an apple cider-vinegar sauce) and the turkey breast (brined three days, smoked for more than four hours) were moist, smoky and unforgettable. I could have paired it all with Bud Ice and been happy. Instead, I polished off that barbecue with a decidedly hoppy session IPA, a collaboration between Vanish and Stillwater. I enjoyed how the beer’s bitterness darted in and out of the smoky meats." [WaPo]
Ann Limpert files a review of Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan for Washingtonian. Komi veterans Bill Jensen, Jon Sybert, and Jill Tyler are behind the restaurant, and the critic finds plenty of influence from chef Johnny Monis. She writes:
"There are a few winking allusions to the owners’ alma maters—the pale-blue walls recall the pool-hued Little Serow; an abundant heap of shareable lamb ribs conjures the generosity and communal spirit of the platter of baby goat at Komi—but mostly what has carried over are larger lessons: smart, warm service; thoughtful cooking with roots in the Mediterranean; and a dedication to the craft of making breads, pastas, even crème fraîche."
Favorite dishes are the hollowed out radishes topped with tarragon yogurt and crumbled gingerbread, brioche with mortadella and preserved-lemon aioli, and the lamb ribs. [Washingtonian]