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Tom Sietsema Likes (But Doesn't Love) Métier

Plus, reviews of Declaration, Haute Dogs, and Sal's Italian Kitchen

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In his full review for the Washington Post, Tom Sietsema dines at Métier. He can’t help comparing chef Eric Ziebold’s tasting menu-only restaurant to Kinship (the chef's a la carte restaurant in the same building). He writes:

"Next comes a trolley with lamb rib-eye, because fancy dining means at least one course is going to be fussed over by a waiter, even if it doesn’t need to be. In this case, the roasted meat, fragrant from the hay in which it’s been cooked, is carved into succulent slices and presented with silken roasted peppers and an olive sauce. The dish is perfectly pleasant, but frankly, the lamb (rack, sausage and ballotine) I enjoyed at Kinship, flanked by similar peppers and dreamy grits, trumped this rendition."

The critic likes the food at Métier overall but doesn't consider it transportive. He thinks there are still a few kinks to work out for a meal that costs $200. [WaPo]

For his First Bite column in the Washington Post, Sietsema tries Declaration, a pizzeria in Shaw. But he says the best thing at the Declaration of Independence-themed restaurant are the cocktails and the design. He also like the blackened shrimp, pimento cheese, and green tomato chow-chow pizza. He's not a fan of the rest of the food, though:

"A kale salad manages to be both bitter and bland, despite pistachios, feta and apricots in the mix. Baked chicken wings arrive with shaved celery that shows no sign of having been pickled, as advertised. Branzino proves both fishy and salty. Eating the murky risotto is like wading through a bog — and who puts apricots in risotto? Yet another travesty is the Philly cheesesteak, closer to chipped beef on toast than to the beloved classic, and flanked by french fries that look good but taste frozen. Adding insult to injury, the hot food tends to show up tepid..." [WaPo]

Tim Carman tries Haute Dogs in Alexandria for his $20 Diner column in the Washington Post. Co-owners Lionel Holmes and Pamela Swanson serve all their hot dogs on toasted split-top hotdog buns, and Carman approves. As for the dogs, he writes:

"[Holmes] has developed the menu, and his line of dogs ventures way beyond the classics. Holmes has engineered a dog that performs a neat trick: It impersonates a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, or at least one that’ll pass inspection in Alexandria, if not Falls Church. The same goes for Holmes’s dog-based interpretations of a New York Reuben or a Peking duck wrapped in pancakes with hoisin sauce: The toppings hint at their inspirations, while providing an experience all their own." [WaPo]

Carman also ranks the region's best barbecue. He finds lots of mediocre smoked meat and thinks the D.C. area has a long way to go before it can even catch up with Brooklyn, let alone Memphis or Austin. But Texas Jack's comes out on top. He writes:

"This Arlington newcomer has ascended to the top, not by default, but by the dedication of pitmaster Matt Lang. The smoky, moist-side brisket is the attraction, each crusty slice the standard by which others in the area are judged. The meaty, St. Louis-style ribs and Yucatan-spiced pulled pork also trade on lean preparations, the smoke and meat always front and center, never requiring a jacked-up sauce to save its bacon." [WaPo]

Laura Hayes visits Sal’s Italian Kitchen in Cabin John for the First Taste column in Bethesda Magazine. She considers it the ideal neighborhood restaurant with a satisfying menu of simple, Italian. She writes:

"Two appetizers stand out. The golden brown Sicilian-style cauliflower detonates the palate with briny capers, fiery cherry peppers and a lemony anchovy garlic sauce. The starter is addictive—one table hoards florets to smash into pasta later in the meal. The burrata is eagerly gobbled up too. An orb of the Italian cheese with a creamy center finds crispy pancetta, basil oil and a smear of tomato jam as its sweet supporting cast."

The entree portions are quite large, but the linguine with clams dish is missing something. The whole branzino is a great deal at $18. [Bethesda]

THE BLOGS: DC Wrapped Dates thinks it's worth crossing the river for Texas Jack's...The cocktail list at Alfie's astonishes Cocktail Amateur...Bad Sentences lunches in Ballston

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