Tom Sietsema tries Korean newcomer Zannchi for his First Bite column in the Washington Post. The menu is small and concentrates on rice bowls and kimbap. The critic thinks the Georgetown restaurant from chef Eunjang Kim is a great bargain. He writes:
"Six bucks gets you two fat dumplings, swollen with fluffy ground pork and scallions, and shaped with a "handle" that makes them look like kettlebells from the gym. Eat both dumplings, and you might not have room for further exploration of the list. (So take one home, or, better yet, share.)" [WaPo]
On the heels of last week’s best barbecue guide for the $20 Dining column in the Washington Post, Tim Carman also files a series of articles ranking barbecue joints according to different categories. He declares Texas Jack’s in Arlington best for brisket and Fat Pete's in Cleveland Park wins for ribs. BVQ by Bryan Voltaggio at Vanish brewery is number one for pulled pork. Carman writes:
"Let's get this out of the way: Voltaggio smokes his pork shoulders for only four hours before transferring them to a low-temperature oven to finish. He subscribes to the theory that meat stops taking on smoke after a few hours. (He also needs the smoker space for briskets.) Regardless of how you feel about the approach, the result is incontrovertible: chopped pork mixed with pan drippings and an apple cider vinegar-based sauce. Tart, peppery, smoky, moist. It's hard to top."
Smokehouse Live, Epic Smokehouse, Hill Country, and Sloppy Mama’s also make repeat appearances on the lists. [WaPo]
David Hagedorn reviews ramen-focused Yona in Ballston for Arlington Magazine. Cocktails by beverage director Taha Ismail’s cocktail successfully complement chef Jonah Kim’s food. Hagedorn writes:
"Pristine portions of Japanese hamachi come to life under small piles of grated apple, shaved fennel, white soy and ginger, with a sprinkled kick of ground Sichuan peppercorn. Sliced tuna gets the poke treatment with sesame-and-soy dressing and fermented chili paste, plus a pleasant crunch with the addition of fried-rice pearls."
Some of the critic's other favorite dishes include steamed buns, chicken wings, roasted asparagus marinated in koji, and the Miso Porky ramen. He does find some misses, though, in the veal heart and also the ja-jang, a Korean-Chinese noodle dish made with fermented black bean paste. [Arlington]
Laura Hayes dines at Lahinch Tavern in Potomac for the First Taste column in Bethesda Magazine. She tries several dishes at the new Irish pub, but the deviled eggs, potted smoked trout, and braised corned beef (it actually arrives as a corned beef sandwich by mistake) are all disappointing. She writes:
"Perhaps the biggest sign the kitchen is going through the motions is the falafel- stuffed pita sandwich. The warm patties are pleasant enough, especially after I encounter the chili-roasted eggplant tucked in the back of the pita, but the produce isn’t fresh. Watermelon radishes that should exuberantly signal summer have the appearance of dry, cracked winter skin and the tomatoes and cucumbers are limp."