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All-Purpose Is A Hit, Tom Sietsema Declares

The week in restaurant reviews

R. Lopez

The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema gives Shaw's pizza parlor All-Purpose a glowing three-star review, branding it as a "happy spot between a spaghetti house and a formal ristorante." Pizza remains the main attraction (with a recipe that involves fermenting the dough for three days and using a deck oven set around 650 degrees), but Sietsema dives deep into his love for the other menu items.

The tuna mousse, served in a glass jar, is a "triumph" and the cold antipasti is a "lush ring" of octopus, squid, mussels and rockfish crudo. Meanwhile, the antipasti salad's vinaigrette has an oregano that "channels Sicily" and the cubed sausage and cheese are best in class.

And the staff is just as appealing as the bites:

The food gets dropped off by a sunny cast of servers whose assurance and knowledge lead you to believe they moonlight in hauter venues. Just because a place is casual doesn't mean the attention can't be serious.

Standards are anything but, he says, and range from salt cod fritters "golden in hue and fluffy inside" to pleasant beef short ribs that look like they're cut by a Korean butcher. [WaPo]

The Washington Post's Tim Carman heads to Zabver in Mount Pleasant and is pleasantly surprised by the mostly-Thai restaurant's Chinese American offerings. For instance, he drools over the General Tso's he crowns "chicken candy," noting its sauce that "shimmered like river water on a cloudless summer day" and was still able to deliver serious crunch.

With only six seats, Zabver is best treated as a carryout restaurant run by "charming, courteous" hosts, he says. Laosiri's chicken larb salad is an order fit for an adrenaline junkie, packed with heat, sourness and the "fetid funk" of fish sauce. [WaPo]

Carman also follows up from his recent In-N-Out vs. CaliBurger comparison by throwing another griddle burger contender into the ring: Five Guys. To rule how it stacks up next to the cult-like California chain, he uses nutritional value as the determining factor.

A Five Guys patty is 3.3 ounces, more than 50 percent bigger than the one from In-N-Out. Each Five Guys patty has 17 grams of fat, making for a fat-to-lean meat ratio of 18 percent. To sum up, "Five Guys serves up bigger, fattier burgers than In-N-Out does. Is it any wonder that I'll take a messy, greasy cheeseburger from Five Guys any day of the week?" [WaPo]

The Washington Post's Becky Krystal instructs spicy lovers to run, not walk, to Hazel, where its house-made hot sauce has been such a hit it's now for sale. Eight-ounce bottles of chef Rob Rubba's Fire Panda sauce she thinks "blows Sriracha out of the water" are now available for $7 each. [WaPo]

FROM THE BLOGS: Junk Food Guy reviews a sandwich face-off at G Sandwich Shop between two food writers...Been There, Eaten That is delighted by All-Purpose.

All-Purpose - Shaw

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 202-849-6174 Visit Website

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