The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema gives the new Joselito Casa de Comidas a First Bite this week. Javier Candon’s 70-seat restaurant in Capitol Hill is “a breezy spinoff” of his Spanish restaurant SER in Ballston that serves up three sizes of food: tapas, family-style platters, and “medias raciones” (“think sensibly sized entrees”).
Essential orders include the crisp-fried anchovies accompanied by yuzu mayonnaise, a bowl of tender clams showered in garlic, and a plate of bavette (steak) with chimichurri. He thinks chef David Sierra (of SER, Fiola Mare in Georgetown) has a “way with pork” when it comes to his “well-seasoned” tenderloin and shoulder (though Sietsema does complain hand-cut fries were too greasy).
Salads are a star—try “velvety roasted red peppers and sharp onions tossed with tuna” and seasonal vegetables with “tangy” goat cheese and an asparagus puree.
He has some beef with the layout, including too-small tables tightly spaced together. He also suggests fixing the music, which sounds more like a “beer garden in Munich rather than a restaurant in Madrid.”
“On the other hand, the room is warmed up with photographs of Candon’s family (his father, who died last year at 90, had eight children) and paintings depicting the owner’s native province of Huelva, west of Seville, Spain.”
He’s a big fan of the torrijas dessert, aka bread soaked in milk and sherry, dipped in an egg batter, fried and soaked again in honey and sherry, topped with a dollop of “true-tasting” vanilla ice cream. [WaPo]
And Sietsema also gives props to “Top Chef” alum Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s Smoked and Stacked, and right out of the gate calls her New Yorker “lust at first bite”:
“Everything about the breakfast sandwich is more fun than oatmeal with skim milk and bananas: slices of tender, pungently pickled pastrami; an egg fried just so; melted, nutty-tasting Comte cheese for bonding; a sea salt-sprinkled bun that manages the neat trick of being both soft and sturdy, so that when you chomp down, the pierced yolk soaks into the roll rather than your fingers. Pepper jelly sticks it to the tongue with some heat.”
The second-best pick to the New Yorker is the the Cali Girl, with buttery avocado, “biting” alfalfa sprouts, a fried egg, and cured salmon from Ivy City Smokehouse.
And the Messy is “a riff on a Rueben” with pastrami, tangy sauerkraut, Comte cheese, and Thousand Island dressing on rye (warning: “the inside is apt to gush outside as the sandwich is consumed”).
The further good news is there’s no factory-issued meat, and the anticipated pastrami parading out of the kitchen is “rousingly flavored” and “etched in fat and sliced by hand.” [WaPo]