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Tom Sietsema Applauds Zenebech’s Zesty Return

What the critics are saying this week

A flavorful medley at Zenebech.
Photo: Zenebech
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.


Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema, who admits Ethiopian is one of his favorite cuisines, visits the reincarnation of a D.C. classic that recently relocated to larger digs in Adams Morgan. He starts off with sambusas, deciding that the best filling for the fried turnover is minced chicken with garlic, ginger and black pepper. He approves of the doro wat, a zesty stew full of tender chicken. Its combination vegetable platter shines, and his “edible pinwheel” is filled with “tangy” collard greens, red lentils with a kick, and a tomato and onion salad spiked with chopped jalapeño. The kitchen also churns out “a very good” fish dulet featuring chopped tilapia and hot peppers.

Kapnos Taverna College Park

Sietsema also explores the latest iteration of Greek-themed Kapnos Taverna, which restaurateur Mike Isabella and chef George Pagonis recently opened in neighboring College Park, Maryland. Catering to college kids and and university visitors was clearly a priority; There’s an all-day happy hour in the bar, and an approachable menu with go-to small plates such as simple green salad, tuna tartare, and “pleasing” stuffed grape leaves. Try the fish roe dip that’s whipped with pureed cauliflower, he instructs. Juan Rivera, the former chef de cuisine of the flagship restaurant in Arlington, Virginia and Zaytinya in D.C., makes a great “for the table” chicken and sweet “can’t miss” ending: a lemon-walnut torte with basil ice cream and meringue rosettes. Beverage-wise, Sietsema bills the chartreuse-colored “Angry Elf — spiked with tequila and serrano — as a liquid charm.

Tiger Fork

Ethnic Dining Guide author Tyler Cowen checks out months-old Tiger Fork in Blagden Alley, which he says “delivers.” Don’t get the Szechuan dishes, which are “not really hot;” he suggests, instead, sticking with the pork ribs, barbecue plate, chow foon noodles, and the fried rices. The cauliflower is also a hit. “While it’s hard to compare this place to D.C.’s best Western food one way or the other, it exceeded expectations in every regard,” Cowen writes. He also notes it’s pretty loud, but the bill was “reasonable.”

Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants issue is now on newsstands, and dining editor and restaurant critic Stefanie Gans does a deep dive into what’s in and out these days. Newbies on this year’s list include 1947, Aggio, and Ambar, while others like the Ashby Inn & Restaurant and Cork & Table didn’t make the cut this year.

FROM THE BLOGS: Bitches Who Brunch try Cava Mezze, Hungry Lobbyist heads to gym-based eatery Squash on Fire, and Brightest Young Things taste tests Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana in Gaithersburg, Maryland.