Kith and Kin
Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi tells Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema this week that “everything” is different about his new spot at the Wharf versus the short-lived Shaw Bijou — including “concept, the look, the accessibility.” The menu offers insight into the Bronx-born chef’s life, the time he spent in Nigeria with his grandparents, and years later in Louisiana cooking Creole dishes, notes Sietsema. One dish Sietsema singles out is the the goat and fried potatoes in green curry, seasoned with culantro, thyme and garlic, and served with roti. The window-fronted, 96-seat dining room (which boasts a an “interesting yet understated” design) is so bright, Sietsema says he had to sport sunglasses for part of the meal. Cocktails from vet barman Zachary Hoffman are “delicious” (at $17, “they ought to be,” he notes). Go with the Gin & Reggae, a combo Plymouth gin, Jamaican rum, mango tea and garnishes including star fruit.
Old Maryland Grill
Sietsema also visits this recent arrival in College Park, Maryland, awarding it two stars (“good”) and applauding chef Joshua Laban Perkins’ ability to showcase regional cooking. The bulk of his eating experience, which includes lump crab cakes and thick-cut pork chops, “reveals a kitchen that doesn’t take shortcuts and lets the ingredients do their thing.” Coleslaw is prepared to his preferred style: stinging over sweet. As for the space, his favorite room in the vast 250-seat restaurant is the private Belvedere room, named for the dowager Baltimore hotel, with “sage-colored walls, saffron-hued lights and an Edwardian-era Tiffany.”
DC Dining author Don Rockwell investigates longstanding Woodbridge, Virginia, restaurant Bistro L’Hermitage, where he says service “was not just good, but superb” and on par with fine dining standby Marcel’s. He tries the “interesting take” on a Croque-Monsieur sandwich, a “lovely” Caesar salad, and bowl of “deep and rich” onion soup. While the food was “very good” overall, Rockwell says he enjoyed the restaurant’s beautiful atmosphere and “genuinely caring, professional service” even more.