Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visits Ana, the new eatery inside fledgling District Winery, where he encounters what he says is the “most impressive food and wine pairing in Washington right now.” The 56-seat restaurant encourages lingering without trying too hard, providing diners with sea-blue seats, a quirky gallery of U.S. presidents, and walls of glass that frame the Anacostia River. Executive chef Michael Gordon, (from the late Bouley in New York) and chef de cuisine Benjamin Lambert (formerly at 701 in Penn Quarter) are behind the global-meets-local menu. “Give or take a dish, the lineup is every bit as captivating as the design,” Sietsema writes. Highlights include pierogies with shredded rutabaga, grilled octupus brightened by pineapple and mint, the “sublime” cappelletti, and smoked duck breast with a zesty mole.
The 15 wines by the glass include a bright unoaked chardonnay, as well as a peppery cabernet franc that “flatters the menu’s bolder dishes.” Be sure to try its cocktails, including the “Figment of Imagination,” featuring rye, fig syrup and walnut bitters. For a finale, go with the dome-shaped chocolate cake covered with glossy white chocolate frosting and what seems to be a “dessert of the moment”: hummingbird cake.
Sietsema also checks in on 14th Street NW’s months-old Ancient Rivers, the replacement for Southern-themed Mulebone dreamt up by restaurateur Andy Shallal. Sietsema is a fan of its new Middle Eastern theme, hailing its herbed falafel stacked on tahini sauce, and zesty ground lamb surrounded by garlicky hummus. He isn’t, however, a fan of the service. Drink orders take forever, and mezze and main courses arrived at the same time, among other efficiency issues. Back on the food front, Sietsema also liked the smoky mashed eggplant with bright pomegranate seeds, as well as the peppery cabbage rolls that can be stuffed with rice and tomatoes or beef. A new supplier could remedy issues with the “stiff and insipid” pita bread, he says.
Bethesda Magazine restaurant critic David Hagedorn is all about the reincarnated Addie’s, where he says “almost everything” works. The “attractive and sizable” space is split up into three rooms designed “to be as welcoming as a comfy Texas home.” He applauds owner Jeff Black’s attention to detail, complimenting touches such as the USB ports and plugs found at many tables and white porcelain pepper shakers made in Pennsylvania. His favorite menu items include the build-your-own seafood tower (his featured Peruvian leche de tigre ceviche, scallop crudo, serrano-wrapped shrimp and grilled oysters); Vietnamese caramel salmon; and Chesapeake fisherman’s stew. Cocktails are generous and tasty, Hagedorn notes; he’s all about the Hendrick’s martini and a Cosmopolitan. Meanwhile, servers are “personable and eager to please,” he says.