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Tim Carman’s Crazy About Talia’s Cuzina

What the critics are saying this week

Talia’s Cuzina in Kensington, Md.
[Talia’s Cuzina]

Q by Peter Chang

The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema explores Peter Chang’s new 8,000-square-foot Bethesda restaurant and the Chinese cooking going on inside. At his “largest and most stylish dining room yet,” there’s no shortage of new bites, like Peking duck, coral fish, and dim sum on weekends. Sietsema was disappointed about the state of the duck that twice arrived at his table tepid, and another time dry. Deep-fried fish in a pool of red sauce is more flashy than tasty, while the “vegetable box” with tofu is a favorite meat-free dish. The dim sum is worth the trek, he says, calling out the “pearly” shrimp dumplings, the juicy, roe-topped pork shumai, and glossy steam bun stuffed with slightly sweet bits of chicken.

Adventurous eater Tyler Cowen also stops by Q, calling it “the best Peter Chang opening I’ve been to, so you certainly ought to try the place.” [Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide]

The Smith

Sietsema also heads to the Penn Quarter’s The Smith, which is a crowd-pleaser. The massive restaurant, part of the same-named collection of American brasseries in New York, is a one-stop shop for all palates and desires. Hearing “no” from an employee is a rarity, as Sietsema found that a myriad of requests can be met (such as seating incomplete parties). Founder Jeffrey Lefcourt “seems to have taken a poll to find out what diners don’t like, including up-selling, then keeps such annoyances out of his restaurants.” The hummus is as “bold with garlic and lemon as anywhere else around” and he appreciates the zucchini flatbread’s presentation. And “the kitchen gets diners to eat their vegetables”; take the “fine” Korean bibimbap, for instance, and a trio of blue corn empanadas. Meanwhile the bar is “a spirited pleasure zone of tall tables and backlit flasks,” and the “bubbly” Rosé Rosé is a good bet. Out of the meaty options, “the best deal” is the bar steak for $29 with fries. Skip the stiff fried green tomatoes, he warns.


Talia’s Cuzina

WaPo’s Tim Carman gives Talia’s Cuzina a try, discovering that there’s way more to the counter-service spot than initially appears. With only two tables and a handful of dedicated parking spaces, the Italian and Greek eatery doesn’t look like much, but take a bite into the “famous” chicken pesto sandwich, and “all the hassles will recede from memory, replaced with an all-consuming desire.” Owner Chris Panagiotopoulos makes painstaking preparations to produce the juicy, full-flavored meats in his sandwiches, salads, pastas and homemade sauces. That means marinating chicken breasts for 48 hours in olive oil, lemon, and black pepper, and braising his own pork shoulders. One of Carman’s favorite bites is the beef meatballs, which are “fork-tender, fragrant, unforgettable.” [WaPo]

FROM THE BLOGS: Rick Eats DC chows down at Ripple and BYT eats and drinks all of Frederick, Md.

The Smith

1314 U Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 250-3900 Visit Website

Q By Peter Chang

4500 East West Highway, , MD 20814 (240) 800-3722 Visit Website

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