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Tom Sietsema Praises Del Campo 2.0

What the critics are saying this week

[Greg Powers]
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema visited chef Victor Albisu’s newly renovated Del Campo and came away impressed by the recent upgrades.

Expect to find an “edgier interior: acid-washed cowhides on the wall, ceramic green tile bordering the kitchen, chunky wood tables,” he observes, compared to the original look of the four-year-old South American grill on the outskirts of Chinatown.

Albisu’s popular octopus causa and skirt steak haven’t gone anywhere. But new dishes “call attention to the influence of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in South America.”

“Cue the chirashi. The most alluring addition to the list is created from a loose round of rice decked out with scallops splashed with brown butter, and tuna and corvina ignited with the assertive fish marinade called “tiger’s milk.” Circling the fish-topped rice cake is a tangy ponzu sauce.”

One fresh appetizer is sliced beef tenderloin, spiked with horseradish.

There are also new empanadas the explore; he bills the ones stuffed with duck confit and green chilies as “particularly appealing.” A few drops of lime “fairly electrify” them, and are “further enriched by a creamy aioli, green (and zesty) with shishito peppers.” [WaPo]

Sietsema also released his Spring Dining Guide for 2017, naming French stunner Mirabelle his favorite new restaurant of the season; he says that former White House chef and Palena alum Frank Ruta “spares no expense for his guests.” In all Sietsema presents a spread of 27 reviews, a bundle which contains a top 10 list of the new arrivals.

Sietsema says his job is to save eaters the “heartache or indigestion of lesser restaurants,” so his spring guide is a mix of hits, misses, and “in-betweens” on the dining circuit. For example, he includes the half-starred Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian, where “quality and quantity is a far cry from what it used to be.” Some inclusions are a trek from D.C., such as Charleston in Baltimore, which he calls “one of the Mid-Atlantic’s best restaurants.” [WaPo]

FROM THE BLOGS: BYT gives Baba in Arlington, Va., a taste test, while Washington City Paper’s Laura Hayes deconstructs several new restaurants and bars.

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