The Washington Post’s Tim Carman heads to the two-year-old Fairfax restaurant, which recently expanded its menu after parting company with its opening chef. Owner Michael Lee’s sweet tooth shines through in various offerings including the soy-spiked “charred” salmon, sticky pork buns, and even the okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake packed with octopus, shrimp and other spoils of the sea. As for the ramen, Carman’s experience was mostly pleasant. The cloudy tonkotsu ramen, developed from simmering pig’s feet for hours, has a “sumptuous body.” The shoyu version “is slurpable to the last drop,” and the alkaline noodles contrast well to the silken broth. All in all, “the place has a fumbling honesty to it, as if it hasn’t yet discovered its better self but continues to search for it.”
Ashby Inn & Restaurant
WaPo restaurant critic Tom Sietsema travels to the Ashby Inn & Restaurant in Paris, Va. and praises a pair of edible presents delivered to his table: a cube of pork pâté and a tapioca cracker freshened by lime zest, as well as a shot of sweet pea custard bolstered by herbs gathered in the adjoining garden. He gives 2.5 stars (excellent) to the six-course tasting menu from the restaurant’s new British-born chef, Tom Whitaker. Go the tasting menu route, he suggests, to absorb the chef’s range in one sitting. Some highlights: petite asparagus-arugula salad with crisp raw onions, tangy Greek yogurt, and Meyer lemon puree. “While the setting is country, the food is a little rock-and-roll”; Sietsema’s smoked cabbage course features barbecue sauce (“the tang, usually associated with meat, is a delightful tease”). He also gives shout-outs to the halibut, duck cooked sous vide, and pork belly — a thick bar of fat and funk.