Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema gives two stars to Michael Schlow’s American restaurant, where its new pastry chef Alex Levin is “pushing the envelope” with creations like a pot brownie (trotted out in a cast-iron pot and served as a sundae). Another new hire, chef de cuisine Jay Caputo, interestingly uses testa, or head cheese, as a filling for a corn dog. Bar snacks feature “contemporary” touches: The deviled eggs deliver a crunch relayed by chicken skin, while hummus has a green hue from avocado mashed with chickpeas. Sietsema says the paella, featuring Italian arancini instead of rice, is too much of a “chore” to eat. He’s a bigger fan of the burger: “a stellar if messy stack of dry-aged ground beef — chuck, brisket and short rib — crammed into a toasted milk bun that’s sturdy enough to contain all the juices.” Another hit: a riff on a Cuban sandwich outfitted with duck confit instead of pork.
Trattoria da Lina
The Washington Post’s Maura Judkis is taken with this new Italian restaurant in Takoma Park. She notes its “distinct lack of pretension,” with homemade pasta and sauce made with ingredients imported from Italy. Come for the “solid roster” of Italian classics, like fettuccine alla Bolognese and fusilli alla Norma. She recommends ordering the “super-eggy” carbonara, the chicken Marsala “swimming in its velvety sauce,” and the crispy grilled octopus. Another crowd-pleaser: the gratis sun-dried tomato spread with bread at the start of the meal. She’s also happy to report that most entrees are under $20.