Washington Post spirits columnist Carrie Allan delves into Columbia Room, named “Best American Cocktail Bar” at the 2017 Spirited Awards during the latest Tales of the Cocktail. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for those plugged into the local cocktail scene, as Derek Brown’s and JP Fetherston’s bar “has been a smart, elegant upstart nipping scrappily at the heels of much-lauded bars” in established cocktail havens like New York City and San Francisco. Its casual punch garden is a “greenery-covered respite,” while the spirits library offers flights of “rare and quality sips” from the expanded collection. The cocktail-focused Tasting Room was key to this year’s award, Allan says; that’s where drinks “reach their heights” in the seasonal tasting menus the bar team partners with chef Johnny Spero’s gourmet cuisine. [WaPo]
Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visits the restaurant inside the St. Gregory Hotel and decides the Mediterranean eatery is a breath of fresh air for Dupont Circle. One instant hit is an appetizer of meatballs rolled out from ground chicken and a raw broccoli salad. Crostini topped with sweet crab and Old Bay is an “elegant” opening act. Pasta lovers should go with cord-like tonarelli featuring squid ink and strewn with cockles. One misfire: Tredici’s “dull and dry” half chicken; opt for the 12-inch flatbreads instead, Sietsema says. [WaPo]
Chettinadu Indian Cuisine
Washington Post food writer Tim Carman and his $20 column appears to be back from a summer break, traveling this time to Chettinadu Indian Cuisine, a modest spot located inside a strip mall in Rockville, Maryland. Carman manages to eat “extremely well” at the South Indian-influenced restaurant, where its starring dish is the appam (which he equates to Ethiopian injera). Go for the one with chicken curry, he says. One of the cuisine’s “most defining dishes” is an eponymous chicken featuring a mahogany curry spiked with green cardamom pods and dried chile husks. [WaPo]
FROM THE BLOGS: Hungry Lobbyist has good things to say about expansion-minded Honeygrow, while Bitches Who Brunch head to Pamplona, and Been There Eaten That tries out Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque.