Washington Post food writer Tim Carman’s $20 diner column traveled to Silver Spring to visit Lina’s Diner and Bar, a cozy, eccentric spot. Carman praises the restaurant’s decor and use of the space (which was previously home to Piratz Tavern) as well as the modestly priced menu, where all dishes but one clock in under $20. The priciest dish is worth the extra change (it’s $20.95), argues Carman — “the entree is a steal even at that price,” he says, praising the flavor that happened when the medium rare steak and bearnaise mingled, and even the “long, languid arcs” of fries that accompany it. Carman also recommends ordering the chilaquiles, whether the diner is a fan of breakfast for dinner or not. [WaPo]
Northern Virginia Magazine’s Stefanie Gans heads to Maple Ave., the Vienna spot originally owned and operated by Tim Ma. It’s now under the ownership of couple Juste Zidelyte and Ricardo Teves, and Gans has few complaints. She praises the braised beef cheek — a dish “heavy for summer but so good that it might not matter” — and forgives the toughness of the meat in the pork confit steak because the flavors and textures are unusual and thought-provoking. Gans is also into the slightly odd way that Zidelyte prepares a chocolate brownie — by using leftover bread, soaked in ganache. “The end result is fudgy, a little bready, but mostly chocolaty,” writes Gans. [NorVa Mag]
The Hungry Lobbyist’s Andie Himmelrich heads to Arroz, the new restaurant from Mike Isabella. Himmelrich promises that the spot “will blow your mind and taste buds,” and that unlike his other ventures, Arroz’s focus on Spain and Morocco brings about flavors that are “unique and refreshing.” While Himmelrich is stoked on most of the dishes, she has extremely high praise for Arroz’s patatas bravas, a dish that arrives at the table as squares of layered, crispy-outside, soft-inside potatoes. “I like to call them golden cubes of crispy potato goodness,” she writes.