Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visits the evolving 120-seat Hummingbird at Hotel Indigo in Alexandria, working his way through a seafood-centric menu that churns out “crowd pleasers” like “tender” braised octopus with chimichurri, and jumbo-lump crab cakes. Another winner: a whole grilled red snapper with a “terrific” Thai chile lime kick to it. On the turf side, chef Jorge Chicas (formerly chef de cuisine at BLT Steak) produces a “pleasing” burger with standout double-fried potatoes. Sietsema says the “inattentive” service he experienced, however, could use some work.
One Block West
DC Dining’s Don Rockwell pays tribute to One Block West in Winchester, Virginia, which is closing on Saturday, August 5; Founder Ed Matthews is retiring from the hospitality industry and moving to Oregon. Rockwell had two of his favorite Virginia whites with his last meal: Thibault-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay and Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc. Among the edible hits he’ll miss: scallop crudo, Thai lamb salad, and peach-Thai basil sorbet.
True Food Kitchen
It’s two stars (good) for Bethesda’s new True Food Kitchen, according to Sietsema, where top picks include grilled fish tacos and grain bowls. Other hits: Shiitake lettuce cups with diced tofu, cashews, jicama, and sambal, as well as “smooth” and “thick” herb hummus. Sietsema says the Arizona-based brand, now with 20 locations coast to coast, has a “formula that merits replicating”: good ingredients with a little help from chef Randall Matthews, a local who previously worked for the San Francisco-based Michael Mina Group, all complemented by a lively atmosphere. The block-long spot is packed any time of day, he notes. For the finale, he’s not a fan of the key lime pie but does rave about pudding made with chia, bananas and shaved coconut.