Q by Peter Chang
Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema crowns seasoned restaurateur Peter Chang’s new Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland with 2.5 stars (“good/excellent”). One of the “many fresh ideas” being served in the expansive dining room is the beautifully presented jade tofu bolstered by scallion puree and prawn. Sietsema also gives a shout out to a globe-shaped scallion bubble pancake, a crowd favorite that releases a cloud of steam when pierced with a chopstick. Another highlight is the foil-tipped cumin lamb chops, stir-fried in a wok; he warns diners to brace themselves for the hot and numbing Sichuan spicing. Go with the traditional dim sum fare served on weekends — like steamed shrimp dumplings, and fluffy pork-filled buns — and spring for the almond-covered shrimp balls. One of the “few letdowns:” tepid Peking duck with cloying hoisin sauce.
Sietsema finds some positives at Four Oaks, the updated restaurant inside the Washington Hilton in Dupont Circle. But “too many ideas read better in print than up close” on the menu. A star starter is the “light but substantial” gazpacho “salad” with zesty tomato vinaigrette in a canoe-shaped white bowl. Some “disappointments” include the crab cake sandwich — with a patty that smells like “seafood that’s been out of the water awhile” — while the DMV flatbread’s crust was “blonde and dreary.”
DC Modern Luxury’s Nevin Martell is buzzing about restaurateur Cathal Armstrong’s new coastal-themed venture that boasts a “chic yacht-club sensibility” inside Old Town Alexandria’s newly arrived Indigo Hotel. Inside he finds servers in “fetching” gingham shirts serving up a seafood-forward menu that “emphasizes prime ingredients.” Crab cakes made with “barely any binder” pair well with the accompanying mustardy remoulade. Other clutch starters include a “tender” tentacle of octopus, an a “simple and highly satisfying” grilled Gruyere and Virginia ham sandwich on brioche. Substantial entrees include a clambake with lobster tail, littleneck clams, mussels, Andouille sausage and corn on the cob; soft-shell crabs atop succotash; and “Instagram-worthy” grilled whole branzino that features “sweet, succulent” meat. Don’t skip desserts, including a winning Key lime pie.
For his Ethnic Dining Guide Tyler Cowen tries Thai at this “top” restaurant in McLean, where he encounters “vivid” and authentic flavors. Recommendations include vermicelli with fried mackerel, kow soi soup with noodles, and the fried chicken salad. He warns that prices aren’t dirt cheap but remain reasonable for the location and quality.