Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema praises the unifying power of this self-styled drive-thru that always lures him in with the aroma of fresh fried chicken. Good luck snagging a seat (especially after church lets out on Sundays), he observes; The modest dining room fits just 32 people. Luckily, staff is quick to clean up. The petite menu is “mighty fine” and he recommends the “guilty pleasure” of a golden biscuit with spicy sausage, lacy egg, and cheese. He also splurges on a “creamy treat”: a hand-spun strawberry milkshake. While faults are “hard to find” he wishes the hours stretched beyond breakfast and lunch.
Marcus at National Harbor
Sietsema is not a fan of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s nine-month-old restaurant at MGM National Harbor. While the food sounds familiar (deviled eggs, chicken soup, short ribs), he awards the restaurant a single star (“satisfactory”). He applauds the job creation the restaurant has contributed to the area, and it’s striking tribal decor, but bemoans the overriding medley of “disappointments” — including service he finds to be a “crapshoot.” One highlight: a substantial “yard bird” platter ($70) featuring brined fried chicken, pickles, biscuits, and collard greens.
Northern Virginia Magazine dining editor and restaurant critic Stefanie Gans is impressed by this Middle Eastern restaurant, where familiar dishes “are the best versions of themselves.” Tabbouleh is “bright,” while labneh is “extra rich and tangy,” and hummus is “thicker, more substantial and strong with tahini.” For entrees, go with the meat and tomato pie that “shines” without cheese. There are a few misses, however, like the “dry and bland” kafta kebab, and dull lamb and chicken shawarma. Owner/general manager Kahlid Etayeb, who lived in tons of countries at a young age, is the real deal — all the recipes are his.