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Tom Sietsema Finds Updated Cork Rather Stale

What the critics are saying this week

Cork Wine Bar
Photo by Rey Lopez for Eater DC

Cork Wine Bar & Market

Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema gives the newly consolidated version of Cork 1.5 stars (“good/satisfactory”), suggesting the owners “need to pour more thought into the menu.” He’s into the its revived setting — like the retooled downstairs market, which features American hits like a creamy tomato-fennel soup and a sweet-smoky pork banh mi, and the “cozy, clean-lined and welcoming” dining room upstairs. But he’s bummed that the menu put forward by chef Jason Schreuder hasn’t changed one bit (and “hasn’t avocado toast overstayed its welcome?”). He says to pass on most cold plates, like the “cement-dense” chicken liver pâté. Warmer dishes provide a silver lining; go with fries dipped in fresh-tasting caper rémoulade, or risotto with wild mushrooms, pecorino, and a sprinkling of herbs (his favorite). He’s also about the desserts, including the hot pear crisp and tangy goat cheese cheesecake. And while the wine list is solid—40 by the glass pours and 300 bottles—it’s hard to read in the dim light, though servers are helpful.


Unconventional Diner

Sietsema also taste tests David Deshaies’ new Shaw diner, where the French chef who’s worked with the late-Michel Richard serves up comfort food with a twist. Vegetarians are in luck at Deshaies’ debut restaurant, with 10 or so meatless options sprinkled throughout the menu (Sietsema calls out the tempura-crisped kale nachos). His take on meatloaf is super juicy, and morel mushroom gravy “nudges the slab into fine-dining turf,” says Sietsema. He calls the chicken Parmesan “ordinary” compared to other orders, like squid-ink linguine topped with sweet jumbo lump crab, or updated chicken pot pie served atop shredded cabbage. Meanwhile, pastry chef Ana Deshaies (the chef’s wife) is making fluffy tres leches cake and an “uber-rich” carrot cake.


New Wine Bars

Washington Post writer Fritz Hahn highlights a few wine bars in D.C. that he considers “refreshingly unpretentious”: Dabney Cellar in Blagden Alley is “cozy, but not too crowded,” while Primrose in Brookland “invites lingering — whether you’re splitting an order of pâté and sipping a few lesser-known wines, or settling in for a full meal.” Meanwhile, wine fans can geek out at Maxwell Park in Shaw, which features a “relaxed, youthful vibe.” Hahn also gushes over other new attractions including Dio in the Atlas District, and Capitol Hill’s Little Pearl.


Menomale

Ethnic Dining Guide author Tyler Cowen limits his review of what he considers “the best pizza around” to just two lines: “Like letters of recommendation, the very best pizza reviews should be extremely short.” The tiny bistro sits in Northeast.


FROM THE BLOGS: Been There, Eaten That checks out the new jazz brunch at the St. Regis hotel, while Bitches Who Brunch dine at Lincoln.

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