Brothers and Sisters
D.C.’s new Line hotel — which welcomed former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama January 17 for a special birthday dinner at James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde’s highly anticipated D.C. restaurant, A Rake’s Progress (still weeks away from opening to the general public) — gets a glowing 2.5-star review from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema thanks to the globe-trotting restaurant Maketto founder Erik Bruner-Yang has planted in the lobby. Brothers and Sisters, the all-day eatery on the ground floor of the Adams Morgan hotel, pairs usual suspects (a pleasing Caesar salad and hamburger) with international offerings such as knife-cut noodles layered with fennel-spiked sausage and broccoli rabe, as well as splurges such as caviar service ($160). He’s a little annoyed by the “backwards” menu (it’s laid out from right to left), but Sietsema gets over it once presented with a giant pork rind “tricked out” with espelette pepper, dried nori and crumbled diced pork fat.
The “most refined dish” is the duck consommé, Sietsema says. Other standouts: a creamy chicken chowder served in hollowed-out milk bread, and a “snappy” octopus hot dog. Sietsema applauds the fact that Bruner-Yang hired some of the best in the biz for this latest venture, including Jean-Georges alum Pichet Ong, Brabo alum Harper McClure, and aspiring rum distillery founder Todd Thrasher, whose extensive cocktail menu includes a “pleasantly herby and floral” drink dubbed “It’s Not Just for Osaka Anymore.”
Karma Modern Indian
Sietsema also gives Penn Quarter newcomer Karma Modern Indian a glance, noting the strong presentation of certain dishes (chicken lolli in glass globes clinging to sugar cane sticks and lentils shaped into a neat cake atop a carpet of cucumber strips) while warning that some selections are “more fun to view than to taste.” He’s into snowy halibut bolstered by coconut milk and caramelized onion, but not impressed by “one-note” chili prawns or “limp and routine” breads. Vegetables prove to be strong performers; one go-to iscauliflower marinated in yogurt and warm spices and cooked in the tandoor. Save room for a sweet ending, he suggests, casting his vote for either “super-moist” coconut cake with raspberry puree or pistachio-flavored ice cream.
Ethnic Dining Guide author Tyler Cowen visits the debut restaurant from Rammy Award-winning chef turned restaurateur Ryan Ratino and samples some “fine” dishes; he recommends going with the linguini with uni, the foie gras, and the cabbage side dish along with the side of root vegetables. Cowen says ribs, however, were “dull.”
DC Dining author Don Rockwell visits fledgling restaurateur Haidar Karoum’s new Navy Yard restaurant, where he starts his evening with “very good” versions of off-the-menu cocktails including a French 75 and Gimlet. Rockwell approves of all the dishes he ordered, which ranged from seafood crudos to spiced beef-topped hummus. Seared scallops were “perfectly cooked,” while gnocchi with smoked king oyster mushrooms, kale, black pepper, and pecorino “was to die for.” Rockwell predicts the restaurant will soon be near-impossible to get into; those able to slip in now should beeline for the counter alongside the open kitchen — a “wonderful” spot to eat, stay warm, and “watch the show.”