Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema visits Atlas District’s weeks-old vegetarian restaurant from the husband-and-wife duo behind two of Philadelphia’s best known vegan eateries. “If you don’t eat meat, Fancy Radish is a momentous occasion,” Sietsema writes, adding that dishes here are packed with lots of flavor, thought, and visual appeal. Some highlights: a half avocado heaped with pickled, riced, turmeric-brightened cauliflower, and the “zesty” roasted carrot — a carryover from Vedge — featuring Moroccan spices. “If you’re a carnivore, Fancy Radish is likely to surprise you, in the best way possible,” Sietsema says, adding that he’s still “dreaming” about the creamy rutabaga fondue with pretzel bread for dipping.
Sietsema also visits the new Israeli neighbor to Bindaas, which replaced now-defunct Ardeo in Cleveland Park. The “rethought” spot from restaurateur Ashok Bajaj recruited Ryan Moore (a Zaytinya and Minibar alum) for the small plates and kebabs source. Eggplant fans will love its interpretation of the vegetable, thanks to charring on the grill plus mint, parsley, cumin and pomegranate. The “standout” among the kebabs is chicken thighs that get a kick from harissa, delivered crisp and juicy from the wood grill. While Sietsema says his first meal was “uneven” (the lamb was a little salty and dishes arrived too fast), his second experience was much better. The entrees he tried include sea bass wrapped in grape leaves and served alongside a bright tomato-cucumber salad, as well as a lemony roasted half chicken with sumac-sparked onions, served with a house-baked pita to soak up its seasoning.
Northern Virginia Magazine restaurant critic and dining editor Stefanie Gans heads to the recently resurrected 30-seat Del Ray restaurant from chef Eric Reid, pleasantly finding “simply good dining.” It’s still tiny and “a neighborhood restaurant for grown-ups” but without its formerly heavy, Southern-inspired menu. While some dishes are “overly complicated,” lots are simple (the classic cheesecake) with great cuts of meat she says are cooked just right. She praises a filet of wagyu, marinated in chipotle and balsamic vinegar, smoked over pecan wood and topped with blue cheese. On another visit, a lamb loin chop was equally tender. The menu rotates weekly, she notes, and has just 15 items; one that consistently makes an appearance is a gourmet hot dog. One order of tagliatelle in a butternut squash bisque arrives “underseasoned,” Gans notes.