Bethesda Magazine freelance food writer Aviva Goldfarb heads to the debut area location of Dog Haus in Woodmont Triangle, where the ambiance feels much like “an airy tap room” that adds to its laid-back Southern California appeal. The spot is super casual, and “not a place to impress your mom (unless your mom’s from Chicago and loves her kielbasa) or to linger over a meal,” she says. Favorites included the Sooo Cali Hausdog (wild arugula, avocado, tomato, crispy onions and spicy basil aioli, $6.49), and Thai Fighter Haussausage (spicy Thai currywurst, wild arugula, pickled jalapenos, spicy basil aioli, $7.49). But the Das Brat bratwurst lacked juiciness and the grilled chicken sandwich was too chewy. French fries and sweet potato fries function as crispy and flavorful sides. There’s also an “ample” beer list with lots of local brews.
While Sofitel’s newly refurbished French restaurant is appealing to the eye (think: shiny black tables, sleek saffron-colored chairs, mirrored columns), it falls flat from there, according to Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. Dishes read like a “French primer” (escargots, steak frites and apple tarte tatin) but they’re a “disappointment,” he writes. Ravioli is filled with flavorless spinach, while the duck a l’orange “has the texture of sawdust.” A companion’s steak was overly chewy. The best part of the bouillabaisse is its large scallops, he notes. And while a cone of French fries looks good, they “taste like factory issue.” He does applaud the bronzed garlic in the accompanying sauteed spinach. Warm apple tart with vanilla ice cream is a “far better” finish than a so-called “pavlova” with pale strawberry slices. The “best luck” he’s had after multiple visits is on the patio, which is framed in greenery and features a separate menu: His daiquiri and pink beet hummus with a rainbow of crudites is a “pleasant way” to unwind in good weather.
Northern Virginia Magazine contributor Rina Rapuano reviews Arroz inside the giant Isabella Eatery in Tysons Corner. While she spots “similarities with the spinoff,” she says diners should know that signature dishes found at its Marriott Marquis counterpart are different — but understandably so. “it would be madness to try and replicate the delicate, multi-layered patatas bravas or garnish a plate of eggplant with something as seasonal and precious as fava beans while trying to manage multiple kitchens,” she writes. In Tysons she finds a “rustic yet still playful” version of the potatoes. She enjoys the “smart and sleek” design, but isn’t happy about the wait; it’s 10 minutes before she’s greeted by a waiter, and the pacing of plates is an issue. Standout dishes include a “beautiful and perfect bowl” of red prawns swimming in a sauce of sliced garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil and harissa and a plate of chermoula-marinated lamb chops, which are “perfectly cooked.” Meanwhile, the grilled ham and cheese bocadillo (aka, sandwich) is “an entirely enjoyable lunchtime entrée” she says she would order again. But the Spanish tortilla and the creme caramel are “sadly executed” by being “cooked to death,” lacking their signature silkiness and richness.
DC Dining author Don Rockwell checks in at the Neapolitan pizza haven, which remains one of the District’s “very best” restaurants, he says. Its legendary bar chef Scott Hager has left, he notes, but he has a fine replacement in Rick Cook, who has come from Etto, and worked at both Blacksalt and the Grill Room with the legendary Frank Ruta. Twice a week, bones from anchovies are lightly coated and fried and act as “one of the most delicious bar snacks you’ll ever taste,” Rockwell says; they’re also “deceptively rich” and filling, he notes. The 2015 2 Amys’ ‘No Longer’ Rosé is a perfect pairing, he says. “Get them, and then try anything and everything else you see that looks or sounds good – do not hesitate to turn yourself over to the hands of Rick and the wonderful bartender Allie: They will help you to dine, and to dine well,” he writes.
A Rake’s Progress
DC Modern Luxury food writer Nevin Martell says the Line hotel restaurant “marks another level of ascent” for James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde, who taps into the Chesapeake watershed for nearly every ingredient (think: lobsters harvested off the coast of Maryland). The second floor spot offers a bird’s-eye view of the lobby action and Erik Bruner-Yang’s Brothers and Sisters below, and while chatter and music “bubble up,” it’s not overwhelming. He feels like he’s “living in an old photograph” thanks to lighting that emphasizes sepia tones. Offerings change nearly every day, he notes, and the menu arrives sealed with wax and dated to “emphasize its temporality.” Thick-cut slices of white spelt and whole wheat, toasted over the open fire, offer a nice crunch and are “feathery soft” when pulled apart. Slather the bread with butter from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, Pa., he instructs. Poached duck egg on grits, paired with a peppery sauce, can be sopped up with bread “like you’re having breakfast for dinner.” Other standouts include the trout filet and a miniature multi-layer Smith Island cake, sweet and rich enough for two, is “a fitting finale that showcases the region’s rich traditions and natural bounty,” he writes.