Tacos, Tortas & Tequila/Buena Vida
Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema is all about the tacos at the two-story, companion Mexican restaurants that have cropped up in Silver Spring, Maryland, noting that the big turquoise facade “signals good times from blocks away.” At TTT Sietsema suggests going with tortillas stuffed with braised beef tongue or fried skate. Or tortas that feature a “nice-enough Milanese” with pounded fried chicken, black beans, and “buttery” avocado slices. The rich milkshakes double as dessert, and the “decadent” La Malta Cabra is packed with goat’s milk caramel, white chocolate, and banana malt with garnishes of sweet plantains around the rim. He says airy upstairs counterpart Buena Vida features “enticing” salsas and superior pickled vegetables. Other solid contenders on the second floor: tuna ceviche with watermelon and salsa macha, and corn-filled empanadas with “lush” guacamole.
Sietsema awards a three-star rating to H Street’s months-old vegan restaurant. One of the many starring dishes is a “picnic” featuring candy cane beets with barbecue vinaigrette, Brussels sprouts, and freshly baked brown bread. The cocktails are “well made” at the packed, 65-seat vegan restaurant from the founders of renowned Philadelphia restaurants Vedge and V Street. Sietsema also heaps praise on its rutabaga fondue, which he says is better than many of wine-spiked versions currently found in D.C. Other hits include the wood-roasted carrot on a bed of lentils, and dan dan noodles topped with mushrooms that look “suspiciously meaty to the naked eye.”
DC Modern Luxury restaurant critic Nevin Martell heads to Cleveland Park’s new modern Israeli restaurant, which he says lives up to its Hebrew translation of “cool”. Expect a packed house, he notes, complimenting the scenery of fairy lights strung over the bar as well as accents including carved wooden screens, palm fronds, and lanterns. “It’s as if you’ve entered a Bedouin tent,” Martell writes. The meal kicks off with crunchy pickles; he suggests accompanying them with the pomegranate and Cotton & Reed rum-infused Zephyr Breeze cocktail. A must order is the salatim: five dips and spreads with warm-from-the-oven pita covered in olive oil and za’atar spice. The standout sharable entree, he says, is the lamb shank braised in schmaltz (clarified chicken fat) and served on shredded cabbage “brightened” with orange juice and sweetened with dates. As for the finale, the best of the bunch is the “decadent” mahalabia — Iranian-style milk custard topped off with strawberries, strawberry-rose syrup, and pistachio brittle.