Corn tempura at Yuzu
Order the corn tempura ($7) at Yuzu, in Bethesda, and what you get is a baseball-size orb of lacy, crunchy fry batter studded with fresh corn. It tastes a little like funnel cake—there’s that same giddy feeling of biting into a mass of bad-for-you fried dough—until you sprinkle on the green tea salt and give it a squeeze of lemon. The salt and acid lighten and brighten it, neutralizing the feeling of gorging on so much fry in one sitting and bringing out the sweetness of the corn. The chef, Yoshihita Ota, cooked previously at Sushi Ko II, in Chevy Chase, and there are a number of things to seek out on his multi-part menu. This is the one to return for, though—as memorable as the classic cool jazz that drifts through the long, open room.
Meatball sub at G
Lemonade, lemon bars, lemon sorbet, limoncello—I’ll take lemons anywhere I can get ’em (I’m a little obsessed). But this weekend the citrus fruit showed up in a place I didn’t expect to find it: the meatball sub at G, Mike Isabella’s sleek new sandwich shop. It was a delicious sandwich all around, with a good, sesame-seeded roll, tangy tomato sauce, melty disks of fresh mozzarella, a swipe of robust pork ragu, and a few basil leaves. All those accessories wouldn’t mean much, though, if the meatballs were dry or dully seasoned. These were wonderful—and not only because of the heavy dose of lemon zest. They had an almost mousse-like fluffiness yet were still some of the most flavorful I’ve had.
Skillet cornbread at Range
I always end up with the strangest combinations of food when I eat at Range—I’m pretty well-versed in designing coherent meals from small-plates menus, but this one throws me every time. Complicating matters: I had planned on lunch, but the waiter announced that the restaurant had just debuted its brunch dishes, so biscuits and gravy (excellent) had to happen. If you’ve tried them at Bryan Voltaggio’s other brunch spot, Volt, you’ll know what I mean. And I couldn’t not order the rich Caesar with egg emulsion, ribbons of kale, and wee, crunchy sourdough croutons. (Wait—was that the best thing I ate all week?) My dining companion wanted tuna sliders … suffice to say, it got weird. The warm, rich skillet cornbread—dripping with herby butter and accompanied by super-savory bacon marmalade, was not only delicious but served as a much-need refresher between the disparate dishes on the table. All of them good—just not necessarily together.
Sungold tomatoes from New Morning Farm (at the Dupont FreshFarm Market)
After a jag of dining out almost every night for two weeks, either socially or for work (and the occasional Chinese takeout in between), I finally had a free Sunday evening, and knew exactly what I wanted to cook: pasta with sungold tomatoes. This is my go-to dish of summer. I can satisfy almost any other craving year-round with a trip to the grocery store (strawberry shortcake in January? Why not?). But this simple pasta dish—a toss of ripe, sweet tomatoes blistered in a hot pan, shaved garlic, basil, and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs for crunch—relies wholly on summer bounty. The organically grown sungolds from New Morning Farm are the best around, and the stand is overflowing with pints of the bright fruits through the season. The only change I make to Mario Batali’s recipe is to add more tomatoes for ample amounts of sauce (and using quality olive oil never hurts).