The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food
•LA Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila gives Michel Richard’s Citrus at Social—one of two California restaurants he’s recently opened—a flattering three-star review. Her descriptions of dishes should sound familiar to Richard’s Washington fans: the menu seems to be a mix of Citronelle’s witty haute cuisine (“Carpaccio of ‘surf, turf and earth’ is laid out on a square platter— a fabulous mosaic of raw beef, tuna, salmon, scallop, and roasted pepper”) and Central’s elevated bistro fare (“Chicken ‘faux gras,’ a small crock of silky blond chicken liver mousse topped with a layer of emerald gelee to spread on thick slabs of toast”).
•Carol Joynt, owner of Nathan’s in Georgetown, blogger, and former TV news writer and producer, dishes to New York Social Diary about DC’s power lunch spots—number one being the White House Mess. Scans of the menu reveal all-American fare such as the Lone Star Cowboy White House Signature Steak and a West Wing Burger—no prices included. There’s also a “Lite Menu” of boring-sounding fruit platters and veggie burgers. Joynt says the White House Mess—open only to senior staff and their guests—is no culinary destination: “Few guests are there for the food. They are there to say they were there.”
•With Stefano Frigerio getting good reviews over at Mio, another former Maestro sous-chef is about to set out on his own. Nick Stefanelli—who spent a short time with his old boss Fabio Trabocchi at Fiamma in New York after Maestro closed—is opening Hint, an Italian-influenced restaurant in Tenleytown. The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema reports that Stefanelli is hoping for a late-summer opening in the former Dancing Crab space.
•In the Wednesday dining pages, the New York Times muses on the proliferation of wine bars and French bistros, both dining categories that have seen similar booms in DC.
•At National Harbor, the enormous new development on the Prince George’s County side of the Potomac, the Gaylord National Hotel opened this week. The mega-hotel—the largest non-casino hotel on the East Coast— has 2,000 rooms, a 200-foot-tall atrium, a spa, a two-level nightclub, and five restaurants. Post reporter Hank Stuever eats sushi and fried oysters with caviar at Moon Bay, which he calls “the Gaylord’s fancy interpretation of a crab shack on a pier.” The hotel’s other upscale restaurant, Old Hickory Steakhouse, “features its own maitre de fromage, who will custom-select and teach you about your cheese plate.”