It’s one thing to be clever; it’s another to be clever and delicious. The “chicken and waffles” at this wine-and-small-plates cafe is both. The poultry is a perfectly fried quail, flanked by two thin waffles atop a marvelous caramel-bacon sauce. This is simple and precisely rendered food, from a gorgeous watercress-potato soup to a sublime croque monsieur. The well-chosen wines, including a few from Virginia, are available in half pours, full glasses, and flights as well as by the bottle. If there’s a drawback, it’s the long waits caused by the small space.
7 S. King St., Leesburg; 703-777-9463.
An ordinary dumpling can be a pretty wonderful thing, providing a measure of satisfaction few foods can reach. A very good dumpling? That’s cause for celebration. This hole in the wall—sometimes called Mama’s Dumplings—in the heart of northern Rockville’s new Chinatown produces some of the area’s most irresistible dumplings. The beef-and-celery, pork-and-chive, and shrimp-and-chive were standouts on a recent visit. The bowls of Szechuan noodles and Beijing noodles (both handmade) were every bit their equal.
755 Hungerford Dr., Rockville; 301-294-0808.
You can find raw fish served in bigger slabs and for smaller tabs. But here you put yourself in the hands of sushi purists who make sure the rice is perfectly seasoned and doesn’t clump and that the salmon and yellowtail are carved with delicacy. Pay attention to the specials, which recently included an excellent spot prawn. The good wine list includes a crisp, fruity Godello from Telmo Rodríguez for $30 and a superb white Burgundy from Shaps & Roucher-Sarrazin for $50.
5455 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-961-1644.
This appeared in the July, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian.
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