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Tuesday, January 10 at 11 AM
Every Tuesday at 11, food and wine editor Todd Kliman takes your questions about Washington area cuisine and restaurant news. Host Todd Kliman

Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.

Published January 3, 2012

Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype?

The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 a.m. on Kliman Online. From scoping out scruffy holes in the wall to weighing the merits of four-star wanna-bes, from scouring the 'burbs and exurbs to hitting the city's streets, Todd Kliman covers a lot of territory.

Winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2005 for the country's best newspaper column about food, Kliman is food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The Washingtonian. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Oxford American, and Men's Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies. He is the author of The Wild Vine, a literary exploration of two entwined mysteries: an obscure grape that rose to prominence, only to disappear, and its biggest present-day champion, a dot-com-millionaire-turned-vintner on an obsessive quest to restore the legend of an antebellum southern doctor.

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W H E R E   I ' M   E A T I N G   N O W  . . .

Vermilion, Alexandria
The honesty and simplicity of chef Tony Chittum's make-it-local-or-make-it-from-scratch approach has never been in question. But these days there's a newfound coherence in his plates, a clarity that brings even his heartiest, most soulful plates into tight focus. The desserts, with Tiffany MacIsaac in the fold now as guru of sweets for all outlets in the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, have never been better.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, DC
This jumping fish house in the 14th St. corridor is Jeff and Barbara Black's fifth place, and by far their most funin the room and on the plate. The other surprise? The excellent valuea reminder that among the benefits of a mini-empire is the ability to leverage high-volume purchasing into cut-rate deals. Don't miss the marvelous twist on mariscos, a seafood-laden salsa with fresh-fried chips.

Komi, DC
The best, most sensual, most fully realized restaurant in the area remains Johnny Monis's lair of a place, a sparely appointed East Dupont townhouse withcheck itno menu.

Eola, DC
Daniel Singhofen scrapped his a la carte menu this past April, replacing it with a $65 five-course tasting menu. The move seemed premature, given that the chef had yet to establish his Dupont Circle townhouse restaurant as a landmark dining destination, one that had endured many seasons and fads. But Singhofen and company appear ready to make the leap. Courses are imaginatively conceived without straining for effect, and the execution is clean and precise without lapsing into austerity. Best of all, Singhofen imbues these sophisticated dishes with a quality more precious than all the tricks in the molecular gastronomer's toolkit: soul.

R&R Taqueria, Elkridge
Best Mexican food in the area, and it's not even close. Andit's in a gas station. Worth the drive to Elkridge.

Ripple, DC
Ex-New Heights chef Logan Cox has taken his sauce-painted bowls and fascinating juxtapositions north up Connecticut Ave., making this modestly done Cleveland Park dining room one of the most intriguing places to dine at the moment. His rabbit loin transforms a typically dry, stringy meat into a kind of luscious barbecue, and his vegetable composition platethat stale relic of the early aughtsis so good, it could stand alone as a (light) entree.

Fiola, DC

Fabio Trabocchi's edge-of-Penn Quarter restaurant has put its tentative beginnings behind it. The dishes emerging from the brick-framed, herb-potted kitchen find the prodigiously talented chef moving further and further from the controlled elegance of his work at the late Maestro. They also find him cooking with a renewed confidence and conviction. The best of these platesan astonishingly flavorful ragu of wild hare with thick bands of papardelle, a double-cut, prosciutto-wrapped veal chop with toasted hazelnuts that accent the sweetness and nuttiness of the meat, a bowl of tender meatballs in a tomato sauce that frankly puts most Italian grandmothers to shamemarry rusticity with refinement. Dessertsincluding a fabulous cone of sugar-dusted bomboloni, with pots of apple marmalade and cinnamon gelatoremain a rousing finish.

Boundary Stone, DC
Really more the kind of place to drown your troublesor create a fewbut I'm just waiting to go back to this faux-divey Bloomingdale bar for the blue cheese-stuffed arancini and deviled eggs (both of which could fool you into thinking you'd stepped into a three-star restaurant menu), a plate of confited chicken thighs that only needed a few shakes of salt to come alive, and the stellar fish 'n' chips, whose flaky cod is encased in a beer batter so thick it could probably survive baggage claim.

Proof, DC
There's a lot to love about Mark Kuller's wine bar-plus, beginning with its tossed-off sophistication, the sense you get that everything just seems to have fallen into place and nobody's straining too hard for effect. The cooking, under the direction of Haidar Karoum, reinforces the feeling with dishes that deliver the complexity and intricacy of fine dining while coming across with the easy approachability of the corner bistro: superlative foie gras (seared and served atop a cherry-studded short cake), crisp-skinned branzino in a saffron broth, a knockout plate of spaghetti and meatballs (foie gras is the crucial ingredient, an ingenious way of lightening the texture of the meat without resorting to bready filler). There's a wealth of good, interesting wines to pair with these plates—wines you're simply not going to find anywhere else in the city. The restaurant, to its great credit, makes them available in two-ounce pours that encourages you to try things you wouldn't ordinarily.

* Banh Mi DC Sandwich, Falls Church
#1 Combination and #2 Roast Pork. $3.75 apiece. Vivid reminders of what the boring and/or dumbed-down others all miss—the peppery bite, the pronounced sharpness of the pickling, the balance between meats and condiments, the lightness of the loaf. 

 

* new this week

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Vienna, VA

Hi Todd,

I'm the one who wrote in about trying to impress some NY friends. Thanks for your suggestions and I'll let you know where we end up.

My friend emailed me saying that she went to Daniel in NYC for dinner last wkd..I'm seriously screwed!!

Well, maybe not.

I think you'll do well with those recs, and I'll be waiting to hear how things turned out. Good luck ...

And good morning to all ...

I'm chatting live from RDV Vineyards, an hour-and-a-half from DC in snow-dappled Delaplane, Va. RDV is Rutger de Vink's closed-to-the-public winery. I'll be doing a tasting with Rutger this afternoon. Wine afficionados may remember that Jancis Robinson, the eminent British wine critic, gave RDV her stamp of approval this Fall with a glowing review of RDV and its wines. ...

Komi/Little Serow

Last week a chatter wrote about his visit to Little Serow and casually wondered how diners at Komi upstairs felt about the absence of Chef Monis from the Komi kitchen. I can answer that!

My husband and I had dinner at Komi in mid-November, not long after Little Serow had opened. This was not our first visit to Komi, so we were qualified to compare that experience with our previous experiences. Sadly, it did not compare well at all.

In our past visits there have always been many, many dishes that were sublime and that we would talk about for months afterward -- every visit was just fabulous. This last time, however, there was only one, maybe two, dishes that were memorable (the half-smoke and a pasta dish). The rest of it was totally tasteless and forgettable.

We were astonished and terribly disappointed. We noted that Johnny did not seem to be in the kitchen and a server confirmed that.

And speaking of service, it just didn't seem to have the snap and sparkle that we are used to and, of course, there was no Kat Bangs to advise us on wine.

Honestly, we really felt like we were the forgotten child that night.

Given Komi's prices, this is a very expensive disappointment. I truly hope that this was an anomaly, but it did cause us to wonder if Komi will become like so many other restaurants when the chef starts to expand and open other venues.

Interesting. All the more because I sense that you didn't just come on to grind an axe ...

I hope that yours is an isolated experience. Also, that this is just one of the growing pains that comes when you're a small operation and you launch a new and somewhat ambitious venture.

Has anyone else been to Komi in recent weeks?

Washington dc

Hi Todd,

Have you ever had the chance to try Shawafel on H st? I hear good things about the place.

My friends are Lebanese and they rave about the place all the time. Where do you think Is the best Lebanese quick service in town.

I think it's a terrific spot, and easily one of the best places to eat on H.

I first wrote about it three months ago, here, on the chat:

"Shawafel, DC

"H St. has built is rep as a place to come chill and drink, with food a distant concern of most restaurants and resto-lounges. This quick-serve Lebanese spot flips that model. Owner Alberto Sissi, an acolyte of Jose Andres's Think Food Group, attends to details. The slices of beef-and-lamb shwarma sport nicely crusted edges, the hummus is a rich but surprisingly well-balanced whip, and the small discs of falafel, made from chickpeas and fava beans, are marvelously light and crunchy. (I'm waiting for my next hangover to dive into the french fry sandwich.)"

a former Texan ...

A former Texan, I took my husband on an eating and sight-seeing tour of a few cities in Texas over the holidays.

Highlights: We celebrated a Vietnamese Christmas by enjoying 7 courses of beef in Garland. Sorry, I don’t know the name because my mom picked it out and I just followed. Each beefy course was wrapped up with crunchy fresh and pickled vegetables in rice paper at the table.

Old West Café in Denton is a country diner with a cheap menu (peach cobbler for $1.49!) and extremely large portions (2 giant chicken breasts in 1 chicken sandwich). Unfortunately, the kitchen’s computer went down and we waited approximately 30 minutes from the time of our order to receive our food, after having waited 20-30 minutes for a table since it’s a small, but popular place. The food was southern comfort, as well as the charm. Shame the long wait times put a taint on our experience.

We enjoyed authentic Mexican tacos for breakfast at La Azteca Meat Market, a Mexican grocery store in Denton that sits a few tables next to a case of savory stewed, roasted, and bbq’d meats. Our Spanish isn’t the best, so we just pointed to what looked good and it all was served in double corn tortillas with a sprinkling of cilantro, onions and a drizzle of lime. Our 8 tacos of pork and beef for 3 people came out to $12 and change, with tax!

We drove through Hill Country for BBQ at the Salt Lick in Driftwood. You know, the place with the giant meat-grilling pit holding hunks of animal with sausage dripping from the top. We ordered the all-you-can-eat family style pork ribs, pork sausage and beef brisket. This was definitely the first time I’ve been to a BBQ joint where I enjoyed all of the BBQ, versus liking only one particular meat over another. I see why they’re so popular. They know what they’re doing, on all accounts. We could not stop eating the pinto beans and coleslaw here! All you can eat meat, yet we couldn’t stop shoveling beans and cabbage because they were so delicious!

We gorged ourselves on Mexican in San Antonio; my favorite place being Mi Tierra in the Market Place. Although my tamale dish wasn’t up to what I know Mi Tierra is capable of, my brother’s menudo was seriously delicious and the empanadas from the panaderia have never disappointed. We got pastries there 2 days in a row, and bought some back for friends.

A nice surprise was Café Salsita in a shopping strip we chose after reading reviews on Yelp (I know, I know). It was great, small, homey, local and served homemade corn tortillas! I may have ruined my husband on tortillas forever after having those.

Unfortunately, we didn’t consume anything amazing in Austin, but we enjoyed touring the Capitol and walking around the “weird” shops on SoCo. And just because, we also ate at Whataburger, Jack in the Box, Chicken Express, Taco Cabana, and Pappadeaux to give my husband a native feel.

I'm envious!

And hungry!

That's really the only way to celebrate the holidays, don't you think? Eating, drinking, adventuring, spending time with family and friends ...

And as for using Yelp -- look, you're not the only one. I use Yelp, too, when I travel. The problem is knowing how to use it.

There're a lot of places that come up with four-stars, and that's mostly because people in a neighborhood think the world of some little cozy spot that you wouldn't bother to drive ten minutes for. That's okay for them -- but not for you, the traveler. I've eaten some truly awful meals at four-star Yelp places.

And then there are places that people are jaded about because they've gotten too much local press, and the result is a lower score than what the place probably deserves because people are mainly responding to their expectations and not the reality.

The problem is, you have to read through about 20 or so reviews -- grandstanding displays of writerliness, illogical assertions, grammatical minefields, lame attempts at comedy -- to get a sense of what's what.

I like that it bunches a disparate group of places for you geographically and gives you addresses and numbers, and I like that it gives you a cursory impression. It's a very decent tool.

 

Kensington, MD

Help! I am looking for very good sushi for my birthday on Wednesday.

But it has to be available for takeout (we can't dine in because we have a toddler). Any recommendations? Thanks.

Kushi or Sushi Taro.

I've ordered take-out sushi from both, and besides being two of the best sushi bars in the area, they do a good job with take-out orders.

Not many people regard sushi as a take-out meal, but in fact it's one of the best take-out meals you can order. In fact, I'd say it's a lot better than pizza.

You don't have to worry about anything steaming in its container and going soggy. You don't have to worry about your dinner cooling off.

And provided you're going to be sitting down and digging into your take-out within the hour, you don't have to worry about the kind of structural breakdowns you do with other take-out dishes -- french fries, for instance. Right? A good one is glorious when hot and fresh. Thirty minutes later, a good but cold one isn't something that's appealing in the least.

I'd take sushi as a take-out meal over just about anything, actually -- paired, if possible, with a bottle of Burgundy, red or white, or some really cold beer. The only other cuisines that hold up as well are Ethiopian and Indian.

DC

Todd,

Do you have any love for Bibiana these days? I have been curious about the place but haven't been hearing much these days.

My impression is that it is solid Italian but with other Italian restaurants, it may not stand above the rest? Please help me figure out if it's worth a trip.

Also, any highly-rated items to note?

Thanks

Bibiana's much more than solid. It's a good restaurant. A markedly better place than it was when it first opened, and an operation that is really clicking now.

If I'm going, I'm zeroing in on the Sicilian-style grilled sardines, the smoked veal sweetbreads with celery root puree; the black spaghetti (made with squid ink) with fresh lump crab; and the ravioli filled with confited fresh tuna, with white beans and shrimp.

RW

So it's finally here, Restaurant Week, a foodie's reason for eating out 7 days in a week. However, my last few episodes with RW have been awful- bad service, bad food.

My husband is convinced that restaurants loathe us "bargain hunters" and therefore put out their worst. My take is that I'm more than willing to dish out for a whole meal at any restaurant that treats & serves me well during RW- I've found many favorites this way.

My question to you is- how do restauranteurs REALLY feel about RW? Are they putting out their best to get repeat customers? Are they dreading it and just putting up with it. If so- why even participate.

Love your chats as always!

Not all, but most restaurateurs dread Restaurant Week.

They think they need to do it, and so they do it. But they're cringing all the while, most of them.

And it shows. Particularly in service, which, as I always say, takes its cues (verbal and non-verbal both) from the top.

You called RW "a foodie's reasons for eating out 7 days a week." I wouldn't go that far. In fact, I wouldn't even go so far as to say it's a foodie's reason for eating out 3 days a week.

I think at dinner it's no longer a good value -- $35.12 per person works out to (after tax, tip and a glass of wine for you and your date) to about $120 for two. At lunch, it's a different story: three courses for $20.12. That's a terrific deal, and I'd try to take advantage of that a few times if I had the time and money.

Washington,DC

re: last week's question about holiday eating ...

Had the good fortune of ending up at an early seating for an incredible five-course meal on New Year's Eve at Town House in Chilhowie, Va., several hours south on 81 until Virginia almost runs out.

Among the many surprises popping up: wild licorice, spruce, elderberry juice and a smoked, almost candied baby beet accompanying a delicious slice of lamb belly; fish skins blown up into the equivalent of pork rinds for soaking up broth; radish milk with shell fish; a dessert of erupted chocolate with ash and cinders concealing small pools of ice cream and pudding; and a communcal plate of nougat flecked with kaffir lime resembling the surface of a mountainous hiking trail or the landscape of an elaborate toy train set.

these plates were poetry and they tasted delicious.

the restaurant is located on a historic side street and enveloped by darkness and solitude, as was the 11-mile drive back to Marion where we were staying at the Francis Marion -- or Swamp Fox -- Hotel.

The sky was full of stars, the cold moving in and our young adult son said he would never forget that meal, while a rural desolation that just doesn't exist in these parts, swirled around us.

What a meal.

What a night.

Thanks for regaling us with your adventures.

I've heard and read a good many things about Town House, and have been eager to get down there -- isn't it about a five-hour trip from DC? -- and taste for myself. So thanks, also, for the needed reminder.

Fairfax, VA

I went to Restaurant Eve for my birthday and had an odd experience which put a bad note on an otherwise excellent evening. While the food was great I felt that I was misled which added a sour note to the evening.

At Eve the Testing menu has you pick one of four choices from each of 5 courses - with the option of skipping one course altogether and having two items from another course. All well and good. It even shows an admirable level of flexibility.

The problem is the Chef Degustation Menu. We ordered it as an "adventurous" alternative as the chef would prepare "an exclusive multi course tasting menu for you". We almost ordered it for 5 courses but at the last minute we decided to go for 7. I am really glad we ungraded to 7 courses. We expected and having reread the language I believe we were fully justified in expecting a unique set of 7 courses. If we had received one or two off the menu it would have been fine - but all 7 were items off the menu.

I didn’t realize this at the time – I noticed it when we got home – because they gave us a copy of the menu and found all the dishes. If I had ordered only 5 courses I would have felt really stupid. Why should I have the chef pick the 5 choices out of the same pool of dishes that I could pick from. What is "adventurous" about that?

The chef doesn't come out and talk to you about likes and dislikes - it is a general question of any allergies or things you don't like. I could pick at least as well as him. In fact we got the dessert that I would have picked last of the 4 choices and I definitely would have skipped the cheese course altogether.

I wrote to the manager making it clear that I was not asking for free food or drinks but didn’t even get a response – it’s been 4 weeks. My wife and I would really like your take on the situation and would like to know if you think we are being unreasonable in feeling misled.

I wouldn't use the word "misled," but I do think that it's only reasonable to expect that some of those 7 courses, at least, would be made up of dishes not available on any other menus.

I'm surprised you haven't heard back from Eve about this.

 

Van Ness

Crispy Pig's Head - Imagine a tater tot. Instead of potato, the tot is stuffed with shredded pork laced with Chinese Five Spice powder.

Just one of the five excellent dishes we ate at Proof Saturday night.

The other show stopper was sauteed gnocchi, with butternut squash, kale, tiny brussel sprouts, and brown butter. A perfect winter dish. The kind of dish you wished you had some bread to lap up the left over buttery goodness. DC Brau Imperial Porter on tap was also excellent.

Proof was definitely on-point this weekend.

"On point." My students at Howard U. used to use this expression all the time.

I always thought it was interesting when it was paired with a writer or thinker who was not generally regarded as in the now. "Albert Murray was really on point with his talking about the blues as a metaphor." "William Melvin Kelley -- that book, A Different Drummer, was really on point."

It always brought to mind the image of the writer standing behind a lectern, doing a Power Point presentation of his work.

Anyway ...

That sounds absolutely delicious, what you ate this weekend -- the Crispy Pig's Head-cum-tater-tot, especially. That'll be next up for me -- while next up for you ought to be the spaghetti and meatballs (with foie gras!) and seared foie gras over cherry short cakes.

Washington, DC

Where can I get the BEST chicken fried steak in the Washington, DC, area? Am looking to treat a Southern transplant for his birthday.

Is there even a GOOD one, let alone one we could single out and anoint a BEST of the area?

If I'm in the dark on this, let me know. I'd LOVE to know of a good chicken fried steak out there ...

Washington, DC

2012's cupcakes could be Macaroons.... We were in NYC for the holidays and hour long lines at Laduree from Paris reminded me a lot of Georgetown Cupcakes. They were fabulous and certainly are great instantly or as a gift which seems to be a criteria for the new cupcake....

Word to the wise:

Do not -- repeat: do not -- let anyone French see you typing "macaroon" when you are clearly referring to a macaron. You will end up in a fight.

I doubt macarons ever becoming really, really big, despite what some of the food mags have said. For one thing, unless they're really good, it's hard to see what the fuss is all about, and there are a lot of really not-good ones out there.

We did a taste-test a year or two ago. Most were dreadful -- though some were just fine as cookies. But a macaron is an unusual thing. It's very rich, but also very delicate. It's texturally complex, comprising three different layers that deliver completely different effects.

Also, it's hard to hook people on something that has to be explained to them.

For that reason, I don't think caneles -- which I love, and which Bon Appetit has hailed as a potential cupcake rival -- are ever going to hit it big, either.

As I said last week, I'd love to see soft pretzels break out in this market -- though I wonder whether DC's urbanites regard soft pretzels as something down-market and unsexy, the foodstuff of suburban mall fatties.

Or what about creative lollipops? Lots of sugar, but not many calories ...

 

 

Rich in NoMA, DC

Hi Todd,

As someone who is passionate about food and enjoys the Washingtonian's food & dining writing, I usually can't wait to pick up my annual copy of the "Top 100 Restaurants" in the area.

However, over the past few years, I've found the feature to be more and more disappointing. I was not a fan last year when you all only ranked the top 40 restaurants in the city, and then just left everyone in the back 60 at the same generic level. I was even more unhappy to see you only rank a top 10 this year, with a number of random categories afterward. I found it to be confusing (i.e. were things ranked 1-10, 11-40, and then the rest, or was it just 1-10, 11-100?).

I also found it to be a bit of a cop-out. I can understand the argument back that the list became too arbitrary as it's hard to split hairs between what makes the 42nd best restaurant compared to the 30th. However, the point of something like a top 100 is arbitrariness. I want to discuss and debate rankings with you, or with friends, and figure what where we'd rank these restaurants if given the opportunity. I feel like the current systems does not allow for that type of "fun."

Could you please comment as to why you are moving in the direction you are regarding the top 100?

Thank you!

Rich, I hear you.

And you make some very good points, I think. In particular, I appreciate your using the guide as a point of conversation; I think that's one of the things it exists to do.

(By the way, just as an aside, I think it's funny to read you complaining about the fact that the current edition doesn't rank the restaurants from 1-100, given that when we went that route four years ago the big complaint was that it did away with the previous system.)

I also think you should know that we're not moving in any particular direction with this. We simply looked at the data we'd amassed and decided this was the best, most effective way to present our findings, as it were. We didn't the success of a prior model dictate what we ought and ought not to do this time around.

In particular, we wanted to effectively showcase the restaurants that we think are putting out some of the most interesting, exciting food and drink in the area right now, but that, for whatever reason, don't necessarily merit four stars.

Little Serow

Haven't been to Komi lately, but have been to Little Serow 3-4 times at this point, and for the most part, it's wowed.

Food is spicy, sour, salty, and really fun to eat. Servers master the low-key, somewhat whimsical but still attentive service that suits the restaurant. And the random freebies (mostly ice wine) that sometimes come with a course or two certainly don't hurt.

Guess I shouldn't be surprised that Komi is suffering a bit in the process, because Little Serow is hitting a serious stride.

Well, and don't take it as gospel that Komi has declined just because we have one report that it wasn't up to snuff.

As for Little Serow, your experiences mirror mine. I think you capture it pretty well in just a few sentences.

Hey, you could post on Yelp! (Just make it a little more ungrammatical and awkwardly phrased.)

 

Reston, VA

RE: Komi/Serow:

I recently had dined at Little Serow on a Tuesday and then Komi that Friday (a very happy 30th to me) and I must say my experience was quite different. Tuesday's meal was outstanding (easily the best ribs I've ever eaten) and Chef Monis seemed to be in and out of Serow (presumably running up to Komi) and our server at the counter couldn't have been better.

On Friday the SO and I were up in Komi and aside from the half smoke and pasta, I absolutely loved the uni/scallop mezze dish, the fish in general was outstanding, and no matter how many times I have them the dates are a treat. Our service was exactly as good as I remember it, we were offered help from the sommelier but knew going in we' be doing the pairing, and towards the end Chef was definitely in the kitchen and then going around the room for a little meet/greet/pleasantries.

In summary, while I can't refute the original poster's experience I can say with certainly that my two experiences were exactly what I'd come to expect.

Interesting.

And not really that surprising. I'll be interested in hearing more from all of you about this ...

And lucky, lucky you, Little Serow and Komi in the same week!

Cap Hill

I've had the Chicken Fried Steak at Ted's Bulletin, and its not bad. It isn't incredible, but of the couple times I've tried it, its been consistently pretty good.

"Consistently pretty good"!

I love it.

Just once, I'd love to hear someone ask me: "Can you recommend anywhere consistentlhy pretty good?"

RW

As a enthusiastic diner (I won't use the f word), I avoid RW like the plague.

Case in point, at one of our neighborhood restaurants on Friday night, a place which struggles to do its menu consistently well, we saw their menu for the upcoming RW. All new dishes for all 3 courses. At best, they'll have some dishes that will taste good, but will probably not be available again, which will anger both their loyal customers and any new ones who thought the RW menu reflected their actual menu. More likely, since the kitchen hasn't had an experience with these dishes, they'll turn out poorly, thus losing any chance at new customers and again angering their loyal customers.

So here's my advice. Pick three to five strong dishes from your regular menu in each category (appetizer, main, dessert) and make those available for RW. You'll get new customers eating your best dishes, and they'll be able to come back and enjoy those again. Your regular customers will get a good deal, which they'll deserve for showing up during a week in which your service will be sub par.

Not a bad idea.

Actually, the more I think about it -- a very good idea. Streamlining, always a good thing for restaurants in the midst of a crush ...

Thanks for chiming in ...

Old Town

Headed to Philly for the weekend. Have reservations at Parc and Mercato for dinner. Any recommendations for lunch/bunch? Was thinking of trying something in Fish Town, but am open for anything. Thanks!

I'd urge you to try to make it to at least one of these three:

* Garces Trading Co.

* Osteria.

* Zahav.

I'll be interested in hearing where you ended up ...

Falls Church, VA

not Komi but I`ve been to Little Serow and loved it.

the service is super friendly and professional. I think $45 menu is a great deal and worth the wait. Spicy catfish was a little bland but the rest of the food was great, especially the duck egg dish.

I also visited Fishnet on friday evening and fried cod was super fresh and tasty and french fries are awesome. I thought you like them but took it down from your list above.

Is the quality not good anymore? By the way, I am looking for great garlicky mussels in tomato broth? Where can I find it in DC? thanks Todd, enjoy the vino..

For mussels in tomato broth -- gotta be New Heights. The new chef there, Ron Tanaka, is doing a superlative version.

I'm still thinking about it. One of the best things I've eaten in the last few months.

And re: Fishnet. They're not off the list for anything more than the fact that a.) they were closed for two weeks over the holidays and 2.) I like to add places in from time to time, keep the list reflective of my passions at the moment.

Gotta go, everyone. The wine awaits! And I'm hearing rumors of some lamb ... Thanks to Jackie Ross at RDV for making this happen, and for setting me up to work in such a quiet and cozy space. And good coffee, too ...

Be well, eat well, and let's do it again next Tuesday at 11 ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[missing you, TEK ... ]

 

 

 

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