Tuesday, July 17 at 11 AM

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 AM on Kliman Online.

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 AM on Kliman Online.

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 YorkerHarper’sThe Oxford AmericanThe Daily Beast 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 present-day evangelist, a
foul-mouthed transgendered multi-millionaire vintner on an obsessive
quest to restore the legend of an antebellum southern doctor. 

Can’t wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world.

W H E R E   I ‘ M   E A T I N G   N O W   .  .  .

El Chucho Cocina Superior, DC
it’s on, an exhilarating tour through the intricate, layered flavors of
regional Mexican cooking, backed by a long list of cocktails,
margaritas, sipping tequilas and mezcals. Early hits: a smoky grilled
corn cob impaled on a skewer, spritzed with lime, rolled in grated
cheese and dusted with queso fresco; the tongue-shaped chips known as
huaraches, topped with crumbled queso fresco and pickled onions and
served with a sublime dark mole; a torta, or sub, that impersonates a
Manwich and a Chicago beef sandwich all at once — chopped adobo pork
dredged in a spicy Arbol chili sauce, garnished with black beans,
onions, avocado and chihuahua cheese and then submerged in that same
sauce again before serving (forgo the accompanying plastic gloves and
give in to the sloppy lusciousness).

Menomale, DC
the crop of Neapolitan-style pizzerias that made their debut sometime in
the past year, I’m most partial to this tiny Brookland operation, a
joint venture of hophead Leland Estes and pizzaiolo Ettore Rusciano.
Rusciano is a passionate craftsman, with an eye for balance (the best of
these pies are chewy where they need to be and crispy where they need
to be), a respect for proportionality, and an understanding of the
importance of salt. That same great dough is used for the tasty calzones
and sandwiches. You can even sample it in the must-order starter, the
affetata, an attractive selection of meats and cheeses.

Green Pig Bistro, Arlington
of the best and most intriguing of the current crop of Hipster
Farmhouse restaurants (dishtowel napkins, bluegrass in the air,
repurposed wood and yard-sale tchochkes throughout). The chef, Scot
Harlan, an alumnus of the kitchen at Inox, cooks with precision and
clarity, making light of a plate of crispy pig tacos (the pig, here, is
salty, crunchy matchsticks of julienned ears) and even a country-style
pate. There’s a fantastic drinks menu, and a not-bad selection of
Virginia wines, including a Michael Shaps Cab Franc that sells for $5 a
glass; it’s a perfect match for the rich, porky treats.

Moa, Rockville
never find it if you weren’t looking for it. Situated in the
fascinating industrial sector of Rockville, amid a slew of old
warehouses and specialty supply stores, this cozy Korean mom ‘n’ pop is
about as hidden as hidden gems get. The cooking is vivid and
punchy–great bibimbap, served several ways, along with a parade of
soups, noodle dishes and stir frys. Order a soju to wash it all down;
the mango and watermelon are fresh and gently sweet, a good counterpart
to the garlicky intensity of the food.

Maple Avenue, Vienna
diners might be skeptical of splurging for $20 + entrees in a tiny,
repurposed diner where the 8 tables are wedged together so closely the
room can feel like one big dinner party when the drinks are flowing.
Others might be skeptical of the menu, which bends in a dozen different
directions, implying a kitchen with a scattered,
be-everything-to-everyone vision — which is to say, no vision at all.
But this is a surprisingly focused restaurant — and a surprisingly
rewarding one, too, a place that feels like a personal statement, backed
by an amiable staff that clearly aims to send you away smiling. The
chef and owner, Tim Ma, does his part, too. He makes a mean shrimp and
grits, and his beef cheek sandwich with beer battered fries is one of
the best simple plates around. Don’t miss the bread pudding.

Fiola, DC
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 plates–an 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 shame–marry
rusticity with refinement. Desserts–including a fabulous cone of
sugar-dusted bomboloni, with pots of apple marmalade and cinnamon
gelato–remain a rousing finish.

Sidebar, Silver Spring
Diana Davila-Boldin, a Windy City native, has improved upon her Chicago
dog — grilling the link, griddling the bun and overloading the ripe,
fresh toppings. The result? The best dog in Washington, and better than
any Chicago dog I have ever had in Chicago. I’d give this
poolhall/hipster bar/cafe a spot on the list just for that, but I also
love her mini-falafel, her homemade sausages, her cod fritters, and the
cochinita tacos that amount to a glorious precis of El Chucho’s Cocina
Superior — Jackie Greenbaum’s forthcoming “inauthentic Mexican”
restaurant, in Columbia Heights.

Mintwood Place, DC
owner Saied Azali was lucky to land Cedric Maupillier, formerly the 
chef at Central and before that the chef de cuisine at Citronelle, for
his rusticky new bistro. The Toulon native is doing typically great
work–cranking out lovingly faithful renditions of such bistro classics
as cassoulet (see if you can finish it without two glasses of wine) and
steak tartare (the tiny, crunchy tater tots on top are a clever allusion
to his old boss, Michel Richard) as well as offering up some sly, smart
takes on tradition (frogs’ legs with black walnut romesco, a lamb
tongue moussaka). There’s a whole boneless dorade with picholine olives
and braised fennel that’s a knockout–beautifully conceived, perfectly

Meaza, Arlington
largest Ethiopian restaurant in the country, according to owner Meaza
Zemedu, if you count the butcher shop, grocery and banquet room in
addition to the dining room itself. Which wouldn’t mean much at all if
Zemedu wasn’t a talented cook who commands such a  focused and
consistent kitchen. Her wats, or long-simmered stews, are remarkable for
their depth and length. The kitfo is superb, akin to a great beef
tartare in its blending and balance of spices.

Cork, DC
best wine bar is eating better than it has since its early months,
thanks to new hire Rob Weland. The erstwhile Poste chef has brought a
seasonal focus to the menu, a welcome development for all those who
regard the place as a regular in their dining-out rotation. More
important is his great gift for making complex combinations feel
inevitable and for imbuing simple arrangements with subtle textures and

East Pearl, Rockville
superlative addition to the unofficial Chinatown of northern Rockville,
this cheery, subtly modish restaurant is turning out uncommonly
clean-tasting versions of standard Hong Kong-style fare, including
shrimp dumpling soup, shrimp with walnuts, and soyed chicken–all
spectacular. And don’t miss a Shanghai-style noodle dish that brings
together angel hair, roast pork, shrimp, green onions and a generous
spoonful of yellow curry powder into a light, greaseless and remarkably
vivid whole.


This week’s contest: Share Your Favorite Mid-Week, Mid-Summer Recipe

It’s tough keeping up an enthusiasm for cooking in blazing July and August. Today we want to know: What is your favorite dish to make during the dog days? Is a watermelon salad with basil and feta your culinary equivalent of a cool dip in the ocean, or  do you embrace the heat with spicy grilled chicken wings? Don’t just tell us what you make, tell us why it’s the best salve for summer’s punishing temps. Winner gets The Muffin Tin Cookbook, a collection of 200 recipes, all of which are prepared in a—you guessed it—muffin tin. Good luck!


G in DC:

Todd, My birthday is coming up next week and I’d love to go out with my family for a good Chinese meal. We are in DC and used to make the trek out to Peking Gourmet in Baileys Crossroads, but, as you have commented, it is not what it once was. What would you suggest?

Todd Kliman

Make the trek out to East Pearl, in Rockville.

I think it’s putting out some of the best Chinese food in the area right now, and maybe the best. Certain dishes there—the soyed chicken, the shrimp dumpling soup, the seafood congee—are as good as anything I’ve ever had in this country.

I’ll be interested in hearing about your experiences. Come back on and drop me a note …

Sandra, Capitol Hill:

My girlfriend and I ate at Chez Le Commis in Clarendon last weekend after several weeks of trying to get a seat. That doesn’t usually bode well for a meal in my book but the food was some of the most interesting I’ve encountered in the city. Popcorn ice cream with brown sugar caramel and cheddar cheese powder—God, it was good. Like naughty, naughty good, on par with any dessert I’ve had lately. Strange wines, more esoteric plates (squid ink-stained bitter grapefruit puree alongside black olive puree? huh??) and I’m pretty sure they played Judas Priest at one point.

Put it on the to-do list, Todd. Have you been? I don’t think it’s for everyone but I found a lot that worked. Just wish the chef (Tom) was in a “real” place, that way it wouldn’t be such a stupid hassle to get a seat. The “only on certain Saturdays” thing is rough if you’re in the industry.

Todd Kliman

I’ve been, and impromptu-reviewed it in early June, here on the chat.

I had a great time. It wasn’t as avant-garde as Tom Madrecki, the chef, had billed it to be in his email exchange with me, but that’s okay; it didn’t need to be. All it needed to be was delicious, and it often was. (There were some stumbles.)

I loved his squid ink butter. I loved that he steamed and picked his own crab for one appetizer; most restaurant kitchens rely on containers of product. I loved a dish of lamb with a thick, painterly swipe of caramelized onion puree — an inspired, simple pairing.

And really, if you think about it — $40 for 5 courses with pretty much unlimited wine = a tremendous value.

The only hesitation is that you’re surrendering yourself, in effect, to a blind dinner date. Are you going to like the other people around you or find them insufferably pretentious or deathly dull?

Fortunately in my case, everybody was pretty nice, and as the night wore on and the wine flowed, they got a lot nicer still.

Carrie, Vienna, VA:

On recent trips, I’ve had the most amazing coffee: a completely different experience than your average coffee shop (you know, the ones with the burnt beans). The hands down best is Intelligentsia in LA (Venice). Similar and also very good: Ritual in Napa and Blue Bottle in San Francisco. Are there any specialty coffee places that are comparable in DC? Any plans you know of for any? I’m craving this coffee again. I did have a cup of Intelligentsia in Founding Fathers, and it was good but didn’t rise to the level of what I had in LA. Thanks!

Todd Kliman

I gotta say, I don’t think this is a great coffee city.

The places I like—Peregrine, Qualia, Shagga, and Sidamo—aren’t real coffeehouses, the kind you want to blow a few hours in and forget the day a little. And the places that are coffeehouses often don’t have great coffee.

Who else do you all like for great coffee and/or a great coffeehouse vibe?

Arlington, VA:


Any information regarding the departure of Mark Slater from Ray’s the Steaks? I hope he will remain in the area.

Todd Kliman

Not yet.

In my tweet, I called Slater the dean of the city’s sommeliers. Not only does he possess a vast store of knowledge, but he knows the city and its dining history better than most restaurateurs.
I would expect that he would be attractive to many, many restaurants here and—given that impressive background, and a James Beard Award, too—around the country as well.

It’ll be interesting to hear where he lands.


On the chat, you often are very accommodating of people who are afraid to try new foods or have a very specific comfort zone. I’m ok with folks who are vegetarian for moral or religious reasons, gluten-free because of allergies, or even following certain types of health diets—those are reasons I can understand. But I tend to get at least somewhat frustrated with folks who limit my dining options and have determined that their tastes categorically reject all _____, whatever may fill the blank.

Do you share the sentiment, or are you just a much more accepting person than me?

Todd Kliman

I’m accepting publicly. You should hear me in private. ; )

I get frustrated sometimes in planning menus for the few dinners I get to cook and host these days. Vegetarianism, fine. Allergies, ok. But persnicketiness? Sends me up the wall.

Particularly the kind of pernsnicketiness that posits Thai as something daring and strange. An old, old friend of mine practically accused me of playing games with him, talking about my proposed menu like this on the phone with him one day in advance of our dinner. Thai! The nerve of me!

I also dislike this idea of having to make a special, neutered meal for little kids. I don’t mind withholding the spice from their portion, or refraining from a garnish or two. But I’m not a catering service, and I think this kind of treatment runs counter to developing their tastes in real food.

The problem with the persnickety eater, or groups of persnickety eaters, is that they dominate the discussion of what to eat and where to eat to the point that the adventurous eaters have no real say and are effectively paralyzed. It’s controlling. A power trip. And—there’s not a thing we, the real eaters, can do about it.


Good morning! I have my blog up and running, and I hope that you will view it. The URL is povinthedmv.blogspot.com. The cookbook arrived and it is wonderful. I have a list of things that we are going to make from the book. Thank you for your inspiration, without it I wouldn’t have started this blog.

Todd Kliman

Thank you, Andrew.

And—looking good. Pictures, text, a report on what you ate on the 4th … you’re a real blogger now. (When you find a moment, be sure to drop Jeff Black a note and let him know you’re around.)

One thing, and a not so small one: really try to avoid using -wise in anything you write. Makes you sound like a jock. “Execution-wise, I thought we did a good job.” Goes hand in hand with “in terms of.”


So my husband’s birthday is today. We were planning on going to Pearl Dive but with all the heat/babysitter issues, we decided to stay in Bethesda. Was thinking of going to Food Wine & Co. for oysters. Any other suggestions? Is The Majestic any good? Thanks!!

Todd Kliman

Food Wine & Co. has some of the liveliness of Pearl Dive, though it’s an older, more settled crowd. I’d also take a long look at Passage to India on Cordell, and Bistro Provence, on Fairmont.

Hope you have a great time. Would love to know where you end up to celebrate. Let us know …

Washington, DC:


I wanted to share a recent story of my attempted birthday dinner at Citronelle and a thank you to Komi. Although this story is a few months old I haven’t been able to shake this experience and thought that I should still share it.

For my birthday my GF made a surprise reservation at Citronelle after checking with the management that it would be possible for me to do a tasting menu despite being a pescetarian and that she would be able to do the three course tasting as full tasting menus are generally too much for her.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were immediately greeted disdain by our waiter who noticed our age was not up to the general standards of Citronelle, despite this we remained enthusiastic about the rest of the evening. When we began to order our waiter, without making eye contact, informed us that it would not be possible to make any changes to the tasting menu, nor would it be possible to do a full tasting and a three course tasting at the same table and stated that this was printed on the menu. After checking the menu we ensure him that a) this was not listed and b) that it was a special occasion and had already discussed this with management. Not seeming impressed, he continued to insist it wasn’t possible. After kindly asking if he could check with the kitchen (I should point out that the restaurant was far from crowded at this point) he simply refused and told us that he already knew what they would say. Insisting further, we finally managed to have him walk to the kitchen, given Citronelle’s open kitchen, we could clearly see that he stood at the line for a few moments and returned to us without having asked.

At this point, with the night quickly deteriorating, we decided to leave. If this experience wasn’t bad enough, we were now in for a real treat, the manager. Seeing us collect our jackets to head out, he inquired about our situation, which we explained, to our surprise we were attacked by the manager who insisted that “of course none of these requests would be possible despite what we had heard over the phone” since this would not be enjoyable for us. Pressing the matter further, he insisted that he would call Michelle Richard at home “who was currently enjoying his only night off that week with his family to ask if would allow his kitchen to serve a 3 course and full tasting on the same table.” Finding this suggestion insulting and ridiculous I told him not to bother and instead asked if in the entirety of Citronelle’s existence had they never had a party that had done this in the past given that this might be what is enjoyable to them he responded with “of course have done that, but only for small children who can’t handle a full meal.” This was without a doubt the single most insulting experience I have had in a restaurant and would never have expected from an establishment as revered as Citronelle.

Grabbing our coats we walked into the cold without knowing what to and thinking that the birthday had been ruined. In desperation move, we decided to call Komi to see if there had been any cancellations, and in fact there had been. We were immediately asked if we had any dietary restrictions and if it was a special event. It could not have been a more stark contrast to what we had just been through. Ultimately Komi was wonderful and I cannot thank them enough for saving the evening.

Please feel free to abridge any of this if you choose to share this with your readers, but I felt that not providing the full experience would do it injustice.

I love the chats!

Todd Kliman

Well, I’m glad the story has a happy ending.

And that your birthday was brought back from the brink by a good meal at Komi.


I have to say, though—I’m surprised to hear that someone at Citronelle would’ve given the OK to a partial tasting when your girlfriend first asked over the phone. Chefs are very, very loath to make any kinds of changes when it comes to a tasting menu, and they are even more loath to make those changes when it comes to the number of courses.

I’m also surprised to hear that Citronelle would just let you go like that without trying to strike some sort of a compromise—and on your birthday, no less.


My husband’s birthday is coming up and we are expecting our first child very soon. I want to take him out for a “last hurrah” great meal before we go on lockdown with our newborn. Any suggestions? We would love to stay in NW DC or Montgomery County. Thanks!

Todd Kliman

How about Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park?

The setting is remote and feels like a retreat, the lighting is soft, and you’ll feel as if you’re dining in a restored old house. Easy-going, precisely executed American cooking and some good wines, too. It’s a hard place not to like.


Heading up to NYC, do you or any of your readers have recommendations for vegetarian/vegan restaurants? Not necessarily “ethnic specific,” just great food. Thanks and love the chats.

Todd Kliman

I’ll be interested in hearing what the readers say …

My picks:

—pizza at the boutique pizzerias Forcella, Otto and Rubirosa.

—Anjappar in Murray Hill and Chennai on the Upper East Side for southern India.

—Hummus Kitchen on 9th Ave.

—Gazala—Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper West Side—for Druze cuisine.


It is not a coffeehouse but I like getting the Restaurant Eve blend that is sold at Whole Foods (whole beans and grind them for french press).

The coffee was developed by Cathal Armstrong and the grower (can’t remember their name) and it is the same coffee that is served at Restaurant Eve. It is a good after dinner coffee that pairs well with dessert and has tones of chocolate as well as floral notes.

Todd Kliman

It’s a collaboration between Eve and Ceremony Coffee, in Annapolis.

(Ceremony used to be called Caffe Pronto; it “re-branded” itself.)

Shagga also gets its beans from the shop.


Forgot to add, a good coffee shop with a good vibe is Tryst in Adams Morgan, which has been around for many years. I don’t know if it is up to par compared to the ones the chatter listed. I used to go there while going to college in DC and enjoyed my many visits there.

Todd Kliman


Love Tryst.

Just wish I could get a table every time I wanted. The coffee’s good, though, not great.

NoLo, DC:

I have to say, Todd, I’m a little surprised by your insistence that DC isn’t a good coffee town, especially when your complaint isn’t about the coffee but about the ambiance of the places serving it. DC is a great town for third wave coffee, as long as you’re not a squatter with a laptop.

While WCP’s continued denigration of DC as a Counter Culture corporate town has a wee bit of truth to it, the simple fact is that between local roasters (Qualia, Ceremony) and imports (Counter Culture, PT’s, Stumptown, Intelligentsia), combined with the high degree of sophistication shown by local baristas, DC is a great place for people who like good coffee. Of course, many of these places specialize more in espresso-based drinks (e.g. Pitango), but others have fantastic pour-over programs as well (Filter, Baked & Wired). Many of these places go one step beyond by using high quality dairy products from Trickling Springs Creamery.

Yes, it would be nice if many of these smaller places could afford to have more seating, but rents are expensive and I’d rather have the excellent coffee than a place to waste space in for a couple of hours. (that said, Yola almost always has seats and does a good job with counter culture beans, and the few times I’ve been to Blind Dog Cafe, which seems like the sort of atmosphere you want, I’ve gotten a table with no trouble).

Todd Kliman

Thanks for writing in …

I agree with you that there are a lot of knowledgeable people pouring coffee. And there are good cups of coffee to be had if you know where to look.

But I think you ignore something really important when you call what I’m talking about “ambiance.” A coffeehouse is a gathering place, a place for discussion, a place to sit down and kick back and think and read and write, a place that eschews the plastickiness of so much of our culture.

My point is that those kinds of places we do have, don’t have very good coffee. And that seems a shame.

Rachel, DC:

My favorite summer meal is anything with fresh corn. The sweet crispness of corn kernels will forever remind me of perfect summer meals—whether it’s grilled with a bit of butter and paprika, tossed with queso fresca and cilantro, thrown into a salad with tomatoes and black beans, or served with fresh green beans, garlic, and basil. When the temperature warms up, fresh corn is a sure-fire way to get you to forget the heat and focus on the foodgasm in front of you.

Todd Kliman


And I sure do like the sound of that dish of corn with queso fresco and cilantro …

Weeknight Meal:

Hi Todd,

Weeknight meals are always a dilemma. I live for dinner…literally. I like to eat well, every single night. Sometimes I even forgo lunch to save room for a nice dinner. It completes my day after work to come home, cook, and have beautiful dinner at the table with my husband and 2 year old. My weeknight meals were much more elaborate before the baby, and now I’ve had to do a lot of adjusting.

One of my go-tos this summer has been arugula pesto pasta. My pesto is made with a large helping of blanched arugula, a little bit of blanched basil, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, toasted walnuts (or pine nuts), roasted garlic, and roasted garlic oil. My 2 year old LOVES this, as do we. Sometimes we top it with ricotta, fresh bread crumbs, pancetta, roasted tomatoes and maybe even a cracked egg. A little dash of chili oil for the adults is great too!

Of course, now I wish this was on the menu tonight. But tonight isn’t so bad either…we’re having garden tomato, basil, mozzarella, avocado, and arugula open face sandwiches w/ a side of lemony orzo.

Todd Kliman

Sounds great.

I love gilding the lily with pasta dishes, too. I’ll bet that pungent pesto is just great with some sweet ricotta on top and those fresh bread crumbs and that cracked egg …

Thanks for the quickie recipe!

Arlington, VA:

Midweek summer dinner:

I brave the heat to grill buffalo burgers. Buffalo burgers always signifies summer for me because it means the farmers markets are open.

While they’re cooking, I’ll duck back inside for a swig of cold rose (from the lovely Gadino cellars that we recently discovered on our way home from hiking in SNP) or if I’m in a beer mood, Anderson Valley Summer Solstice because if drinking alcoholic cream soda is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Hopefully I remembered to pick up peaches at the farmers market as well. If so, I’ll put them on the grill while the burgers are resting until they’re caramel brown and juicy. After they come off, they’re drizzed with honey where they will wait on the back part of the counter, far away from the dog and his long paws, for dessert.

Todd Kliman

Nice …

Sounds like one of those simple, life-is-good meals …

Capitol Hill:

Seems like the Citronelle story is not so recent—getting their coats and walking out into the cold? Not with this Washington weather. Odd timing to submit now, or is it because they’re now closed for the foreseeable future and the poster wanted to gloat?

Todd Kliman

He didn’t say coats. He said jackets.

I take that to mean he had a jacket he took off, given the heat, and she did the same with her jacket, too.

Why are you so defensive on behalf of the restaurant? Which restaurant do you work for?


I have eaten at Komi a few times but the last time was a few years ago (before they changed to the no-choice menu format and while they were still number 3 or 4 instead of number one on all the Washington best dining lists).

How hard is it to get a reservation these days if you’re flexible about dates and willing to go on a weekday? Is it like trying to get a reservation at Minibar (where my husband had to call at 10 am every day for a month before he even get someone to pick up the phone to tell him there were no reservations available)?

Also, the last time I went there were two options for menu “length”—one where you got ten or so mezzethakia, and then a choice of pasta, entree and dessert, and one where the chef decided what you ate and there were more courses.

I tried both the shorter and the longer menu at different times, and while both were delicious, I found the longer menu just WAY too much food. Do you know if the current menu is more akin to the old short menu or is it still the same length as the old long menu.

Todd Kliman

Menus. Ha. How quaint … ; )

But seriously, they’ve done away with menus. And it’s a lot of food, but I don’t think most people walk out groaning.

Reservations? Very tough. The experience of the chatter above —able to sneak in one night because of a cancellation—is not typical.


I’m a sucker for Clydes Blend coffee from Quartermaine.

If I don’t feel like making the trip to Bethesda, I stop by the Curious Grape which stocks both Counter Culture and Ceremony coffee, both of which are excellent.

Todd Kliman

Been a while since I’ve had a cup at Quartermaine. It didn’t make much of an impression on me either way.


I haven’t needed specially prepared food since I was 9. Just for the record. haha

Todd Kliman

Good one, Andrew …

Van Ness:

Veg/Vegan in NYC: My brother and vegan sister-in-law love Kajitsu, serving up Shojin cuisine. Although apparently it’s tough reservation to score.

We had a good dinner at Otto a year or two ago. Although we had to wait an hour for a table, so something to consider.

Todd Kliman

An hour? Not bad. : )

Thanks for the rec. I’ll add it to my list for next time I’m up …


The OP said: “Grabbing our coats we walked into the cold without knowing what to and thinking that the birthday had been ruined.”

I don’t work for a restaurant and I found the whole post a little odd and somewhat entitled.

Todd Kliman

I stand corrected.

And I apologize.

Earlier, he had written, “Seeing us collect our jackets to head out, he inquired about our situation … ” I fastened on that and didn’t see the later reference to “coats.”

And reading it again, now, I notice he mentions that this all occurred a “few months” ago.

So, yeah, probably gloating as you say. Strange timing otherwise …


You seem to have strict guidelines regarding grammar and semantics.

Have you ever considered offering a seminar or doing a separate one-time chat laying out your prescriptive rules in hopes of fighting back the descriptive hordes? If it is not too difficult ‘execution-wise’, I think it would be ‘awesome’.

Todd Kliman

Strict. You mean “annoying.” ; )

The funny thing is, I did once teach a grammar seminar, as a college summer course. I never imagined that it would be fun, and of course neither did the students. But we ended up having a great time.

It was more descriptive than prescriptive, and initially the students hated that. They wanted to know the rules, dammit.

I’d love to know just what you have in mind for this special, one-time chat. I’m game … If you don’t feel comfortable posting it here, or don’t have the time, just drop me a note at tkliman@washingtonian.com

Gotta wrap up, everyone … Got a dentist appointment awaiting me …

Our winner today? The recipe-writer of arugula pesto pasta. My mouth was watering after reading that. Drop me a note at the above email with your mailing address, and we’ll get the cookbook out to you later today …

Be well and eat well, everyone, and let’s do it again next week at 11 …

[missing you, TEK … ]