Tuesday, February 24, 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.

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.

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 writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Oxford American, Lucky Peach, The Daily Beast and Men’s Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies. A finalist for the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, he took home first-place honors for feature writing, in 2013, from the Association of Food Journalists.

He is the author, most recently, 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. Barnes & Noble and The Oxford American both made it an Editor’s Pick. The Richmond TImes-Dispatch called it “an outstanding piece of literature.”

Kliman previously taught writing and literature at American University and Howard University. At Howard, he was also the editorial advisor to The Illtop Journal, Chris Rock’s humor magazine modeled after the Harvard Lampoon.

Can’t wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world. Or write to him: tkliman@washingtonian.com

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WHERE TO EAT NOW:

Bob’s Shanghai 66, Rockville

If my most recent meal is any indication, the kitchen is really clicking right now. Go for the bean curd and pork — the long, thin bands of curd have the slipperiness and chew of great noodles, and the saucing is delicate and tight — and a plate of tiny shrimps in a surprisingly balanced sweet-and-sour chili sauce. The two best meals I’ve had in Rockville’s Chinatown in the past six months were at China Bistro (aka Mama’s Dumplings) and here.

Taqueria el Mexicano, Hyattsville

Someone tweeted me last week after reading what I wrote about the mole poblano: “what else is good there?” What else? What else do you need when a dish is this good? The sauce is the thing — thick, brown-black, dotted with sesame seeds, and with a taste as rich and complex as any of the French master sauces. At the same time, it’s infinitely more idiosyncratic; each bite changes the way you think about it: now sweet, now slightly bitter, now spicy, now slightly smoky. Dark chocolate is the not-so-secret ingredient, and gives the dish its identifiable color, but the strange, mysterious character of mole poblano cannot be chalked up, simply, to the inclusion of chocolate: the mix also includes sweet, smoky guajillo chilis, fried nuts and raisins, as well as a larder’s worth of toasted, ground spices. Each order comes with two pieces of unexpectedly tender chicken (in most cases, a leg and a piece of meat cut from around the breast), good rice and stewed beans, and — an even bigger surprise — two handmade corn tortillas (if there’s anybody making tortillas like this in the area, with this perfect, pebbly surface, please let me know; these are fabulous). The cost to walk away with a memory: $11.50.

Hunan Taste, Fairfax

This kitchen works magic. Not all the time — I’ve had a couple of eh dishes over the course of two visits. But then you turn up a dish like the mushroom casserole with pork (best not to study its long, dark tadpole-like fungi), or fish fillet with bean curd sauce, or Divine Incense Mint Pork (chewy-crunchy strips of pork belly with fried mint) and can’t stop eating, and wow.

Crane & Turtle, DC

Makoto Hamamura reminds me of a certain brand of jazz pianist, the kind who knows how to play melodically but frequently chooses not to. I wouldn’t go so far as to describe his French-Asian dishes as atonal or dissonant, but he clearly means to push, and push hard, against expectation. Sometimes, it doesn’t work. Or, it works and you say to yourself: Interesting; I’m not sure I’d get that again. Often enough, though, the rewards are there, like his tuna tataki, which is accented not with a ponzu sauce but with a tuna sauce — a sly little play on the Piedmontese classic, vitello tonnato. His signature dish, a duck breast that has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in summer, isn’t paired with something sweet, like cherries — a move that many chefs in the West would make; Hamamura turns to bitter, in this case to seaweed yuba and tahini.

Ocopa, DC

Not cheap for H St., but the quality of the fish is high and 24-year-old chef Carlos is a talent. His plates are striking, and his flavors pop. Ocopa functions best when you think of it as a place to divvy up small plates of tiradito and ceviche and causa (his version of papa a la huancaina, a potato salad, is so sublime it makes the picnic staple you’re probably imagining look like prison food) while tanking down cocktails (among which you’ll find expert renditions of pisco and rum punch).

Saba, Fairfax

At a recent meal at this Yemeni gem, I ate injera, pita, and wheat bread (the latter baked for a marvelous bread pudding called masoob, layered with bananas, cream, honey and nigella that is a little bit different with each bite). Owner Taha Alhoraivi didn’t know how to cook a single dish from his tradition when he arrived in the States 15 years ago on a student visa. He didn’t even know how to cook. His mother and sister had barred him from the kitchen; cooking was women’s work. He subsisted for months on eggs, bread and cheese, until he returned home for a visit and prevailed upon the women in his family to share their recipes with him. Thus began a 15-year-journey of research and experimentation, as Alhoraivi sought to recreate the foods of his youth in isolation. Saba is the remarkable result. The two must-orders are the haneeth and the fahsa. The former is a strapping platter of slow-cooked lamb, seasoned with cardamom, cumin and cloves, that comes apart without prodding and some of the most flavorful rice you’ll ever eat — each grain is distinct, and tastes richly of the meat. The latter is a shredded beef stew in a sauce of tomatoes, onions and cumin so concentrated it might as well be a syrup; the crowning touch is a dollop of hilbeh, a tangy dip flavored with mint and cilantro.

Casa Luca, DC

The most casual of the restaurants in Fabio Trabocchi’s collection has found its groove. This is an assured operation from top to bottom, and from its opening nibbles to its pastas (go for the San Leo — ravioli stuffed with wild greens and ricotta and treated to a sauce of butter, toasted almonds and nepitella) to its dazzling preparations of fish and seafood to its light, colorful and exquisitely crafted desserts. I joked to a friend at dinner recently that the cornish hen minestrone was “too flavorful” — its broth so intense and rich that I had to stop talking and give all my attention to it.

Ananda, Fulton

Two of the best meals I had this summer took place here. And I don’t say that just because of the food coming out of the kitchen. The restaurant itself is a showpiece. From outside, it looks a little like a castle and a little like a bank, and sits in the middle of nowhere, amid a still-evolving development of townhouses in Fulton, Md. Inside, the space summons a polo club. The main dining room is a sumptuous lair of handsome dark wood, floor-to-ceiling bookcases and leather seats, while the veranda puts you in mind of an observation deck for a cricket match (it’s already one of the best places to dine on an unseasonably cool summer night, under the gently rotating fans and looking out on the lush treetops). In an age of casual, sometimes dashed-out service, Ananda leans toward greater formality — but without stuffiness. The young, affable waitstaff is got up in vests and ties, and is exceedingly well-drilled — not just attentive but vigilant, and determined to learn what it can do to make your meal better. The restaurant is the third from brothers Keir and Binda Singh, who also run The Ambassador Dining Room and Banjara, both in Baltimore. They maintain their own farm not far from the restaurant, complete with an herb garden — a highly unusual practice for an Indian restaurant in this area. Add to that the quality of the meats and fishes, which is several notches above that of the curry house, and you have a brand of cooking that is lighter and fresher than any Indian restaurant in the area not named Rasika. Given this emphasis, you might expect the dishes to experiment a little, to rethink traditional dishes in whimsical or dramatic ways. But for the most part Ananda is attempting a different, less obvious kind of fusion — the fusion of the local-leaning bistro with the conventional Indian restaurant. The preparations of black dal, chana, and raita are among the most complex I’ve tasted in years, and unexpectedly clean-tasting. A dish of salmon was perfectly roasted, with a subtle melange of tomatoes, cinnamon and cumin for a sauce. A watermelon salad with feta could have stood in for any trendy bistro in DC, except that its spicing was unmistakably Indian, and the dressing and its garnishes were both so stunningly fresh I would have thought I was dining at some gastronomic getaway in the country. I could have eaten three bowls of a recent special, a chilled summer squash and carrot soup, subtly spiced and tasting of fresh vegetables, not cream.

Thai Taste by Kob, Wheaton

On a three-block stretch of Wheaton, near the intersection of University Blvd. and Georgia Ave., can be found two of the area’s best Thai restaurants — Ruan Thai and Nava Thai. Time to add a third. Phak Duangchandr — Kob, to friends — has set up shop in the tiny space that originally contained Nava, in the back of Hung Phat market. Thai food fans may remember her, or at least her cooking; for 19 years she operated the Thai Food Carryout at Thai Market, near the old Safeway in Wheaton. The new setting, electrified with a paint job of orange and day-glo green, gives her a chance to expand her repertoire of dishes, while staying true to the from-scratch traditions that earned her a devoted following. The emphasis is on street food and homecooking, with a good many dishes you simply won’t find anywhere else, like bamee moo daeng, a meal-in-a-bowl of tender egg noodles, red-edged roast pork, baby bok choy, and fish balls; or kai yad sai, an omelette stuffed with ground chicken punched up with fish sauce and soy sauce; or a salad of shrimp paste-flavored rice, onions, cucumber and sweet, sticky pork). But even familiar tastes, taste different here — funkier, more pungent, and definitely hotter (a shrimp fried rice, alive with fistfuls of Thai basil and a generous pinch of chilis, set my heart to racing). Some customers have already been asking for more rice to accompany their orders. Partner and manager Max Praserptmate says he’s willing to accommodate any requests, but adds that his aunt’s cooking isn’t the aberration; it’s the great majority of Thai restaurants that are the aberration. “The taste,” he says, “is what you’re supposed to get from your Thai food.” Duangchandr imports many of her spices from Thailand, and toasts and grinds them herself. All the condiments on the spice tray, including a terrific chili vinegar, are made on the premises. Meats are given a long soak before hitting the grill — 72 hours, in the case of the pork that is pounded and threaded onto a skewer to create a must-order starter called moo yang. The other must-order starter sure doesn’t sound like it — when was the last time you had fried shrimp wontons that were any good? These are fabulous. Kiew tod comes to the table looking more like a plate of tortilla chips, the mix of shrimp and white pepper bundled within a sneakily rolled edge. The crunch is junk food-loud; it’s hard not to believe they weren’t engineered in a lab. No beer or wine yet; Praserptmate says soon on both. I would take the money you’d ordinarily spend on a drink and spring for an extra dish or two (most are under $10, and many items will survive into the next day).

Sushi Capitol, DC

This is a diminished sushi scene: Makoto is no longer special, Kushi has exited, and Sushi-Ko I is gone. That leaves Sushi Taro and Sushi Capitol, and for me, right now, it’s not a debate. Capitol is not as polished an experience as Taro, but neither is it the Zen-like spa of hushed voices and restrained manners — an Important Restaurant to save up for when you are looking to mark an occasion. This is a simple, unassuming spot, a workaday spot, with good, well-sourced fish and a chef who knows how to enhance the raw product without sacrificing the elegance essential to the form. Minoru Ogawa was previously in charge of sushi operations at every Mandarin Oriental property along the Eastern seaboard. He’s a purist at the bar, abjuring gimmicks, fads and clutter. The pieces are small, with tiny pads of rice, and the fish is sliced thin and delicately and draped just so over the pads. This doesn’t just make for an elegant presentation; it ensures that each bite is in balance, with the right proportion of fish to rice. I was in most recently for the omakase, which, at $50 for somewhere between 16-20 pieces, amounts to a sweetheart of a deal in the sushi world — particularly when the yellowtail is so sweet and still tastes of the sea, and the various white fishes are not simply there for padding, and the hand-rolls (passed across the bar as soon as they’re finished, their wrappers warm and crunchy) come with fresh-chopped toro. If you order a la carte, don’t ignore the rolls. The Florida roll, draped with whitened bands of blowtorched salmon belly and sliced avocado, is a stunner in every sense.

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WEEKDAY BRUNCH + INDIAN, PERSIAN, AFGHAN? ……….:

Where is the best place to get brunch on a weekday? I can’t find any new restaurants since I lived in dc 4 years ago. The Diner was all I found for weekday. Also, new Indian or Persian or Afghan restaurants in the District.

Please help!

Thank you!

Todd Kliman

Best? I’m not prepared to declare any bests, not when so few places do a brunch during the week, and not when so few of those are actually memorable.

But I would be pretty happy, personally, to find myself at a table at Founding Farmers with a cup of coffee and a big menu of good, tasty things to choose from.

As for new Indian, Persian and Afghan in the District — I wish I could be of more help. There really isn’t anything.

Tash, on Barracks Row, isn’t new, though it’s not that old, either. But I wasn’t impressed by my one meal there a while back. The Moby Dick chain has a location on 19th and also in Georgetown, but the one to go to is in Bethesda (hey, Bethesdans: see? I don’t hate everything in Bethesda). You could also get in the car and drive to Amoo’s in McLean.

New Indian? I had a bad meal with bad service at Laliguras, the new-ish Indian and Nepalese spot in Van Ness. Salt and Pepper Grill is just now garnering some attention online; that’s the carryout and small sit-down spot near Howard U. My one meal there, about a year ago, was decent to very decent, but nothing I would recommend to anyone. Indigo, near H St. NE, is, again, not new, but compared to, say, the Bombay Club, I guess you could describe it as new-ish; it’s definitely worth your time.

Afghan … jeez, not much. Food Corner Kabob on P is fine in a pinch. Not new, though. And Afghan Grill in Woodley Park is decent, though even more not-new.

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REPORTS FROM THE FIELD: B SIDE CUTS + GYPSY SOUL, :

Well the wife has been away this past week visiting her parents, which gave me ample opportunities to try a new place and place that I visit with frequency.

I started my bachelor week off by hitting up B Side Cuts with a few friends in the Mosaic. Talented mixologists conjuring up inventive libations for the thirsty crowd. If you are familiar with Birch and Barley you will appreciate B Side Cuts. It is from the same restaurant group. B Side has an expansive list of beers to choose from and the mixologists will gladly help you find the right beer for you. I only sampled the beef charcuterie that is on the menu and both the beef sausage and beef Bresaola and both were excellent. It is served with warm flatbread and spicy mustard. I then moved on to the beef fat fries, which must have been sent down from the heavens above. These have to be some of the most addictive French fries have had in a very long time. Other side items that tasted good were the creamy polenta and orzo with rapini pesto.

The one item that I was super excited to try but just fell flat and left me disappointed was the rotisserie fried chicken. I like the idea for the dish but every piece except the leg piece was extremely dry and chewy. Not a good rendition of fried chicken. Hopefully with some tweeks it can be improved.

Later in the week I ventured over to RJ Cooper’s Gypsy Soul in the Mosaic. I have been dining at Gypsy Soul since their doors opened and from what I have gleaned from my numerous visits, is that this is a restaurant that is maturing before our eyes. The kitchen is clicking and dishes coming from the kitchen show a restaurant that is growing and finding its niche. I enjoy the fact that chef Cooper is continually updating his menu and you will see new items every two to three weeks at this establishment.

Now the dish that I am swooning over and might be my current favorite appetizer for 2015 is the Catalina Island Sea Urchin, which consists of soft scrambled eggs, topped with luscious bone marrow and sea urchin, all of which is sitting on top house made squid ink toast. The items are garnished with sea grass. Each bite was opulent and rewarding. In my opinion a perfect bite.

Gypsy now has a section devoted to pasta and grains and they have a good rendition of clams and bucatini, which is nice and el dente. I do hope that Chef RJ adds a fried chicken dish for adults. Currently, fried chicken is only available on the kids menu but I was able to coax the GM to make me an adult portion during one of my lunch visits and quite frankly there was no comparison between the fried chicken at Gypsy and the one currently being served at B Side Cuts.

Now for dessert everyone must try while they are still on the menu, beignets fried in Duck Fat. Enough said, run there and order them before they are off the menu.

Now in a short time I will be off to the airport to pick up the wife and regale her with all my dining adventures while she was gone and see the priceless expression on her face.

Todd Kliman

You’re gonna be in trou-ble … ūüėČ

That custard sounds absolutely fantastic. Soft scrambled eggs and sea urchin: lusciousness itself. This sounds like a much more well-thought-out dish than the arrangement (sans egg) that chef Cooper had been working with previously.

If all writing, as they say, is rewriting, then is all cooking re-cooking?

Curious to taste what the beignets cooked in duck fat tasted like — did they lean more savory than usual?

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PHILLY EATS ……….:

Hi Todd,

Two questions for you:

1.) Any Philadelphia recommendations? I’d like to take a group of 6 people out to dinner.

2.) When did the dining scene in Philadelphia get so popular and diverse? I’ve been calling places all week and most are already booked up 3 weeks in advance. I feel like I could get a table at just about any Washington restaurant save for maybe a handful of the buzziest places with that much notice.

Todd Kliman

I love Vernick Food and Drink. The chef, Greg Vernick, does two things that are really hard to do.
His dishes are intricate and relatively high-concept, but they have soul. They also, most of the time, look tossed-off, as if he just came up with them on a moment’s notice.

The other place I can’t recommend enough is Nicholas Elmi’s Laurel, where, as I said in this space a while back, I had one of the finest fine dining meals I’ve had in the past year-and-a-half.

Both are tough reservations to score, so good luck.

And as to your general question about Philadelphia dining, the city has been a wonderfully vibrant place to eat and drink for a while now. It’s not as trendy as New York or San Francisco, but it’s a very interesting scene, with, as you pointed out, great diversity, and the best restaurants have a real sense of identity and cook with great soul and authority.

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AFGHAN EATS ……….:

The current go to spot for Afghan food amongst Afghani people is Bamiyan in Falls Church.

Hope that helps!

Todd Kliman

Sure. And has been for a while, now.

It’s also not in DC proper.

Then again, what is?

In Maryland, the go-to spot is Faryab, in Bethesda. (Wait: two Bethesda recs in one week? Must be a slow news day … )

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BEIGNETS, CONT. ……….:

The beignets would still fall under sweet for me, because they are topped with powdered sugar and their take on a caramel sauce that is served on the side.

If you go for brunch you can either order the them as a pantry snack or as a dessert. The pantry snack portion is smaller than the dessert portion.

Todd Kliman

Ok, thanks for the follow-up!

Fried dough, duck fat, powdered sugar, caramel sauce …

Let’s play a game.

What could be reasonably added to this mix — in other words, a standard desserty item or two — to make it even more over-the-top and rich?

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SILVER SPRING RESTAURANTS ……….:

Todd,

I’ve seen you give consistent praise to NaiNai’s recently, but I know that all of Silver Spring’s recent “Top 100” restaurants have fallen off the list this year.

‘Do you consider any of the three (8407, Jackie’s and the Classics) worthwhile still, and what are some other spots in SS (particularly the downtown area) that should be considered for a night out?

Todd Kliman

It’s a down time for Silver Spring’s restaurant scene. I hate to say that, but it’s true.

What’s worthwhile? The Classics is; I enjoyed my last meal there at the bar. It’s a true neighborhood place; you can come as you are, you can eat a good, simple meal, and you can leave without feeling a hit on your wallet. 8407 is in flux. Jackie’s has lost its way; yes, you can turn up a good dish, but the experience is not the same as it once was; it’s not fun, the service is surprisingly stiff, and the mood just isn’t there anymore. A restaurant like this — on the edge of a big city, housed in a former garage, and with trippy splashes of color everywhere you look — ought to be a nightly party.

My recent meal at Sligo Cafe, on Sligo, was promising. It looks to be trying to fill the niche vacated by Jackie’s — a low-key place with creative comfort food and most entrees hugging the $20 mark. I liked, in particular, my corn bread, served hot, I liked my brisket-chuck burger (though it needed salt), and I liked my s’mores dessert.

So, that, The Classics, NaiNai’s, Mandalay, Lucy Ethiopian, La Casita for good carne asada and pupusas, Quarry House for the terrific bourbon and whiskey selection. And that’s about it for the moment.

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ANANDA AND GQ ……….:

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Ananda making GQ’s list of Top 25 Restaurants for 2015 (especially since I first read about it on this chat).

I mean, I’m as big a fan of the variety of ethnic joints in the suburbs as anyone I know, but this seems like a genuinely staggering accomplishment for a stripmall place in Fulton. And there are so many possible discussion points from it! Was it deserved? Does this indicate a change in how suburban restaurants are perceived? How furious are you if you’re, say, Rasika?

Basically, I’m curious to hear any reaction you had, whether or not it’s an answer to one of the above questions.

Todd Kliman

My reaction? My reaction was to smile.

I was the birdie who tipped Alan Richman to Ananda, Rose’s and Fiola Mare, and joined him on his gluttonous fact-finding missions to two of those restaurants.

Remember, this isn’t a list of the best restaurants in the country, exactly — it’s a best of the new or new-ish crop of restaurants in the country. That eliminates a place like Rasika, good as it is, from contention.

Ananda, by the way, isn’t a stripmall place. It’s a stand-alone structure, and it’s absolutely sumptuous, the kind of place no one thinks to build anymore.

Was it “deserved”?

Alan thought so. And so he put it on. It’s his list. A reflection of his tastes and enthusiasms.

You can say, well, it’s GQ, an organ of the culture. And that organ of the culture has made an attempt at an objective, empirical list. No, it hasn’t. It has a guy, and a guy with decades of experience to his name, and that guy has put together a list of the places that he was highest on this year.

I know, personally, he did a ton of traveling around the country over the course of many months. For a place to earn its spot on that list, it had to rate nationally.

I had it pretty high on our list of the top 100 this year, but yeah, I have to admit I was a little surprised to learn that it made the final cut, given all the places he ate at and all the good meals he enjoyed. It’s not the sort of spot that a free-floating critic like this tends to choose, in putting together a year-in-review list like this. I think that speaks highly of Alan, that he is open enough, and honest enough, to allow for that possibility.

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BETHESDA RECS, CONT. ……….:

Is there anywhere to go for good Indian food on Cordell Ave*?

*Possibly fishing for a third Bethesda rec

Todd Kliman

Ha.

Passage to India. Boom. Done for the year …

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INDIAN IN DC RECS, CONT. ……….:

New Indian – It’s a spin-off but the Masala Art over by Arena Stage? or poke around Pansaari over on 17th (Dupont Circle area)? or just go have lunch at Rasika and call it a day?

Todd Kliman

The latter, easily.

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SORT OF DESSERT ITEM ……….:

I make real hot chocolate. That is, chocolate shavings melted in milk. I add a teaspoon of instant espresso to bring out the chocolate even more, then I top this hot chocolate with real whipped cream drizzled with homemade caramel sauce and then sprinkle with real flaked sea salt on top of the caramel.

I sometimes have this for dessert. Its over the top to be sure, but worth every calorie.

I’d order this in any restaurant for dessert if it was served. the only guy I know who does this type of real hot chocolate is Michel Richard. His is like velvet.

Todd Kliman

Where’s mine??

That sounds amazing.

Actually, the word that popped in my head, initially, was de-lish.

A friend of mine had a girlfriend, years ago, who hated that he said de-lish. Hated it. To him, it was the highest compliment he could give to something he tasted or drank. I remember she said to him once: “Why can’t you just say delicious? What’s wrong with saying delicious?”

But delicious is not the same thing as de-lish. De-lish is earthier, and more haimish.

It actually intensifies the proper word, if you think about it. Delicious can be said flat. De-lish, on the other hand, is never said flat — you always accent the second syllable, you always come down hard upon it. De-LISH!

All the lusty spirit of loving to eat, contained in one word that isn’t a word.

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CHAT PROBLEM ……….:

Very frustrating to get this response – first submission this week, and in many weeks.

Question Submission Error

“Your question submission failed for the following reasons: Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please try again in a short while.”

Todd Kliman

Strange.

Try emailing me: tkliman@washingtonian.com

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DBGB in DC ……….:

Todd,

Do you still stand by your early review of DBGB? Reason I ask is because yours and Seitsema’s reviews are so different. He went as far as to deem it better than the NY counterpart. I tend to follow your reviews more, but I’m curious.

Todd Kliman

Could it be that my review prompted the restaurant to get cracking and solve its not-impossible problems?

I’ve seen that happen.

I surely wouldn’t doubt it.

Tom’s review came out long after mine, and, given that the restaurant was reworking and rethinking to try to gain consistency and improve, reflects, it would appear, the work of a different restaurant.

What I saw in NY, when I went, was a better restaurant. A far better restaurant.

We disagree on the spaces. I think NY’s DBGB is the much more interesting place to spend two hours. Much more aesthetically pleasing.

The question of “standing by” a review is an interesting one. A review is a picture at a moment in time. Restaurants change. Sometimes for the better. Often, not for the better. Write about it after two months, and you get one picture. Write about it a year after opening, and you might get an entirely different one. In some cases, you might get an entirely different picture in writing about it six months after opening.

DBGB opened in mid-September. The Post review appeared at the tail end of January. 4 1/2 months later.

Why 4 1/2 months? Why not 5 or 6? Let it really find its rhythm. Give it a chance to try things and overhaul those things and try completely new things …

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ANANDA AND GQ, CONT. ……….:

Ananda and GQ . . .Just a reminder about restaurants outside of DC please take note that The Inn at Little Washington started in an old garage serving sandwiches.

Todd Kliman

Yes; great point.

But let me just say, again, that Ananda is in one of the most gorgeous spaces in the entire area

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GILDING THE LILY, CONT. ……….:

Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty add M&M’s and little Hershey bars and a shot of aged dark rum!

Todd Kliman

Neat.

What do you call that? It needs a name.

Nominees?

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PHILLY EATS, CONT. ……….:

Thanks on the previous error message.

Was just going to say that the Philly downtown scene is so hot that they have parking meters until 10 on a Sunday night – take that Bethesda. (following an excellent meal at Sampan)

Todd Kliman

No no, I can’t abide a Bethesda bashing on a day when I just singled out three, count ‘em, places to go …

Aw, what the hell: those meters are from hell; it’s a crummy, vindictive, anti-consumer policy.

What’d you have at Sampan?

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DE-LISH, CONT. ……….:

I like de-lish, it really tells the story! And it is truly gilding the lily to add the toppings as the chocolate is so rich.

Todd Kliman

I think de-lish is one of those words. Or not-words, I guess.

Either you like it or you don’t. Either you have real affection for it or you think it’s dopey, like my friend’s girlfriend.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out. And no wonder: can you really, truly find accord with someone who thinks de-lish is dumb, if you yourself find it to be the ultimate expression of your food loving soul?

I gotta run, everyone.

If you’re in the midst of typing, please email it and I’ll get back to you there — tkliman@washingtonian.com

Thanks for all the great questions today, and the fun give-and-take, as usual.

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

[missing you, TEK … ]

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