Tag Archive for Chinatown

Early look at Azur

Octopus & pork belly

Octopus & pork belly

Open for just over a week, Azur seems to be getting off to a mediocre start.  Who hasn’t been looking forward to the opening of Frederik de Pue’s second DC restaurant (Table, being his first) in the former Cafe Atlantico/Minibar space?  (Read my write-up on the Daily Meal here for more background.)

Azur has many ingredients for success.  Among other things, there’s the chef’s experience at acclaimed seafood restaurants abroad; the seafood-centric menu, which includes a raw bar replete with a variety of East and West Coast oysters, house cured salmon, and caviar; and the lack of seafood restaurants in DC.  So far the reality has not lived up to its potential.  In the words of a young girl in an often-played ad about a cellular provider, “We want more, we want more.”  Overall, the food was fine, the portions were too small, and the price tag was too hefty. » Read more..

Daikaya: now serving ramen

20130217-103031.jpgDaikaya was greeted with long lines when it opened the doors of its first floor ramen shop on Valentine’s Day. With the Sushiko chef/owner Daisuke Utagawa and co-founder of Eighteenth Street Lounge Yama Jewayni at its helm, it’s no surprise that the restaurant is off to a good start.

Daikaya offers four types of ramen: shio [salt ramen], shoyu [soy sauce ramen], mugi miso [barley-miso], and vegetable shio [salt ramen with vegetable stock].

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Restaurant review: Isabella’s Graffiato is pretty damn good

Damn you, Isabella.  Damn you.  I hate to say it, but nice job with Graffiato (6th & G NW).

Why do I hate to say it? I’m conflicted.  Like others, I thought you were too arrogant during your first season on Top Chef.  Then, you made me a fan when you returned to compete in Top Chef All-Stars.  It was clear to me that you had come back a much more focused and humbled chef than your previous Top Chef-self.  In other words, you kicked some Top Chef ass.  I followed pre-opening reports about your restaurant and asked myself: Would Graffiato be worth the hype?  Then, I got frustrated because I couldn’t get a reservation and I just resigned myself to answering “no” to that question.

Right.  So, where was I? Ah, yes.  Damn you, Isabella.  Damn you.  I’m no longer conflicted.  I can openly and confidently say: great job on the food and the ambiance.  I will be back.

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Restaurant review: This Texas gal liked Hill Country DC

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[Note to reader: I wrote this a while ago, but due to the comatose state-- see below -- I forgot to post!]

I write to you from a BBQ-induced comatose state.  And my hair smells like smoke — the good kind. My best friend and I have bonded over many things over the years, one of which is our shared love of smoked meats.  Naturally, we ventured to Hill Country in Chinatown/Gallery Place, whose name refers to the “Texas Hill Country” region in Central Texas.  For those of you unfamiliar with Hill Country, it’s a New York based restaurant that opened its doors in DC a few months ago.  It professes to make “Austin-style” BBQ and other fixins’.

My first thought was — “Really? I mean, really?” It reminded me of that Old El Paso salsa commercial . . . You know, the one where the cowboys sitting by the campfire are given a generic brand of salsa, which happens to have been made in NYC.  One of the cowboys turns to the others and, with the grimness of an executioner sporting a Texas drawl, says “New York City???? Get a rope.” Presumably the rope is for hanging the person who thought a salsa made in NYC could even compete .  . .  Alright, you get it.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, as was my friend.  Hill Country is a solid BBQ joint.

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