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About lotus125

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  1. Different style and location, but we had good carryout from Mama Chang's. I've heard Peter Chang's in Arlington is doing carryout too.
  2. Erik Bruner-Yang's new Italian/Asian mashup. With an exciting menu and some good initial review-ettes, I decided to try it one week into service. While our meal was perfectly fine, I'll give it some time and keep an eye on further reviews before I go back. So far, not as good as his other places. But it may get there. -Service was solid. The hostess was efficient and, in contrast to many places this day, willing to seat our reservation before the party was complete. The waitress was nice, albeit not able to describe some of the complex cocktails in much detail. -I'll start with the drinks. The cocktail list has three classics and three fusion-y options. From the classics list, a New York sour was solid. From the modern list, our favorite was lemongrass gin, togarashi-sesame syrup, and yuzu. The texture is surprisingly thick. But the sesame, togarashi spice, and yuzu meld well together. A clarified whiskey, OJ, and miso was fine; a bit too much OJ flavor for my taste but well clarified. Tequila with lime and gochujung tasted like a spicy margarita: perfectly good but no obvious difference from other spicy margaritas. A few mocktails were quite good. -As for food, the collective favorite was Artichoke with Broken Pesto and Wild Greens. Not very Asian, but a well constructed, tasty artichoke salad. Our second favorite was Spaghetti with XO Sauce and Gemolata. It's very salty and fishy (think tons of anchovies), and therefore is likely to be polarizing. But we enjoyed it. The next rung down was Egg Drop Soup with Celery Root, Pecorino, and Jalapeno (some found it dull, others thought it was a homey chicken soup with spice); Eggplant, Straciatella and Fried Capers (just a bit bland but not bad); and Mochi Fried Shrimp Fried Diavolo (Fried shrimp covered in mochi. I really liked the use of mochi but wanted a better fra diavolo sauce. Others disliked the mochi. I wonder if a better sauce and pasta would improve it). There was unanimous dislike of Lumpia with Burrata and Meatball (inherent to cooking with burrata is that it gets watery), and Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Taleggio Fonduta and Apple (heavy sauce, covered in dried shavings that taste like Terra chips). I'm a fan of the chef, and I like the concept. The place is only a week old. Fingers crossed that the food improves.
  3. Anju opened in the old Mandau space, and we went to try it. Cool space with exposed brick, rough surfaces, and multiple levels. Food ranged from ok to very good. Our favorites were charred kimchi pancake, korean sweet potato with honey butter, and many "panchan" -- little side dishes with various kimchis, marinated veg, etc. A salad was so-so. Seafood noodle stew was solid. Korean rice cakes were tasty, but one of us thought the setup was a bit bland. Bibim bap with tofu was disappointing; no crunchy bits in the rice and not much flavor other than chili sauce we added ourselves. The biggest disappointments were beverages and service. We had several disappointing cocktails. Our waiter disappeared for long stretches. He repeatedly got one person's drink order and walked away before others could give theirs. He dripped red sauce on someone's white shirt. And while he was often good about refilling water, he was nowhere to be found while we ate our spiciest dishes. The place has its charms, but I'll give it a little while to mature before I go back.
  4. New Laotian restaurant in NoMa. After several visits, I'd rate this place as "ok." First the good parts: Big outdoor space; beautiful dining room; Laotian food is interesting and -- other than Thip Khao and related restaurants -- uncommon around DC; and the crispy rice salad is delicious (even if not as good as the one at Thip Khao). Unfortunately there are many downsides. Service is spotty at best. I've had several meals where we desperately tried to flag down servers, dishes were forgotten, water was never refilled, etc. The cocktails are so-so and often taste quite watered down -- maybe too much use of quickly melting ice? And other than the crispy rice salad, the food has been mixed. I've generally liked items on the vegan menu. A whole branzino was solid. Grilled beef and pork were both overcooked. Steamed catfish was so so. I love having another Laotian option in DC, and I hope this place improves. But it needs a lot of work.
  5. Any recent meals at Kobo? I'm curious to know how they're doing since the chef left.
  6. Ever since trying Johnny Spero's short lived Suna, I've been excited to see when he would again open his own place. (FWIW, I liked the Suna concept and had some good food there, but thought the dishes were high variance and not all enjoyable). I enjoyed his run at Minibar and Columbia Room, but obviously not the same as creating his own menu. After several mixed reviews, we kept delaying our plan to try Reverie. But when friends had to cancel plans elsewhere at the last minute, we dropped by. While Reverie is probably not for everyone, we really enjoyed it. It veers in the new-nordic direction, with the occasional dollop of obvious Spanish influence -- a mashup of foodie favorites. The space is lovely, and the service is great. The staff accommodated with grace our walking in without a reservation on Saturday night. A host and a back waiter appeared to remember us from meals at other restaurants -- a sign of good staff. And our waitress gave great advice in guiding us through the menu and selecting a bottle of wine that was a perfect fit for the food and our quirky wine tastes. As for the food, it ranged from good to great. And in contrast to my take on most restaurants, the food got better as the meal went on, i.e., the desserts were exceptional and the entrees were better than the appetizers. We started with a scallop crudo with buttermilk and dill (very nordic and solid); a seeded, dark nordic bread served with seed miso and cheesey butter that was cultured with epoisses (the gf would have preferred a different type of bread, but we both loved the butter and miso); and peas with verbena, fresh cheese, seaweed, and I think some kind of vinegar gel (probably the best of the three). For entrees, we had a grilled kanpachi collar with peanut miso, kosho mayo, and herbs, and an agnolotti that was effectively filled with cooked fish roe and in a cream sauce with more roe. Both were great. Overall, the kanpachi was probably just a bit tastier. The gf described it as the perfect, sophisticated barbecue. But the agnolotti was delicious -- like a mix of taramasalata and stuffed, al dente pasta -- and the more creative of the two. The wine list steers in the natural direction and seemed to be fairly priced, based on a few reference points I recognized. We tried all three desserts, and they were spectacular. A birch ice cream (surprisingly smokey); a chocolate and sunchoke dish with olive oil that evoked cocoa pebbles; and a cherry granita with marshmallow and berries. This kind of food isn't for everyone. And don't expect it to be Noma or Amass. But this is an exciting addition to the DC food scene. I'd be pleased to go back, and I look forward to watching this restaurant grow.
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