What the critics are saying this week
Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema gives Long Shot Hospitality’s nascent New England-themed seafood stop across from Nationals Park a first bite and thinks chef Kyle Bailey knocks it out of the park. “Restaurants with postcard vistas, outdoor patios and serious drinks don’t come along every day, and this one is a beaut.” Oysters are aplenty; some rare ones include Rochambeau from Virginia, and Moonrise from Rhode Island. Nashville hot soft-shell crab with griddled white bread, pickled green tomatoes, and black-garlic honey is “delish,” while uni is the star in a pleasing portion of bucatini. Other best bets include onion rings and French fries made in-house. Bust out the Instagram app for the fluffernutter milkshake (a “boardwalk fantasy”), but skip the trout almondine, and fried clam bellies with too much breading. [WaPo]
Sietsema gives the tiny 20-seat Japanese restaurant in the heart of Old Town Alexandria 2.5 stars, or good/excellent. He raves over chef-owner Yuh Shimomura (n alum of Kaz Sushi Bistro and Sei in Washington) and his daily-changing tasting menu (five courses for $48). He “typically shops at two or three markets a day for his evening performances,” notes Sietsema. One night, the “Tokyo-style tuna tartare” was garnished with crisp asparagus and displayed on a green floor tile with upturned edges. Expect sashimi to include a bounty of colors and flavors. Good luck snagging a seat at the slim spot, Sietsema warns. [WaPo]
Gus’s Fried Chicken
WaPo’s Tim Carman ventures over to Gus’s Fried Chicken in Greenbelt, Md., and he instantly feels at home at the Tennessee-based chain, equating the experience to a backyard social where employees feel like neighbors. As for the food, the main event features “unfailingly moist” chicken and crisp skin that’s fried in peanut oil (he notes there are no substitutions for allergies). The sides are sweet, which is a tactic to balance the hot chicken. He’s not sold, though, and thinks nothing will satisfy like the chicken. Those interested in road-testing the place for themselves are encouraged to go with the greaseless fried okra or the fried pickles, he says. “Paired with a Natty Boh tallboy, it’s fried-on-fried on fantastic.” [WaPo]
Northern Virginia Magazine’s Stefanie Gans thinks it’s “easy to find charm” at this neighborhood restaurant in Alexandria. Take the “lovely” pappardelle dish, made fresh with wheat berries ground into flour. There’s also a “sumptuous cut” of lamb, cooked sous vide. French wine is flowing with some unusual biodynamic varieties. There’s usually a dark chocolate pot de creme on the menu, which she describes as better than mousse or pudding. “It’s simple and striking, like most everything else here.”
FROM THE BLOGS: BYT gives Shaw newcomer Capo Deli a first look, while Bitches Who Brunch head to Community in Bethesda, Been There, Eaten That heads to Silver, and Hungry Lobbyist eats at Cuba Libre.