Walk by Bar Pilar and you wouldn't look twice, at least I never did and neither did my friend Andy, who came with me to dinner. What a mistake!
This brightly-colored, 2-story, American bar and grill located off of 14th Street between S and T Streets NW will surprise you. Reservations were set for dinner, I walk in and see a bar (duh!) not impressed, then I head upstairs and think to myself, ok, ok, I'm listening.
Andy and I order the chicken liver and sriracha pâté as well as the Szechuan-style pork.
First the pâté. Pâté traces its origins from France and is typically made from any kind of meat, fish or liver and fat. The chicken liver and sriracha pâté at Bar Pilar was exquisite. It was light, not too spicy, and the bread was grilled and buttered well.
The Szechuan-style pork shank, like most Szechuan-styled dishes from the province of Sichuan in southwestern China, packed enough flavor to occasionally raise your temperature. Underneath the shank, the plate was layered with the aromatic, Indian basmati rice. All of the flavors- the ginger, the chili, the garlic- came together to give this popular style of Chinese cuisine an authentic southwestern Chinese flavor.
At Bar Pilar, the dishes change based on the availability of fresh, seasonal, organic and local produce. Freshness Andy and I could taste.
P.S. Bar Pilar, at this American bar and grill, the Chinese and French would feel at home.
I'll keep this one brief, very brief.
Over the weekend I visited the beautifully manicured brick, wood, and steel restaurant serving American dishes on H St. NE, Driftwood. Unfortunately, outer beauty does not equate to inner beauty or should I say savory dishes from the kitchen.
I ordered the steak and eggs and a side of waffles. The steak, ordered medium-rare, was a lot closer to well done than to medium-rare. The waffles were rather dense and somewhat cold, cold enough not to melt the butter.
It could be a fluke, yet they say first impressions are hard to overcome.
P.S. So Driftwood? Not so good.
Tired of your typical Thai restaurants serving the same items? Looking for a little bit more excitement? If you have ever walked down 17th St. NW it is likely you have walked by this cave-like restaurant and not known it. Signage is non-existent, the door is without a label but walk down those stairs and swing open that door and I think you wont regret it.
What makes this restaurant unique is their weekly preset menu. Which means the items I have will likely not be the items you have, should you chose to visit.
The best dishes, out of seven, were the suki haeng and the si krong muu. The suki haeng is made with glass noodles, vegetables and the ingredient that made it stand out, eggs; while the si krong muu pork ribs are marinated in Thailand's first domestically produced golden spirit, Mekhong whiskey, and topped with with dill, a surprisingly nice touch.
It was the odd yet somewhat appealing combination of the tamarind sauce, made from the highly nutritious tropical fruit, the pla ra seasoning, which is produced by fermenting fish with rice bran or roasted rice powder and salt, and corn that intrigued me most. They called this dish yum khao pod. (Who the heck would think of Thai and corn as a thing?)
Although Little Serow's menu changes weekly, and therefore I cannot vouch for each week's items, I can say my experience there was pleasant.
P.S. Little Serow, not so little after all.
The new Georgetown at the Navy Yard?! The Salt Line is turning this area into DC's new waterfront hot spot
Is it even possible to transform the waterfront near the Nationals Stadium into a Georgetown-like area? Serving New England classics and Chesapeake Bay dishes, this oyster bar is blazing the trail— or should I say the river—in an area that is likely to take off in the next 5 years.
Located on Potomac Avenue in Southeast D.C., the nautical-themed restaurant serving craft beers and cocktails such as the Saltier Dog will transport you beyond land straight to the water through their exquisite menu.
The grilled monkfish with the creamy, herbal, mildly spicy sauce typically made with a mix of almonds, green peppers and poblanos was spectacular. The braised golden tilefish (a delicate, low in fat fish with a flavor similar to lobster) with littleneck clams, squash and fava beans was not too far behind.
Because I am normally adverse to salt, oysters don't quite do it for me. Yet, this daredevil restaurant reviewer HAD to try the oysters, after all it is called The Salt Line- Oyster + Ale. And they... were... surprisingly good. Prominently displayed atop their raw bar, you can read more about their oyster selection, which come from different parts of the country.
P.S. Get in and dine at The Salt Line!
Admit it, you have flipped someone off. But what you didn't know is that you have been doing it wrong all along.
If there is a bird that needs flipping— in your mouth that is— it is Logan Circle's The Bird. Located on the corner of 11th and O St. NW, this colorful restaurant's avian dedicated menu will have your taste buds taking flight.
The spicy tomato curry duck meatballs with yogurt and cashews had me replacing the 'd' in duck with another letter in the alphabet. Yeah, it was that ducking good!
I thought, "Could they match the tasty goodness of the duck meatballs with the grilled tamarind duck breast?" And match they did. Marinated in tamarind, a tropical fruit with origins in Africa and primarily grown in the tropics, the duck breast is paired well with chili, garlic and crispy baby kale. It also comes with basmati rice, which happens to be my favorite.
I tried their grilled peri-peri cornish hen but will refrain from comparing it to another Portuguese-inspired African restaurant with a similar recipe. Why? Because the meatballs and the duck breast greatly exceeded my expectations.
P.S. The Bird? Go flip it and flip it right!
This unpretentious yet exquisitely decorated restaurant offers Washingtonians a vibrant environment to enjoy Spanish and Latin American-inspired dishes. Tico, a colloquial term for a native Costa Rican (my home country— had to let you know!) is strategically located near the intersection of two of DC's most frequented streets, U and 14th in NW.
The Mexican-native, mountainous serrano pepper paired with lime and cilantro introduce a perfect balance of flavor to Tico's Tuna Ceviche.
Coated by the hard, crumbly, Mexican cotija cheese; the Greek and Roman cultivated fava bean; and the smoke-dried jalapeño known as chipotle, the Roasted Cauliflower is one to order from the Small Plates section of the menu.
My favorite (so far) is the Spicy Shrimp and Lobster, also found in the Small Plates section. In addition to the shrimp and lobster, this paella-like dish has chorizo and clams. Interestingly (and done well), Tico DC adds almonds and crispy rice to texturize the otherwise liquidy small plate.
The mere fact this restaurant pays homage to my homeland through its name is enough for me to visit yet not enough to convince me to return. Last week, its food did. I will be back.
P.S. Donde haya un Tico, esté donde esté, hay libertad. (Where there is a Tico, wherever he or she may be, there's liberty.) In other words, enjoy the liberating flavors of this D.C. restaurant.
P.S. by Paulo is a food-critiquing site dedicated to bringing Washingtonians the best food D.C. has to offer through short & pithy reviews. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PSbyPaulo/ and Instagram @PSbyPaulo. Share it with your friends!
Take me back, s'il vous plaît! This quaint, bustling brasserie located on 14th Street NW, draws inspiration from the Boulevard Saint-Germain cafes in Paris. The Eggs Norwegian— two smoked salmon eggs Benedict— and succulent Duck Sarladaises— a combination of two of France's most storied dishes— tell your taste buds one thing, je t'adore (I love you!).
But it was their superbly season roasted potatoes that surprised me most. This southwestern French side dish is traditionally prepared in duck fat, and at Le Diplomate it pairs well with the sauce hollandaise, which comes with the Eggs Norwegian.
P.S. If you have yet to visit Le Diplomate, then you're not doing DC right.
P.S. by Paulo is a food-critiquing site dedicated to bringing Washingtonians the best food D.C. has to offer through short & pithy reviews. Follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @PSbyPaulo!
As a little boy I would repeatedly say, "A mí me gusta comer y dormir." "I like to eat and to sleep."