Then and again


Villa Mozart's Spinach cornet piped with ricotta cheese. (Sean McCormick/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Until recently, I hadn’t been to the venerable Meskerem in Adams Morgan for a decade, the white-tablecloth Foti’s in Culpeper since the recession hit and The Black Olive in Baltimore since shortly after becoming this newspaper’s paid palate in 2000. The siren call of what’s new - and there’s a lot in the Washington landscape - kept me away. That’s good and bad. Good, because our choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner keep multiplying; bad, because you might like to know how a city icon or a suburban trendsetter is faring these days.

Hoping to make up for those lags between reservations, I’m heating up an idea I had last year and serving another Spring Dining Guide on the theme of Then and Again. Unlike the dozens of reviews in my fall collection, whose topic varies from year to year, this season’s batch of subjects is smaller and connected by a single question: How do 15 previously reviewed restaurants stack up today?

Come taste with me.

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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