The start of the week tends to be slow for a lot of restaurants, which is why Blue 44 dangles one of America's best-loved foods in front of customers on Monday night (and then only). Whereas some of the competition attracts company with half-price bottles of wine early in the week, Christofer Nardelli, the owner of the year-old establishment near Chevy Chase Circle, uses golden fried chicken as a lure to get neighbors out of their roosts and into one of his 65 seats.
Count me in. Of the nearly 20 different dishes I've tried over three visits to Blue 44, that $19 blue plate special (which comes with a house salad and dessert) is the best reason to introduce yourself to the amiable young staff. The joy starts with three pieces of crisp chicken that hint of the sage, garlic and Tabasco they've been marinated in, and continues with their companions on the plate: homey mashed potatoes with a crater full of gravy that reminds me to call Mom, green beans that have some agreeable fight in them, and a baking powder biscuit that's so light and tender it ought to be delivered by the basketful.
--Tom Sietsema (April 1, 2012)