By Tom Sietsema Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009
Scrapple? Made with goat? For dinner? No one could accuse Nate Waugaman, the new chef of this 12-year-old American restaurant, of churning out carbon copies of what everyone else is cooking. One night's soup might swirl together black-eyed peas, okra, mild sausage and corn, and float a crouton on top for some crunch. Sheets of thin, house-made pasta are layered with grilled summer squash and pureed acorn squash, then drizzled with subtle honey butter, for a free-form lasagna. A pork chop is juiceless, but it comes with tomatoes that taste of the garden and with fingers of fried, chili-ignited eggplant -- both sides so good you wouldn't mind eating them as a main course. This interesting food is ferried to the table by young and eager servers who are deft at navigating the narrow corridors and snug spaces of a onetime bungalow in Rockville, painted in fruit-bowl colors and roomier if you count the front and rear patios. A quibble: The kitchen seems scared of the salt shaker. It shouldn't be. But that scrapple ("breakfast for dinner," our server jests) is terrific, faintly crisp and set off with a sunny egg and a dab of tomato marmalade. And the fun runs through dessert, the best choice for which is a rich chocolate-peanut butter bombe arranged on its plate with a perfect marshmallow and golden peanut brittle. The (dinner) bill is sweet; it comes with chocolate truffles.