2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
Beef stew brightened with lemony spaetzle, cornmeal-crusted banana peppers stuffed with ricotta cheese, a chocolate tart with lashings of caramel and a crackle of sea salt ... the food at this Adams Morgan stalwart is what I’d want to make at home if I weren’t having dinner in a restaurant every night. “Summer on a plate!” a genial server announces an appetizer of three colors of juicy tomato, threads of fresh basil and superb mozzarella. Oh, the dining room is showing its years, but the tunes and hospitality help forgive signs of wear and tear. This is a kitchen that does every season proud, and while John Manolatos nails almost every cuisine he serves -- try his light tempura or zesty gumbo sometime -- the chef’s Greek is always great. First dish among equals is crisp-soft shredded goat alongside cocorubio beans spiked with jalapeno and served with fluffy grilled pita plus yogurt, natch. To keep chefs guessing, I often leave some food on my plate. Given that goat, I must have scraped a centimeter off the china.
If Cashion's Eat Place were a magazine, it would be Saveur, the worldly periodical that's smart without being smug and as eager to look back as to look forward with its food. Opened in 1995 and helmed by John Manolatos since 2007, the softly lighted Adams Morgan destination is a sublime example of how to mature with grace.
I always order a few more dishes than usual for two from the menu, which is packed with interesting choices. Goat cheese souffle and veal sweetbreads with garlicky spinach make regular appearances; a recent creamless soup of three squashes is brighter than it sounds, thanks to the kaffir lime in the bowl. Someone at the table should seize on the chef's heritage: order the goat, a Greek mini-feast of spit-roasted meat -- tender shreds punctuated by crisp ends -- sparked with cilantro and chilies offered with pillowy flatbread and cool tzatziki sauce.
Now and then, the kitchen reminds me it's human. It's fun to see turkey on the winter menu, but not when the braised "shank" is sapped of its juice. The accompanying broad, house-made noodles, however, are divine. Come to think of it, any of the pastas here are worth your taste buds' attention. A gracious and knowing staff discusses the food with the sort of pride that comes more from the heart than from a desire to get rich and famous.
Before I fell for a reluctant gourmet, Cashion's was my go-to date spot; these days, the restaurant is where I head when I'm meeting a fellow chow hound or, really, anytime I want to be reminded of the power of a great meal.
-- Tom Sietsema (February 5, 2012)