Restaurant recommendations from Post food critic Tom Sietsema

Chef-owner Michael Landrum of Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring.
Chef-owner Michael Landrum of Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring. (By Stacy Zarin)
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By Tom'stake
Friday, January 25, 2008

THE SOURCE (**1/2)

575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-637-6100. Entrees $29-$60.

The Newseum has yet to open, but the place is already making headlines with its sleek, multi-level restaurant from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Every night is a cocktail party on the ground floor, but my preference is for the more formal dining room, a fancy flight of stairs away. That's where Puck protege Scott Drewno dishes out such thrills as spicy tuna tartare nestled in a slender cone of miso and sesame; stir-fried lamb in cool lettuce cups; whole fish splashed with a chile-herb sauce; and a billowing hot mango souffle. The kitchen reveals an unfortunate sweet tooth here and there, but the wine service is stellar and so is the reception. The front desk is staffed by what appear to be runway models with graduate degrees in graciousness. (Reviewed Dec. 30, 2007)

RAY'S THE CLASSICS (**)

8606 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring; 301-588-7297. Entrees $14.95-$31.95.

No one knows steak like Michael Landrum, who shook up the meat market six years ago with top-quality cuts served at agreeable prices in plain-Jane digs at Ray's the Steaks in Arlington. His slightly dressier northern outpost finds much the same menu, based on corn-fed beef that the owner trims and ages himself. Filet mignon has more personality than most of the competition, while the entrecote proves marvelously tender, marbled and succulent. Nice detail: Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach are included in the price of the steaks. The kitchen does as well by seafood and dessert as beef; don't miss the buttery crab royale or towering coconut cake, in other words. (Reviewed Nov. 25, 2007)

To read the complete reviews of the Source and Ray's the Classics from The Post Magazine, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/weekend.

Coming Sunday: Don't miss Tom's review of Grapeseed in The Post Magazine.


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