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Tom's Takes Restaurant recommendations from Post food critic Tom Sietsema

Tom's Takes: Restaurant reviews of Addie's, Eola

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Friday, October 23, 2009

ADDIE'S **

(11120 Rockville Pike, Rockville;

301-881-0081. Entrees $19-$29.)

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 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. This interesting food is ferried to the table by young and eager servers 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. 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. (Reviewed Oct. 18)

EOLA (Unrated)

(2020 P St. NW; 202-466-4441.

Entrees, $21-$27.)

Dark since spring, the former site of Mark and Orlando's was recast in September as Eola, its name derived from "aeolian or eolian," a Greek word that refers to being carried by the wind, says the new restaurant's chef, Daniel Singhofen. The term also describes his cooking style: "loose and free," says the Florida native. Singhofen and his team are off to a satisfying start. Sheep's-milk yogurt and a bit of honey add creaminess and a hint of sweetness to a robust red pepper puree. Greens and ricotta cheese fatten house-made ravioli garnished with beets and more pinches of ricotta. There's pork belly, because apparently you can't be a restaurant and not serve it, and salmon, a safe fish entree that gets a nice assist from wild rice on the plate. Eola, which Singhofen owns with his parents, offers both regular and tasting menus in its small dining room on the first floor, decorated with exposed brick, yellow walls and broad Mission-style oak tables. Upstairs is a casual bar that the chef hopes to fill with the after-work crowd. Dad didn't contribute just money to the project. Those are his photographs of U.S. Highway 1 on the walls of the second story. The collection traces a journey from Key West, Fla., to Washington -- not unlike the one undertaken by his son. (Previewed Oct. 14)

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

Ratings Guide: * Satisfactory ** Good *** Excellent **** Superlative Ratings are based primarily on food quality but take into account service and ambiance.


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