Dining Capsules

Restaurants recently reviewed by Eve Zibart.

SPIKE & CHARLIE'S (Preston and Cathedral avenues, Baltimore; 410-762-8144) -- Just across the street from Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, this spare but striking restaurant has a curtain-friendly bent: an array of mostly light- to medium-hearty dishes, interesting salads, crisp-crusted personal pizzas, pleasant if slightly pedestrian pastas, generally good breads and a nice group of wines by the glass. Service is good, and timing fairly swift. Unfortunately, the seasonings are erratic and grilling uncertain. But it's one of those places whose obvious good intentions go a long way. Entrees $9.95-$24.50. Not wheelchair-accessible.

INDIQUE (3512-14 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-244-6600. Metro: Cleveland Park) -- This strikingly handsome restaurant, with its sari-cloth hangings, sky-blue and saffron-orange paints and open "courtyard" of a dining room, rewards deliberate (and repeat) dining: The freshly toasted spices, onion bases simmered dry and nearly sweet, and the pungency of peppercorns, fenugreek and Goanese kokum fruit make the subcontinent's regional cuisine a real pleasure. Among fine choices: the steamed mussels, shrimp and scallop masala, spiced lamb shank, chicken tikka mahkani (butter chicken) and chicken chettinad, tandoori quail and, among breads, the Ceylon paratha. Entrees $9-$18.

TUSCARORA MILL (203 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg; 703-478-1141 or 703-771-9300) -- Sometimes the kitchen seems understaffed and forgetful, especially at the height of weekend rush; but most of the time chef Patrick Dinh's food is smart and savvy (and the good looks of the place and the cheerful service, plus a wide-ranging wine list, go a long way toward filling the gaps). Seafood dishes in particular are carefully cooked and given clever twists, although the meat handling can be offhand; and the bread, made on premises, makes for great lunchtime panini. The menu isn't particularly long but changes frequently. Entrees $16-$29.

MARRAKESH DE PARIS -- 14418 Layhill Rd. (in the Layhill Center), Silver Spring; 301-438-9006. If a chef really cooks to order, especially if that means steaming and braising and roasting, dinner may take a little time, and sometimes Larbi Bouaichi seems to have all his pans in the air at one time, so to speak; but the wait is worth it: just-gamy-enough pa^tes, beautifully distinct semolina couscous, melting veal osso bucco, delicate lamb tagine, flaky phyllo bastillas and a half-dozen duck treatments, plus a long list of French, Italian and mid-Atlantic continental surf 'n' turf. It's one of those idiosyncratic places you kinda hate to give away. Be sure to get the prices on the unlisted wines, and watch for unusual soups. Entrees $16-$29.

TEMARI CAFE (in the Talbott Center at 1043 Rockville Pike, Rockville; 301-340-7721) -- The "No Sushi" sign is gone, but there's still only a token list of rolls here. Temari specializes in a sort of East-West fusion street fare common in Japan, such as a griddled "wafu" hamburger topped with daikon-ponzu relish and sided with griddled onions and bean sprouts (dump it on the rice); fried smelts with roe; gingery chicken livers; deep-fried oysters or pork with thick Worchestershire-like sauce; rice bowls topped with grilled eel or a sort of chicken and egg scramble; big bowls of ramen noodles; and omu-rice, like chicken fried rice in an omelet with ketchup. Don't miss the snow cones topped with condensed milk and green tea syrup or ice cream layered with cereal crispies and chocolate syrup. Check the list of specials taped to the counter, particularly the fresh fish. Entrees $7 to $12. Not wheelchair-accessible.

KATSU SUSHI CARRYOUT (4822 MacArthur Blvd., second floor; 202-625-9080) -- It's not quite so cheap as it used to be, you can't order by the single piece and the refrigerator full of Budweiser is gone; but this upstairs offshoot of the more formal Makoto still turns out some of the freshest sashimi and sushi in town -- and atop well-seasoned rice, too. On the other hand, you don't have to pay cash anymore. Sushi $3.30-$6 for two pieces, rolls $4-$5. Not wheelchair-accessible.

RFD (810 Seventh St. NW; 202-289-2030) -- Beer is sorta the name -- Regional Food and Drink, referring to some 300 brews -- and it's definitely the game at this beerskeller and homestyle tavern. For best results, mix the two: shrimp and prawns in ale; scallops on the half-shell in beer cream; chicken, artichoke and Anchor Steam stew; real Welsh rarebit over honey-beer toast; porter-marinated burgers (whoppers indeed) and dark lager sausages; beef carbonade -- well, you get the idea. But also check out the marinated veggies, and do not miss the pan-fried rainbow trout topped with scallops. Entrees $6-$19.