Dining Capsules

Restaurants previously reviewed by Eve Zibart.

THE JEFFERSON (1200 16th St. NW in the Jefferson Hotel; 202-833-6206) -- Perhaps because of the hotel's traditional style, chef Andrew Saba is plating a far more conservative menu than might have been expected, but glimmers of his technique make you pray for another rebellion: Dover sole dressed with fried parsley and pine nuts; decadently unctuous veal cheeks; Arctic char with mushrooms and gnocchi; and foie gras over matchstick beets with squash puree and fleur de sel. Entrees $25-$37.

SAVEUR (2218 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-333-5885) -- The understudy for a hot spot, just waiting for the big break, and perhaps a bolder seasoning style: ingratiating staff, nice wine list, and a rotating palette of mini-meal-size indulgences. Good bets include bric pastry tuna spring roll; braised veal cheeks; venison carpaccio; and such old-fashioned charcuterie treats as house-made pates, frog legs and escargots. Entrees $16-$26. Not wheelchair accessible.

SORRISO (3578 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-537-4800. Metro: Cleveland Park) -- The wood-fired brick oven pizza is the most visible calling card, this, quick and a no-reservation bar fave; but the unusually delicate layered-crepe lasagna, the equally light eggplant parmigiana and the osso buco over polenta are the reasons for returning. The saltimbocca is draped rather than laden with prosciutto, and though the tuna carpaccio can be icy, the quality of the seafood is high. Pizzas $9-$14, entrees $12-$19.

LEWNES' (Severn Avenue at Fourth Street, Eastport Annapolis; 410-263-1617) -- In the assembly-line world of big-name big-beef, Lewnes' is your father's Oldsmobile, the steakhouse even Sunday grillers would bow to. Dark-woody, white-lineny and generous in the family-service style, Lewnes' serves up expense account portions but concentrates on the bottom line: dry-aged porterhouse, strip, rib-eye, prime rib and veal and lamb chops, cooked exactly to order, under broilers hot enough to sear the surface and render the fat. Worthy of denting your appetite is the pristine lump crabmeat cocktail (the crab cakes aren't bad, either), clams casino, and sides of asparagus and onion-spiced sauteed spinach. Entrees $16.95-$32-95.

VERMILION (1120 King St., Alexandria; 703-684-9669) -- Despite the boldness of the name, redlining it is not Vermilion's style. The kitchen does best when it holds back a bit: feta- and spinach-stuffed lamb with sun-dried tomato and potato gratin; mini-risotto cakes with fontina and spicy tomato sauce; unfussy crab cakes; pork tenderloin with sweet potato fries; pan-seared scallops with red pepper coulis and potato croquette. Vermilion also treats bar regulars with unusual respect. At $7, the plate of four "shredded pork sliders," not-so-mini barbecue buns, is a steal, and considering the quality, the $9 crab cakes are, too. Entrees $15-$26.

CAFE PROMENADE (1127 Connecticut Ave. NW in the Mayflower Hotel; 202-347-2233. Metro: Farragut North, Farragut West or Dupont Circle) -- Looking for the in-laws' or out-of-towners' summer special? Look no further. While longtime chef "Tino" Buggio can soothe a nostalgic weeknight palate with such continental classics as Muscovy duck and Guinea hen with Savoy cabbage (and lure a smaller appetite with lamb chop lollipops and foie gras), the Friday night seafood buffet is a magnet for protein addicts: clams, oysters, shrimp, antipasto and green salads, grilled, baked and sauteed fish, crab cakes, tenderloin of beef and a surprisingly good gargantuan paella for $39. And low-cal/low-carb, if you avert your eyes from the desserts. Entrees $15.95-$25; Friday buffet $39 adults, $19.50 11 and under.

THAI CORNER (4733 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-0262. Metro: Bethesda) -- This is a Thai restaurant for those who prefer their Thai not too trendy and less than incendiary, but it's a handsome spot, both inside and out (it has a small, below-sidewalk-level patio), and eager to please. Best bets include yum tuna, a carryover from the old Thai Place up the street; soft-shell crabs; whole fish; mousse-like "crab cakes"; and the inadvertently ticklish "peppery shrimp" with sweet-and-sour pickles. If you do like chilies, fight for your right, but beware the cooking oil; it stains. Entrees $7.95-$12.95. Not wheelchair accessible.

AMBROSIA GRILLE (802 Hungerford Dr., Rockville; 301-251-5816. Metro: Rockville) -- You can take the grille out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the grille . . . well, you get the idea. It may have relocated, but this longtime old-Rockville favorite still hands off filling and unfussy Greek and Italian family fare at prices tonier spots can't match. Try the spanakotiropita (cheese and spinach cigars), eggplant melitzanosalata, dolmades (beef-and-rice-stuffed grape leaves), the unusually light moussaka and the conventionally well-done but tasty beef and lamb gyros; or the meatless lasagna with spinach and linguini with clam sauce. Entrees $6.15-$12.95.

OVATIONS (1551 Trap Rd. at the Filene Center, Wolf Trap; 703-255-4017) -- Under new management by the group that owns Georgia Brown's, Old Glory, Paolo's, Fin, etc., this pretty and convenient pavilion buffet is a better bet than ever, especially when it comes to the main dishes: cayenne/espresso-marinated flank steak, pepper-crusted ahi tuna with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (a nice twist) and crisp fried chicken. Pastas could be a little bolder (except for the garlic) and the breads more interesting, but the cream of portobello soup, the sliced tomato/mozzarella/pesto salad and the edamame succotash are very good. The a la carte options aren't bad, but at the price the buffet's better. All-you-can-eat $24.95, ages 9 and under $9.95; a la carte $16.95-$28.95.

Eve Zibart is taking a break. Her restaurant column, Fare Minded, will resume when she returns.

Venison carpaccio is a good bet at Saveur on Wisconsin Avenue NW.