Restaurants recently reviewed by Eve Zibart:
SIGNATURES (801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-628-5900. Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial or Gallery Place/Chinatown) -- It's only one of Signatures' two creative menus, but the modern-sushi list is full of reverse-fusion palate-pleasers: A deconstructed tuna roll of jicama with tuna tartare and wasabi "gelee"; sunomono (assorted fresh sashimi) in filtered "gazpacho water"; avocado and jicama rolled in crushed sesame, hazelnuts and pulverized corn; Kobe beef maki with beet oil and chive soy; and a clear improvement over the common "Philly roll" that combines smoked salmon mousse, asparagus, cream cheese and bagel crumbs wrapped in smoked salmon. Sushi $7-$16.
KAZ SUSHI BISTRO (1915 I St. NW; 202-530-5500. Metro: Farragut West or Foggy Bottom) -- Kaz Okochi's "original small dishes" (or sometimes, "free-style Japanese" fare) were among the very first in this area, and they're still among the best, especially the plum wine-infused duck foie gras nigiri with plum wine jelly, sea trout sashimi "napoleon" and tuna with black truffles. If you like the "deconstructed" new-Catalan dishes that Ferran Adria has made famous, order the sweet shrimp with ajo de blanca (ground almond sauce). Sushi and small dishes $3.75-$16.
FIRESTONE'S (105 N. Market St., Frederick; 301-663-0330) -- This nicely old-look tavern in the historic area, with its pressed-tin ceilings and age-darkened plank floors, is the perfect neighborhood hangout (although there's little to separate the din from the din-din), and when the food is good, it's very good. Good bets run the lite-to-full gamut, a virtue for a regular stop, and include the mango-avocado salad with watercress and ginger; barbecued shrimp with melon slaw; sauteed mussels; pan-roasted duck with blood orange-Vidalia sauce; veal scaloppini with crab and roasted corn; cornbread-stuffed semi-boneless chicken; and scallops over lobster ravioli. Entrees $14-$26.
FISH ON (17300 N. Village Main Dr., Lewes, Del.; 302-645-9790 or 877-871-3474) -- This smart, art-gallery-sleek seafood grille looks more toward Rehoboth (and Bethany, home of its corporate sibling Redfin) than to the old-fashioned fish houses of canal-side Lewes, but it's a good fit for the new-town Five Points neighborhood: up-to-date but not trend-bound, moderately priced, with a good wine list and fresh ingredients that make the nightly specials hard to get past. Look for pan-fried fish (particularly rockfish or grouper), raw asparagus salad, crab cakes, shrimp on grits, sashimi-style "quick-marinated" fish and the satisfying barbecued salmon with beans and slaw. Entrees $16-$27.
EDEN (23 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth, Del; 302-227-3330) -- It's not that there aren't plenty of pretty spots to park here (draped booths, a "fireside" lounge by the old oven, mezzanine, sidewalk and even balcony seating), but the bar is often where it's happening here, thanks partly to a wide range of good wines by the glass (and staff often willing to pour wines listed only by bottle) and partly to the intriguing and filling assortment of appetizers: grilled boar sausage, wild boar spare ribs with hoisin sauce, grilled Caesar salad, wood-grilled pizza, even a smart cheese plate. Admittedly, nibbling may spoil you for the bigger Kobe or antelope entrees, but you can still manage a sweetly seared half-dozen scallops or a dish of coconut-bathed "bouillabaisse," and you definitely should. Entrees $25-$32.
DISH! (26 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth, Del.; 302-226-2112) -- The homiest thing about this "retro dining gallery" may be the intentionally amateur attitude toward deconstructing recipes; it's like playing refrigerator turnover with a chef instead of your college roommate. (One who knows something about good wines.) And when it works, it works well: "free-formed chicken pot pie," crab-stuffed mushroom caps and chicken satay with spiced peanuts, pan-seared rockfish with curry-crab sauce. The carpaccio and crabmeat salad would be happier reconstructed, however, and more gentle sauteeing of gritty rubs and spices would let their otherwise fine meats and seafoods shine. Entrees $13-$32. Not wheelchair accessible.
RED HEIFER (4844 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-951-5115. Metro: Bethesda) -- It's kosher, but it's anything but corny or corn-beefy. In fact, the area's newest steakhouse is where the organic buffalo roam and the chicken free-range, and where the sweet potato steak fries are as big as horns. Between the low-carb boom and nu Jewish pride, this bids fair to be Bethesda's best-yet crossover spot for mixed-group dining. The pseudo-pub fare, such as the orangy-hot "heifer wings," aren't great, but the veal chop, the ribeye, the buffalo, the onglet and the tuna are first-rate; and the bread basket is actually more interesting than most. Entrees $14-$44.