Restaurants recently reviewed by Eve Zibart:
MIKAKU (3065-J Centreville Rd. in the McLearen Square Shopping Center, Herndon; 703-467-0220) -- The sushi-bar boom is a wonderful thing, but it also tends to narrow the focus of Japanese restaurant patrons. This is a fine place to discover otsumami, small sharing-size servings that come not only from the sushi bar -- including some fairly serious traditional tidbits such as squid liver -- but also from the grill (razor clams, eel, whole squid, reo-stuffed smelts), the skillet (dumplings, sausage), the steamer (roasted and then steamed duck) and the tempura fryer (shrimp, soft shell crabs). Entrees $12.25-$35.
HALF MOON BAR-B-QUE (8235 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-585-1290) -- Blues, brews and barbecues: That's the rhyme, and it's the reason for this nostalgic roadhouse-look club, which turns out nicely smoky and lean ribs, pulled pork and chicken from its shack-size kitchen. Home fries are long and hot, buffalo wings are unbattered and fine, collards are canned but dressed-up homestyle and the 50 or so brands of beer cover the waterfront. As for the blues part, they're courtesy the roots and rockabilly regulars in the back room; ask what they're having. Entrees $4.50-$11.75.
BOB'S NOODLE 66 (305 N. Washington St., Rockville; 301-315-6668. Metro: Rockville) -- Bob's culinary Route 66 leads to Taiwan, but the noodles are only a small part of the kicks along the way. This is big pot territory (noodles, soups and hot pots), a major seafood escape (five-spice red snapper, soft shell crab, oyster pancakes, squid with sour mustard, scallops with loofah), and a great place to try those crunchy little duck tongues. The less adventurous should go for the ginger chicken, the thin bone-in veal chops in black pepper or the beef with basil. Let Bob be your guide. Cash only. Entrees $7.95-$16.95.
OBI SUSHI (1771 Library St. in Reston Town Center, Reston; 703-766-7874) -- 'Shi's got the look -- up to and including a dining "loft" -- and most of the time Obi's got the goods, although it seems to lack a little energy sometimes. The kitchen is visible through the sushi bar, which is not inappropriate, as the menu is as much teriyaki, tempura and soup as sushi. Best bets are often nibble-size: the crisp-fried cigarlike eel spring rolls, octopus vinaigrette, spicy-slick ika sansai, the tuna-veggie gyoza dumplings and baby grilled eggplant dengaku. Then add on a little nigiri and boutique sake and you're set. Sushi $3.50-$14.50; entrees $11-$29.
MY SUSHI (7945 MacArthur Blvd. in MacArthur Plaza, Cabin John; 301-263-9288) -- This is probably just what a sushi bar in a family-centric neighborhood ought to be: simple, sweet-natured, not too subtle and leaning a bit to the underseasoned. And the number of small fry getting into the fish rather than the franchised fries is the most endearing thing about it. Save your teriyaki yen for a bolder grill, and go for the white tuna-ish escola, surf clam, eel (unagi) and kampachi (baby hamachi) sushi; the crab tempura; the shrimp/surimi "dart maki" rolls and the shrimp tempura/surimi/avocado volcano roll (but hold the sticky sweet sauce). Sushi $3.50-12; entrees $8-$30.
YELLOW BRICK BANK (201 E. German St., Shepherdstown, W.Va.; 304-876-2208) -- It may not be yellow (although the almost rococo painting of the trim is as fanciful and theatrical as this arts-community town), but after 20 years, this slightly eclectic but not too eccentric cafe seems as solid as a bank. House-made mozzarella is a favorite, as is the house-dough pizzette. Among recent successes: Maytag blue-stuffed figs, Portuguese-style clams, Cuban-style pork and hanger steak (meat is generally a good bet here) and bluefish topped with a Provencal blanket of fennel, tomatoes, artichokes and olives. Entrees $17-$28.
MEYHANE (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-544-4753. Metro: Eastern Market or Capitol South) -- It doesn't take much for a cafe to work its way into a neighborhood's affections, just good food, moderate prices, wine and martini happy hours, and real folks -- in this case Dogan Turker and Pamela Tiffen -- behind the counter. "Meyhane" is the word for a Turkish meze cafe-cum-social center, and it fits. Try the hunkar begendi, a creamy eggplant "risotto" topped with long-cooked lamb; lamb or chicken shish, a dolma (rice-stuffed veggie) combo for only $8.95; zucchini fritters; and imam biyaldi, baked-to-melting eggplant. There are vegan as well as vegetarian options, and a killer chocolate souffle. Meze $3.95-$7.95; entrees $9.95-$16.95. Not wheelchair accessible.
L'OUSTALET (302 King Farm Blvd., Rockville; 301-963-3400) -- As this ambitious "little house" proves, with its mini-space and maxi-bistro menu, it doesn't matter how many trendy flavors flood the market: Good French food is a people magnet, and La Miche veteran Michel Bernard touches all the bases from pate to creme brulee. Among best bets: the old-fashioned, caramel-dark onion soup; a meaty ragu of escargots; silky smoked salmon-stuffed ravioli with pesto cream; lamb chops; and piled-high mussels with fries. Daily specials are a little erratic, but intriguing. Entrees $15.50-$24.