Restaurants Restaurants previously reviewed by Eve Zibart:
It's got the look -- that is, if you can imagine the snuggery at a posh prep school. Old library chairs, some rugby-striped upholstery, vintage sports photos and intellectual-rebel-chic posters of rock stars and Warhol studs. And some of the food is so offhand it seems almost intentionally amateurish (although the panini bread is good and the burgers tasty). But as a coffee bar and as a real bar, it's a nice little fantasy of Americana. Love those baby bottle Cokes.
Moby Dick Sushi and Sashimi
It's not large, it's not flashy, it's not loud, it's not trendy, but Moby Dick is as close to a neighborhood sushi bar as one can get, clean, fresh and affordable. Tempura is good, the smaller nigiri tasty (particularly dependable uni and unagi) and the really big rolls as formidable as any. The name's a holdover from a former seafood shack, which might be why the fried shrimp and oysters are still around.
Bob's 88 Shabu Shabu
This Taiwanese take on a Japanese tradition is turnabout and fair play -- shabu-shabu was probably inspired by the Mongolian hot pot -- but it's more sociable, even raucous, like hot-pot luck. Into tureens of stock go piles of vegetables, thinly sliced beef, pork, seafood, offal, tofu and noodles, to be swish-swished (hence the name) to the desired cooking stage, then dipped into sauce that you mix yourself (soy, chili sauce, vinegar, sa cha sauce, fish sauce, etc.). Entrees are big, so consider sharing ($5 more). The full bar and TV make this a family room of a restaurant.
This is real home cooking: family recipes, family spices, mom-and-pop chefs and a room full of armchairs. (And desserts, the one thing kids always dream of.) But this is Ethiopian home style, and although the menu is short, the food makes many downtown joints look sloppy. First-rate collard greens, lentils, split peas, cabbage and potatoes, homemade clabbered cheese and chopped salad -- and that's just the veggie special. On weekends, Naomi and Jonas Todd add the spicy chicken-and-egg doro wat and chopped beef kitfo to the list. And make sure you taste the coffee. You can sleep in tomorrow.
A s befits the name, this promising young restaurant is good-looking, smartly concise and often sophisticated: Its arugula risotto with portobellos and fennel-spiked Italian sausage appetizers, caramelized prosciutto-wrapped scallops over potatoes rosti, lamb loin with potato-spinach croquette, pan-roasted swordfish with a sort of Provencal confit and roast chicken with root veggies are first-rate, and nightly specials (braised veal cheeks, duck breast) have been as well. If anything, the kitchen tends toward a bit too much patience with its food: Browning, braising and roasting are great arts, but a little more daring off the heat would solve some meat toughness issues.
This casual little Adams Morgan joint, with its single-wingspan space and plywood-cube banquette and snack tables, puts the "bar" back in sushi bar -- honorably and comfortably. But surprisingly, the staff also knows from fish, if not elaborately then certainly better than the unusually extensive list of happy hour specials ($1 a piece or half-price) might suggest. And for those who prefer big rolls, the East Coast roll, with its crab and tempura-crunchies innards and "torched" salmon topping, is pretty indulgent. Also try the chicken, either as gyoza dumplings or skewered.
Roof Terrace Restaurant
It's a room with a view, for sure, and a few hits in the repertory, but this good-looking and logistically challenged kitchen still hits too many sour notes for such a showplace. High notes: tender lobster, fresh-tasting potato leek soup, tasty if clumsy roasted beet and Stilton salad, fine sablefish with sleek leek mousseline, patiently braised if blandish lamb shank and an obliging half-bottle wine list. But icy mussels, sawdust rolls and vegetables and risottos so undercooked they must have gone straight from prep kitchen to waiter are amateur errors.