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Moa in Rockville?

Unfortunately Moa doesn't satisfy the Annandale-envy that Rockville residents must feel. The place is pleasant enough but the mediocre food and service mean you still must go to Virginia to get a good Korean meal. On a moderately busy Saturday evening, service was friendly (and apologetic) but abysmal. Drinks (from a poorly stocked bar) took 20 minutes to arrive. The seafood pancake was delicious (worth the visit) but took30 minutes. Banchan was OK though stingy. Galbigi arrived in a pre-cooked, small portion. This was a disappointment since the table did have a built-in burner. Seafood bibimbop was the worst I've ever had: a small, overcooked portion of tasteless glop on rice. Moa is a friendly place but the kitchen and wait staff unfortunately lack the competence to produce and properly serve a Korean dinner. Drive the extra miles to any one of dozens of good places around Annandale!

BLT Fish Review

We ate tonight at BLT Fish. As others have said, smoked tuna amuse and bisquits are exceptional. Thai style clams/mussels were also tasty. Side of creamed corn was excellent. HOWEVER the 3lb lobster was a huge disappointment. BLT has not learned that there is no way to improve on lobster beyond simple steaming or boiling. The lobster was overcooked, partly removed from the shell (even though we ordered it whole), and sprinkled with bread crumbs that had been sauteed in oil. LOUSY in the extreme. Please don't make the mistake of ordering this dish. Service was okay but too fussy; too much attention from service staff took away from our dinner conversation. We have been satisfied BLT customers in the past but will not return to BLT Fish upstairs because of the costly but lousy lobster. Downstairs looks worth trying, though. According to the host lobsters there come whole. Also the raw bar looks wonderful.

Aug 22, 2008
heroldra in Manhattan

Whampoa Club, Shanghai

This restaurant currently attracts lots of attention as an innovator in Shanghai cuisine. I looked forward to trying it, especially after reading a piece on the chef in a mid-August 2006 edition of Financial Times.

No doubt the place is interesting. Physically the restaurant is a lovely venue in the swanky 3 on the Bund building. However service is typically old-fashioned Chinese. The wait staff doesn't like to (or can't) explain the dishes very well. (And, by the way, I'm a fluent Mandarin speaker.)

We started, happily, with a light and tasty Peking duck appetizer. Just the flavorful, non-greasy duck and fragrant sauce, no baobing (crepes). Delightful.

Next was a signature dish: flash fried shrimp with wasabi coating. How this fits in to Shanghai cuisine was beyond me. That curiosity aside, the dish was very complex but not particularly satisfying. Interesting to try, yes, but I wouldn't order it again.

The two soups we tried were excellent: an intense chicken broth and a vegetable soup. As in almost any good restaurant in China, you can't go wrong with the soups here.

The veggy dish, qing chao (lightly stir fried) greens, was freshly delicious and light. No cloying corn starch sauce.

We finished with xiao long bao (soup dumplings). These were fresh and very good. Not the xiao long bao of my dreams (have to hit Taipei's Din Tai Feng for that), but quite nice.

Good wine list.

Bottom line: We had a good, but not life changing, dinner. Total cost for two with a bottle of wine was about 700 Yuan. Not expensive by US standards for the quality but in Shanghai you can find wonderful (though more traditional) similar dinners for much less -- however in modest surroundings WITHOUT good wine.

Somehow I couldn't make the leap and accept that this was Shanghai cuisine. It lacked the light, subtle touch that I have come to expect from top quality eateries in this city. Nevertheless Whampoa Club is worth a try for anyone interested in future direction of this region's cuisine.

The Grill, Ritz-Carlton DC

This is a beautiful, expensive restaurant with professional, attentive service. The food is dismal.

My partner and I shared the fois gras starter. Nice but small piece of liver on a limp, tastless boiled onion slice. The main course were unforgivable. Parther had the dover sole/poached half lobster combination. The plate was visually attractive but if we hadn't known what we ordered, we wouldn't have recognized it. Unfortunately the sole was not fresh tasting and the lobster, while tender, was tasteless. I ordered the NY strip steak, which was cooked exactly to order: very rare. Though beautiful in appearance the steak was tough and completely lacked that aged taste that good quality restaurant steaks should have. In a city with so many good steakhouses, it's a wonder that The Grill gets away with this.

We ordered chocolate and raspberry souffles for desert. The raspberry one was light, fluffy and tasty. However the chocolate one was way too liquid - seemed like a dish of syrup. Both were nicely presented, however.

On the upside, The Grill has a wonderful selection of wines by the glass, including a reasonably priced Zin from Ridge that I've only seen previously by the bottle.

Dinner for two, with two glasses of wine each, $250 including tip. Outrageous for the poor quality.

This restaurant must depend on expense account hotel guests who are too tired to venture out. Unfortunately there is no reason for anyone else to dine there.

However the hotel bar is a nice place for a pre-dinner drink. Good atmosphere, well prepared drinks, nice happy-hour appetizers (for and additional $8. per person!).

Le chat Noir up in wisconsin avenue

Tried this neighborhood place last night and was terribly disappointed. Ambiance is lovely, food is not. Service was fair.

Among the four of us we shared appetizers: pesto mussels, chevre salad, fois gras. The pesto sauce was tasty but the accompanying mussels were scrawny and dry. Salad was okay, nothing special. The fois gras, sweet from fig and possibly honey, did not taste very fresh. And the sweetness became clawing after a couple of bites.

Mains: Mussels - looked okay but I didn't sample. Coquille St. Jaques was worst I've ever tasted. The scallops were "past their prime" and tasted crusty from DEEP FRYING! Probably sauteed in too much oil/butter. Have you ever seen this dish dry? The brochette skewer was overdone and dry. Now for my dish: Veal. This was tough, tastless and smothered in a lifeless grey sauce that tasted of flour and nothing else. What a disaster. I only ordered this, by the way, when the waiter informed me that the chef could not cook the salmon I originally ordered rare.

Washington is not a French restaurant heaven. However there are plenty of infinitely better places at the same (not cheap!) price level. Try Bistro Lepic just down Wisconsini Ave in Georgetown, for example.

All that said, the restaurant was crowded on a Wednesday evening. Go figure.