Foodie NewzRestaurant Reviews

September Foody Newz

by Debby Critchley

I’ve been busy the past few weeks checking in on new restaurants and finding out the latest in foody newz around town.

Mary Wadland, Kris Gilbertson, and I stopped at Osteria da Nino after Wags ‘n Whiskers. As I mentioned in a previous column, they replaced the Curious Grape in Shirlington. We sat out on the lovely patio to enjoy the late afternoon breeze and a few appetizers. Our server brought us a plate of focaccia. Kris found it irresistible! This was followed by a cone of fritto misto composed of crispy calimari, shrimp, mussels, salmon, seasonal vegetables, and served with a saffron aoli. The seafood and veggies were lightly battered and virtually grease free. I will order this again. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we tried the melanzane alla parmigiana. This was consisted of disks of crispy fire roasted eggplant croquettes topped with tomato confit, perline mozzarella, basil, parmesan, and tomato oil. Beautiful and tasty. There were also the polpettine di vitello of veal meatballs, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese. The sauce tasted of fresh tomatoes and herbs. Another home run for all of us. Our server made sure we were comfortable and well fed. She recommended the mini cannoli for dessert. I am now a big fan. The homemade shells were crispy and tasty. They were freshly filled with a delicious pastry cream and dusted with crushed pistachios. I highly recommend you have your next meal at Osteria da Nino. You will leave happy.

Change is coming to Shirlington. The Bungalow Sports Grill closed in June and will be replaced by Dudley’s Sport and Ale, a sports pub with rooftop bar. Created by the Copperwood Tavern owners, the space will be a 12,000 square foot indoor space and a 3,000 square foot rooftop bar. There will be 40+ TVs with a gaming area and lounge style seating ample for individuals and large parties. Another change is coming to one our favorite streets in Arlington. Charlie Chiang has closed and Queen Ammanisa will take its place on 23rd Street. Owner Emam Maimaiti explained that he is bringing Uyghur food from province Xinjiang in Northwest China, a place formerly known as Turkestan. Uyghur cooking is a product of its geography and is a mix of Persian and Chinese cuisines. It has kebabs and noodles “like you’ve never had before,” Maimaiti said. Lamb, mutton, and beef are common in Uyghur food, as are carrots, raisins and lots of vegetables, he wrote in an email. Uyghur food is often halal too, due to the ethnic group’s predominantly Muslim culture. Look for a mid to late fall opening.

Shake Shack is coming to Pentagon City Mall. No opening date yet. Their spokesperson said, “We’re looking forward to opening our doors in this new location to the residents and visitors of the Arlington area.” Shake Shack is a modern day “roadside” burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more. Oz is a new Clarendon bar and restaurant with modern Australian cuisine that should be opening mid-month at 2950 Clarendon Blvd. Co-owner Ashley Darby, a former Miss D.C., said she “wants the Oz to be a place that guests can come to relax with friends, enjoy a beer and taste authentic Australian food.” “The restaurant’s interior is meant to feel like a house on the Australian outback and can seat 150 guests” Darby said. Look for outside seating for about 50 people. Darby said she wants the Oz to be a place that guests can come to relax with friends, enjoy a beer, and taste authentic Australian food. The menu will feature dishes served in Australia such as rissoles and eggs, a typical Australian brunch dish, and an Australian version of a s’more. Darby’s husband and Oz co-owner, Michael, an Australian native says, “It’ll offer a different perspective on some cuts of meat and plates we have in America,”

Have you been to Whim Pop at 1309 King St.? Owner Maria Romano started the business on the side in 2012 while working as a computer systems engineer. In two years, she expanded from one farmers market to 10 (farmers market sales will continue). Whim Pops are partially a nod to the paletas (ice pops) of her native Mexico. Paletas are “something I always had in the summers there,” Romano said. Whim Pop’s available flavors change daily. These beautiful pops taste of fresh fruit including Her diligence has paid off. The jewel-toned pops ($3) are bursting with fresh fruit like strawberry, blueberry-peach. Romano also offers flavors that include dairy such as milk or yogurt. You will also find other snacks and sweets including samosas, cake pops, empanadas, kettle corn, and gluten-free bread.

We’ve seen the sign in the window for a while now and it looks like Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza restaurant at Yates Corner across from the Braddock Road Metro station will be opening soon. There will be dog friendly outdoor seating and an outdoor fire pit. The restaurant will feature 120 seats. According to their website, pizzas will include the Spicy Sausage with cherry peppers, caramelized onions, sundried tomato, fresh basil, and mozzarella; a Grilled Pepperoni features whole milk mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes; the Fresh Goat Cheese & Olive is topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, basil, and olive oil; and an interesting sounding Sunny Side Up made with bacon, smoked gouda, onions, peppers, potatoes, sunny side up quail eggs, maple syrup, and truffle oil. I’m looking forward to the Prosciutto & Basil topped with onion jam, whole milk mozzarella, and roasted tomatoes; the Marinated Shrimp with roasted red peppers, feta, and basil, and the Funghi with roasted garlic cream, seasonal mushrooms, smoked gouda, and porcini oil.

Please consider attending the Parker-Gray Restaurant Graze on September 19 from 1:30 – 4:30 pm at the Bastille, 606 N Fayette St. For $20, you can join residents and local businesses celebrate Parker-Gray. Meet your neighbors and enjoy food from local Parker-Gray restaurants including: Lost Dog Café, Sugar Shack Donuts, Mason Social, Shanghai Peking, and Bastille. The new Braddock Interim Park will be open for participants to enjoy games and cool music.  The Parker-Gray Roundtable, Braddock Metro Citizens Coalition, and the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority (ARHA) are sponsoring the Parker-Gray Graze.

Rolls By U, a new sushi restaurant coming to the Colonial Village Shopping Center on Wilson Blvd, is hoping to open its doors mid-September according to its Facebook page. The sushi restaurant’s slogan is “where you create,” implying that it may be a make-your-own sushi concept. On social media, the restaurant says it will offer “organic, healthy, and flavorful sushi for your senses and your soul.” Will Artley, one of our favorite chefs, formerly of Evening Star Cafe, has a new gig —taking a chef’s position at Neyla in Reston. Artley says he’s also brought some of his team from previous restaurants to the Mediterranean restaurant. Artley says he’s excited for the opportunity to bring new life to a restaurant that’s been around for so long.

Have a recommendation of a restaurant for me to review or news about a new, existing restaurant in the area, or some foody newz, let me know, and I will include it, [email protected].

Until next time, eat well and enjoy!

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