- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jordan’s 8

523 Eighth St. SE

202/543-6401

Steakhouse and sushi

Jordan’s 8, a sleek steakhouse and sushi restaurant that opened on Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row a couple of months ago, serves steaks perfectly prepared to order, traditionally seasoned (for the most part) and nicely priced.

The sushi is first-rate, the fish super-fresh.

“Some think of us as a ‘Baby Palm,’ ” says owner Jordan Cappolla, referring to the powerbroker steakhouse downtown. “We’re attracting people from all over and we’re very busy.”

The wine list is short, desserts seem to be an afterthought and waiters — all in the young and gorgeous category — could be more familiar with food preparation. Despite this, a dinner at Jordan’s 8 is as good as it gets on the Hill.

Gabriella Boston

Rock Creek at Mazza

5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW

202/966-7625

American

Rock Creek at Mazza, the new restaurant atop Mazza Gallerie, is a beautiful, inviting space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Wisconsin Avenue, an enormous fake oak tree standing two stories high in the middle of the room and comfortable booths along the sides of the room.

The restaurant features “mindful dining,” an alternative to high-fat, high calorie meals, and the menu provides a chart enabling diners to count the calories, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, etc. in each order.

Chef Evan McKee’s cooking bears no resemblance to health food; everything is well prepared and attractive on the plate. Dishes tend to be delicate and lightly spiced rather than robust.

The menu is similar at lunch and dinner, with the addition of several salads and sandwiches at lunch, and some main courses at dinner not available at noon.

The menu is an excellent mix of land and sea, a few good pasta dishes and some interesting starters, such as Medjoul dates stuffed with goat cheese and rolled in toasted hazelnuts. Dishes are accompanied by appropriate and tasty sides.

The wine list is well chosen, with many good wines by the glass. Service is friendly and efficient, but it can be slow.

Corinna Lothar

Old Bowie Town Grille

8604 Chestnut Ave., Bowie

301/464-8800

American/seafood

The Old Bowie Town Grille boasts old-town flavor but also appears to be reaching out to a legion of regional diners who are seeking moderately contemporary fare.

Fans of local history will be impressed with the images that grace the walls. Framed photographs in black and white and color showcase some of the highlights of this small Prince George’s County city’s past.

Appetizers include oysters on the half shell, Crab Straight Up and a Calypso scallop martini.

The “straight up” crab starter was about as pure and honest as crab gets. Jumbo — and I do mean jumbo — lumps of succulent crabmeat were dressed very lightly with a sweet-and-sour sauce.

Sandwiches include the Big B, a knife-and-fork pot-roast sandwich dressed with sauteed onions and mushrooms, topped with a red wine sauce and served on a baguette.

Old Bowie prides itself on its fresh fish offerings. The kitchen brings in varieties from the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic and Gulf regions. A daily specials board is chalked up seven days a week.

Specials included crab cakes, specially prepared tuna and rockfish.

Crab cakes are touted as a specialty, and although they aren’t the best you can get in this area, they definitely are a notch above most.

Dessert offerings are fairly standard for this area. Chocolate banana layer cake won out, and it was the perfect choice.

Scott Haring

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

42461 Lovettsville Road, Lovettsville, Va.

540/822-9017

Contemporary American

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm is perched on a hill overlooking the Potomac River with the Point of Rocks Bridge and the Catoctin Mountains in the background, about an hour from Washington.

Dining at Patowmack Farm is not a country experience, however. Nor is the menu, which changes monthly, consisting of a five-course $79 prix fixe meal with two choices per course. The cooking is sophisticated and very much citified. Christian Evans’ cooking is inventive and well executed, with perhaps an overuse of ingredients.

The restaurant is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, and on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch. The limited brunch menu includes a mimosa and three courses for $35.

Once a month, the restaurant has a special dinner, priced at $95.

Corinna Lothar

Locanda Cucina Meditalia

633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

202/547-0002

Italian

Locanda’s food is mostly tasty and well-prepared, but can be inconsistent — like the service with long waits and forgotten orders.

However, judging from the enthusiastic crowd at neighboring tables, we are not the only ones who see — and taste — Locanda’s potential and are willing to be patient while this new, culinary addition to Capitol Hill works out its glitches. Buon fortuna, Locanda.

Gabriella Boston

Pesce Bistro Cafe

2106 P St. NW

202/466-3474

Fish

Pesce’s menu includes tuna, oysters, lobster, blue crab, calamari, octopus, clams, softshell crabs, branzino, halibut, grouper, bluefish and rockfish, though not everything every day. Everything we sampled tasted fresh from the sea.

Two wonderful chunks of tuna, crusted with pepper and coarse salt, are lightly seared. A plump softshell crab is perfectly prepared. Halibut is simply roasted and served with potatoes and vegetables — with the hint of a light mustard sauce. Excellent. Desserts of the day include a fruit tart.

Corinna Lothar

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