Strangely, for two weeks in a row I've dined at restaurants that were shortly thereafter reviewed by Sietsema in the Post.
The first was the Tasting Room in Frederick, MD. We went up for the crafts fair there and stopped in for lunch after peeking into a few other places. It certainly looks appealing, in a modern-urban kind of way.
Our party of five included nine-month old PoolBaby, and perhaps that is why they placed us in the small (one-table) private room. Up a few steps, with a door that closed us off from the rest of the place, it was quite nice. In fact, For a party of 4 to 6 I would request this room--like a home dining room, but with restaurant service. (Service was fine, but nothing special.)
The food made for a great lunch. I had an open-faced lamb sandwich--very tasty. Highlights around the table were the crabcake sandwich, the whipped-potatoes with lobster, the bread-basket, and the minestrone soup (it was a cool, rainy day). As the name would suggest, the wine list is interesting, and among the decent selections available by the glass I chose the David Bruce Pinot Noir.
I don't eat in Frederick much, so I don't know how the Tasting Room compares with many of the options there, but everyone in our party enjoyed it.
Then, the other day I met a friend for lunch at the new Heritage India just south of Dupont Circle. In the past my exposure to Indian food has been limited to the more traditional dishes. With their menu of small plates--partly contemporary Indian, and partly their take on Indian street food--Heritage India gave us a chance to try some new stuff.
Everything was delicious. The naan was second to... okay, I won't make that joke, but it was really good. We enjoyed "Frankies," which were a kind of Indian burrito, and the "bhel puri," which was a mix of puffed rice, vegetables, chick peas, etc--very intereting flavors. Ground lamb cakes, which were good, if nothing special, came with a few puddles of sauce that really livened them up. We also had a chicken curry and polenta dish. The flavors here seemed more Thai-influenced than Indian--coconut and heat--but still very good.
Anyone who likes Indian food should try this place. It's a good and interesting change from the usual, and the small plates allow you to sample quite a bit of the menu.