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Posted at 1:40 PM ET, 10/16/2007

Oh the Places You'll Eat

By Erin

It's been a busy few months in the restaurant world. New spots are always popping up, but the pace of openings has increased since May, with fresh destinations for fabulous wine, family-style Sunday dinners, bowls of mussels and plenty of pizza. There are enough choices, new designs and interesting options that it would take an organizational chart conceived by Dr. Seuss to keep it all straight. Despite the influx, I do have a few favorites that have made their way into my rotation.

There are so many choices that I'm breaking this into two posts. Check back tomorrow for part deux.

2 Amys and Pizzeria Paradiso have ardent followers, but a few new pizza names are throwing their hat into this increasingly competitive race for the best pie. Columbia Heights's RedRocks offers the most formidable competition. With a former chef at 2 Amys manning the brick oven, the pizzas have promise. For me, they've been over- or under-cooked, but the toppings are pleasing and the beer is top-notch. In July, Ashburn got a slice of the action with American Flatbread Kitchen, which incorporates organic, frequently local ingredients. For a quick pizza, made to order, Vapiano opened locations earlier this year in Ballston and Farragut. I favor the fig pizza, though I usually pair it with a good pasta, also customizable, made to order and large enough to offer ample leftovers.

While I'm on the topic of pasta, my favorite new place to twirl up a fork of noodles is Locanda. I pine for the daily ravioli, though the rigatoni isn't half bad. This is not a place to bring Atkins worshippers: The fish and meat secondi options are good, but those pastas are the stars of this menu.

If you crave mussels, there are two new and formidable purveyors to grab your attention. Granville Moore's on H St. NE offers five different prepared mussels, along with burgers, steaks and crisp fries. The chic Brasserie Beck has a fabulous ambiance that breaks the stodgy mold of office building bistros, an intimidating menu of Belgian foods and a beer menu to dazzle any drinker. The mussels portions are outrageously generous, though choucroute, roasted pork, lamb shank and about 10 other entrees compete for your hearty appetite.

Southern food represents at two new spots. You'll go from Greek to grits in Clarendon. Restaurant 3 has opened in the former Aegean Taverna space with a menu primarily showcasing Southern-style American fare. You'll find fried catfish with hoppin' John, steaks, duck and plenty of grits. On U Street in the former home to Cada Vez, Station 9 serves up modern American with a Southern spin. Pork spareribs and barbecue chicken share the menu with an Asian-inspired salmon dish, chili cheese dip and grilled calamari.

To be continued...

--Erin

By Erin  | October 16, 2007; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Comments

I see that a Vapiano's may be opening on H Street (near 7th)...Or is that closed?

Posted by: ChickieBaby | October 16, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

when reviewing restuarants how can one use the phrase "not half bad", that's what I can say for most spots around, reader's likely want to know whats excellent, unmatched, innovative, or a cant miss. Seems like hype about what's new not what's good.

Posted by: bank | October 17, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Pasta! Floriana on Seventeeth in Dupont Circle has an unusually delicious tortellini made of filet mignon and I suspect veal or sausage... its amazing. Its worth a trip into the city.

Posted by: RedRum | October 22, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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