Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

First Look: Vento


Photo Courtesy Vento

Go to Vento.

There was only one downside to my Saturday night visit to the new Italian trattoria: I couldn’t help but to chastise myself over the fact that it had taken me almost three months to head there in the first place.

From the second I walked in, Vento passed my first test: ambience. The Dupont Circle restaurant is unpretentious, beautiful, classy and chic. I absolutely love the lighting.  The noise level is energetic, but somehow you don’t have to yell for your dining companions to hear you.

Second test is service. A lot of people disagree with me, but I’m a firm believer that service has to be up to par with the food in order for the establishment to be considered a good restaurant. Our server greeted me from the moment I sat down and my wine and water glasses stayed pleasantly full during the meal. Drinks-wise there is a nice selection of wine, but not the annoying “let me throw a phone book down on your table.”

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Food and Drink, The DC 100, The Features

DC Omnivore 100: #92, Soft Shell Crab

Soft Shell Crab, Al Crostino

"Soft Shell Crab, Al Crostino" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

It’s time for another edition of the DC Omnivore 100, where we explore the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives…

“Blue Crab Molting Season.” Could there be a sweeter phrase to the foodie ears of our region? Really, it’s one of the best parts of living near the Chesapeake Bay. And for those of us who can’t be bothered with the hacking and slashing to get to the meat out of the crab while in its hard shell, it’s especially sweet.

It seems every restaurant currently has a soft shell crab special on the menu, and that’s no coincedence. From roughly May through June, our local blue crabs are casting aside their old shells, like giggling girls getting beach-ready. It takes about four days for their new shells to harden, so before they become bitter and jaded (ok, I know I’m milking a bad metaphor, I just can’t resist, it’s like a disease) snap them up.

A perfect soft shell crab dish has that signature play with texture – the crisp shell giving way to succulent crabmeat with a little burst of the sea. But I know this particular texture is not initially to everyone’s liking. My gateway dish was soft shell crab roll, often called “Spider” roll. Continue reading