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Any responses to Sietsma's Dining Guide?

So, I am new to the restaurant scene in Washington, and I don't get out much, so when I do go out I prefer to choose a place that is well-regarded. Tom Sietsma's Dining Guide in the Washington Post Magazine last week (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/...) makes a lot of places sound great, but I have seen some of those places taken down a notch by commenters here. What is the overall take from local Chowhounds on the Dining Guide, and on Sietsma's reliability?

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  1. He did. Several years ago he dropped the Inn to three stars - it may have been in the first dining guide that used the star system. He raised it back up to four stars based on a re-evaluation and I think it is justified.

    It may not be everyone's cup of tea and it might not be on the cutting edge anymore, but I'm not sure that there are any 3 or 3 and a half stars that meet the criteria of a four star any better than the Inn.

    1. If any restaurant should be taken down from 4 stars, it should Citronelle instead of the Inn.

      2 Replies
        1. re: food dude

          I agree about Citronelle. I went there earlier this year and was not impressed. The food was good, but not "wow". For that kind of money I expect "wow". I was quite disappointed.

        2. Please feel free to discuss the restaurants mentioned in the Dining Guide, but for a discussion of Sietsma's reliability, please start a new thread on the Food Media & News board. This helps us keep this board focused squarely on finding great chow in the DC/Baltimore area. Thanks.

          1. I was happy to see Yechon atop the listing of Korean places--Sorak Garden had been getting the majority of the press attention for so long, and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. Yechon, on the other hand, has wowed me on every visit, and they have a pretty interior which will soothe people who haven't experienced Korean cuisine before.

            I'm still puzzled about Four Sisters, though. It isn't appreciably nicer inside nor is the food better than neighboring Viet Royale, and Viet Royale is about equivalent in food quality to Huong Viet. While I had a competent lunch at Four Sisters (and other CH regulars have reported incompetent experiences), I've had a better rendition of every dish elsewhere. Maybe Eden Center should just be listed as "best place to graze from restaurant to restaurant over the course of an afternoon."

            1. I was struck by the absence of 2941. I've eaten there twice in 2006, and both meals were meal-of-the-year contenders. My two meals at Citronelle, albeit six years ago now, never fell into that category.

              The absence of Kinkead's was also noticeable. Yes, the menu is still mostly the same as it was ten years ago, which to regulars has become a little tired. But the dishes are still fantastic, and many people have never been there to try it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mnadel

                I missed the print version (out of town and had the paper stopped) but since 2941 and Kinkaids are well established fine dining and not that hard to discover without a dining guide, I'm not surprised that they were were absent, as long as there were some new places covered. These publications should be about places most have not visited yet, not old stalwarts. But I don't have any idea what the real editorial policy is.

              2. Kinkead's has fallen by the wayside, IMHO. Meals there in the past few years have been ho-hum. They seem to be living on past glory, not present performance. Bob's new place, however, Kinkead's Colvin Run Tavern is very good. I have been there several times and always impressed.

                On the issue of Seitsma, it was not meant to be a comprehensive guide [see his book] and inclusion or exclusion should not taken as meaningfully as discussed here. He hit the high points.

                1. Um, look again, Mnadel--Kinkead's is indeed in the Guide, with 2.5 stars, under "Old Reliables." That said, I was surprised it was included rather than Colvin Run Tavern. As far as 2941 goes, in both of last week's chats, Tom explained its exclusion--what he considers less than stellar cooking for the prices charged.

                  1. Yes, my mistake about Kinkeads. And I also agree that Colvin Run Tavern should have been included as well.

                    I saw Tom's explanation about 2941 on the chats. I simply disagree.

                    1. It's time for Tom to go. He's become a rather poor reviewer who is also extremely recognized throughout the kitchens of DC. He seems content with the old and less than content with the new (save minibar). He consistently states that there are kitchens that can compete with New York or Chicago, but besides Citronelle and Inn at Little Washington (which isn't really even in DC or closeby) I still fail to see where he would like me to go to get food on the quality level of Alinea or Le Cirque or Daniel.