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Aug 23, 2009 08:56 AM

Kora in Crystal City - Review (2 thumbs up!)

Had dinner at Kora in Crystal City that just opened a few weeks ago in the old Bebo Trattoria space. The chef is Morou Ouattara from Farrah Olivia. I live in the neighborhood and had several disappointing experiences at Bebo, so I was happy to see a new restaurant opening. What a pleasant surprise it was!

They have a fantastic gin fizz, made with ginger soda. Nice wine list, with reasonably priced, well-paired glasses of red and white. We started with half orders of the butternut squash tortelloni and the squid ink tagliatelle. The tortelloni was the perfect balance of sweet butternut filling with savory butter sauce and some kind of fancy oil (maybe truffle oil?). It was also cooked very nicely, al dente. The calamari on the squid ink pasta was very lightly breaded, so it was slightly crispy and delicious.

For entrees, we had the salmon and quail. The salmon was cooked perfectly medium, crispy on top. It paired perfectly with the saffron orzo and there was that great butter sauce again. The combination of the salmon with the orzo was clearly well-thought out because the textures together were awesome. The 2 quails were stuffed with sage sausage and served on top of polenta. It was easy to eat because the quail had been deboned in the middle. Our waitress suggested a nice red to pair with the slight gameyness of the quail. We skipped dessert in favor of getting a couple more cocktails at the bar.

Our waitress was attentive and friendly, a welcome attitude compared to the disjointed, awkward service at Bebo. The space is still pretty and has been updated with a purple theme.

We've recently struck out with Italian restuarants at Dino and Potenza, so I was thrilled to find this great new spot. Its one of the best restaurants we've been to in Arlington or Alexandria. I'll definitely be back, frequently I hope. Highly recommend it!

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  1. Thank you for the review! I am also in the neighborhood, and share your opinion on both the food and service at Bebbo. I'm looking forward to trying it out!