2 strong hands at the casino, and more new restau­rants to try

The Washington Post - - DINING - BY BECKY KRYS­TAL

Try­ing to break out of a din­ing rut? Want the scoop on which new restau­rants are worth vis­it­ing? Here’s a roundup of your best bets, as vet­ted by Wash­ing­ton Post staffers.

Volt­ag­gio Broth­ers Steak

House: Broth­ers and former “Top Chef” ri­vals Bryan and Michael Volt­ag­gio are col­lab­o­ra­tors at one of MGM Na­tional Har­bor’s flag­ship restau­rants. “Not only is the restau­rant more imag­i­na­tive than it sounds, it tastes like the cul­mi­na­tion of ev­ery­where the sib­lings have pre­vi­ously cooked,” Post food critic Tom Si­et­sema says. Check out the wedge salad, umami ce­real and hanger steak. 101 MGM Na­tional Ave., Oxon Hill.

Ar­roz: Pro­lific chef and restau­ra­teur Mike Isabella (Graf­fi­ato, Kap­nos, etc.) makes a suc­cess­ful foray into Spain, Morocco and Por­tu­gal. The food from ex­ec­u­tive chef Michael Rafidi is “likely to keep tables in de­mand,” Si­et­sema says. High­lights in­clude fried sweet­breads, duck bomba rice and rum baba. 901 Mas­sachusetts Ave. NW.

Ruta del Vino: This Latin Amer­i­can spot in Pet­worth is re­fresh­ing for its dish sizes that hew to the tra­di­tional ap­pe­tizer-an­den­tree for­mat. Its food is also worth cel­e­brat­ing, from the clams and cac­tus pad­dle salad to the roast chicken and fried mahimahi. 800 Up­shur St. NW.

Mirabelle: This Frenchin­spired din­ing room — serv­ing, yes, a $26 ham sand­wich — is al­ready reach­ing great heights thanks to chef Frank Ruta and pas­try chef Ag­gie Chin. Si­et­sema says the restau­rant is “the best thing to hap­pen down­town in sea­sons.” Try the boudin blanc, veal tongue and crepe cake. 900 16th St. NW.

Fish by José An­drés: The seafood spot from man-of-many­cuisines José An­drés is an­other of the flag­ship restau­rants at MGM Na­tional Har­bor. “No mat­ter where you cast your net, you’re likely to pull up a prize,” ac­cord­ing to Si­et­sema. You won’t go wrong with the Mary­land Fry Bar, oys­ters and lob­ster sand­wich. 101 MGM Na­tional Ave., Oxon Hill.

Baba: Drinks are a big draw at this bar be­low Am­bar in Claren­don. Food-wise, you’ll find a mix of Balkan-in­spired small plates (ham cro­quettes, fried Gouda sticks), open-faced sand­wiches (steak tartare) and break­fast (tiramisu oat­meal) ev­ery day. 2901 Wil­son Blvd., Ar­ling­ton.

Tiger Fork: Take a jour­ney to Hong Kong in this at­trac­tive Blag­den Al­ley restau­rant from the team be­hind Faint­ing Goat. There’s a strong bar pro­gram, not to men­tion ap­peal­ing dishes that in­clude crispy sour pota­toes, beef chow foon and a dessert bub­ble waf­fle. 922 N St. NW.

Sfoglina: You wouldn’t ex­pect any­thing less than re­fined food and ser­vice from Fabio and Maria Traboc­chi (Fi­ola, Casa Luca, etc.). House-made pasta is the name of the game here, but such en­trees as the branzino and desserts in­clud­ing the soft-serve ice cream are prime at­trac­tions, too. 4445 Con­necti­cut Ave. NW.

Colada Shop: Proof that ca­sual doesn’t have to mean lower ex­pec­ta­tions. At this col­or­ful cafe in­spired by Cuba, go for such fried snacks as the ham cro­que­tas, veg­e­tar­ian Cuban sand­wich and af­ford­able cock­tails. 1405 T St. NW.

Hon­ey­suckle: Hamil­ton Johnson opened his first restau­rant in the old Vi­dalia space where he used to be chef de cui­sine, and the re­sults are pretty good, if some­what rich. Con­sider or­der­ing the skate wing, and save room for dessert. 1990 M St. NW.

becky.krys­tal@wash­post.com

PHOTOS BY DEB LIND­SEY FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Oys­ters Rock­e­feller with béchamel, shoyu and ba­con at Volt­ag­gio Broth­ers Steak House, one of two culi­nary jack­pots at the MGM Na­tional Har­bor casino. TOP: Steak tartare tops open-faced sand­wiches at Baba, a Balkan-themed place in Ar­ling­ton.

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