Food News: Kitchencray, Burtons and The Bird, Ninety Bar, What I Heard

I've been doing my darndest to dine in PGCo. I'm covering Burtons, Kitchencray Cafe, The Bird in DC, and even a hotel restaurant. Little morsels at the end on a Laurel beer and bacon fest, Jamaican Independence Day, winery events in the county and more. Check the post.

I’ve been dining all over the place. While scrolling through my pics, I felt a lil-lil bit of shame at the amount of calories I’ve consumed, but then I felt hungry again and the hunger washed away my shame. Thank you hunger. As you know, my goal is always to dine local but y’all, that can be a task. Prince George’s County is on the come up with dining but it has not quite come totally all the way up yet. 
I dined at the Kitchencray Cafe menu debut at their Lanham (4601 Presidents Drive) location. On tap for the evening were crab cakes, chicken pasta, oxtail stew, shrimp and grits, fried lobster with macaroni and cheese, a short rib hash and curry shrimp. There was such attention to layered flavors. The meats had flavors as if they’d been seasoned/brined/marinated but not overly. I’m not sure where this young chef of Jamaican decent sourced his lobster but it sure did taste like the lobster I have in the Caribbean; it was firm and sweet. The sauces were rich and complimented the food instead of masking it. Service was excellent too, like what you’d get at an upscale eatery, which is exactly what Kitchencray Cafe is. DC’s Citypaper featured him in an article on how he’s bringing “cajun” (smh) food to this “desert” in July. 

Incredible story. He and his family were homeless at one time. JR went on to attend Monroe College on a full scholarship,compete on the show “Hell’s Kitchen” and own his company.  

Hardy’s BBQ will open a restaurant location on June 30th at 13600 Old Annapolis Road in Bowie, MD. I’ve never had their food so I’m just here with the opening info folks. Looks like they’ve been in the catering and food truck business. Another soon coming restaurant is Ruby’s Southern Kitchen. The official location hasn’t been announced but it will be in Bowie somewhere along Old Annapolis Road. We could christen Old Annapolis Road as the soul food & que corridor. 

I met a friend (said “friend” is also opening up a manor and spa in PGCo so stay tuned) to dine at XC/Ninety Bar & Bistro located inside the DoubleTree Hotel in Largo. Looks like they may have changed the name to the Ninety as opposed to the Roman numerals XC which equal 90. I wasn’t expecting much from the place considering it’s hotel food. The menu had some surprises, one being oxtail. Our server, can’t remember the young lady’s name, recommended the dish. By the way, the service was impeccable. We were warmly greeted and well served. The oxtail stayed true to typical hotel food in that it was incredibly under seasoned but the oxtail was tender and if you’ve ever cooked oxtail, you know that takes some doing. They have an interesting cocktail menu too. There’s a coconut gimlet made with gin, sake, basil and lime. Check them out but don’t go expecting a 5-star, foodie haven, but it is better than some hotel food. Well decorated and furnished space also.

Scallops at Burtons Bar & Grill

Burtons Bar & Grill in the Riverdale Park Station was decent. If you’re looking for a spot to eat and the moment is more about the fellowship than the food, go to Burtons. Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing terrible about the place. It’s a cozy, bustling space and there’s parking, but nothing about the food stands out as special. Maybe I’ll go back and explore the menu. Maybe I’ll tip on over to the Whole Foods hot bar and call it a day. Service was excellent: patient, young, friendly staff. The food was just meh. There were some high notes in the key lime pie. Great homemade graham cracker crust, nice consistency to the key lime custard but if honestly, Big Fish in Crofton has the best key lime pie I’ve had outside my own house. Come to think of it, the key lime pie at the Whole Foods is pretty terrific. My evolving point seems to be this: when the grocery store out does your restaurant, it’s time to step it up.
Another just okay place was The Bird in DC. I should have known because I had a similar experience at their other restaurant The Pig. Both places are The Boring. My friend was in town from Peru and jonesing for some purely American food and none of us had tried The Bird so we gave it a go. First of all, lemmejus-say that DC has had the soul gentrified out of it. I walked from the Mt. Vernon/Convention Center metro to The Bird at 1337 11th St. NW and just about cried when I got to what used to be the O Street Market. Overly modern condos with light green panels jut above older brick buildings. It’s like someone stuck lego blocks together from two different time periods. Walking the neighborhood you feel that it has no beat, no flow, no soul. Like the buildings, the people (locals & gentrifiers) don’t fit together. But back to The Bird.  We ordered a bunch of stuff. The paté with beets stood out for me. It wasn’t too thick or to mousse-ey. My word. I don’t want paté that’s been whipped to a frothy peak; I like to know this is liver (drools a bit), mineraly, delightful liver. The paired beets were like a palate cleansing sherbet. All was not lost. Of course we ordered wings and let’s just say I could tell by the wings that the neighborhood has lost it’s seasoning.

Little Morsels:

  • I asked if Silver Diner was coming to Woodmore Town Center and got a polite, “We have no comment at this time” from an account supervisor. What I heard in that response is that maybe we will have a Silver Diner.
  • The Jamaica Independence Day celebration at Wellspring Manor & Spa is now open to the public. The August 5th affair simply great music, great food, relaxed people and vendors selling stuff you’d actually want to buy. I am not of Jamaican decent and I go every year. Sway with the music and eat good food. Get your tickets at Eventbrite
  • The Beer and Bacon Festival in Laurel, MD has been rescheduled to September 15th. Tickets go on sale June 15th; proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity. 
  • Both Romano Winery and Gemeny Winery have events all Summer. Outdoor concerts, happy hours, cigar night, sip wine & plant a garden (that could go right wrong-ha!), food trucks and more.
  • DM with restaurants you’d like me to try. And yes I know the Bowie location for Milk & Honey is open. I’ll be sliding through soon.