Merrifield restaurant named among top 5 newcomers to D.C. area’s dining scene by Washington Post

Kirby Club diners eat outside at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Some of the D.C. region’s hottest new restaurants can be found right in Fairfax County, according to the Washington Post’s recently released spring dining guide.

Restaurants in the county claimed four spots on longtime food critic Tom Sietsema’s round-up of his favorite newcomers to the regional dining scene — more than any locality other than the District itself.

Leading the pack is Kirby Club, the eastern Mediterranean restaurant that launched in the Mosaic District late last year. The new concept from the restauranteurs behind D.C.’s Compass Rose and Maydān ranked no. 3 on Sietsema’s list, which highlights 25 eateries where he would “be happy to go on my own dollar.”

Opened on Dec. 20, 2022, Kirby Club drew praise for its “always sunny” atmosphere and menu of kebabs and dips, which Sietsema says remain “luscious” even though original chef Omar Hegazi has returned to his home base in New York.

He also highlighted the restaurant’s offerings of both share-able platters and plates fit for one:

Non-sharers will rejoice over the plates for one, featuring a variety of kebabs — chicken, lamb, oyster (mushroom) — that feel like a feast given the fluffy yellow rice, sumac-spiked onions and bright salad that accompany them. “Picnic platters” are a throwback to Previte’s childhood memories of Labor Day spreads with the Kirby Club, a Lebanese social group her maternal grandparents helped found in 1933 in Akron, Ohio. My ongoing fascination is the whole roast chicken, massaged with garlic, turmeric and oil and presented on a raft of flatbread with the aforementioned rice and salad, but also crinkle-cut fries sprinkled with za’atar and a rainbow of sauces.

After initially opening with evening hours only, Kirby Club has expanded its operations to include lunch and to-go options. A second location is in the works in Clarendon.

“We love being a part of the vibrant Fairfax County community and welcoming in so many local friends and family to Kirby Club in the Mosaic District every day,” Kirby Club owner Rose Previte said. “It’s wonderful to have the Washington Post celebrating so many restaurants we know and love.”

Unranked after the top five, the guide also gives some love to Ingle Korean Steakhouse and Jiwa Singapura, signaling that Tysons may at last be breaking free of its reputation as purely an American-steak-and-business kind of town.

Ingle Korean Steakhouse at Pike 7 Plaza instantly won the Post’s food critic over with elegant decor, attentive servers, “distinctive cocktails” and “delicious dips” for its array of grilled meats and seafood.

For Jiwa Singapura, which opened on Feb. 15 in Tysons Galleria, Sietsema emphasizes the luxuriousness of the food and the setting, which he says suggests “a fine-dining lair.” He points to the salted egg shrimp, chicken rice and chili crab as menu highlights, though the “beef rendang isn’t worth the 30-minute wait.”

Moving outside the Tysons area — and price range — Sari Filipino Kusina rounds out the Fairfax County entries in the guide. Sietsema says the fast-casual Filipino restaurant in Annandale stands out for the “haunting” flavors of dishes like kare kare stew and smoked chicken wings glazed with adobo, which draw on co-owner and chef Paolo Dungca’s childhood in Manila.

Read more on FFXnow…

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