Dinner at K Town Bistro

Kensington's newest restaurant pleasant but unpolished.

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When I heard that Gonzalo Barba, the former longtime captain at the restaurant at the Watergate Hotel, was opening a place in Kensington, I was thrilled, given the dearth of eateries in the town. But when I learned the food was going to be “continental,” I was wary, conjuring up images of outdated dishes and gloppy sauces.

Sorry to say, my premonitions proved mostly correct. The food isn’t dreadful, but after one dinner there, I’d characterize it as clunky.

The French onion soup was covered with shredded, barely melted cheese, rather than the gooey blanket that’s supposed to stretch across the bowl. The fried oysters fared better; lying atop a bed of avocado mousse, they were crispy as promised.

As for main courses, the scallops with risotto, spinach and lobster sauce featured decent seafood, but they were set in the gluey, salty sauce of my premonitions. K Town Bistro‘s version of duck a l’orange had lovely slices of slightly pink breast meat, but the sauce was wan and uninspiring. The best part of the meal was dessert—a trio of a mini-banana split, crème caramel and chocolate mousse. No complaints here.

The space at 3784 Howard Ave., which formerly housed the short-lived K-Town Grill, has been updated with local artwork on the sunny yellow walls, and the service is efficient and well-meaning. The atmosphere is a bit lacking, however—Frank Sinatra show tunes were playing in the background, the lighting was way too bright, and it was so hot inside that my husband made a beeline for the night air as soon as we paid the check. I know everybody is trying hard here, but K Town Bistro isn’t likely to put Kensington on the dining destination map.

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