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  1. I know it's not really fair to judge a restaurant after one lunch, and an RW lunch at that, but since it's been open too long not to have a thread, I will anyway. The simple description, and I apologize to the current team that may or not being trying to avoid comparisons, is that it's essentially Vidalia with slightly different decor. And since I loved Vidalia, I mean that in a good way. Really, if you had told me I had just eaten at Vidalia after an interior makeover, I'd have no reason to doubt you. Started with a delicious basket of banana bread with whipped butter and a fruit compote. First course: Chesapeake Sugar Toads new orleans bbq, popcorn grits, pickled okra Essentially a poor man's shrimp and grits, except that I prefer sugar toad to shrimp any day of the week. If you've never had sugar toad (a little Chesapeake Bay puffer fish) before, you should. The only place I've had it before is, well, Vidalia. It's got a taste and texture somewhere between white fish, crab and shrimp, and was perfect with the toothy grits and sauce. Second course: Confit Duck Leg corn & tasso ham maque choux, duck sausage, pickled peach jam A perfect rainy day course. A nicely meaty leg with crisp skin...the sides had a touch of sweetness that cut through the duck really well. Dessert: Finnish Aura Blue Cheese concord grapes, rye bread, candied walnuts, spruce tip honey Simply a great combination of flavors and textures. So again, I hope I'm not insulting Chef Hamilton in any way by saying, in a obviously small sample size, that this place tastes like a re-born Vidalia. I'll certainly be back.
  2. Appleby's Hell Was out in Chantilly yesterday for the gun show, and my buddy and I were really hungry so we decided to go to Appleby's only because we hoped it would work in a pinch. So go in and get sat, then waiter who might be about 20 comes to table to take order. We ordered the boneless chicken wings, then both got burgers, one coke and one diet coke. When I asked that my burger be cooked medium and with the barbeque sauce on the side, he tells me that he thinks they have to cook it medium-well, but he will check with the manager. As for the buffalo tenders he goes into lenghty explanation of mild vs spicy. I opt for spicy. About five minutes later, he brings the sodas to the table, asking who gets diet-regular, we tell him. About ten minutes later the burgers come to the table. I looked at him and inquired as to the whereabouts of the buffalo tenders. DEER IN THE HEADLIGHT LOOK. Oh, do you guys still want those he asked, n ot quite sure himself. Yes, I say as I ask him for soda refills for both of us. Start in on burger and notice that sauce is on the side, yet also on the burger! My buddy ordered the same burger and got no sauce at all. He surived. Walking dead returns with the sodas only to auction them off. The kid only had 2 tables to deal with. The funny thing was this was kind of enjoyable to experience, with his 2.3 minute responses. Buffalo tenders come out near completion of the burgers and we start eating them. No more than 4 minutes had passed when Keeanu comes back and asked if were done. A simple no is my response, but I'm thinking that this guy is Agraria/Extra Virgin waiter material. Check is dropped about 10 minutes after that and the bill is $25.34 and "I'll take that when your ready" is gladly optioned to us. We throw down $40.00-2 twenty's and take a bet as to whether or not he is going to ask us if we want change. Personally I feel a 60% tip was a bit much, but who am I to question. Sure enough, he picks up the check and asks the million dollar question--" do you guys need change", trying not to either laugh/grab him by the neck and shake him, I just said Yes. It's always a roll of the dice in these places, and the meal was what we expected-decent for what we ordered. He was no Justin Guthrie, but hey, who is.
  3. Website. The chefs here work on using locally sourced produce, meats, poultry, and other proteins. They are creative with their dishes as well as cocktails and do an excellent job with wine parings. I have been there 3 or 4 times now and will definitely go again mostly because they are trying to do the right thing by staying away from factory meats and produce. I think they are a bit pricey compared to other restaurants in the region doing the same thing, but they are one of a very few in Fredericksburg going this route. Because their finished product consistantly well balanced, flavorful, and worth the visit (we are 45+ min away & we meet friends there; this is the one place we can agree on) we will continue to patronize Bistro Bethem.
  4. First time at Fox's Den on Main Street in Annapolis. solid gastropub from same folks as Level and Vida Taco. Shared salad, meatballs and pizza. All were solid. Will go back as there as no wait and the food was solid.
  5. I know this place is still new, however the wife and I decided to give a shot this past Friday night. I have mixed feelings about this place, and it may have something to do with me being from the Low country of South Carolina. I really wished there was a place like the Hominy Grill here in DC, where you could get real Low Country Cooking. Indigo Landing, I think is taking a more upscale approach to Low Country cooking, which is fine but not what I am looking for in this type of cooking. We started off with the She Crab soup which was really lacking in crab flavor or crab, however it was served with a crab spring roll that was loaded fresh tasting crab meat, it was not even close to matching the original dish. My main entree was the grilled black grouper with Vidalia onion rings, green rice, and a mussel barbecue sauce. I thought this was a good creative dish, that recreated some old Charleston stables like red rice, and mustard based barbecue sauce. My wife had the crisped sea bass, that was served with a very good succotash with crab and bacon, I like her dish better than my own because of the bacon. We also tried the fois gras hush puppies, these were excellent very light with bits of fois gras throughout. For the dessert we tried the very boring standard chocolate cake, that was served with a very good peach ice cream. Indigo Landing is still getting up in running, so I don't want to judge too soon. I doubt we will be going back for a second try. I thought some of the food was good and will hopefully get better as the chef adjust to cooking this type of food. For me less is more when to comes to Low Country Cooking.
  6. Running by the former Monroe's location at the corner of Commonwealth and Monroe, kinda in Del Ray, I saw a sign hanging out front for the forthcoming restaurant "Live Oak." Don't have any more info. I was surprised not to see any info here! Hope they do well!
  7. I'm excited, since I'm something of an Fairfax City cheerleader. I've only been able to find a few reviews online, but they're all raves. I tried Sweet Life (the former occupant of the historic Moore House) once for dinner and it was sorta 'meh'/hit-or-miss, so I'm not surprised they didn't make it. Choices by Shawn seems to focus a lot on gluten-free baked goods, and they even have a few vegan offerings. The web site is here. Has anyone tried this place? Any thoughts?
  8. Just wanted to get myself going. And what better way, than to sing the praises of my favorite spot. Thanks to Tom and his crew for a mgnificent evening of food and drink for our Rocks roast. That mushroom and crab(?) soup just added to my assertion that Chef Tom has the magic touch when it comes to that course. The steak was out of this world good. Someone mentioned elsewhere that it was in the same league as Ray's, and I agree. Spring rolls, Kit Kat bars and ice cream -- all excellent. But of course the piece de resistance was the company.
  9. Happened upon the newest food, grocery, condo block or two in Sterling, Virginia recently - had been to the CAVA there several times, but missed this place as it was not open. Lunch was not particularly busy but the way this complex is set up a block off Leesburg Pike (Route 7) it is a destination. There is a Harris Teeter and several other restaurants (Chuy's) in the immediate area. I saw signs for a Coal fired pizza coming soon as well. Miller's Ale House is tucked in the middle so if you blink you could miss it. There is green space in front with some kids games and benches so it appears to be used regularly. Lunch was great. Have a decent mix of salads and sandwiches, I opted for a burger as their description sounded pretty good and it was. Service was spot on and drinks refilled promptly. Atmosphere is more of the contemporary bar/restaurant feel with high exposed vents and gray ceiling acoustic tiles. The booths and bar area were nicely spaced and they had plenty of seating. I am sure the place will fill up and get busier as the condos there sell and the immediate population increases. They have outdoor seating as well, but due to the heat, I think everyone preferred the AC. After you enjoy a meal there walk out the front door directly across the courtyard to Colada Shop for a great coffee. Heard their Cuban sandwiches are great, but have not been back to try one yet. Anyplace that has Cafe con Leche and Cuban coffee is worth a stop.
  10. The grilled muffins at Bob & Ediths are pretty good as well. I'd never really heard of them, don't think they are on the menu really. Basically they take on of the fairly largish muffins they have, slice it in half (top to bottom), put on some butter, then grill it on the grill to warm it up and make the buttered part just a bit crispy. I'd never really thought to do it and the waitress the last time I was there just asked if we wanted them like that. Never had in the other 5 or so times I've been.
  11. Situated on Lake Anne in Reston, Kalypso's Sports Tavern, with expansive outdoor seating across from the dock area and water. Plaza is dated due to the concrete theme of 1970s construction, but there are several recent additions to the area which all appear to be fairing well. Had not been here in some time but found ourselves there Sunday and decided to give it another shot. Outdoor seating area was nice, umbrellas are a little worn and could use a cleaning, but the open-air area was nice. They have improved their ordering system so it is automated and very efficient. From Humus appetizer to dinner salads, entrees and kids meals, everything was fresh, and nicely prepared. Service was efficient, and food came out quickly and hot. Lucky for us they had live music Saturday evening starting at 5:30 PM, which was great for atmosphere. Place was decently busy and when we departed around 7, there were people waiting to be seated.
  12. We were a large party that needed some place to eat lunch on a Sunday and I wanted a seafood platter. I recalled that DBGB had a pretty stellar plateau de fruits de mer from my previous visit, so we went back. This time, I ordered the "royal" platter for $99. It had a lot more oysters than the $37 "petit" platter but not more variety of seafood, which was disappointing. There was one small lobster tail, 3 whelks, lots of oysters, claims and mussels, tuna tartare, some white fish, and some shrimp. I also had a $9 DBGB dog - which looks pretty but wasn't really better than a Hebrew Nat'l 1/4 lb beef frank. Others had burgers and various sausages. I also had a side of crawfish and okra gumbo that was pretty good. Go for the large and varied menu, not outrageous prices (for NYC and a celebrity chef joint), and the fun LES vibes.
  13. One that comes to mind for me is Grapeseed in Bethesda. Had a great meal there last month. I find this to be one of the highlights of the Bethesda restaurant scene. There are so many restaurants downtown, but hardly any GOOD ones. Anyone have any thoughts on this place?
  14. Same chef and bar manager though. But for the fact that the last guy forgot to renew the liquor license the place might have stayed open continuously, but they had to re-apply and used the time waiting for the new liquor license to spruce the place up a bit. I believe Mr. Moliere always owned the building and was heavily invested as a backer of the former "owner", to the extent that he controlled the situation and had the power to boot the guy.
  15. You may also want to check out IronBridge Wine Company in Warrenton. The building itself is awesome, go downstairs and see what they have done with the basement! The food has been consistant each time I have visited. The menu seems to change weekly so that is a good sign! (Hey we welcome any kind of change in these here parts!) The wine selection and prices can't be beat. The main floor can get busy on Saturday nights though, so upstairs, the windows, or the basement is where I would sit! Good luck!
  16. Opening day drink menu Opening day menu Their imminent opening on H Street intrigues me, and to tell you the truth I'm not sure what to expect. The charcuterie and cheese has pedigree, the team looks pretty solid, and the menu looks fun as well. The "featured cocktails" exude confidence on paper; I've had the Lion's Tail at the Passenger and at home many times, and it's not an easy recipe to execute. Ditto, to a lesser degree, for the Seelbach. And the Five and Dime (ROOT, maple syrup, egg white, and Black IPA) is only locally eclipsed in opening menu audaciousness by SOVA/Derek Browns' placement of the coffee cocktail (cognac, port, a whole egg, and simple syrup, as well as a particularly strong shaker such as Jamie MacBain).
  17. I did not see a thread for Craft (itself). Wow. I wonder why?!! Been twice and loved both times. Really good food, really good service both times. Great space. I will have to try to dig up photos (I think I have some from both times).
  18. Copperwood Tavern Website I didn't see a thread... Hubby and I wanted to go to Texas Jack's for July 4th, but they were out of bbq. So we kept going to Shirlington, which I was a bit hesitant about, but at that point I knew so little was open in VA and Hubby wasn't crossing the border into DC and wouldn't agree to go to Old Town. He had a decent brunch at Copperwood Tavern the other weekend, and wanted to go there. I didn't love the menu, I felt it was very heavy for the summertime, and really struggled on what to order. I settled on a Caesar salad and mussels. We were brought small corn muffins, on a plate that lacked any character and just made them look like they came from a carton from Giant, the taste wasn't anything special. My Caesar salad came to the table and was soggy and obviously either made earlier OR the lettuce was not in a condition I would use, it was supposed to have kale in it, but it seemed to have baby greens, which didn't appear to be any type of kale I am familiar with, which added no texture. It didn't have anything to make it interesting- no capers, no anchovies, no texture. I ate some of it only because I was starving at that point, and Hubby had a long day working and I just didn't want to make a fuss, he saw that it wasn't great so he gave me a bunch of his brussel sprouts to eat instead, those were better, although I think they needed to be roasted at a slightly higher heat. My mussels were an appetizer portion, but were good. The menu didn't note that there was cream in the dish, but it appeared there was and I normally can tolerate a small amount of blue cheese with a pill, but definitely had a reaction to lactose that appeared to be more than just that, I wish that would have been noted, I wouldn't have ordered it. The bread served with the mussels was burnt and hard even where it wasn't burnt. Hubby got a venison steak which was really good, but for $34 I would have expected some side on the plate, I mean, no offense, but it is deer meat. Anyway, I am sure some people think this place was fine, and July 4 certainly isn't a prime night for a restaurant to be on, but I really would be hard pressed to go back. I wish we had gone to Carlyle instead.
  19. Alley Cat is now doing Sunday Brunch Our local okay not great place to eat (walking distance makes up for a lot of things) is now doing a great brunch on Sundays, we have been 4 times now and the quality and diversity is consistently good, They cover the pool tables as the serving area and have a staffed area along the side. The staffed area is a standard omelet station also does waffles and eggs Benedict and roast beef. On the chaffing tables are scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, biscuits and gravy, grits, and crepes. Then there is a more lunch type of table with pasta and usually a chicken dish and a potatoes dish. The other trays seem to vary week to week. Another area next to this (I think a 3rd pool table) is fruit, chocolate fondue, breads/bagles (with a toaster) and a dessert or two. Coffee is good and filled quickly, staff is polite and they have room for a large group. Conversation is easy (not to loud which is a plus when taking Grandma), easy parking, clean restrooms. They even handle special requests (They had apple pie and Grandma had to have ice cream with hers) All you can eat Sunday 10am - 2pm $13.99/person and $8.99 kids under 10 Location: 2 S Whiting St, Alexandria, VA 22304
  20. Great night at Riel a few days ago. I went in with very few expectations, other than remembering that I read somewhere that the chef was Canadian, and at some point served borscht. We didn't opt for the borscht on our first visit, though we will certainly get into it (and the plate of Montreal smoked meat) next time. Cocktails are interesting, well-crafted, and well-priced at $10. I started with "Oslo in the Summertime," a nice riff on a Negroni, with Aquavit subbed in for the gin. Cristina is a sucker for gose, and started with a refreshing beer cocktail (Ready Set Gose) of Real Ale Gose (which has dominant lime notes), Cocchi Americano, and cucumber. It was feeling like that kind of night, so we opted to roll hard and start with the caviar service. Beautifully presented on a cut log platter, were were served 3 varieties - American, Russian, and Iranian along with house made butter (fantastic), freshly made rye blinis, and traditional accompaniments. Just as I was about order a couple glasses of champagne, the manager came over with an ice cold bottle of house infused vodka. All the better. (Click the arrows on the photos to see the crab and hangar steak.) Tempura cauliflower was served with a slightly too-salty kimchi sauce. The cauliflower were nicely breaded and fried, drizzled with the smoothly pureed sauce. There was some spice, but I would have liked a little more kimchi funk. Seemed like a popular dish, as we saw several plates heading out from the open kitchen. Having spent the last few years in DC, it's almost impossible for me to pass up a seasonal soft-shell crab special. Riel's comes lightly breaded and fried, served with greens and a tamarind sauce. Great dish that balances the salty fried crab with the sour tamarind. Bright and aggressively spiced. We wrapped it up with the 44 Farms hangar steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare, served over a horseradish cream sauce alongside pan-crisped potato-cheddar pierogi. Another winner of a dish. Simple, unfussy, but cleanly presented. Riel generated a lot of early press, but still somehow feels a little under the radar. Such is life in a sprawling city with so many choices. That said, I'm confident we'll be back, and would be happy to recommend a meal there to anyone visiting.
  21. 'eh'!!! nope, much, MUCH worse than just 'eh', even at best A perfect storm of disgusting food and slovenly service.....but then again I'm probably just bitter because a 'waitress' (and I use that term VERY loosely) once dropped a pot of tea in my lap , and didn't even see the need to apologize
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