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Found 17 results

  1. Just heard that Nando's is opening their first US store in Chinatown at the Asylum Skate Shop space at 819 7th St NW. Don't exactly know when it will open though, but in the near future. Will update as I find out. If you are not familiar with Nando's, it is a South African chain that specializes in Peri-Peri Chicken. Their sauces have been on sale at Whole Foods and elsewhere for a while. This will be their first US restaurant. I've had many an enjoyable meal there in South Africa and the UK. Pretty excited to have another cheap dining option in Chinatown.
  2. Enjoyed a good meal at this new fast casual place in Mosaic a few weeks ago. The three of us each got different meats with sides (lentils, etc). The Naan was well made and buttery. I don't recall all the details, but it was hearty and reasonable. Sauces were not too spicy but flavorful and unboring. I do recall this weird automatic hand wash contraption thing in the dining room. It was awesome.
  3. I tried out Meggrolls last night. It's in the former Five Guys space at 107 N. Fayette Street in Old Town. The space is pleasant -- navy and white, with a touch of dusty orange in the dining area, blond wood tables and chairs, and a bunch of framed '80s album covers in the dining area. Right now, they're open for dinner hours only, at 5:00, so they can get a feel for the flow. The menu is small, about a half dozen Meggrolls offered, plus some cole slaw variations, french fries, and chili, and the chalkboard advertises that pies are coming soon. The chalkboard also says that 1 roll is a good snack and 2 is a meal. Well, 1 roll and a side of slaw would be more than plenty of food for me; I did the 2 rolls (no sides) and it was a stretch -- remember, it's all deep fried. At $6.75+ per roll (sides are a la carte), taking the chalkboard's advice gets pricey pretty fast for what is, at its heart, tasty craft junkfood. The rolls are a cheeseburger, buffalo chicken, gyro, mac-n-cheese, and chicken parm. The rolls are expertly fried, and fried to order. I could see into the frying area and each chamber of the fryer was labeled for each type of roll so none of the flavors mingle. They're using some sort of iPad register system and it looks cute but I wonder how it's going to hold up over the medium term, let alone long term. Because it's done to order, and a small kitchen (one fry cook/roll splitter and one dressing the rolls at the pass, it can get backed up quickly and one even small order gone wrong can throw the whole thing into the weeds. Case in point, I was in a mini-rush of folks getting off work and arriving about 5:45, and was 3rd or 4th to order and 10th or 11th to get my 2 rolls, one of which was done many minutes (and several intervening pick-ups) before the other. The rolls were dark brown, crunchy, not greasy, and held up well to a 30 minute car ride home, but I certainly wouldn't recommend that sort of holding time. I tried the spicy buffalo chicken roll and the gyro roll. The chicken was a mild-to-medium spicy piece of chicken that appeared to have been pre-cooked in the spiced coating, then egg roll wrapped with a little something else inside the roll, deep fried and then split lengthwise and topped with a small celery stick and dressed with bleu or ranch dressing (I had the bleu on the side since it was a to-go order). I would have liked it a bit spicier and with more of a celery kick to it. The gyro was a spiced lamb patty, sort of like kofta, deep fried, split lengthwise and topped with (a very bland) tzatziki, shredded lettuce and halved grape tomatoes. I liked this one a little better than the buffalo chicken, but felt it was a bit out of balance with too much yogurt/not enough herbs compared to the lamb. The flavor of the lamb was good. I scraped off most of the tzatziki and ate it with the tomatoes instead, and a punch of fresh herbs and garlic would have done it good. Overall, it was a fun meal but I'd really put it in the category of a well-made junky treat and not something I'll eat very often.
  4. Coming soon to Rockville. "The Habit Burger Grill Coming to Rockville Pike" by Andrew Metcalf on bethesdamagazine.com
  5. Technically today is my Friday so when I saw the line for Buredo I decided to stick it out and take a little longer than I should for lunch. The staff was very nice and was handing out free wasabi peas to all of the people waiting patiently in line. I went with the Beatrix, which has yellow tail tuna and salmon sashimi, cucumbers, pickled napa cabage, green onion, 'tempura crunch' and unagi sauce. The fish was good quality - not Izakaya Seki or Sushi Capitol good - but not mediocre either. The rest of the ingredients were fresh and the size was bigger than expected. It cost almost $13 for finished product and I can't think of any other place in the neighborhood that you can get that amount of quality sushi for that price. Hopefully the amusement park roller coaster-esque line will shorten once the initial novelty wears off.
  6. Enjoyed roughly my 10th (or so) visit to Habit Burger a few days ago, and it was its same sensational fast-food experience. I think Habit Burger would be a hit if it were to expand to the east coast, but with the distinct disadvantage that outdoor eating would not be the same....all year around in Los Angeles, but only a few months a year in most east coast locations.
  7. A trip out to Bowie to get an oil change (near the office, cheaper than in DC, blah blah blah) led me to an outpost of Five Guys in this small but rapidly expanding DC Burb. Yes, this was my first time at a Five Guys. Evaluation? Not going back. Where was the ketchup I asked for? Why use thinly sliced jalapenos with no heat and less flavor? What the heck was that seasoning on my "cajun" fries (and why can't you just hire a consultant from Thrashers?)? What sort of mad scientist concocted this thing you call "cheese"? Why did my bun have the consistency of soggy kleenex? One of the few -- very few -- things that can be said about chain-i-fication is that it brings about a general consistency between branches of a restaurant. And if Five Guys is headed (and with a store in Bowie, it seems like it) into becoming a widespread local chain, I'm sure not going back to any of them. Maybe I'm missing something; when I posted something on DCist about Palena's burger certain commenters were all over me for being an effete snob and not mentioning Five Guys. Maybe the commute down Rt 50 to Bowie results in drastic quality reduction. But I'm thinking the allure is nostalgia. Oh, and memo to Mr. Mellencamp and other enthusiasts: The chili dogs at Tastee Freeze suck now too.
  8. I'm normally a purist when it comes to burgers, but Hubcap Grill has made me rethink that stance. Over the course of a few visits to the Heights location now, I've had a standard cheeseburger (unless you are an NFL linebacker or Olympic athlete w/ massive caloric requirements best not to go for the double), the seasonal hatch chile cheeseburger, the guacamole swiss, and the philly cheesesteak burger. The relatively thin (but massive in diameter) 1/3rd pound freshly-ground patties are cooked more or less to medium, with a nice crust. The buns are custom-made specifically for Hubcap, and accomplish the impossible feat of remaining intact despite the onslaught of drippy toppings and glorious fat. I started things simply, with the house cheeseburger. Served with standard toppings, you get a real sense of the quality of the beef, and of the deftness of the hand that is seasoning it. So far, so good. I'd come back again and again for the simple deal, though I could imagine that sometimes I might want to opt for a "lighter" meal with a smaller, skinnier, fast-food style burger, like Shake Shack (or apparently the soon-to-open FM Burger just of Washington Ave). Of the specialty burgers, the only one I wouldn't be in a hurry to order again would be the guac/swiss. Not that it was bad by any means, but it just didn't do enough for me to sway me from the plain jane. The hatch chile was a thing of beauty that will leave you blissful, sated, and wrecked. There is no skimping on the chiles here, and this is Texas, so there is no skimping on the spice level of said chiles. You will need more than one beer (or Topo Chico) for this. Order appropriately up front, so you aren't waiting in line to get another beverage, mouth ablaze. I was VERY skeptical of the Philly cheesesteak burger, but after hearing it's praises sung by Alison Cook from the Chronicle, and Texas Monthly, and then being steered that way by owner Ricky Craig himself, I had to do it. Christ almighty was that a sandwich. It's a mess, and it's huge, and you might die when you finish it, but dammit, it's good. This is a thing that if done wrong, would be the worst of 2 worlds: a shitty cheesesteak, and a shitty burger, or maybe worse yet: a good burger ruined by a shitty cheesesteak. Alison Cook recently encountered a less than stellar version, and wrote about it, lighting a fire under Craig, who went around to each of his locations to retrain (and offer free burgers to folks to prove the quality was back). I am glad to have avoided the off-day, and whatever Craig did to whip his team into shape certainly seems to have worked. Also of note: the sliders come 4 to an order, and are topped with grilled onions. Great size for the little people, but are great in their own right. Simple. Delicious. Fries are hand cut and mostly great (my last order was greasy and a bit on the undercooked side). Sweet potato fries excellent as well. Strong selection of local beers in cans and bottles.
  9. "As Shake Shack Reopens Flagship, Danny Meyer Becomes $600 Million Man" by Brian Solomon on forbes.com
  10. Sometime close to ten years ago, I noticed that there was a cluster of restaurants developing on 14th Street, north of P Street and Logan Circle (actually Thomas Circle), but south of U Street - it pretty-much started with Cork Wine Bar. I began a discussion thread about what, if anything, we should call the 14th Street Corridor, before I realized we weren't agreeing on anything, and unilaterally decided on 14UP - a name which is absolutely descriptive and appropriate (it's 14th Street between U and P Streets, but a name that the rest of the media has been "resilient" to pick up on and use - I'll leave their reasoning up to you. It doesn't matter - I'll be using this term for the rest of my life, even though Eatonville threw me a curve-ball, several years later, by opening on V Street - it's still better than anything that anyone else has come up with. "14th Street Corridor" is so ambiguous as to be meaningless, and has about as much character as "Dupont Circle." During that time, the rise of "Quick-Serve" or "Fast-Casual" restaurants has been every bit as dramatic as the rise of Food Trucks replacing those nasty hot-dog carts - it seems as if I have about half the threads tagged "Quick-Serve," and about half tagged "Fast-Casual," and I'd like to propose choosing one over the other, and sticking with it. This doesn't need to be a permanent change, but I'd like to try and stay with it for a few years. Instead of making a unilateral choice, I'm going with a group vote - they both seem to be equally popular, and there may in fact be a technical difference between the two (if there is, someone please chime in pronto). I have no strong feelings about one over the other, so I'm going to let people here decide what they should be termed, and go with the majority vote. Go ahead and vote on any of the four choices - more than one if you'd like. 14UP is here to stay, and it would be appreciated if you could use that term going forward - I was the first person (not here, but anywhere) who spotted the trend, and proposed giving that corridor its own name. It's just as good as SoHo or NoLIta and certainly a lot better than DUMBO. Have at it. If you vote for #4, please state your reasoning with a post. I have a slight preference for "Quick-Serve" because none of the words are in either "Fast Food" or "Casual Dining" - there are six different words for those three different terms, and no chance of getting them confused. I also understand that some "restaurants" (Subway, for example), fall in-between Fast Food and the Quick-Serve / Fast-Casual model, so this isn't like we're trying to come up with a cure for cancer. Cheers, Rocks
  11. New Jerk Chicken place opened up, "Dat Jerk", in Waldorf. Jamaican chef and owner, they are from California. The website is very professional - not too many businesses in Southern Maryland are that savvy. It's a jerk chicken fast casual, modeled after Cava Grill/Chipotle/etc. You pick your protein - jerk chicken (mild or spicy), curry chicken, jerk pork, beef jabobs (not a spelling error - maybe they mean Jamaican kabobs?). Two sides (rice and beans, red beans, plantains, vegetables, few other things). I saw them using legit wood charcoal in the ovens. The place smelled heavenly. Got lunch for my medical assistant and the locums physicist. I got the spicy jerk chicken. It was basted with a scotch bonnet pepper jerk sauce. Tender dark meat chicken, excellent seasoning, and that sauce was spicy. I got some on the side and burned my mouth off. The sides were fantastic, I don't love plantains, but these were tasty, caramelized, and soft. It was empty, but I think they do decent carry out business. It's a good concept. They should open a few more, add some Caribbean beers, Red Stripe, and I bet it would kill it in DC.
  12. "The Chipotle Effect: Why America Is Obsessed With Fast-Casual Food" by Roberto A. Ferdman on washingtonpost.com "It's all very confusing, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, an industry research firm. "The truth is that no one really has the right answer." Response: "Fast-Casual is when you walk up to a line of steam-tables containing pre-cooked and/or pre-chopped food items, order a combination from a menu on the wall, and then a team member or members will assemble your order by the time you get to the register, often heating a starchy container along the way," says Don Rockwell, President of donrockwell.com. "It's really quite a simple concept, and was actually pioneered by Subway, not Chipotle - the difference being that Subway uses cold cuts, and Chipotle uses meats that have been cooked earlier in the day."
  13. Stopped by Street Kitchen, a new fast-casual concept for lunch at Tysons Corner Center (located near Panera and Panda Express on 2nd level). At first glace, this place looked like your typical short-order deli/sandwich but upon looking at the menu, I could see how flavor packed these dosas/naan wraps would be. I ordered the masala steak frankie, which was the most intense steak wrap that i have ever tasted. The naan bread was freshly fried, piping hot and crispy, and the meat was similarly packed with intensely marinated flavor that I cannot really describe (my vocabulary in describing indian cuisine is sadly lacking). Nothing here seems to be blandly flavored, and the wraps come with a side of chutney as well, in case you need additional flavor bombs. There was about a 5-10min wait for our food, but only because our food was cooked to order, so I do not mind. With that said, I can imagine the wait being longer if there were a line. If you want to try an exciting indian fast-casual concept that doesn't seem like glorified buffet fare, I highly recommend dropping by here.
  14. Speaking about Habit burgers, have you heard about Hook Burger? It's the next step from the Habit guys and I think they're trying to grow another empire. They have a few stores and I've tried the burger at the Oxnard location. Pretty good, but I still prefer the fixings for the Habit's Santa Barbara Burger. I really want to try their shakes, but they've been out the few times I've gone so far. Since you're a Habit aficionado you might want to try them out some time! 12/24/10 - "Habit Burger Founders Debut Hook Burger Bistro" by Lisa Jennings on nm.com
  15. GRK Fresh Greek, described by some as a "Greek Chipotle", opened recently on 19th between M and L in South Dupont. Looks like an offshoot of a NYC place. Yes, they have salads, and a nice Greek yogurt bar, but essentially this is a gyro place. The kitchen is dominated by the gyro spits, grilling up chicken, pork, portabellos, and a beef/lamb combo. You pick one, decide if you want it on a pita or on a platter with a side, and pick one of three tzatzikis. I went with the lamb/beef on pita, with the traditional tzatziki (Grk). They also have a spicy one and a garlicky one. The gyro comes with red onion and tomato. To put it simply, it was excellent. Real meat, not the spam-like gyro stuff you see at most places. Nice flavor and a little char, juicy and satisfying. I would have preferred more topping choices...some chopped cucumber and feta crumbles would have been nice...but stressing the meat certainly isn't a bad idea. Decent sized sandwich, but not huge...about right for lunch. A little slow getting the food, but it just opened. I'll be going back.
  16. Quickway is a fast food habachi place near 7-corners in the Wilston Center in Falls Church. I've been curious about it since it opened and since I have no running water, I thought I'd stop in. The positives: 1. The bathroom was clean, the water running, and the signage amusing. 2. The salmon was so juicy, yet fully cooked that I suspected it must be injected with some sort of salt solution (this is a complement). 3. The Yum-yum sauce lives up to its name but then again, isn't mayo always good? My order: Salmon bento box which consisted of salmon, noodles, "california roll", and 4 deep fried things (2 mini pot stickers, 2 mini eggrolls). The negatives: 1. The food had no flavor. How hard is it to add a little soy or marin? 2. The food was greasy. Really, really oily yet had no flavor. How hard is it to add a little sesame oil? 3. Deep fried pot stickers?WTF. Ok, I get this one but again, see negative #1. 4. I had to ask for soy sauce. I was given yum-yum sauce. This might not be a negative for all I realize. 5. And finally, the coke was on the edge of flat.
  17. Or you could try the In-N-Out Hotline to get directions to your nearest In-N-Out. 1-800-786-1000