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Found 35 results

  1. Yes the general consensus here is that Banana Cafe on Captiol Hill is crap...so why start a thread you ask, because there is new found proof that even crappy restaurants can produce a good dish and I have found that dish at Banana Cafe: The plantain quesadilla! The tortilla was perfectly golden brown and crisp, the plantains meltingly soft and delicious...a light smear of sour cream set it all off. Conversely the stuffed yuca with chorizo, carrots and olives off the "tapas" menu was a disgusting mess.
  2. I will accept your thanks in advance as I am now full and can't breath. I caught wind of this place on the cesspool that is Fairfax Underground and decided to check it out on my way back from DC today. The old Fairfax institution Arthur Treacher''s has gone the way of the dinosaur. Gone are the days of frozen deep fried fish and chips. Instead lets say hello to the days of fresh deep fried fish and chips. I showed up at 1 this afternoon and there were about 5 tables filled. Since this was a scouting mission, I jumped on the grenade and over-ordered. See the things I do for this community? Fish and Chips - Fries - a solid 6, but nothing special. The fish. A solid 8 +. Light batter and the fish was fresh and firm (that's what she said...) They use Cod. Tarter Sauce is homemade and good. Hushpuppies - two gripes - they should throw a couple of these in an order of fish and chips. Also, these would be better with some kind of butter or honey butter which was not offered. Regardless, I got the appetizer and they were actually good. Crispy, fluffy and not greasy. Of course, they sell tacos so I got two of those. Come on. I dare you to name a single fish and chips joint that does not also sell authentic mexican street tacos.... Anyways, I had the Carnitas and Barbacoa. Both were actually very good and the fresh tortillas were nice as well. The Carnitas had a good flavor and were not dry. The Barbacoa was spicy and tender. They also do chicken, chorizo and fish. Now I am full thanks to you guys. I would write more but I am going to hit the treadmill to see if I can regain some of my self esteem. In the meantime, if you are in the area and need a cheap lunch - skip Chipotle and check them out. When I go back, I don't know what I will get because everything I ordered was a standout.
  3. I first tried out Seoul Food's offerings at the DC Grey Market a few months back. They're now a full-blown food truck and received a nice writeup in yesterday's Good to Go column. They make their way to Courthouse once every week or two, and Rosslyn, Clarendon, and Ballston are among their regular stops. So far I've tried a couple of different dishes and find that they are tasty, filling, and a pretty good value. As the article notes, the bibimbap is a little different than the usual restaurant version, with shredded fresh carrots and radishes and salad greens included. The beef and the tofu version are both good, especially with the spicy chili sauce on top mingling with the runny egg yolk. The Superbowl tends more Latin, but is also loaded with good flavors and fresh ingredients.
  4. Ah, yes, I've been to their food truck - they had a tasty Chicken Milanese. I even found a couple of pictures - I'm not 100% sure this is them, but I'm 90% sure (there were two food trucks that parked in that shopping center, but I'm pretty sure La Chiquita furnished these, or at least one of them).
  5. I'm not sure when Sol y Mar closed, but Gisele's Creole Cuisine, a Haitian place, has apparently opened in the Royal Mile space per Robert Dyer's blog.
  6. My husband and I wanted to grab an early dinner around 6:15 pm Saturday to make up for the anniversary dinner we had to cancel earlier in the week (it's a long story that involves a concussion - and said concussion is making husband very sleepy, hence the early dinner). We figured it should be no issue showing up at Himitsu at 6:15 to grab two seats either at the bar or a table. I figured that most people wouldn't be eating or even out yet on a Saturday at 6. Wow. I was wrong. The wait was over 2 hours long when we arrived so we decided to head elsewhere and got in the car to try our luck at Izakaya Seki. However, as soon as I turned down 8th st from Upshur we saw a new restaurant, that had a few tables, and figured, why not? The internet suggested that it was a new Asian street food restaurant (an old Prince of Petworth article), but when we looked at the menu in the window it was clear it was a Pan-Latin place. Since my husband and I both work in Latin America and travel there often we figured, again, why not? I asked the very nice hostess how long they had been open -- she said three weeks. We were seated immediately - the room is cool - lots of Edison bulbs, wood, exposed brick, plants hanging on the wall, central large bar. We both really liked the space. Service, throughout the night, was fine. A little distracted (menus sat on the table most of the meal until I asked for them to be taken away, long waits for water) and just a little inexperienced. But, hey, it was week 3, and the server was perfectly nice and did his job. Polish will come. The menu is broken down into four categories and includes a variety of drinks and dishes from Peru, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. One category is appetizers, which had empanadas, fish tacos, quiejo coehlo (A delicous slab of cheese with oregano that you eat on the beach in Brazil) and some other items. There was also a ceviche section with 4 or 5 choices, a section of sandwiches (a chicken milanesa, a choripan - which is a grilled sausage sandwich, and a Cubano), and a main course section with chiles rellenos, a carne asada hanger steak with yucca fries and chimichurri, a fish special of the day (a seafood stew on Saturday), an Aji Huancaina (Peruvian yellow chile sauced chicken) and a couple other dishes. We had the queijo and fish tacos as appetizers and both were very good - as good as or better than the versions we usually eat in Latin America. I had the carne asada for my main and it was fine. I liked it, but could make it at home with the pre-marinated carne asada from Trader Joe's. My husband had the seafood stew which had octopus, clams, fish, and mussels in a really nice broth. It was great. We didn't do dessert. The wine list is heavy on Chilean and Argentine Malbecs and Pinot Noirs, but I had a very nice glass of a Bolivian!! Tannat that is a rarity. I would have liked to have seen more Uruguayan wines on the menu, as I think they are great and under-represented. The cocktail list is also nice - my mole Old Fashioned was really great on a cold night. I think this is a nice new addition to the scene!
  7. Last night they had a valet stand working. Dining room is completely set up. Looks like they smartly added to the bar area
  8. Warren Rojas is one of our area's most underrated restaurant critics. He first wrote about La Caraqueña here, in the October issue of Northern Virginia magazine. Take a look at those pictures of the arepas. Todd Kliman than picked up on it in Washingtonian here, and between the two positive reviews, I felt negligent for not having tried it myself. La Caraqueña has a bright new sign outside, but sits in the parking lot of what can only be called a fleabag motel. As I drove into the parking lot, I said out loud to myself, "God this place is a dump." That impression went away the moment I walked into the restaurant - a completely empty restaurant at 12:45 on a weekday. Warren's review was on the wall, and a gentleman was standing behind the cash register, all by himself. "Do you do carryout?" I asked him. He handed me a menu, which I began to look over. Then I looked up at him, and asked, "Do you make your salteñas here?" The look I got was a curious mixture of politeness, frustration, and what amounted to almost complete dismissal. "Yes," he said. "We make everything here." "I'll take two of them to go." I stood around waiting, and after a moment, he said, "It's going to take about fifteen minutes. You might want to have a look at the paintings on the wall [for sale], or have a seat." So I went out, made a quick call, then came back in, grabbed a menu, and sat at a table and waited. I read that all items are cooked to order, and that this is not fast food - they don't even have a paper carryout menu. After a couple of minutes, he came back out to the register, and asked me if I'd ever been in before. I told him no, but that I liked the salteñas at El Pike in Seven Corners. He perked up. "You've been to El Pike?" he said. "Yes. I don't like the ones at Luzmila's [down the street] as much because they use a lot of sugar." That was all it took. He became animated and engaged in the conversation. "Salteñas are all over Bolivia," he said, "and you can't find the real ones here. Wait until you try mine." "Are you the GM?" "No, I'm the chef." It was Raul Claros. After a few more minutes, he went back into the kitchen, then came out and handed me a bag. He said, "Here you go, sir. You're about to have salteñas like you've never had before." His confidence bordered on cockiness. And he was right. El Pike's have been very good in the past; La Caraqueña's were fantastic - the best I've ever eaten. And yet, the dining room was empty. My friends, I cannot vouch for the rest of this menu, but after Warren and Todd raved about the arepas, can there be much doubt about them? I propose a $20 Tuesday, sooner rather than later, at La Caraqueña. I am utterly intrigued from what little I've seen, am going back for a more thorough exploration very soon, and have a feeling that this little restaurant is doing something very important, in a small-scale way. Please try it and give us your impressions. Cheers, Rocks.
  9. Walked by last night to what looked like a fully kitted-out restaurant in a cute space; was told it will be opening next week. http://tabledc.com/about/ http://www.popville.com/2012/10/new-restaurant-from-chef-frederik-de-pue-table-coming-to-shaw-looking-to-open-nov-3rd/
  10. Guarapo Lounge closed on Nov. 12 (ArlNow article, Guarapo's Facebook post).
  11. I ate dinner last weekend at Sin Fronteras. My Mother and her SO has been raving about the place, so I was glad to get to check it out. The parking lot of this place was packed, which has to be a good sign. My Mom really likes the Margarita Salmon. She told me to get the Chile En Nogoda which is- A toasty poblano pepper, filled with seasoned ground brisket beef combined with raisins and sweet plantains, topped with our delicious, homemade cold creamy Nogada Sauce served with white rice. It was delicious- it had a really good mix of flavors and was savory, but fresh. I thought the combination sounded a bit strange, but it was really good. Not a huge portion, but just right with the chips and salsa and everything else. My Mom got a seafood soup that I tried which was also delicious- it tasted like a latin version of a bouillabaisse. SO had the tilapia which was also very good from the bite I stole. The guac had more cilantro than I like, (but I don't like any cilantro) but was good. The margarita I had was more than acceptable in size. I loved this place, the interior is a bit like a sports bar/diner cross in feel, very casual. The owner was so nice and wanted to make sure we liked everything, which we did. They take a lot of pride in their restaurant and food.
  12. I've been driving down Georgetown Pike for twenty years or so, and don't ever remember Kabob Place not being in downtown Great Falls, although it has changed ownership fairly recently. It's now operated, I believe, by the Ternisky family (if you've ever come across a pediatric dentist named Ternisky in Fairfax County, that's the father). These folks also own Romantica Pizzeria next door, and I suspect they might have taken control of Kabob Place from the previous owners, who were Persian, due to its proximity. Kabob Place used to be extremely expensive for what it was - in fact, I believe it might have been the most expensive kabob house in the DC region, even more so than Shamshiry, despite it being a tiny little dive. When I visited this time, the prices didn't strike me as being particularly high at all, so they were either lowered, or time caught up with them. What did strike me, however, was the preponderance of Latino cuisine - not on the regular paper menu, but written on sheets of paper, as specials, and taped to the walls. The kitchen workers appeared to be Latino, so I went with the flow - thinking I'd be getting a kabob when I pulled up in the parking lot, I ended up dining south of the border, and I'm glad I did. They were advertising pupusas, and I asked the gentleman working the register (who had very much of a managerial presence to him) if the owners were Salvadoran. He pointed to the grill cook working the flat-top, who turned to me and smiled, and said, "She's from El Salvador." I immediately ordered a Pupusa de Queso ($2.25), and had a Diet Coke (.99) while I waited. For my main course, I ordered Carne Asada ($10.50) and decided to eat in the restaurant rather than get carryout. The pupusa arrived just before the carne asada, and it was wonderful - I suspect this cook has made many a pupusa in her day, and you should remember this when you come here. The carne asada was (not surprisingly) cooked to well-done, with a good char to it, and served with thoroughly pounded refried beans and rice - the seasoning was all just about perfect, and the only decision to make was "hot sauce or not sauce" - the flavor of this dish was good enough where I didn't want to taint it with any chili sauce, so I enjoyed it by itself. Shortly after getting my meal, the gentleman came up to me and told me he'd forgotten my tortillas (I didn't know I was getting any to begin with), and I told him the pupusa was more than enough for me, and we could let the tortillas go. Taken as an ensemble, the beefy meat and the cheesy pupusa were a delicious combination, and just the right amount of food. I finished my meal, and walked out pleasantly full and very satisfied. There is nothing at all fancy here; just solid Latino grill-work at reasonable prices - Kabob Place is worth knowing about the next time you're hankering for Latino food in or around Great Falls. I'm sure the kabobs are fine too, and maybe I'll try them next time ... or, maybe not.
  13. Late last week the following message was posted to our U-Street area email group: Some questions were answered at last night's ANC1B meeting on the application for a new restaurant at 1825 14th Street. The placard described the restaurant as "serving Mediterranean fusion cuisine with a focus on Latin and Asian Tapas." At last night's meeting attorney Andrew Kline disclosed that the restauranteur is Richard Sandoval and the chef is Kazuhiro Okochi. Here are links to explore on each of these partners: Richard Sandoval: www.modernmexican.com Kazuhiro Okochi: www.kazsushibistro.com Sandoval already has a presence here in DC with Zengo in Gallery Place. Capacity is estimated at 140 and will also feature a sidewalk cafe with seating for 25. CSNA review of the application will be on the April 9th agenda. The concept -- "Mediterranean fusion cuisine with a focus on Latin and Asian Tapas" -- sounds pretty circa 1995 and I wouldn't have paid much attention had I not seen Kazuhiro's name attached to the project. Now all of the sudden it sounds interesting. Anyone know anything about it?
  14. My son says I need to watch 'Narcos', & I tried Arepas Capitol down in Woodbridge & it was awesome-fresh & delicious. My only experience was years ago at La Caraquena, & this topped it! --- I lucked out again yesterday- I had to meet a friend down in Woodbridge (she lives in Montclair) & I picked Arepas Capitol off of Yelp. It was awesome, & I don't understand why it was not packed at lunchtime yesterday. Next to BJ's, small storefront- I ordered the Reina pepiada (chicken salad w/ avocado) arepa & the empanada pabellon (shredded beef, cheese, plantains) . They were both amazing, delicious, my friend got a regular shredded beef & cheese empanada, but then ordered 2 empanada pabellon for dinner that night. Service & food were excellent, & I'm looking forward to heading that way & trying out more stuff (but I think I ordered the perfect items, if that makes sense).
  15. Arepas Pues joined the Downtown Silver Spring dining scene in April, replacing a Quiznos Sub on Fenton Street (next to Sushi Jin). After seeing some online reviews that seemed to show inconsistencies in both food and service, we decided to give them some time to iron out the kinks before we visited for the first time. Today, we gave in and decided to stop in for lunch. We stopped in during the middle of a quite busy lunch service. In addition to several groups and couples dining in, there was quite a bit of takeout orders being picked up. A good sign. Tajadas: Fried sweet plantains with salty cheese Empanada de Carne La de Pernil Arepa (foreground): Roasted pork shoulder, tomato slice, spicy sauce (the spicy sauce!!!) La Safrina Arepa (background): Chicken, mayonnaise, avocado, cheddar cheese - served cold, it was like a delicious chicken salad Sancocho de Cola: Oxtail soup slow-cooked with potatoes, cassava, green plantains, served with rice & avocados. My wife LOVED this - it reminded her of her mission trips to the Dominican Republic while in pre-med! We really enjoyed our lunch, and will definitely frequent them in the future. Arepas Pues 8555 Fenton St (next to Sushi Jin) Silver Spring, MD 20910 (240) 670-8020 | Facebook
  16. First, let me say that there are two El Rancho restaurants in Northern Virginia: One in Backlick Plaza in Springfield, and a second on Columbia Pike in South Arlington. They used to be under the same umbrella, but as you can see, that is no longer the case: The website for the South Arlington restaurant is here, and the website for the Springfield restaurant is here. To put into perspective just how similar the two restaurants are, the South Arlington restaurant still uses a menu that refers to Springfield's website - the ownership change must be fairly recent. Anyway, this thread is about the South Arlington El Rancho on Columbia Pike. I've been here several times, and it is definitely a working-man's restaurant (and I say "man" with a purpose, because you do see a lot of Latino workers here, refueling after a long day on the job). The Pollo a la Brasa is decent, but on my most recent visit, I got Carne Asada ($11.69), a grilled steak platter with choice of two sides - I ordered Yuca Fries and Black Beans and Rice, and it came with a tiny plastic tub of pico de gallo and some of the pink dipping sauce for the yuca (*) If you've been to area Salvadoran-owned restaurants (**), you can probably picture pretty much exactly how this food was, except that the portion sizes are more modest than you'll often see (a lot of times when you order Carne Asada, you have leftovers for the next day; not so in this case). The steak is invariably cooked to well-done, the yuca is often somewhat mushy in the center, and the black beans and rice are always good. And so it was. I'm really straining to come up with something interesting to say about this meal, but this was food that you eat; not food that you dine on. It's tasty, satisfying, filling, and (fried yuca aside) not at all unhealthy. The problem, of course, being that other than beans and rice, most other sides at these restaurants are either "fried" or "saucy" or both, so you'd have to double up on the rice and beans in order to make this a healthy meal, and even then the beef was pretty darned salty. Well, I managed to write a few paragraphs about not a whole lot. El Rancho is a perfectly decent Pan-Latino restaurant that's clean (not always the case, mainly due to age), and has very polite employees who don't speak a lot of English. For me, if I'm hungry, and in the area, and don't feel like analyzing what I'm eating, it's a repeat. (*) I was busy looking at my computer screen while eating, and dunked a yuca strip into the little tub of pink sauce. The sauce was viscous enough where the entire thing (tub and all) clung to the yuca, and I put it in my mouth. (I mean, I caught it right at the entry point, but it was heading in that direction.) (**) I believe the owners here are from Ecuador.
  17. Just across from the Rockville metro station sits this little hole in the wall. I've now had a few lunches here and can give it a hearty thumbs up for real Mexican in the MoCo burbs. The open kitchen highlights a grill and rotisserie sitting over a well stoked wood fire. You're choices are well and wisely limited to tacos, burritos, quesadillas and soup. Beef or Chicken. Throw in the rotisserie chicken and that's about it. Add the typical sides in humungous portion and away you go. Have a juice that tastes like it may actually have seen the fruit it used to belong to in the last couple of days. And be sure to grab some of the toxic orange house-made hot sauce from the little island buffet. Not elegant or sublime, just good. <burp>
  18. Just as an FYI the brothers who were the original GM and cook at Fast Gourmet, Manu and Nacho, have not been affiliated with the spot for a while. They have split from their partners at FG and are now solely at the new place on 19th and M NW, called TakEatEasy. Unfortunate name aside, the sandwiches that everyone raved about for a while (then wondered why they dropped off in quality/consistency a few months later when the brothers left) are now located there. TakEatEasy opens today with a work in progress menu of salads and sandwiches at lunch, moving into tapas and drinks at happy hour, and then some larger plates at dinner. It's definitely a work in progress at the moment but if you remember how good Fast Gourmet was at the start, you'll have this on your radar immediately. EDIT: I should have mentioned they also have a liquor license. Chivito + beer.
  19. Caribbean Grill is on of our go-to take out places (although there are a few tables inside). It is on Lee Hwy at the intersection with George Mason Rd. in the same shopping center as Saran. (You know the place that is really difficult to get in and out of) The chicken while very good, just isn't as good as El Pollo Rico; however, the sides more than make up for difference in chicken seasoning. I think the Cuban rice is very good. Not overly spiced, but very comforting. They have fried, baked and stewed yucca. The fried is my favorite. Nice texture that stands up against the ride back home even. The plantains have nice flavor and you get a reasonable portion. They also have steamed veggies, non-Cuban rice and a nice selection of beans. This place is quick, tasty and pretty affordable. I hear they have a really good Cuban sandwich, but we always get chicken. Will have to try it sometime. They also have a lot of Cuban specialties I have also not tried yet. Ordering a whole chicken provides days of food for me, so it is just so hard to pass up, especially when the whole place smells like roasting chicken. The ladies are always very nice, and you can almost always get a table.
  20. I'm surprised that there's still no thread on Tico so I'm starting one. I've been there a bunch of times, and it's one of my favorites. Each time I've ordered a fried dish, I've been impressed by how well it's fried. The dishes have been crispy and not greasy (fried calamari, fried manchego, fried oysters). I've also really liked their mac & cheese with ham, duck tacos, salmon ceviche with almonds, and chorizo risotto. The few dishes that I did not care for were their fried chicken taco and black risotto croquettes - both tasted bland to me.
  21. This little restaurant in a wasteland of a strip mall opened a little over a year ago. The family who owns/runs it lives in Burke. It is not a destination restaurant, but a lovely and so far reliable neighborhood joint, serving really good-tasting Salvadoran and Mexican food. Their salsa is cooked and smokey (chipotle peppers?) and my favorite in the area. I also love their refried beans, which are pretty thoroughly pureed, but with a good flavor. The fried yucca is crisp and not greasy (almost as good as my favorite at La Caraquena), and fried plantains have been tasty as well. Jacob's Platter is a grilled ribeye steak covered with sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter, sauteed fresh veggies, rice and black beans on the side. Steak tacos overflow with grilled skirt steak, served with refried beans, rice, fresh salsa, guacamole and sour cream that you add to your own taste. I also love their enchiladas, which are a great deal at lunch: Two for $8.95. The menu was just enlarged, and I look forward to many more visits to try more dishes. So far, I have not had any problems with gluten. They do serve some dishes with soft flour tortillas, so I avoid those if corn tortillas can't be substituted.
  22. A Bolivan bakery has opened up in my 'hood, replacing the sketchy Asian bakery next to the new Wild Chicken, and got a nice writeup in the WaPo here. The info: 3900 Pickett Rd. Fairfax, VA 22031 703-978-8021 Tues-Sat:10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Has anyone gone yet? Can't wait to try it out, especially the saltenas!
  23. Who doesn't want to eat at a restaurant where "food is sacred" (the chef's words, not mine)? Y'all are gonna LOVE the web site. Its music doesn't appear to have an off switch.
  24. For those of you who drive through the 28/29 area, you know what I'm talking about. They've literally been constructing at that site for years. The only signs say "Cooley Electric." My wife called the Cooley phone number and they said it will be a mexican restaurant. I've heard a rumor that each level will be progressively higher scale than the one below (there are three levels). It's built to have views of the mountains in the far distance with balconies on level two and three on the west side. Is any of this even true? Any idea when it will open, what it will be called, if it's local or a chain, or anything at all about it?
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