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Found 88 results

  1. As much as I try to be a booster for neighborhood places, I can't go all out for Skinny Rita's. I'll admit to being put off by the name, but they were named by Thrillest as one of Houston's "Most Underrated" Tex-Mex joints, and called a "Hidden Gem" by Eater. They also have a multi-level patio with a nice view of downtown, and happen to be pretty close to my house. The margaritas are set apart by having only 150 calories...I prefer more calories apparently. These were unbalanced - too sweet, with no tequila edge that my favorite versions have. Cristina's carnitas tacos came with limp store-bought corn tortillas filled with a fairly dry roast pork any one of us could make in our home oven from a NYTimes.com recipe. If that sounds harsh, it's meant to be. Carnitas are an actual thing, and I get annoyed when people call any pork-based taco "carnitas." My beef fajitas (half off on Wednesdays) were passable, but suffered from sitting for over 5 minutes until the accompanying (store-bought) flour tortillas arrived. ' Queso was par for the course for non-Texas versions but way behind the curve for Houston. A trio of salsas were actually great: a mild tomatillo, smoky chipotle, and moderately hot habanero. The green-colored chips are apparently made from cactus rather than corn, but come off as standard tortillas. The bottom line I took away from Skinny Rita's is that this might be a successful suburban chain in the Midwest, but for a Tex-Mex joint in Houston, it is far from a gem, and certainly not underrated. If I'm in the Heights looking for Tex-Mex, you'll find me sticking to Teotihuacan from now on. (BTW, there are a number of claims on the menu regarding "organic," "healthy," ingredients, etc. but importantly, I saw no mention of sourcing for said ingredients. Caveat emptor.)
  2. And another one bites the dust, as (formerly) locally-owned Houston craft brewery Karbach is acquired by AB-InBev. Locals are taking the news hard (myself included). Kevin Floyd from The Hay Merchant and Underbelly was out fast, announcing they would no longer carry Karbach products, and would be selling their remaining stock at a steep discount. Of the Houston brewers, Karbach has become my go-to (especially Love Street during our long, hot summer), but I imagine I'll branch out a bit more now. Bummer.
  3. I went here last night. Definitely hipster/upscale Korean. They specialize in customizable bowls of bibimbap. Also serve Ssam but my spicy pork belly was dried out and not fun to eat whike the dolsot (hot stone bowl) bibimbap was delicious. We also had korean fried wings, scallion pancakes (pajeon) and mandu. They also serve great soju cocktails and house infused soju. They also have this amazing desert with house fried potato chips, honey butterscotch sauce and ice cream. Located in silver spring on sligo ave
  4. A friend and I stopped for a quick look around today, hoping they had dine-in. They do some carryout sandwiches and the place smelled absolutely terrific, but there's no indoor seating. A few bistro tables outside, but it was a tad too chilly to sit on metal chairs on a cloudy afternoon. They advertise fresh bread brought in daily, and there's a selection of wines, gelato, pasta and similar. And the red sauce smells like I'd want to drink a gallon of it.
  5. With all the news about restaurants closing in Clarendon, here is a piece about one food and drink emporium extending their lease in Clarendon; the redoubtable Clarendon Grill I couldn't find a thread on Clarendon Grill. That is understandable. Its not exactly a fine dining or specialty food destination, but if one goes to their website one will find actual food on their menu!!!!! The article references that they opened in 1996. Twenty years while facing tremendously escalating rents. They may not be a destination for dining but they are doing something right to stay in business. Of course one doesn't know about the specifics of their lease. They could have a pristine record for paying rent and working easily with the landlord. They are probably paying umteems more now than they were paying in the late 90's and early part of the 2000's. The property owner is getting far more rent than years ago, and if its the same property owner over these 20 years, probably far more in rent than he/she imagined. Possibly they got a relative "helluva deal". If you renew the tenant, you don't suffer from vacancy. We simply don't know. Okay...that means there is one place in Clarendon with the same trusty, well known mediocre menu....and DRINKS.
  6. So last week was my week in Bethany. We didn't really eat out much this time, but met friends at Seacrets. It certainly wasn't for the food, not for getting s***t faced, but it was for the novelty of eating outside under full sized palm trees with a sand floor. It was the first time I had been there in probably a decade. Time has pretty much stood still (G-Love and Special Sauce was the headliner band that night). It is also a different experience when you are there with your child, and they hand you the "rules" for being there with someone underage (kind of funny considering my daughter is 5. They just opened a distillery on-site in June, which is new. Okay, now on to the food--it was pretty bad and the service was pretty bad as well. My wife and another friend had salads, one topped with grilled shrimp, the other with tuna. The first time they made the salad with the tuna, it cam with tuna salad. They acknowledged the mistake, re-made it, asked how the tuna should be cooked and it came about 15 minutes later well done. Regardless, they comped it which was nice. I had "Jamaican Tenders" and a side of fries. They were pretty dried out, not very spicy, not very good to say the least, and pretty puny. Someone else got a veggie wrap which looked pretty good and they seemed to like it. Bottom line--don't come here for the food, some here for the ambiance or to get a frozen rum drink called a "Pain in the Ass", served in a plastic cup and sit in an oasis like setting with a canopy of palm trees and a sand floor. If you don't take yourself too seriously and you enjoy the company you are with, you will have a good time at this classic.
  7. I find it hard to believe that this topic hadn't already been created, so if so please move this. I looked and couldn't find anything. We had dinner last night at Hazel and absolutely loved it. We arrived around 7 pm and were able to grab seats at the bar. The bartender provided fantastic service, and was extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu, cocktails, wine and food. The cocktail, wine and beer lists all show a great deal of care, with very interesting choices available. Both my wife and I enjoyed our cocktails very much. I went with the Power Play, which featured a barrel aged gin, montenegro amaro, paw paw vinegar and lime juice. Delicious and interesting. We initially ordered the Barbecue Carrots (fennel kraut, hazelnuts, buttermilk); the Hamachi Crudo (crispy rice, black lime, radish, hibuscus, smoked yogurt); the Octopus a la Plancha (roof top basil, shaved carrot & fennel salad, nuoc cham); and the Gnocchi Bokki (pork kimchi ragu, sesame seeds, smoked pecorino). Our bartender suggested that we probably needed one additional dish, and at his suggestion we ordered the Steak Tartare (tater tots, egg yolk, pepper cress, carmelized onion dip). He was 100% correct, and this was the exact right amount of food. First off, we loved everything, and will absolutely return. It's location directly across the street from the 930 Club immediately makes this our pre-show destination for the foreseeable future. Our two favorites, by far, were the Barbecued Carrots and the Gnocchi Bokki. The carrots were incredible. They cold smoke them, and then roast them with cumin, smoked paprika and a bunch of other spices I can't remember. The hazelnuts provide a great textural element, and the fennel kraut gives it some fantastic acidity. It was wonderful. And the gnocchi was just delicious. We will be back.
  8. Not sure why there is not a topic on Due South, although maybe I do know after eating there. Went after Nats game last night. Nice patio - great view. Otherwise, can't recommend at least based on what we ordered. Started with corn bread, which is 4 pieces of fried cornbread with an oddly flavored (and unappealing color) molasses Rosemary butter. Bread tasted greasy but cornbread expectations should never be that high, should they? And we did eat all of it. I had the roasted corn and black eyed pea salad. The corn was barely roasted and the jalapeño dressing had zero flavor. I was told it was not meant to be spicy just with a jalapeño flavor but my salad tasted like it was dressed with water. I asked for extra dressing but it never came. My friend did like her burrata salad but for a main dish salad, the greens were a bit limited. Service was ok and while we had only basic cocktails they do have a decent beer selection and drink menu. My friend likes the Sunday brunch and said it is always busy for that. And again, the patio is a really nice place to sit.
  9. This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog's (we don't), I'd probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh - both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I'm not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo. I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It's still a cafe, but it's very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it's been open since the summer, which surprises me). The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I'm assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she's the owner as well as the chef). Since he's attached to the restaurant, and since there's such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. "I really like the lamb," he said, and so the lamb it was. This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike - the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) - a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad - both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different - vastly different - is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a bright, loud bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe. I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving - I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I'd be plastered in front of the screen (I'm watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a "special" listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant - however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted - rubbed, moist, and super tasty - whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you're in the mood for chicken or lamb - I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food - nothing you'll remember in a month, but solid. Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn't even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant - Hula Girl, too, despite it's pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors). Simply Fresh (the sign says, "Simply Fresh - barbecue & more") has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year's Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup - this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They're open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM - I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It's a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won't regret coming here, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it's hard to do *everything* well). Over the next hour or so, I'll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it's over, I'll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I'll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can't be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.
  10. Indigo is not cheap but it's worth it. Limited seating inside but a great patio for beautiful days like today (not sure what they'll do in cold weather "“ I guess more people will carry out). Very friendly and warm service. Family-owned and "“operated, and you can tell (in a good way). I had lunch here for the third time today and ordered the mango chicken for the second time. The first time I ordered it I didn't realize it was a special. I was disappointed that it wasn't available the second time I visited, but I ordered the butter chicken, which was also delicious. But the mango chicken is not something I often see on menus in the area (or anywhere for that matter), and I love it. Thinking back, I can't remember if the chalkboard menu described it as spicy (it may have?). What I got was definitely not spicy, and I wouldn't have minded some spice to counteract the sweetness of the mango. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed this dish. The chickpeas (chana masala?) served on the side, often an afterthought in other restaurants, were delicious as well with a deep flavor. My dining companion ordered dal, which I can usually take or leave, but this dal was amazing, smoky and complex. I could have eaten a big bowl of this dal with some rice and been satisfied. My dining companion is a native of Bombay/Mumbai and says this is as good as the best home cooking he had growing up. I'm not as much of a connoisseur (I ate Indian food for the first time in college), but I also love the food here!
  11. Romeo & Juliet Garden Café has replaced White Tiger at 301 Massachusetts Avenue NE, opening Jul 16, 2015. "A New Restaurant On The Hill Applies for Late Hours, Hiilarity Ensues" on barredindc.com "Romeo & Juliet - Garden Café Coming Soon Signage Up at Former White Tiger Space on Capitol Hill" on popville.com Website - Facebook
  12. So, would love to hear any ideas regarding a new (ish) semi-to-upscale restaurant, preferably but not necessarily in NW DC, preferably but not necessarily one where one could make a reservation. For a benchmark: Crane and Turtle was the the first choice. Outdoor dining a plus.
  13. It took some digging, but I independently confirmed that L'Hommage Bistro will be opening at 450 K Street NW, just east of Mount Vernon Square. The Chef de Cuisine will be Josh Perkins, who was most recently at Ecco in Atlanta - he has 25 years of experience in the industry. The Mâitre d' is named Mustafa Fairtout (I'm not sure about the spelling of Mustafa's last name), who was a Server at Cafe Milano. This will be a classical French bistro with onion soup, páté, steak frites, etc. The restaurant will seat 175 with 50 at the bar and 80 on the patio. Owner is Hakan Ilhan of Al Dente et al. A bakery will be attached to the bistro, selling French breads, sandwiches, coffee, and to-go meals - the bread will be made in-house. --- I was also sent this article: "Alba Osteria Owner Hakan Ilhan to Open French Restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle" by Rebecca Cooper on bizjournals.com
  14. Pretty slick looking (Washingtonian) City Paper Soft opening July 21, debut August 4. Three, five, and eventually eight course prix-fixe tasting menu format. Masseria. 1430 Fourth St., NE; 202-608-5959 "Masseria combines the raw and simple look of an Italian country estate, the industrial grit of the Union Market district, and the undeniable contemporary chic of its fashion-savvy chef-owner."
  15. ARLnow reports (in a sponsored post) that Tupelo Honey Cafe will be opening at 2000 Clarendon Blvd* on June 1st. The post states they're hiring for a variety of positions. Tupelo Honey is a regional (NC, TN, FL, GA, and now VA) chain based in Asheville. According to their website "We serve fresh, scratch-made, Southern comfort food re-imagined." I haven't had the chance to try it out, but have several friends who are big fans. It'll be nice to have another dining option in Courthouse. * The info on the company website says 1616 N. Troy Street.
  16. Small Balcony Patio Set

    I have been meaning to purchase a small bar-top or patio set for my condo balcony, but I haven't seen anything I liked from World Market, Home Depot, Lowe's, Pier 1, IKEA, and the like. I've always liked the wicker-like/steel combinations found in restaurant outdoor seating, but never have the courage to ask restaurants where they buy their furniture. Can anyone suggest a place or know any places that are decently priced and will sell to consumers? Thanks.
  17. Location Menu Beer Menu (the primary reason this place exists) I haven't been here yet, but provided I can manage, I'll probably try it tomorrow night or over the weekend. Darden ownership aside*, I've heard a lot of good things about Yard Houses, and I never got a chance to try the one in Virginia Beach the last time business brought me down that way - I was too busy trying to find cheaper fried scallops. I'm not expecting to have a religious experience, as typing 'yard house review' into Google spawns an almost impressive spate of 3.5 star reviews after 3.5 star reviews - it's almost as if Darden engineers it for these places to be thought of as 'slightly above average fare.' * I assume most people know why Darden is reviled on here, but just for newbies - Darden owns Olive Garden, thus cementing themselves as the root of all evil in regards to corporate food culture. Oh, and evidently Springfield Town Center will be getting a Dave & Busters to replace the one they closed at White Flint. I have to admit, they're certainly leaning on the chains in regards to eateries/restaurants.
  18. Mike & Eric, who formerly ran the now shuttered Bay Hundred in Tilghman Island, have resurfaced with a new restaurant in St. Michael's: Mike & Eric's. My impression of what the place offers is excellent skillfully prepared food at moderate prices, served in a casual setting by a very friendly hospitable staff at a great location. MIke, who is a very warm and welcoming host/bartender, runs the front of the house, while Eric runs the kitchen. They have some sidewalk seating, a very quiet back patio, and a comfortable dining room that is designed, according to MIke, to be as "non-jarring" as possible. For starters we enjoyed the Crab Bisque made with lump crab and sherry, and corn & crab fritters that came with a zesty red pepper aioli for dunking. For main dishes we had the Crab Canneloni made with swiss chard, ricotta, and crab topped with a sundried lemon cream, and the Bouillabasse, which was packed with seafood such as mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish in a saffron tomato fennel broth, although I'd say the Bouillabasse is more like tasty seafood stew than a bouillabasse. The wines offered match up nicely with the items on the menu and are reasonably priced. They're located at 200 S. Talbot Street in St. Michaels.
  19. Has anyone been to Olive On Main? The beer list is pretty awesome, the wine list could be better but the food I had was pretty great, we got a platter of falafel and hummus which came with warm grilled pita and was very good and plenty for 6 bucks. Then we had a Greek salad which needs some work both in dressing and ingredients, but for entrees I had the lamb chops(16.95) with two sides, four lamb chops grilled perfect medium and highly marinated and seasoned with olive oil and garlic mashed potatoes and very proper cooked green beans. My lady got a grilled kabob plate with sumac rice and something else I don't recall which she said was very good as well. It was a pretty nice dinner overall. Especially less then a mile from home.
  20. And the neighborhood joints keep coming! Brookland's Finest in WaPo Main menu Brookland's Finest FINALLY opened this past week at 12th and Jackson. From the guys who run The Pug and Solly's. We went for drinks at the soft opening last Sunday, drinks on Saturday night, and finally back for food yesterday for dinner. The space is pretty nice inside. Not huge, but maybe 6-7 4-tops and a row of 10ish 2-tops along a side bench. The bar is decent-sized, and there's a roll top to the outside with 6 additional bar seats. Once the patio is populated it'll seat about 20 I think. They're also very family-friendly - plenty of high chairs and booster seats, stroller parking outside, coloring books and crayons, etc. Great news for us since we live 3 blocks away and have a one-year old! The menu looks pretty good, but we were hoping it would be slightly cheaper (kids' meals for $6-8 seems like a lot...and all the sandwiches are $12+). Also no HH We started with the Crispy Brussels Sprouts Chips (sea salt, lemon, dill cream sauce - $4), which were addicting. A pretty good sized bowl of leaves that we think had been flash fried. Our daughter loved the dipping sauce. This would be an easy thing to order on every visit. Then we split the Colonel Burger (certified Angus beef, pickled onions, tillamook cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, brioche bun, tempora onion rings - $14) and Baltimore Style Pit Beef Sandwich (certified Angus beef, tiger sauce, pickled ramps, brioche bun, hand cut fries - $14). Despite being overcooked beyond the requested medium, the burger was pretty tasty. The brioche left a lot of butter/grease on our hands, but was a good compliment to the burger in both flavor and not being overwhelmingly bready (it's nice to let the burger and toppings shine over a dense and dry bun). There were two GIANT onion rings served alongside that were kind of meh. I'd prefer smaller and crispier onion rings instead. The pit beef sandwich was good as well, but not outstanding. Probably should've gone with a non-beef for one of the sandwiches, but the manager talked us into this one. The fries, however, were excellent. Piping hot and crisp and obviously fresh cut. Overall I probably wouldn't travel out of my way or across the city to hit it up, but I'm certainly happy to have it a 5 min walk from my house.
  21. Stopped by Red Light during their soft opening (I think the official open is the 27th?); a friend wanted to meet up for dessert for her birthday. Can give give an unabashed Yes! to the beer-based doughnuts and chocolate on the menu; there is enough chocolate to go around for all of the doughnuts, with a bit left over to lick off your fingers... or smear on the slightly-too-sweet marshmallows that came with the mexican chocolate tart. (there, i fixed it.) Also tasty, a goat cheese tart with sorbet. Inside it's all dark grey and moody; I'm pretty in love with the lamps in this place. Will be interesting to see how they handle the load once the patio opens "”I suspect its going to get crazy. But those doughnuts! I'm going to have to go back and get more doughnuts.
  22. On the way through Manassas this afternoon, hunger pangs attacked Lady KN and I, and Bella Vita was visible in a strip mall on the side of Liberia. A good meal was about to be had. First things first - this is not a chain, although there is a related restaurant in the Richmond area called Dolce Vita. Next, the interior is very nice. It's family friendly, but there are happy hour specials and a little bar off to the side of the entrance. Pictures of Frank and Dino on the walls -- and inexplicably, a picture of Bogart above the urinal -- and plenty of tempting dishes on the menu. Candy Sagon would be all over this place with one of her meaningless two-star reviews, and it qualifies for her purview -- lost in the Virginia suburbs and not really worth a review. Nonetheless, Lady KN and I had a competent snack, beginning with the appetizers of mussels (plump and flavorful) and calamari (nicely crisp and tasty). No lemon was provided for the calamari and no sopping bread was provided for the mussels, but these were easily corrected omissions. We followed with spot-on salads -- Wedge for Lady KN and Chef's for me -- and these were very good. They arrived on rectangular plates, so the the ingredients were nicely spread out instead of piled high. The competence of our dishes led me to peek at the menu and see if anything might compel me to return at some point, Pappardelle with Lamb Bolognese, Gnocchi Boscaiola, Scallops alla Brandy over Fettucini and a pizza named "The Butcher Shop" all caught my eye. More than likely, we'll try this place again at some point. http://bellavitaonline.com/
  23. I've eaten there in the past, for dinner and for weekend brunch. I haven't been there in a few years because it wasn't that good, but I might give it a try again....it's literally right around the corner from Mediterranean Gourmet Market, so if I'm in that neighborhood, I'm usually there for my MGM fix.
  24. I looked for a while but can't find a thread on this place, which seems inconceivable to me, so I'll assume the error is mine. I just want to put in a plug and say that if you're looking to get a drink downtown (specifically near my office) you can do a lot worse that the bar here. It feels old school Washington, and for the past couple of years they have a put in a really good bar program. It's not cheap, but they use good ingredients (and fresh ingredients) and they know what they're doing with their cocktails. You can typically get seats at the bar or one of the bar tables, which you can't always say about Old Ebbitt, you can have a conversation, and they won't do something ridiculous like shake your Manhattan (like Old Ebbitt). I thought it deserved mention.
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