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About KeithA

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    Cleveland Park, DC
  1. I thought I posted an update - but I guess I forgot - they are open again as of a few weeks ago. Back to great business as usual.
  2. Completely disagree. Raku-Cathedral Commons has become one of our go to places. I've eaten here for lunch and dinner dozens of times in the past year plus and always found everything to be rather tasty. I actually think they do one of the best and more creative agedashi tofus in town the way they not only include the usual cubes of tofu and good dashi sauce but also add a variety of vegetables like kabocha squash and shishito pepper. I really love this dish and I regularly ask them to give me a spoon so I can finish off any remaining sauce in the bottom like soup. The udon and other bowls in the Tokyo dashi sauce are very flavorful. I can't speak to the coconut curry sauce as I've never tried that but my wife typically gets the udon dashi bowl everytime we go. I also think they have some really good sushi - especially if you order nigiri from their specials menu on the paper inside the menu. For regular rolls on the menu, I like the grilled salmon harasu and the vegetable futomaki for something different than the standard stuff which is also pretty good. They also have really good bento boxes (many offered at lunch vs. only 2 at dinner). I especially like the veggie bento box. They also offer an off-menu kid's chicken teriyaki which my kids are a fan of. Even the basics like their steamed rice is good quality. I have found a few duds on the menu but overall we are very pleased. They have a nice cocktail menu too. The servers are also very friendly and helpful.
  3. Within the last few weeks (can't remember exact day), tried Sfoglina for the first time with my wife and 2 small kids. It was an ok experience. We live nearby and hoped it would be a nice addition to our rotation but sadly no. The room is lovely and the staff very friendly but the prices are higher than necessary and the service wasn't great. I really appreciate they have a kids meal but $14 for a small plate of fresh pasta is way too high - especially when most kids menus are less than $10 (even at nicer places). One kid had spaghetti and the other had gnocchi - really nothing special for either - I've had as good from a box. We had the tortellini pasta (very good, rich - possibly worth the price) and the spinach tornarelli (interesting and different but only ok). The prosecco cocktails were fine but we had to ask several times for them and they arrived halfway through our entrees being completed (which is a while - unlike most - my kids are SLOW eaters). We also had to ask several time for our cauliflower side which was again good but nothing special. You can find equal or better pastas at more reasonable prices at other restaurants around town - we recently dined and enjoyed Dino's Grotto (it has always had excellent pasta since it was Dino's) and Al Volo in Adams Morgan (soon opening in Cleveland Park too :-)) The best part of the meal was surprisingly dessert. The cookies and milk desserts is excellent - rich and large enough for 2-3 people (or our whole family of 4) to share. The apple hazelnut cake was also very good and probably would have seemed better if it wasn't tried along with the cookies and milk. The chocolate dairy-free soft serve was good and very rich (like dark chocolate) due to the lack of dairy.
  4. Herring - where to get it?

    When I was in NY awhile back, I had a delightful herring platter at Russ & Daughters. Is there any restaurant or store in the DC area (preferably in DC) that makes their own pickled / cured herring that is very tasty?
  5. giantshrimp, I give you credit for a very well written post. This could be a professional review. As for the content though, my experience was only partially similar. We got there a bit late and so didn't have time to do the tasting menu as I'd hoped. I think you are correct that it is mostly Southern food with some Korean accents - although one dish we had a more of a straight fusion. I also agree that the dining room is really nice. We got a very cozy booth on the side which was perfect for a date night. As for the quality and taste of the food/drink, I was mostly rather pleased. The service was also exceptional - very attentive without being overbearing, knowledgeable, and friendly. My wife and I started with cocktails - I had the not worth it gimmick - Coffee and Cigarettes - bourbon blend with a mini-chocolate cigarette. It was ok but mostly tasted of straight bourbon and all of the mixers were lost and the mini cigarette was simply a tiny piece of chocolate. On the other hand, the Belle's Punch was really excellent. We split a second one later on. It is mango-infused, peach vodka and bubbly punch. They also sell it by the pitcher which I would definitely do if we had a larger group. For app, we had the cornbread cakes which were a handful of tiny cornbread pieces with good strawberry-rhubarb jam and nutty sorghum butter - it was tasty but nothing to different. A standard breadbasket with these condiments would have been equally enjoyed. For mains, we had the dirty fried chicken and the salmon. Both were well cooked and ample - go here with big appetites. The dirty fried chicken is basically a big plate of 2 drumsticks and 2 de-boned thighs with a thick crunchy crust coated in Korean gochujang BBQ sauce. Tasty but not that different than spicy BBQ chicken. The accompaniments of pickled jalapenos, blue cheese, and nor flakes added a bit of complexity but mostly were lost amidst the strong BBQ sauce. A good dish that I enjoyed but the Asian accents were mostly lost. Whereas the salmon was the real fusion. The salmon itself was pretty standard but it comes with white kimchi and a heap of grits made from edamame on top of a cilantro sauce. These accompaniments and sauce when added to the fish or eaten separately really showed the Asian side of the cooking. I really liked the dish but my wife actually didn't like the grits or kimchi but she isn't much for grits or pickles to begin with (she was simply in the mood for salmon). We also got the seasonal side of crispy Brussel sprouts with orange supremes and pecans. This was rather good too and plenty to share for 2. For dessert, we shared on 2 occasions (it is huge) a slice of the excellent hummingbird cake (apparently a Southern staple) - a carrot like cake but made with ground up fruit and nuts with coconut and a cream cheese frosting. If you like carrot cake, get this a be wowed. Really really delightful. Overall, I'd recommend it for a date night, but skip it for lunch and maybe read a bunch of reviews to learn which dishes are more hits than misses. Also re-the duck schnitzel - I didn't eat it, but the waiter explained the ham is wrapped around the duck before it is coated so I can see why someone might miss it.
  6. The restaurant called themselves Lao. Not sure if that is technically correct. [Thanks, Keith - I think that's the preferred term. I have a tendency to conflate it with "Martian" because I'm so used to that word - maybe Laotian refers to the people.]
  7. The answer is Yes, they will make vegetarian versions. Thanks to this thread, yesterday, I found this small hole in the wall and had a very delicious lunch of a new type of dish that I'd never tried before. It is a tiny place on the strip in Mt. Pleasant and you would likely miss it if you weren't looking for it. It is really small inside but bright and clean with 4-5 small tables crammed in around a large register counter. I had what the counter-lady described as one of their most popular Lao dishes on the actual menu (vs. the more extensive posterboard mentioned above) - Nam Kao/Khao - which is a traditional Lao dish of crispy coconut rice salad with herbs, peanuts, eggs and typically pork but they readily substituted crispy cubes of tofu. They serve it with a few lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap which was how it tasted best to me. I wish I had a few more leaves though as I used them up and still had half a plate of food (portion is ample but not huge - good value ). The crispy rice was new to me. I looked online and apparently, you mix rice with herbs, eggs, and seasoning then form a big ball which is fried. Then the ball is broken into chunks and the rest of the ingredients are added and mixed together. You end up with these nice bits of crispy rice mixed with chunks of seemingly normal steamed rice that was in the center of the ball. I'd recommend checking it out. They also do a good deal of delivery business but the lady mentioned that business is slow during weekdays - so that may be a good time to order.
  8. Anybody been to the new DC spot? It got really good professional and amateur reviews. I thinking of going later this week and am especially interested in the Taste of South multi-course option that looks like a value deal at $42 person for tastes of multiple apps and entrees (I like variety :-). Anyone tried it?
  9. My good friend who has great taste in food loves Timber Pizza and has highly recommended it. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. However, this same friend brought me some of Timber Pizza's wood-fired bagels and they were excellent. I'm not sure if the bagels are every morning or only weekends, but they are legit!
  10. I like the crispy rolls too but prefer the fresh garden rolls. Really delightful with fresh mint and an excellent peanut sauce. When they were in CP, there were several occasions where I would order a double order of 4 rolls for a light meal.
  11. No idea as this is the first I've heard of that place, but bear in mind it may be an inaccurate comparison. While most, but not all (see lamb gyro) of the G Sandwiches are served on a great sub rolls - they aren't cold cut subs like at an Italian deli (although they both likely have meatball and chicken parm subs). I typically get the lamb gyro on pita or the baby goat. Also G sandwiches lamb chili and pastas are good too. G Sandwich also tends to put non-traditional, but delicious ingredients on its sandwiches - the baby goat has potatos, and they use a lot of fresh herbs. So not to say the other place doesn't have good subs, but for anyone going to G Sandwich and expecting italian deli subs, I would adjust your expectations somewhat (and still go!)
  12. Dining in Cleveland Park

    As a longtime CP resident, here are some local tips for anyone to come to the neighborhood: 1. Parking is tough but not too bad if you don't mind a small walk (similar to what I do when I visit 14th St). If you don't find a spot on your first pass, go one block north of Porter on CT Ave and turn left on Rodman St and head up a not steep hill. After a block (after the Quebec St left turn), Melvin Hazen Park is on the right and the houses on the left have parking in the back. You can find a spot here 90% of the time and it'll only take you 5-10 minutes to walk back to CT. The spots next to the park don't even have time restrictions if you go far enough up toward Reno. (as mentioned above you can also park down Porter st toward Rock Creek but then you have a hill to hike up). 2. Bindaas - make a reservation several days in advance and enjoy. Almost everything is very good. 3. Ardeo - neighborhood sleeper still churning out great food and they have a small roof deck for nice weather. 4. Medium Rare - you know the deal, it is a good, not too pricey dinner. If you don't like your first serving, I usually find the seconds to be better. 5. Vace - still the best non-Neapolitan pizza in DC. If you like onions, the white with onions will not disappoint. Also the freezer cases with tortellini are pretty good. And they have great homemade mozzarella behind the counter. And a bunch of other goodies. 6. Dolan - try the Mom's Lagman - really good handmade chewy noodles. a bit different than you find elsewhere. Stick with the noodle dishes. 7. Indique - is really good indian food. Very nice service and nice atmosphere. Nice enough for a date or evening out but not too expensive. I especially like the biryanis and samosa chaat. They also have a great brunch on weekends. 8. Spices - Big Duck and Shaky Beef - solid dishes. Ginger salad is good too. Skip the sushi. The above are worth a trip - not for once in a lifetime Michelin cooking - but for solid food at good prices. Here are some other comments if you happen to be nearby: 9. Fresh Med - pretty good baklava 10. Firehook - yes it has other locations with really fudgy brownies, good cakes and cookies - but CP has the great hidden aroma garden in the back. 11. Siam House - get the Pad Eggplant - my fave. We often get carryout but the dishes are better when you eat in (less steaming in carryout containers). Plus a bunch of other quick food options on your way to the Uptown, Zoo, shul, etc. (California Tortilla - fish tacos or honey lime burrito are what I get, Chipotle, Fat Pete's, etc.) And that is just Connecticut Ave. On Wisconsin, I'd recommend: 12. Raku - this place rocks. Really good sushi - (check out the special menu with fish flown in from Tsukiji) - I think the nigiri here is the way to go over other places which emphasize creative maki rolls. I also love the Tokyo dashi soup, agedashi tofu (their has extra vegetables than usual which are great), for the picky eaters the Chicken entrée with essentially pad thai on the side is excellent), and the bento boxes are good and huge - the veggie bento is really great too. 13. 2 Amys - still amazing Neapolitan pizza and don't forget all the other goodies on the menu. I often like the seasonal pizzas, great crostini, get the lamb skewers when they have them, and always good are the salt cod croquettes. Roasted olives and peppers and anchovies are also good. Donuts on the weekends and ice cream all the time are delish. 14. Barcelona - I've only been once, but really liked it. Plan to go again soon. So don't worry - CP is doing ok and you should come eat some of our good food. It continues to evolve. Fat Pete's was an empty old mcdonalds for years and now is a thriving ok place. Ripple was originally a lackluster shoe store for years. We'll see what comes their next.
  13. I went by recently and saw they were closed too. They had a Dept. of Health notice on their door. According to the Post - it is for operating without a license. Hopefully, they'll get the missing license and reopen soon.
  14. Baklava

    The food at that place is rather good. I'll have to try their baklava. Thanks.