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Everything posted by DaRiv18

  1. In a conversation with a friend, we realized that we disagreed on what what we consider cheap eats or expensive fare, in terms of what we feel the baseline case should be. He thinks it is the Silver Diner, I think it is Clyde’s. I’m sure others would name Applebee’s, or even the Cracker Barrel, or 2 Amy’s, Matchbox, or even the Capitol Grille. Any place you think sets the standard for what is a reasonable eat, of a reasonable quality and cost?
  2. A early visit shows that they are still getting their sea legs when it comes to service. The food also has a way to go before it reaches the quality we expect at the Union Market outpost. That said, it seems like a comfortable space and they were plenty busy for a Wednesday night. I think I would have rather made my own pasta at home, or taken the fam to Sfoglina, than had our meal here this day. But the meat pastas were a hit at our table, whereas the app, secondi and desserts were all minor misses. But eventually they will do very well here.
  3. That would be my #1 option (YMMV) in Cleveland Park, then. Great news for Cleveland Park!
  4. Calamari

    My daughter really loves calamari, and I wonder what places serves decent versions of it. So far, Pete's Pizza has the strongest version, but then I am stuck eating pizza which is getting pretty old for me.
  5. National Chains

    My only beef with his #1 choice of the Cracker Barrel is that they are a highway destination place. I like the food, but it is the last thing I want to eat on a long road trip.
  6. My wife and I stopped by last night to this bright, airy restaurant after spending 6 hours on I-95. It was our first time and we were really in the mood for some comfort food. We know Carlos and Erin from their time at Boundary Road, and we were overdue to say hi. Erin was behind the Passenger stick in its closing year, and the Bamboo cocktail ($10) I ordered was a very nice version, served with an olive. The glassware there is stylish, from the coupes to the 3 Stars snifter that contained my 3 Stars Farmhouse Ale. I closed with a glass of Touriga Nacionale rose, I haven't had one in a long time. For starters, we split a small Chef's Board ($16), featuring gigante beans, eggplant, marinated olives, house-made ricotta, and two other cheeses and two other meats I can't recall right now. Straightforward and delicious. We split a bowl of house-made pappardelle with pork sugo, parmesan and preserved lemon and moderately spicy ($15) along with a side of cauliflower ($6) and blistered shishito peppers ($7). The pasta was paper thin, delicate, and absolutely delicious -- exactly the comfort food we were looking for. I prefer this dish to the pasta that I've had at the Red Hen. My wife loved the cauliflower, and I FINALLY, after ordering the shishito peppers at a variety of places around town (I've had about 80 of them), ate a pepper that was actually spicy! For dessert, we split a pistachio custard topped with whipped cream and served with a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. Nicely done! For folks who live in Brookland, Woodbridge, or Hyattsville, I can't imagine having a better local option. Atmosphere is unpretentious and cheerful, and looks to be family friendly. Downstairs is additional seating and another bar, for a quieter, more atmospheric couples night. Next time we will come with some friends and split the Tuscan-Style bone-in steak!
  7. Our family went for the first time to Range, and my experience echos much of what has been already written above. The least serious issue (for us, but certainly not for the restaurant) was the lack of other diners. It feels like a mausoleum, save for the kind and attentive servers. Temperature of the dishes were still tepid. Biggest disappointment was the charcuterie plate. Meats were ok. Some of my cheeses actually had a sour aftertaste. Not a high volume item? I was intrigued by coming back for a happy hour and order the seafood tower, but the charcuterie really spooked me. Went to 2 Amy's the next day, and my six year old observed how much better the pie was vs what he had the night before at Range. Sniff, they grow up so fast . . .
  8. I would say put in a Little Red Fox type place, but P&C Market is just right there. Timber Pizza would be another decent model for those neighborhood type places.
  9. Good Standard for Price, Quality, and Value

    That is really interesting, I like it. I'm not really sure if I agree with your exponential spacing, that going from a 9 to a 10 is worth spending as much as going from a 0 to a 7. But I recognize your calculus might be realistic. You'd hate Bubba Gump's.
  10. Good Standard for Price, Quality, and Value

    My bill at Bubba Gump's was more than what I usually spend at Clydes.
  11. Good Standard for Price, Quality, and Value

    Excellent point. I guess it should be a place for a table of 4 adults where people just want to catch up and not necessarily be caught up in the food. IE, shouldn't be distractingly great or awful. I realize this is a very open ended question, but it threw us for a loop. But at some point, you can't throw around "it's kinda expensive for what it is" without having a base reference point. Also, I recently went to some chain restaurant (Bubba Gump) the other week and was shocked at the (high) prices for beer and food, and the quality met my lower expectations. I have been pretty good at avoiding chains, and would have paid an extra $5 for another meal that didn't scream "commodity", but I am just wondering what kind of benchmarks are out there in terms of what the general American public feels like is a decent deal.
  12. "How To Stop The Predators Who Aren't Famous" by Sarah Leonard on nytimes.com
  13. I've picked up a couple bags of Small Planes at the Made in DC shop on the south side of Dupont Circle, and have really been impressed. I've had both the Hunapu (a Guatemalan bean) and also the Arboretum seasonal blend. I am no doubt biased, as I got to know Evan when he pulled shots at the Union Market peregrine location, but still I think these coffees are in that upper echelon of local coffees, like Qualia and Ceremony. I understand peregrine features the beans as well, along with Counter Culture.
  14. The Cucina is mostly a food stand, there is a table next to its booth and it is not clear to me it is for their exclusive use (I doubt it). I wouldn't characterize it as pre-made meals, usually you have to wait for about 10 minutes for them to prepare your pasta. I would say Takorean or Chipotle are closer to pre-made meals then what they do. They do sell jars of pesto and other sauces for take-home, as well as fresh pasta. I'd be surprised if those items makes up more than 15% of their sales. I actually have never been to the Osteria, so maybe I should temper my enthusiasm! But these are hearty meals for under $20/plate, as compared to Sfoglina which is the closest credible pasta shop.
  15. Too many mouths to feed as a H Street neighbor trying to spread the love and not enough mouths to feed as a H Street restaurant.
  16. Maketto serves their fried chicken on top of white bread, too. Is this an Asian thang? I think they do it so the juices don't go to waste, my guess.
  17. Took the fam there last night for the first time, a last minute 8pm Saturday reservation for four. We were given the option of sitting deep in the dining room, or at a less sparsely populated area that turned out to be the bar area. We chose the latter, and the hostess said that if it didn't work out due to being so close to the front door, that she would move us. We had about three different servers approach us in the first 3 minutes, bringing either menus, water, or a description of today's soup. With the last one, we were still getting situated, but I ordered two apps to start, my kids were pretty hungry. Soon, they were delivered, the fried calamari and the crab beignets. They were both fine, the calamari a little bit more interesting with a green aoili side. The crab tasted more like a tuna salad to me, was not so much lump crab than something that much denser. I much prefer a pan fried than this battered deep fried version. We tore thru the apps, and then sat around for another ten minutes or so. Two of our servers seemed to be busy slinging drinks behind the bar, and the other server was doing other things. At this point, we had no check-up on our apps, no offer for an informed drink decision, no further order for entrees. Kids were getting restless, I was getting irritated that I didn't have a cocktail order in, so I took the hostess up on her previous offer, settled up our check in the bar, and moved to the dining area. Experience improved vastly from thereon. The entrees were straightforward yet delicious. My daughter loved her lamb bolognese, the son and spouse shared a steak frites with a wonderful red wine reduction, and I followed our new server's suggestion and went for the pan fried trout. On point. This is some of the better upscale comfort food I've had in awhile, and one of the few places where the entrees outshined the apps by a wide margin. My blood orange margarita was delicious too.
  18. The night before, my five year old had demanded Chick-Fil-A (please bear with me) and for reasons only she understands, my spouse acquiesced. Ended up it was a thirty minute wait to get their meal there (not sure why), during which my child and my spouse went thru various stages of their relationship with each other as they waited impatiently. Cut to: last night as I headed home, I made the last-minute executive decision that the family meal would be at Sfloglina, just around 6:30pm. I walked in, found that there was an outside table available (inside tables were spoken for), was seated. The fam was across the street, getting a loaf of bread, and were about 5 minutes away. Still in executive decision mode, when our lovely Italian server promptly came over just to greet me, I ordered for the kids off the kids menu: pappardelle in tomato sauce and beef ribs over polenta. She returned a minute later to pour water, and I, feeling flush wielding all this executive power left and right, decided to order the rigatoni and the brazino for the parents. And an Aperol Spritz just for me, I clearly deserved it. Probably about three minutes later, the kids entrees arrive, followed by my cocktail a minute later, and the adult entrees 5 minutes after that, just as my family were arriving (later than I thought they would). Everything was delicious, I know fresh pasta cooks quicker than dried pasta, and the proteins were either cooked for 72 hours or were thin enough to not be cooked extensively. The kids drilled thru their noodles and "steak", thus avoiding making a hangry scene in public, and we enjoyed the rigatoni in an heirloom tomato arrabblata and the fish filet with faro. We did not do the dishes justice in terms of savoring every bite, but really just gratefully demolished it all. The humidity was a bit uncomfortable for us, so we opted against dessert, the family left for the car and I settled up. By my watch, my wife and kids were seated there for 25 minutes, thus beating their time at Chick-Fil-A the night before! I tried to share my story with our server, but due to my in-artful delivery as well as a slight language/cultural barrier, she did not laugh but actually wondered if we had enjoyed our meal here, or preferred our experience at Chick-Fil-A. Perhaps she even thought the kids didn't like the food here, so they went to Chick-Fil-A instead? I can only speculate, but we enjoyed our meal here.
  19. It doesn't say that he will be an equal partner, and it says he will move to North Carolina but come back monthly to design the menu. I am also wary, like Mark is. I kind of go there only when I am in the mood for mussels and frites, I think it operates better with a focused specialty menu. And with a great ale selection. That said, I do think it is a saavy pickup by the Queen Vic, if Granville Moore's is at a depressed value as H Street NE begins to transition from destination pubcrawl to self-sustaining destination modern neighborhood. Granville Moore's (which I confess I hadn't realized had fallen off) isn't a Piratz Tavern concept, it should be one of the easier turnaround projects out there.
  20. So, the bar manager announced today on his FB that he is "parting ways" with Bistro 1521, due to "too many cooks in the kitchen." He also says that hospitality, great service, and the best quality ingredients are important to him, "no short cuts". He also cited the huge space. I probably won't be back, I was giving it the benefit of the doubt due to the usual opening pains. Our service was friendly yet pretty bad, and the food was worth the visit, and the cocktails very good. I certainly wish it the best, I will monitor this thread keenly.
  21. We ate out on the outdoor patio, but as we walked thru, it didn't seem really that different than other times -- I didn't think it was super hot. The upstairs usually is very cold, if that makes a difference, to the point I have heard diners complain about it on different visits. I would suggest you go back. I also think you picked a good night to skip, not only no porchetta, but their fryer was down, too, so a significant portion of their appetizers were unavailable. Which meant other appetizers were sold out by 7:00pm (such as the herbed arborio rice stuffed squash blossoms that I wanted to order).
  22. If they are serving porchetta as a main, then it is probably on Saturday and maybe on Wednesday. This past Saturday, our family ended up all ordering personal pizzas all around, since we didn't feel that cobbling together the smaller plates that intrigued us would be enough. We did get the local cranberry beans topped with sliced porchetta, and that was worth it. But it wasn't the same. It's great to have their pizza as a fallback option, and it's great to have their pizza period.