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Found 61 results

  1. I know it's not really fair to judge a restaurant after one lunch, and an RW lunch at that, but since it's been open too long not to have a thread, I will anyway. The simple description, and I apologize to the current team that may or not being trying to avoid comparisons, is that it's essentially Vidalia with slightly different decor. And since I loved Vidalia, I mean that in a good way. Really, if you had told me I had just eaten at Vidalia after an interior makeover, I'd have no reason to doubt you. Started with a delicious basket of banana bread with whipped butter and a fruit compote. First course: Chesapeake Sugar Toads new orleans bbq, popcorn grits, pickled okra Essentially a poor man's shrimp and grits, except that I prefer sugar toad to shrimp any day of the week. If you've never had sugar toad (a little Chesapeake Bay puffer fish) before, you should. The only place I've had it before is, well, Vidalia. It's got a taste and texture somewhere between white fish, crab and shrimp, and was perfect with the toothy grits and sauce. Second course: Confit Duck Leg corn & tasso ham maque choux, duck sausage, pickled peach jam A perfect rainy day course. A nicely meaty leg with crisp skin...the sides had a touch of sweetness that cut through the duck really well. Dessert: Finnish Aura Blue Cheese concord grapes, rye bread, candied walnuts, spruce tip honey Simply a great combination of flavors and textures. So again, I hope I'm not insulting Chef Hamilton in any way by saying, in a obviously small sample size, that this place tastes like a re-born Vidalia. I'll certainly be back.
  2. Anybody have information about the new management team and renovations underway at Kenny's? Additional context from a Craigslist ad: "KENNYS SMOKE HOUSE is currently under new ownership is undergoing complete renovations including menu changes to better serve our community with authenticate quality BBQ and smoked meats. We are planning to relaunch an entirely new experience and look before July 4th with redesigned interior\exterior, menu enhancements, beer garden and craft beers. Must be able to start mid June."
  3. Northside 10 opened up this weekend, it took over the Chez Andree space on Glebe Rd. Brought to you by the Southside 815 folks. Drove by and saw that it looked open, and wanted to watch football. So, instead of packing into Pork Barrel, stopped by here. It was pretty crowded. Decent draft list, including Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. They had a bunch of TVs playing the playoff games (go Packers!) and a lot of the crew were familiar faces from other Del Ray restaurants, as were many of the guests. Lady got the burger, asked for medium, probably more medium well, but she loved it. I got some pretty darn good wings. Found out we had accidentally stumbled into Friends and Family soft opening, so they didn't charge us for the food. Oops! Paid for it anyway with a big tip. Although kind of a weird location, I think it's going to do well. Very residential area, lots of family's can easily walk to it.
  4. Normally, I wouldn't review a restaurant based solely on their brunch menu and I try not to try out new places with brunch being my first foray. It's a much maligned meal, often an afterthought by chefs. But, being that we are pretty new to Houston and have a long list of places to try, and this is a pretty new forum, here we are. It's New Years Day and people needed brunch (and brunch drinks) The deets: part of Delicious Concepts restaurants, opened in Summer 2016, executive chef Jordan Asher launched the restaurant and left in August, replaced by Albert Vasquez: Aug 1, 2016 - "Surprising Chef Swap: Jordan Asher is Out and Albert Vasquez is In at Ritual Restaurant in Houston" by Phaedra Cook on houstonpress.com The setting: industrial farmhouse vibe, wood tables, exposed brick, wood beamed ceiling, accentuated with lime green chairs (very comfortable). Waitstaff in jeans and striped suspenders. Sizeable bar looks like a welcoming place to spend happy hour or late evening hours and I think they had a pretty good NYE turnout last night judging by the beers that were not available today. Cool points for the cursive neon sign of Pixies lyrics "drive my car into the ocean" and as someone who left their heart in NYC, the huge, Grand Central Station-style arrivals board with beers on offer instead of trains pulling in, is a clever touch. The Meal: we started off with Sourdough hush puppies with jalapeño jelly. Light and airy, these bore more resemblance in consistency to fancy donut holes you find on dessert menus than a traditional hush puppy, (and that's not a criticism). Glazed with the jalapeño jelly that was more sweet than hot, these were delicious and a nice accompaniment to my Bloody Mary. We had read so much about the seafood gravy that we had to try. It came out in a large bowl and our attentive waiter quickly took it back to the kitchen and divided into small cups for us to share. Rich and creamy and dotted with pimentos, it is definitely not to be missed. It would be a great warming lunch on a cold day. Alas, the high today was 74. Entrees were The Standard for our 4yo (yard eggs, breakfast meat, hash brown, toast), chicken & waffles (cornbread waffle, cayenne pepper rub, seasoned maple, house pickle) for the husband (aka Josh, this forum's host), and Ritual Benedict (biscuit, city ham, 63° egg, green chile hollandaise, hash browns) for me. (I do love Anthony Bourdain but I also love Eggs Benedict against his advice) The 18m old, being an omnivore, got some of everything. The apps came out pretty quick, but the entrees lagged a bit long. Our waiter apologized and thankfully kept us updated. Side note-high chairs and kids cups at the ready, despite having no kids menu, we found it pretty kid friendly. Benedict was overall tasty. These next thoughts are very mild criticisms. The biscuit, while good was a bit much...biscuit. The bread component felt a touch out of proportion to other ingredients. Of course, I'm willing to take some of the blame here, having filled up with the hush puppies and the seafood gravy, I was slowing down halfway into the dish. The Green Chili Hollandaise was mild and not discernibly different from standard. Would like to see it punched up a touch. The egg was decently runny but my guess is it wasn't served right away. Thus is the danger of offering a 63 degree egg. Hash browns are served in a block- brown and crunchy on the outside. I'm more of a "scattered" kind of gal, but these were good and understandly more upscale in presentation. Smoky and salty, layered in pink porky ribbons, the star of the dish is the city ham, and rightfully so. Felix Florez of Black Hill Meats is a co-owner. Ritual is a temple to meat, lest you forget. And if you do, there is a huge glass-walled walk-in in the back of the restaurant displaying hanging sides of pork waiting their eventual plating. You won't be bringing your vegetarian friends here. Josh I imagine will weigh in on the chicken and waffles but the bite I had was delicious-a milder version of Nashville hot chicken on a crisp cornbread waffle-a tasty rendition of a southern classic. Brunch here is a worthwhile endeavor, not a chefs bastard child. A great neighborhood place to celebrate day one of 2017. We will be back.
  5. Running by the former Monroe's location at the corner of Commonwealth and Monroe, kinda in Del Ray, I saw a sign hanging out front for the forthcoming restaurant "Live Oak." Don't have any more info. I was surprised not to see any info here! Hope they do well!
  6. 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.
  7. jandres (I *hate* it when I can't address our members by their first names, but I can't!), Am I reading the article correctly in that Thompson Hospitality owns Austin Grill, is closing it, and reopening Hen Quarter in the same location in July? [Well, I guess either way, Hen Quarter gets its own thread (oddly, had this been the last Austin Grill - and I assume that day will come - the existing thread would simply be renamed), so one day in the future, whichever restaurant replaces the final Austin Grill - assuming it, too, is owned by Thompson Hospitality - is going to have a *lot* of posts and views in its thread on day one. I use *such* a simple algorithm for using existing threads, or creating new ones, but regardless of its simplicity, its permutations are seemingly endless.]
  8. Dean Street is the friendly and charming corner neighborhood restaurant that other cities do so well, and DC does not. Walking into the bar room, taking a seat at a round corner table awash with morning sunlight, you want to belong here, to have the staff know your name. You can just envision coming in mid-week, having a beer at the bar, chatting with the bartender, and maybe watching some of the game on TV. If every customer was within a 6 or 7 block walk, I wouldn't be surprised. Now let's not get overblown, the food was good but not great. But one doesn't really care. It's about being in the neighborhood. The menu skews southern/New Orleans: gumbo, shrimp & grits, and lots of biscuits. Crawfish, Andouille Sausage, Cream Cheese Omelet with Home Fries (they could work on their home fries) was a tasty mess. The sort of thing a hangover cries out for. The Bloody Mary was top notch, also hangover worthy. The biscuits topped with poached eggs and mushroom gravy was perhaps too rich, and the sweet potato hash topped with eggs was enjoyed by the vegetarian contingent. If Dean Street was a couple blocks from my apartment, it would be my local.
  9. Magnolia's on King - We went just after they started taking reservations. The bar upstairs is WONDERFUL - unique cocktails (range $12-16) I had not tried before with a range that everyone enjoyed something. We though of trying the appetizers upstairs but figured (wrongly) that we could get them downstairs. Know that they do not server the drink or bar menu down in the restaurant (To risky to carry down the stairs was reason given). Bar is well lit, easy seating that can adjust to different party sizes but I can see it getting to full fairly quickly. I highly recommend 'The Cure' black bottle scotch, ardbeg 10 year, domaine de canton, lemon juice, honey. Generous sized drinks and worth the higher pricing. The restaurant has some serving issues but those were all due to being just opened (wait staff not able to answer questions and having to go check), they seemed pretty inexperienced. Wine list is good, cocktails downstairs are pretty simple, but the southerner in our group was pleased to see the multiple Fanta options. Dinner was good but not great, my options were limited because of spice levels (many options are heavy on the hot side). I had the Bison Meatloaf which was good but not great. Others had Catfish (Very happy), Fried Chicken (good but not great (If you want great see my review of Tupelo's )) and Denver Steak. (Range $18-35) portion size was good. Dessert Cobbler was good as was the Smore's bread pudding but neither worth a special trip The Southerner with us said the corn bread was to sweet but the greens were wonderful, though the cobbler should have been double crusted. The chef came out and talked to us for feedback (though later on our Southerner wanted to add some more but there is no email address on the web page) he seemed sincere but also talked down other restaurants when we gave comparisons. Overall I'll be back for the bar and might give the restaurant another try in a few months once they settle in but not sure since so many better options in that area. Well lit and Grandma friendly but not sure will make the list to take her to.
  10. 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.
  11. This is what you can refer to as "big news" - Harper Lee is publishing a second novel, written fifty years ago. If "Go Set A Watchman" is any good at all, it could wind up being the best-selling American book ever written (right now, it's "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown at something close to 100-million copies), and could solidify Lee as one of the most important 20th-century American novelists instead of just a one-hit wonder. Although Ms. Lee isn't getting any younger, it could increase her chances for a Nobel Prize ("The Bridge On The Drina" did it for Ivo Andric), and it now gives her - in technical terms - a 50-year career. The only caucasian American female to win the Nobel Prize for Literature - a *very* political award - is Pearl Buck in 1938, who had spent most of her life living in China up until that point. A legitimate argument could be made that Eudora Welty was robbed, so this could be "the right book at the right time" for Lee - time for a "make-up call," perhaps. She seems like a very likable person, so I hope it works out well for her, and that a new generation of Americans will be introduced to "To Kill A Mockingbird" - one of the greatest American novels I've ever read: It's both timely and timeless. Could this sequel diminish "To Kill A Mockingbird" in some way? Possibly, but do you remember Willie Mays as a Giant, or a Met? Hell, Willie Mays could *sing* at the Met and it wouldn't tarnish his legacy any more than Jackie Robinson being a pitchman for Chock Full O' Nuts. For a contrarian opinion (note that the Nobel has always favored British writers over American writers): "Go Set A Watchman And Five Other Sequels That Should Never Happen" by Hannah Jane Parkinson for theguardian.com - I'm writing this sentence before reading the column (which I'll do as soon as I post this), but my first impression is that "Go Set A Watchman" isn't really a sequel since it was written first, and by definition, was not written to cash in on "To Kill A Mockingbird." There's something innocently disturbing about this title to me, mainly because it sounds pretty similar, in terms of syllables, rhythm, and accent, to an imperative I'll sometimes mutter, the third word of which is "your," and it isn't "Go Set Your Table." PS - If "To Kill A Mockingbird" is something you've always meant to read, but haven't gotten around to doing it, what better time than now? I just read it for the first time myself two years ago, and I'm glad I did.
  12. Café Rue is a new place that opened up in the strip mall on Route 1 next to CVS and Myong Dong (Oriental Noodle). It replaces the Vietnamese restaurant which used to be there. Their specialty is Chicken and Waffles, which they do well. I had the classic version, which was three pieces of nicely fried chicken breast on top of a fluffy waffle. The chicken ran a little bit on the dry side, but it was still tasty for white meat, which I usually avoid. Hot sauce and maple syrup came on the side. Next time I'll definitely try one of the specialty versions, which include Red Velvet Chicken and Waffles and a Sweet Sriracha Glazed version. The rest of the menu has a lot of interesting items that I'd like to try. I had the Sautéed Kale Greens with Honey & Balsamic Vinegar, which had chewy bacon bits and was sweet and tangy. It was a little heavy on the sauce, but still delicious. Other things that caught my eye were Crispy Lobster Mac&Cheese Bites, Truffle Fries, and Rue Tableside Smores. There's definitely a French influence to the restaurant, including beignets and macarons on the menu. There's even a waiting area with a couch and food-related books ranging from the French Laundry cookbook to Kitchen Confidential. The restaurant itself is is a little rough around the edges, but service seemed friendly. I wasn't able to get through by phone to order takeout in advance. The hours are also limited, from 12-8 W-F, and 10-3 on weekends. Still, there's not many (any?) restaurants near Beltsville serving interesting food like this, so I can live with these minor quibbles.
  13. 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.
  14. Happened to be walking by this weekend and saw that Macon is open in the Chevy Chase Arcade building on Connecticut Ave. We had already picked up bagels with the kids so I couldn't do much but pop my head in, but I'll probably get over there for a brunch soon. I can't wait to try the biscuits and bacon gravy with poached eggs and maybe the "spiced watermelon bowl".... Has anyone been yet? When did it open?
  15. Bidwell opened recently in Union Market, and as hard as it was to pass up the amazing smells of Toki Underground (he was serving a Thai yellow curry), we decided on a real-deal sit down lunch. The space is very smartly done, balancing the sterile white of the market with a mix of dark and grey wood. The country music playing was a bit of an odd choice that really didn't seem to fit the mood of the restaurant or the neighborhood. From what I can tell, there are not separate lunch and dinner menus. There were 4 of us, plus the boy, so we sampled a reasonable bit of the menu. Swedish meatballs: We ordered these right as we sat so my son would have something to munch on. No one was particularly impressed by them. Very dense and served in a brown gravy that could've used...something to brighten things up. Lobster tacos: These have gotten a bit of press, but don't go expecting tacos. This is more of kind of an unfried flauta. The lobster filling had a nice texture, not the least bit rubbery, and the avocado-tomatillo salsa was a nice, if a bit too subdued accompanyment. I would call for a good bit more spice, but I tend toward the spicy. I actually think the dish might be improved if the tortilla had a bit of crunch to it to contrast with the lobster. Crispy deviled eggs: Just a standard deviled egg fried with a light batter. The ranch dressing is touted as having roasted jalapeno, but I didn't taste any smokiness or heat. Probably would be a pretty good bar snack with a few beers. Fried oysters with green chile buttermilk dressing: Nicely fried...these went in a hurry, though at $12 I kind of expected 4 oysters instead of 3...YMMV. Raclette grilled cheese: White truffle listed on the ingredient list...pretty mild influence on the flavor of the sandwich. It was nicely grilled, and I liked the poached egg on top. Definitely a knife and fork kind of sandwich. I guess I'm just used to a more pungent cheese in my grilled cheese (Taleggio is our house favorite), but I found this kind of on the bland side. Gin and tonic salmon: This was the clear winner of the day. A lightly cured piece of salmon that was perfectly seared. Quite tasty on its own, and fantastic with the bright slightly creamy lime emulsion. The cauliflower "steak" beneath it was excellent, with tons of great carmelized bits. Definitely a go-to dish here. Our server was great, and they didn't bat an eye at bringing out a high chair for the boy. I'd be interested to hear what kind of dinner service they are doing. We were 1 of only 3 tables during lunch that day. Of course, that location doesn't really lend itself to a bustling crowd for a formal sit-down lunch. Overall, I'd call it a pleasant experience, but nothing that blew me away (except the salmon dish). Of course it's early on, so I'd be interested to hear others' experiences in the next few weeks. We'll be back, given we're in the market multiple times a week...I'd be curious to see if they start a brunch menu, as I imagine they would do a brisk business.
  16. I can't seem to find anything on this place on here, which is probably due to my poor searching and/or reading skills. So apologies if this is a repeat thread. We stopped by on Friday night with a group of four to check this place out, and left thoroughly impressed. A few thoughts (and all from memory as they have no website so I can't cheat and look at things): It' much smaller than I expected. And much smaller than its two neighbors, Eat the Rich and Mockingbird Hill. In that, the front rooms of Mockingbird Hill and Eat the Rich are the same size as the entirety of Southern Efficiency. And unlike those two establishments, there are no tables here (or at least not now, there's a spot in the front window currently occupied by a Christmas tree that could easily house a couple of tables), only the bar, and a ledge opposite the bar on which to rest drinks and food. This configuration does mean that when it gets busy it's quite challenging to navigate from the bar to the restrooms. Right now at least they feature three cocktails on their menu, although they're capable of making many more (not probably to the extent of the Passenger do to ingredients). The three on the menu on Friday were the Blackstrap and Switchel (Cruzan Blackstrap rum, switchel, which is apparently some sort of apple vinegar, water and spices, of which I know ginger is one but I don't know the rest); the Stone Fence (Whiskey, apple cider and bitters? I feel like I'm off on this one although I know those three ingredients were involved); and the White Whiskey and Smoked Cola (self explanatory). The first two are pre-made and served in jars, while the last one is on tap. All were quite tasty. Forced to pick I'd probably go with the Stone Fence, but I was happy with both that and the Blackstrap and Switchel. They also had a hot toddy listed on the wall as a special, but I have no ideas on the details of this drink. I think they had four beers on tap, all from Virginia and North Carolina I believe. They had two wines, both Virginia, and the red was a Cab Franc. Tons of whiskeys on their menu. I really appreciated that broke bourbons down into "high rye" and "high wheat" categories. Really helpful if you're dealing with a whiskey you've never had before. We ordered the whole menu, four appetizers, three mains, one dessert, and everything was at least good, and some of it was excellent. Our favorite items were all three entrees (Country Captain, BBQ Pork Sandwich and Fried Catfish), as well as the trout appetizer (smoked trout, and smoked trout deviled eggs with pickled vegetables). We enjoyed the other items as well (Peanut Soup, Chicken Liver and Gizzard Pate and Pimento Cheese). The dessert, bourbon balls, were probably our least favorite item). Seemed very reasonably priced to us. The space makes it challenging to go for dinner with more than two people. We really lucked out and grabbed the corner of the bar right before it got slammed, which put us in a good position. We noticed others, however, perched in a huddle around the ledge behind us trying to eat peanut soup, and that can't have been the most pleasant dining experience. Anyhow, as expected it was good, and we'll be back.
  17. One of my favorite elements of living in Williamsburg is Pies-n-Thighs. My typical order is a chicken biscuit (fried chicken cutlet served on a biscuit dripping with honey butter and hot sauce) with mac & cheese (more hot sauce). Of the signature pies, so far my favorite is banana cream. A neighborhood gem and killer of cholesterol test results.
  18. I stopped by tonight with a fried chicken craving and Blue and White Carryout had already closed. This place has recently undergone new management the past couple of months but this was my first time in. (corner of Monroe and Mt. Vernon) 12 bucks with a little extra got me a large quarter dark meat chicken (the drum and thigh attached) two generous sides (Mac and cheese and collard greens) with a homemade sweet tea and lemonade. It took a little over ten minutes to get my food together (I assume they were frying to order) and I chose to eat in. There was only one other patron in the place at the same time as me, and he enthusiastically praised the smothered pork chops. The counter service was friendly and fast. I noticed the cook and cashier both peering curiously as I ate to see if I liked it, but they never asked me directly. My chicken was fine. Not searingly as hot as the mac and cheese, but with a crunchy-crisp, medium-weight dredged skin that was well-seasoned. Less breading than Popeye's or KFC but more substantial than Korean fried chicken. Not sure if they soaked the chicken in anything before frying, but the meat was moist, if a little bland. The skin made up for the blandness of the meat - you really have to eat the two together, I learned. There is generic hot sauce on every table if you prefer a little kick. My favorite of the sides was the collard greens - they make them with smoked turkey and are obviously made with skill and love. I will try the mashed potatoes next time, they don't come from a box. The mac and cheese was okay - dusted with paprika and just shy of becoming gummy as I ate. Nothing spectacular. I will go here when Blue and White is closed (which is after 3:30 on weekdays) It costs just a bit more than smaller carryouts, but it's got high enought quality ingredients and skill to justify it. Convenient and tasty soul food in Del Ray!
  19. Our own Ashley Johnson's website, featuring her take on the best southern restaurants from the Washington, DC area, is here at southernrestaurantsdc.com.
  20. So I'm browsing maps for roadfood (as is my wont) and casually notice that Google tabulates this country restaurant's customer review scores as 29/30. Even normalizing for the Frederick County countryside reviewer, this suggests some solid "modern Southern" cooking might be going on. The menu isn't groundbreaking, and I'm not expecting an Ashby Inn sort of experience, but everything seems to be either well-sourced or made in-house. At the least, it seems like an interesting alternative to Monocacy Crossing. Has anybody been? http://www.alexander....com/restaurant http://www.frederick...?StoryID=139406
  21. I can't complain about another new restaurant opening in Brookland. Keep 'em coming! Little Ricky's is actually doing a two weekend soft opening before the general opening in December. It is on the main stretch of 12th St in Brookland (between Newton and Monroe). You can see a sample menu here. Although for the soft opening they are doing a rotating 4-course prix-fixe menu for $25 (with a couple of choices per course). I really like the restaurant's decor and layout. There are maybe 7 or 8 four-tops, 2 tall two-tops, and then perhaps 12 or so stools at the bar. Large paintings from a Cuban artist cover the walls. And they bring your check in a Cuban guidebook, which I thought was cute. We went last night, and despite a few expected new restaurant hiccups, enjoyed our experience. We had made a 7pm reservation, but they were running way behind by the time we got there. We got a seat at the bar to wait, but we didn't get seated until around 7:40. They were very nice and apologetic, bringing us each a complimentary glass of wine at the table once we were seated, and we were certainly willing to overlook something like this on one of the first nights open. Our choices last night were (What we had doesn't necessarily show up on the proposed official menu, but it sounds like they may be changing some things around): Sunday Nov 11th Pre-Fixe Menu Soup Course "“ Sopa de Marisco (fish and shrimp soup) or Caldo Gallego Soup (white bean soup) Appetizer Course - Garbanzo Refrito con Chorizo, Ham and Cheese Croquettas, or Picadillo Sliders Main Course "“ Tio Pio's Grilled Chicken, Grilled Fish of the day or Masa de Puerco (fried pork with onions) Sides "“ Black beans & rice, plus choice of 1 (Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots, and Grilled veggie medley) Dessert Course - Cuban bread pudding, Mango Ice Cream, or Rice pudding Between the four of us I think we tried most everything available. I really liked the Caldo Gallego Soup, which was a thick white bean soup made smoky with ham. The Garbanzo Refrito was a ridiculously large serving, and although I didn't get that much flavor from the chorizo, it was still tasty. I think the best appetizer we tried though were the Croquettas. Perfectly fried and gooey on the inside. These are on the regular menu and we would certainly get them again. Our server was the owners' brother/brother-in-law, and the namesake of Tio Pio's grilled chicken, so after explaining to us how it is cooked, he actually brought out a gratis portion for us between our soup and appetizer to share. He chargrills it with a closed lid to keep in the juices, and marinates it in Cuban spices. Then makes a sauce out of those same spices to top it. We all liked it a lot. I had the Masa de Puerco, which I thought was delicious. Hard to go wrong with fried pork. The Maduros (fried sweet plantains) were also great. Dessert was the one course that none of us loved. The Cuban bread pudding was too cold and dense. I am not a huge fan of Rice Pudding, but others thought it was ok. The mango ice cream got the best reviews (especially when the leftover fruit from the sangria carafe was poured on top). I can't speak to the authenticity of the Cuban food, but I can say that I liked it and am glad to have it in the neighborhood. The owners and servers were all very nice and friendly, the food was good, the space was lovely, and I'm looking forward to returning.
  22. Of the new crop of restaurants on Columbia Heights' 11th Street strip, I've been to Kangaroo Boxing Club the most--four times. This isn't by design, but it's easy, comfortable, welcoming, and has enough high points that it's easy to look past the weak ones. The pastrami, for instance. I'm no expert, but this is by far the best I've ever had. I mean, outstanding, off-the-charts, off-the-hook terrific. The rye bread holds up to it and I don't know how it's possible, but the mustard makes it all even better. Seriously: get the pastrami. I'm not as wild about the other meats. The Smokey Joe is okay--too much, too strong, too salty sauce mixed with over-shredded beef that's only remarkable if you get a couple of the awesome smoky end pieces in the mix. The chocolate BBQ on the pulled chicken is also pretty spicy, and the chicken is fine. I don't remember much about the pulled pork (not a good sign, but it was a couple of months ago) except that I couldn't really find a sauce I liked--I think they all were too spicy for me*--and the bottom bun was soaked through with grease. I clearly need to give it another go. Those sandwich buns are good though. The beans vex me. They vex me so. The first time they were amazing; the second time they tasted like someone had spilled a bottle of vinegar on them; the third time, amazing again; the fourth time vinegar again, plus something else not so good. What the hell? Seems to me that we've got two chefs making two different recipes, and it makes me sad because I've clearly got a 50-50 chance of getting a ramekin of yuck, and those odds just aren't fair. But when they're done right, the beans are the best side on the menu, along with the johnny cakes. The mac and cheese is pretty darn good, and the greens and salad are run-of-the-mill. The garlic fries are nice, but it's the dipping sauce that makes them dangerously addictive. I think they only have three beer taps, but they're stocked with good stuff (the Redtober and Mojo are my recent faves) so I haven't explored the bottles. I stay away from the cocktails, which, even when on special, just aren't that well made. The service is across the board terrific, but the joint is seriously tiny. The bar has been full pretty much every time I've been in, and every seat in the place tends to be taken by 6:30. *Is BBQ usually this spicy? I'm sort of on the mild-to-medium end of the spectrum, but I was surprised that every sauce was so firey. Sigh. Guess I'll have to stick with the pastrami (poor me!).
  23. Okay, so it's raison d'ètre isn't to be a restaurant, but many people don't know that HR-57 has a $3 corkage policy, and that's good enough to get my attention. HR-57 (House Resolution 57) recently closed it's location on 8th and H Street NE, and that location is going to be filled by Fever Bar & Lounge. HR-57 reopened last Friday in its new location, two blocks east.
  24. The Food Market is a new restaurant opening on the Avenue in Hampden this Friday. Ched Chad Gauss used to cook at the trendy City Cafe. Here is a link from Baltimore magazine previewing it.