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chinarider

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About chinarider

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  1. Went here last night with the kids - great atmosphere, a world away from Max's. Loved the ambiance. The food was also very good - salads, pita, hummus and kebabs. I thought the lamb was much better than the beef, unfortunately they were out of the sweetbreads. Portions of the kebabs were a little small for the price, but overall I left very happy. It is very busy though, so come early and be prepared to wait.
  2. Nice to have a good Georgian in the area. Fun atmosphere, friendly helpful staff. Went here on NYC and mainly stuck to the classics - pickles, the eggplant rolled over walnut paste, spreads, dupmplings, lobio kotanshi, the ajaruli khachapuri, lamb chops, chicken, and a sea bream. I thought everything was at least solid, and a few things - the khachapuri and the lamb chops - were very good. The khinkali dumplings were not the best I have ever had - i like them a little fuller and the meat/soup more flavored. As mentioned, the wine list is very Georgian. Many of the wines are very "stretching" to western tastes. My recommendation is to try the more traditional qvevri wines by the glass before plumping for the bottle, just to make sure you are up for it. I enjoyed a glass of the vinoterra kisi, but my companions found it too vinegary and unusual, so we switched to more "modern-style" wines for the bottles. But all in all, I enjoyed the meal a lot and would like to go back.
  3. Had lunch here yesterday. The lechon is good - great crunchy skin, fatty meat. I got the combo and substituted the white rice with garlic rice - a mistake, as the latter is pretty greasy. I definitely felt like I had overindulged afterwards...thank god it was a sunday and i could take a nap. The kids had crispy chicken adobo sandwiches accompanied by some great fries - I may also have sampled those excessively too, now I think about it...Next time i might focus on the papaya salad as a side, otherwise the whole thing can become a grease-fest.
  4. Had dinner here with some friends on Friday. Overall, it was OK, but not great. We had: Nua Dadd Deaw - fried sun-dried beef. Pleasant enough. Chicken Sate - the peanut sauce was very good but the chicken itself lacked flavor. Moo Yang Kati Sod - quite good pork belly skewers. Pla muk yang - a few pieces of grilled squid. Pretty disappointing, not much squid, and not much flavor. For my main I had the Kua Kling. They had run out of ground pork so I had it with sliced pork. It was a little one-dimensional - extremely spicy, which I liked, but didn't have that mix of other strong flavors that I associate with good thai food. Shared a side of eggplant with ginger, which was fine. Service was very good. Maybe I ordered poorly, but I didn't see what the fuss was about. What I had was no better than many other Thai restaurants in the region, and certainly didn't have the freshness and flavors of Little Serow or Bangkok Golden.
  5. Had dinner here last night. Overall a nice Indian option in a neighborhood that doesn't have many. Upscale modern vibe. Some good beer options and lots of (very expensive) indian whiskeys that I didn't try. I did have two of the happy hour cocktails, and found them both too sweet... Menu is pretty traditional indian restaurant fare, nothing very outside the box. We tried the aloo papdi chaat, tandoori gobi, and vegetable uttapam for starters. All solid, with good flavors. For mains we had allepey fish curry, lamb vindaloo, chicken kesari tikka with sides of dal makhani, baingan bartha, and aloo gobi. The lamb vindaloo was the highlight - not too hot but with a good amount of kick, as was the fish curry. Chicken tikka was OK but a little under-spiced. The baingan bartha was an excellent smokey eggplant dish. I didn't enjoy the dal, it tasted too sweet and buttery and was therefore generally unpleasant. The accompanying nan were fine, if not quite as billowy as one might hope. It is not cheap, and portions of meat are not large, but I would be happy to go back. Certainly not a destination restaurant like Rasika though.
  6. I used to eat there occasionally in the UK. You are right not to get too excited, but if you are nearby and hungry it is not a bad choice. I would put it at around Pret-a-Manger levels on the Brit-owned-quick-lunch-option Satisfactionometer.
  7. Went here for lunch yesterday: we could either wait for a table that could do bbq, or be seated immediately in a place that could only do hot pot. We did the latter. Nice choice of broths - miso, herb, and spicy Szechuan were all good. The hot-pots are individual rather than one large shared one. Extensive beer selection for this type of place. As noted above, you have to go to get sauces from the salad bar, which they don't tell you about. Some of the sauces had run out, unfortunately, hopefully just a teething problem. But all in all a good addition to the hot pot options, if nothing to get too excited about.
  8. Went back here on Friday night for another excellent meal. The meat really is outstanding - had the lamb tartare again (despite just having read an article on the dangers of raw lamb - worth the risk!) and the "meat mountain", every aspect of which was delicious. A mountain I am willing to die on. Expensive, but worth it. The one thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the bill - three suggested tips of 20 percent, 25 percent, and 30 percent. Is this normal now? a 30 percent tip on what was already a $300 bill for 5, including 2 kids, seems excessive. I am happy to leave 20 percent, but don't imply that I am a cheapskate for doing so!
  9. I would estimate that the croutons (apparently they are "barley rusks") made up about 35 percent of the salad by mass. Does a Greek salad even need any croutons? In any case I enjoyed the salad despite the croutons. Some of them were the only thing left on any of the plates we had...
  10. Despite having lived here on and off for almost twenty years, I had never made it to Iron Gate. That changed last night when I went for an early dinner with my father. The place was busy, so they are clearly doing well. Food was excellent - we had a Greek salad (delicious if a little bread-y), bison tartare (my second-favorite thing), beets, perfectly tender octopus, and a lovely gnocchi (my favorite thing, pleasantly spicy), followed by some cheese for desert. As has been mentioned, the wine list will be quite mysterious for those of us without much knowledge of Greek wine, but our server steered us towards an excellent white. The portions are small, so you certainly don't leave over-full, but I thought it was good value taking into account the quality and the nice ambiance. I would certainly go back.
  11. Finally made it here last night with the wife. Some parts were great, but others disappointing. Maybe I chose poorly, but I was not hugely impressed. We had: Crispy salt cod: this was solid, though the smoked cauliflower was a little rich. Salami cotto: also good, though more acid in the accompanying peperonata would have cut through the fat better. einkorn sourdough with yoghurt and smoked trout roe - my favorite dish of the night, though the bread was a little too charred at the edges. corzetti and garganelli - the pasta itself was good, particularly the garganelli, but the pesto with the corzetti was a one-dimensional. Like Rovers2000 I found the breadcrumbs with the corzetti a little like eating sand. Then we split the pork loin and peach glazed belly - this was the low point of the meal for me. The peach glaze was horribly sweet, and with the fatty belly almost inedible. No desire for dessert after that. The wine was great, but overall I found the food too rich. It is also extremely expensive. It was packed though, so clearly the prices are not high enough to put anyone off.
  12. I have had a couple of meals here recently and I think it is a nice addition to the neighborhood. It is in the former Grapeseed space. I tried the Doro Wat, the vegan sampler, Quanta firfir, and the fried fish. Everything was good, I would say no better or worse than the places I used to go to around 9th and U in DC. So probably not worth making a detour for, but nice to have a solid Ethiopian option. I didn't love the decor - there as some more private areas but most of the tables and chairs are pretty close together and it can be loud. There also appeared to be a lot of staff compared to the customers, and the service was very pleasant but not always timely, so I hope the place does OK...
  13. Got there at 4 last Saturday, we ended up being the last couple to be seated in the first sitting. Good cocktails, good wine list, including one of the few pet-nats I have seen around here. I spent a few weeks in the Philippines a few years ago and have to admit that I wasn't really impressed by the food at the time, especially compared with what was available in neighboring countries. This time I really liked what I tried - bitter melon, banana hearts, the tuna, and the pork sausages. The flavors are unusually and (as far as I can tell) very authentic. Nice level of spice. The bitter melon and tuna were my favourites, the banana hearts my least - a cold appetizer, it lacked a little kick and was just a little too creamy. That said, the line is a hassle, the service can be a little slow, and the seats uncomfortable. In the words of Danny Glover, "I'm getting too old for this sh!t".The food was great, and I would happily go back if I could pay a little more for a little more comfort. But this is a young man's game...
  14. Had lunch in the bethesda branch on Saturday. They seem to have changed their menu options, no more piadini, instead it is either salads or "fast-fired" pizza. I split a salad and a cauliflower-crust pizza with the missus while the kids split a regular pizza. Overall, it was better than I expected. I don't kid myself that the cauliflower crust pizza was particularly healthy - it was after all covered in cheese - but the taste was good, as was the salad. The kids' pizza was probably the weakest link, but they were happy enough with it. This place is never going to compete with real pizza options like Da Marco, but it is an inoffensive lunch option if you want to graze in the "fast casual space", as our friends in marketing like to say.
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