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Everything posted by CajunJason

  1. I believe that this has potential to be the best restaurant in all of Arlington, not just Rosslyn. (with "best" being an extremely subjective term. I believe Pho75 to be the best Pho in the Capital Region, and Guajillo next door to be the "best" Oaxacan Mexican food in the region. But in weighing execution, aesthetic, skill & provenance, Sfoglina has potential to be Arlington's current crown jewel.)
  2. I had dinner here a couple of weeks ago. Interior aesthetic, totally dated. But the ceviche, at least that night, was the best I've ever had in DC. The lomo saltado was dry that evening- not my favorite. The goat stew however was perfect and i'll go back for that dish alone. Good pisco sours too.
  3. When experiencing a restaurant for the very first time, one that has received overwhelming praise online, it's not uncommon for the bar to be raised so impossibly high to meet the expectation of the hype. Not that I've had bad meals at these celebrated restaurants, it's just the imaginary standard of holy greatness wasn't met- at some places. This was absolutely not the case with my first meal at Amoo's this past Friday night. Everything that has been written here about Chef Sebastian and his team is completely the honest truth. I felt as if I wasn't at a small strip-mall restaurant, but more at an extension of Seb's own dining room at home, as a guest of a proud family eager & excited to make sure I was well taken care of. We started with a stewed/braised lamb atop crispy rice,- which I will order again on every future visit. But skewered meats are the main attraction here. A special of the evening was what translated to "sour meat"- lamb chunks that were marinated in a pomegranate syrup and a saffron cream, spectacular. Cornish hen, ground beef, chicken, and beef tenderloin also lined the platter, all served with some of the best homemade pita I've sampled. The star of the night, for me, was the sea bass- which Chef Seb explained "made his career". A perfect bite- ideally seasoned, with notes of lemon & butter- this is a must try dish. Persian ice cream is a new favorite dessert for me, and the baklava was outstanding. I've found a new favorite restaurant to add to my short-list rotation. Sigh, I sound like such a fan-boy.
  4. My partner & I have made a resolution to try a different cuisine of the world every Friday evening. This Friday is Persian, I just made reservations at Amoo's. After following this thread for years, I'm very excited (and ashamed it's taken this long) to finally try this well reviewed spot!
  5. I counted 95 different menu items, not including dessert. And there are pictures of the food on the menu. It's hard to reserve judgement.
  6. Closed, as of the past few weeks. To reopen as "Look", and Icelandic restaurant with a focus on "world cuisine small plates", whatever that means. In other news, Elisir is still fabulous.
  7. http://www.arlnow.com/2012/10/18/art-project-wacky-but-true-historical-markers/
  8. I'll go ahead and report the DC branch of The Cajun Experience as closed. The phones haven't been answered in days, the website is down and the open table account has been removed. I called over to the Leesburg location, who explained that it's different management- but heard the Dupont location closed as well. I've never seen a restaurant go downhill as quickly as this one did. An amazing difference one year made. My last visit (which would have been my last, even if they hadn't closed) was so horrific, my +1 and I took one bite of the food, and spit it into the napkin. Everything was sour (gumbo, etouffee) and borderline rancid. The hush-puppies were liquid batter in the center. The restaurant smelled of sewage and the service was non-existant. After complaining to the "manager", I explained the food wasn't edible, and was still presented with a full-price check. So, good riddance to the restaurant it became, but I'll truly miss the restaurant it was a year ago.
  9. This is a huge loss, in my opinion, for the Ray's empire. Though these restaurants are known for well prepared food at a reasonable price, the aesthetic & ambience of each eatery are abominable. Mark changed that simply by his warm presence, a true host through & through. Shame. Best of luck Mark on your future endeavors!
  10. Also, $16 for a burger, $40 for a lamb entree, and $36 for crab cakes, seem to be the typical hotel price-gouging I'd expect. Honest advise, I could think of better, and more affordable options for your large party. How large is large?
  11. I think City House may be your typical hotel restaurant/bar with traditional banquet cuisine.
  12. This is great news for Clarendon, and Arlington as a whole. Reported by Northern Virginia Magazine, Passion Food Restaurants (DC Coast, PassionFish, Acadiana etc) is opening a Mexican restaurant in Clarendon. With a tequileria on the first floor . Knowing this restaurant groups heritage, I'm predicting a KILLER fish taco, very excited.
  13. As a fairly outspoken critic of Pearl Dive, I'll speak up to Don's defense in this matter. I'm constantly impressed with Rocks' diplomacy in maintaining a civil conversation throughout this website. I've been edited a few times myself when I let emotions & rushed judgement take priority over reason & patience. With my sometimes rash judgement, I probably would have renamed this thread " Horrendous Service, "F" them " by now. But DonRocks, to his credit, thinks "big picture over the long run", and in my opinion, strives to maintain relationships with all participants of this board. I remember that Rocks himself wrote a non-favorable review of Pearl Dive a few months ago, I think he just tells it as it is: Click!
  14. If there's one restaurant in my rotation where I really feel like "part of the family" when I walk in, it's Guajillo. Everyone involved in this operation, from the management to the dishwashers, are proud of their business and are truly appreciative of each of their customers. I've never had a bad experience or complaint- and I'm there several times monthly. This isn't typical "Americanized" Tex-Mex fare, you won't find any liquid queso on the menu. The mole sauces in particular stand out, and it's a very welcome change from the "shopping-mall" Mexican restaurants I grew up with. If you visit on a Friday, be sure to get their complimentary "white sauce" with your chips & salsa, a sour-cream based dip with a kick, only on Fridays.
  15. There's a time & place to voice frustrations. And a time & place to be humble and thankful for an award.
  16. I've been boycotting Pearl Dive ever since December when I (and the rest of my party) was completely blown off by the staff and management, while seated in the dining room. And I've made it a bit of a mission to tell everyone I know of my experience. And I've learned that friends of mine, and others on this board shared similar encounters with the unbelievably (mind-blowingly) rude & inept staff and management. Just so we're clear on not hiding behind pseudonyms, my name is Jason Mandel, I live in Arlington, and while I've been out of the hospitality industry for 6+ years now, I used to be an AGM and GM of a couple restaurants in a previous life. Mr. Black's rant earlier is just another blaring example of their "we don't care" attitude. In my experience, if a guest of your establishment voices a complaint or an issue, it's for good reason (unless the guest is a serial complainer.) A responsible professional would resolve the issue, satisfy the guest, and become a better restaurant as a result in the future. Hanks Oyster Bar is right down the street, and they're happy to have my business, and I'm delighted to patronize them, over & over & over.
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