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  1. NoVa's latest food hall is 84% operational! The manager/co-founder tells me a dedicated bar--which is slated to have 24 draft lines featuring local brews and Asian imports--is still a few weeks out. All five food stalls, however, are doing their respective things. The lineup includes: * Coffee/boba tea stand (Two Sons) * BYO salad/poke/acai bowl (Berry Green) * Ice cream/bingsoo/sweets shop (The Zert) * Ramen/soba/udon station (Noodle Road; seen above) *Katsu central/fryatorium (Deep Kachu) Haven't had a chance to taste everything but the melted cheese-filled, breaded pork katsu hit the spot; the stir-fried udon was packed with flavorful veggies; the cream-laced sweet corn side could pass as dessert; and the caramel-covered honey bread seems like a crowdpleaser. Manager told me more menu options are coming, including curry katsu, a chicken-based katsu, more noodle offerings, and single-serving bingsoo. Prices are perfectly reasonable (nothing over $11) and the atmosphere is family friendly--as long as you love K-Pop. (Hypnotic music videos danced across one of the TVs while I was there. The other was tuned to sports.) Hours are from 11 am to 10 pm daily. Manager says bar may stay open later (based on demand). Don't know that they'll poach customers from Annandale's The Block, but should satisfy locals looking to mix things up a bit.
  2. @Bob Wells That's what their marketing crew came up with, I guess. Will ask (as soon as I manage to get a hold of one of the stakeholders.)
  3. Pardon the late notice but I spotted this forthcoming Asian food hall a few weeks back. Streat Side is claiming three slots (6343-6347) in the Center Ridge strip mall, setting up shop between the pending Coast Guard Exchange store and chain eatery Choong Man Chicken. The owners haven't responded to emails about their plans for the new venture, but their web page promises a 4,000-square foot space that sounds a lot like Annandale's Block: 6 food stalls, a dedicated bar, and a "lively and cozy space." I've heard construction crews working their magic inside but can't tell if this newbie is going to pop before the new year. There's no shortage of Korean, Thai, or Chinese-American take-out in the area. But nothing wrong with welcoming a worthwhile mash-up such as Balo Kitchen to the area.
  4. Thanks for reminding me about that long and fabulously overindulgent afternoon, Don. (Good times.) Had to consult my notes to confirm what all we devoured, but sure enough, the house made fried chicken was at the top of the list. Lightly breaded, terrifically juicy bird sticks out in my mind--as do the ginormous steamed oysters, savory crab balls, protein-rich New England clam chowder and butter-bathed wild salmon I put away on subsequent visits: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/food-and-wine/food-and-wine-features/2011/10/24/just-beachy/ But what I most enjoyed, other than the impeccable company, was the sun-splashed patio. A truly unexpected oasis.
  5. Howdy all, Meant to blast this prior to this morning's live chat (http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/grill-warren/), but I got bogged down with phone interviews. The long and short of it is, I've decided to open myself up to on-call reviewing by soliciting pitches for a monthly, web-only dining capsule dubbed "Steer the Seer." Anything and everything is on the table--new places, cherished gems, transient food trucks--so long as it operates within Northern Virginia. Nominations will be accepted during the first Thursday of every month (includes a 6-day grace period for those who wish to bark orders at me via social media), with the spot report posted during the last chat of each month. Anyway, thought this might bring a little more transparency to the reviewing mayhem that is professional critiquing and, hopefully, expose me to the types of below-the-radar dining havens seasoned dining scouts often keep to themselves. Looking forward to doing your bidding.
  6. Town House chefs Shields and Urie--fresh off their honeymoon/Michelin-star devouring trek across Europe--will discuss their unique hospitality trajectory during this week's Grill Warren chat (Thursday, 11 am-??). Meanwhile, my review of Town House, which is included as part of a broader piece on Virginia's meteoric rise to the top of the new cooking heap, appears in our August issue (on local newsstands now). We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
  7. (pops head out from beneath the mound of paperwork littering his desk) I can't share all my intel at this particular moment. But I'm fairly confident DCcook will not be disappointed. Meanwhile, Goodstone automatically tips out at 18 percent. So don't freak when the bill arrives pre-padded. (burrows back into the restaurant-centric rubble of his life)
  8. John, My apologies if I've somehow missed one of your local favorites, but as you can see I've hit nearly a dozen Clarendon spots (http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/restaur...arch&type=2) and many more throughout Arlington. As the relative NKOTB (the magazine debuted in February 2006), I'm very much trying to keep on top of everything. But I'm always open to suggestions and hope you'll help us grow by tossing out all manner of restaurants--sentimental favorites, neighborhood haunts, fancy newcomers, hard-to-find-but-well-worth-the-trek value joints--you'd like to see reviewed.
  9. Howdy all, I’ve been poking around on here for quite some time, but I’ve never had anything major to discuss—until now. After some serious retooling, we are happy to present the beefed-up Northern Virginia Magazine web site (www.northernvirginiamag.com). Our updated Food and Wine section now features a wealth of useful dining information, including fully searchable restaurant profiles, my archived reviews, preview menus and even space for your dining feedback. I’m also pleased to announce the debut of my weekly chat—Grill Warren (www.northernvirginiamag.com/restaurants/food_chat.html)—which kicks off this Thursday at 11 a.m. So, please, dig into the site and tell us what you think. And, by all means, come by each Thursday to sound off on the good/bad/ugly of your dining week.
  10. The mystery restaurant will be called Alto Plaza (www.altoplaza.net) and it is tentatively set to offer casual dining (think latin tapas) on the bottom two levels and more formal fare (live jazz, lobster) on the top floor. Balconies on all three levels for outdoor dining enthusiasts. Not a chain. Supposed to open in late December/early January. For a more detailed preview, see my New to the Neighborhood column in the December issue of Northern Virginia magazine.
  11. Just got this email from the civic-minded "Capitol Hill Community Foundation" (www.capitolhillcommunityfoundation.org). Sounds like a good way to get people involved in bringing back the beloved Eastern Market: On Tuesday May 8th, establishments throughout the District are showing their support for the merchants of Eastern Market, and donating a portion of the night's proceeds to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Participate! Ask your favorite bars to join, and make sure to come out on Tuesday night. Participating Venues So Far Hawk and Dove 5% donated to Capitol Hill Community Foundation 7-10PM Science Club 5% donated to Capitol Hill Community Foundation 7-10PM Murky Coffee 10% donation All day Ventnor Sports Bar 5% donation 7-10PM Latest News What you can do to help This is really simple-- we're not an organization, just a bunch of passionate DC citizens who want to make sure that Eastern Market retains its historic presence in the district. Right now, what you can do, tonight is go to your favorite bar, and ask them if they will participate in a city-wide happy hour on Tuesday to benefit the Capitol Hill Community Foundation's 'Eastern Market Keep it Going' fund. We're asking that bars give 5% of their profits to the fund. That's a recommendation-- but if they want to give more or less they can. It will all be listed here once it is confirmed. Day 1: Getting Started We've done a great job getting started. Originally out of a Facebook Group, the Eastern Market Rescue fundraiser project is off to a great start. There are several bars participating, and some waiting on phone calls for participation. Keep talking to people and bringing people on board. We'll reach critical mass soon! Got questions? Got a bar to add to the list? Want to participate? EMail Clay Johnson (cjoh@yahoo.com) For more info, check out: www.easternmarketrescue.com
  12. Plucked the following from a press release I got about Cathal and Co.'s plans for The Majestic: In keeping with the restaurant’s integrity, the Armstrongs will only enhance ‘her face’ to restore her glory. No longer will her title include ‘Café,’ but she will be renamed simply, The Majestic. With this newfound identity comes Sommelier/Partner Todd Thrasher, who will mix ‘Majestic Classics,’ cocktails of the past. Mint Juleps and Sidecars will be shaken and served along with the local boy’s own childhood favorites - NeHi Ginger Ale, Home-Brewed Lemonade, and a Daily Slushy. The wine list? “Only names that everyone can pronounce,” chuckles Thrasher. “Nothing like the fancy wine at Restaurant Eve. This wine list will be very accessible with nothing over $50. Perhaps even a wink towards Virginian vineyards.” Restaurant Eve’s Pastry Chef Rebecca Willis is thrilled to collaborate on a new dessert list. “I love that I will have the opportunity to continue layer-cakes. My grandmother has fantastic recipes - the taller, the better!” Other items diners can expect are Cookies and Shakes, Apple Crumble (when apples are in season) and the old Knickerbocker Glory. Chef/Owner Cathal Armstrong plans to offer simple rustic cuisine of the Virginia seaboard and countryside, including dishes such as Rack of Lamb, Roast Chicken & The Grand ‘Dog’ (house-made Bratwurst). When dining out with Eve and Eamonn, the Armstrongs feel Children’s menus are often just an afterthought. “Kids dine so often now, it’s important that they too eat well and healthy.” So one title to appear on the new menu: ‘Majestic Kids.’ “I’m looking forward to items that would never appear on Eve’s fine dining menu, the polar opposite of Eve. However, with menu items still based on flavors found locally, you know… below the Mason-Dixon. I’m Irish, but I love the idea of livin’ in the south.” And when questioned if their plans include any other restaurants in the future, perhaps crossing the bridge into the city, Meshelle laughs and declares with a drawl, “We may be born in different parts of the world, but we have been ‘Bred and Buttered’ in Virginia.” The Majestic's re-launch is expected to be early May 2007.
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