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  1. Souvlaki Bar has multiple locations in the DMV, I couldn't find a thread, if there is one, please merge. We have gone to Souvlaki Bar a few times now as it is super close to the house. We took Mom there the other night as it has really good salads that are a pretty generous portion that you can top with lamb, chicken, pork or falafel. Last time I went I had a greek salad with chicken. I thought the chicken was a nice texture of juicy, flavorful and crispy. So the other night I got the kale and spinach salad with chicken, and I enjoyed it as well. The kale was nice and tender, the salad greens were very fresh, again the chicken was good. A girl had a wrap beside us that looked good too. I don't think they are per se better than like Plaka, and they don't have as big of a menu, BUT they have really nice salads and at least the chicken has been delicious, I will try a wrap with gyro meat next time to see.
  2. Samos is around the corner. I only went once a long time ago, but I believe it's also highly regarded. I need to get back there or try Ikaros!
  3. Ikaros has been open in Baltimore since 1969 - just up I-95 from Locust Point. ἐκ τοῦ καπνοῦ ἐξῆλθον ἀκρίδες
  4. The outdoor patio is expansive, and the water view probably the best on this side of the Lake Anne (Plaza). The family-owned restaurant has been here for many years, and in the business (not here, but in the NoVa area) for many more. There are large umbrellas to help ward off the sun, but the setting is 1970's concrete and brick with a running fountain at one end. The food is decent, some of their specials better choices than regular items. We have never had a bad meal here, and the service has improved significantly, now they have modernized the ordering process. There is a sports bar with 30 TVs so if you want a local place to hang and watch games with friends, it is easy to do that here. It is not a large space, so it can fill up quickly. We were told they recently got a new pizza oven from Italy, but were still getting the hang of it (cooking temps). I am sure it is up and fully functional now, since that was several weeks ago.
  5. My wife and I were strolling around Bethesda one Saturday evening, free of child and looking for a new experience. We heard that Thelo had recently opened and it looked quaint with a nice patio (they didn't have their liquor license yet, but should have it now). The weather was nice so we thought we would give it a try. The owner very enthusiastically went over the menu with us. It was early so were were the only patrons there. He is certainly proud of the place and the food his chef is creating. We had the feta, a grilled cheese which was soft (not halumi), grilled and chopped eggplant salad, roasted beets, which came with a potato/garlic sauce, and finally an order of tzatziki (more about this later). The owner came over and chatted with us a bit before our food came. He is a Greek restaurant veteran. He told us how everything is made in house (except for the imported feta and yogurt). The chef makes the gyro every day. Grilled chicken is thigh instead of breast. I asked him about the tzatziki, and he enthusiastically told us how the chef starts with cucumbers, seeds them, grates them, then squeezes all liquid from them. He was so proud, while we didn't originally order it, but we had to and we were glad we did. It was thick and tasty. My favorite dish was the eggplant spread which was packed with flavor, but everything really was good. They don't serve the dips with pita here, but rather a crusty bread which gets some char from the grill (our Greek friends told us later that this is common on the islands). Everything was great and I need to get back to try the meat. One warning--as the owner told us, if you are going with a date, you both need to eat because the food is packed with garlic (vampires beware!). This was no joke, as I am pretty sure my pores were oozing it for a while after the meal!
  6. Situated on Lake Anne in Reston, Kalypso's Sports Tavern, with expansive outdoor seating across from the dock area and water. Plaza is dated due to the concrete theme of 1970s construction, but there are several recent additions to the area which all appear to be fairing well. Had not been here in some time but found ourselves there Sunday and decided to give it another shot. Outdoor seating area was nice, umbrellas are a little worn and could use a cleaning, but the open-air area was nice. They have improved their ordering system so it is automated and very efficient. From Humus appetizer to dinner salads, entrees and kids meals, everything was fresh, and nicely prepared. Service was efficient, and food came out quickly and hot. Lucky for us they had live music Saturday evening starting at 5:30 PM, which was great for atmosphere. Place was decently busy and when we departed around 7, there were people waiting to be seated.
  7. Not trying to go totally off-topic, but Orthodox church festivals in general are a chance to eat some high-quality ethnic cuisine for a reasonable price, take a dip into that culture with music/dance/arts/books, and rest assured that your modest expense is going to good causes. The best ethnic Egyptian food I've had lately was at the St Abanoub Coptic Orthodox church festival in Springfield a month ago. The St Aphraim Syriac Orthodox church festival in May had some excellent Syrian food. St George Antiochan Orthodox church downtown has wonderful Syrian food too. When you go behind-the-scenes and see all the moms and grandmoms show up a few days prior, and start rolling grape leaves in the kitchen, you know you're in for the real deal. (With that, I'm sure Don will begin a new topic on Orthodox church festivals.)
  8. Could folks list restaurants (Middle Eastern, Greek, Mexican, Turkish) that stack their cones with real meat, instead of the processed stuff? I don't care if the meat is frozen; I just don't want it processed. I don't care if it's ground and mixed with spices; I just don't want fillers. I'm talking about something like this: as opposed to something like this:
  9. Kokkari Estiatorio is the San Francisco Greek equivalent of Komi in DC. It is high-end Greek, and it is superb. I was on a search for char-grilled octopus in San Francisco, and after some research, I headed to Jackson St., and scored a seat at the bar. The place was packed and fully booked, so I was lucky to get that seat. I ordered a double of the char-grilled octopus, so I ended up with two delicious tentacles, drizzled with olive oil. It was tender, with the mouthfeel you come expect with a properly executed octopus dish. Thumbs up on this dish.
  10. New Greek restaurant in Great Falls off Seneca Road at the corner of Route 193 and Route 7. Have not had the opportunity to try it yet, but from their website, the Chef has a great background. http://www.ourmomeugenia.com/
  11. This place is now Philos Bar, still with a Greek emphasis, although I can't tell from the website whether it has anything to do with Tel'veh. It's near my office, but I've never been (although I might go today).
  12. We stopped by this place just to get a drink. While there we picked up a homemade "Ring Ding." Amazing! Don't know if they have this every day, but if you stop in and they do have it, better pick one up as it was delicious. It was the yummiest thing we ate in NYC during a weekend of plenty of good eating!!!! As a kid I didn't even like Ring Dings, but this thing was a winner.
  13. After the Post listed their cheese pie in their cheesy-dish guide i thought I'd stop by and get some carryout, and i was glad i did. The shop seems mostly designed for lunch--they close at 6. they have a number of savory pies, and a couple sweet ones too, and at least one cake and some salads in a case. the savory pies come in spirals and rectangles, and large and small sizes, so if you want you can sample more than one pie. most of the pies feature cheese and most may be vegetarian--i've had plain feta, spanakopita, cheese and olive, and cheese potato and leek. They were all tasty. They make their phyllo in house and you can tell--it's quite different than the usual stuff, thicker, you can taste the olive oil, and just overall much more flavorful. it's hard to explain but usually i feel like phyllo mostly adds crunch. theirs is an ingredient, not just a wrapper, and adds its own flavor as well.I was slightly apprehensive about getting an all-feta pie, but their feta (as the sweetheart of a proprietor informed me) is from greece and quite different. she was so proud of it she gave me a mini pie to try right there to show how mild it was, and she was right, it's very good. It was also lovely to talk to someone so proud of what she was doing, and her ingredients that she just had to have you taste her product. if you get carry-out, you pop the pie into the oven for a few minutes and it crisps up beautifully. i think that with a salad, one pie is more than enough for dinner for one person.
  14. This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog's (we don't), I'd probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh - both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I'm not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo. I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It's still a cafe, but it's very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it's been open since the summer, which surprises me). The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I'm assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she's the owner as well as the chef). Since he's attached to the restaurant, and since there's such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. "I really like the lamb," he said, and so the lamb it was. This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike - the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) - a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad - both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different - vastly different - is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a bright, loud bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe. I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving - I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I'd be plastered in front of the screen (I'm watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a "special" listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant - however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted - rubbed, moist, and super tasty - whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you're in the mood for chicken or lamb - I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food - nothing you'll remember in a month, but solid. Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn't even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant - Hula Girl, too, despite it's pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors). Simply Fresh (the sign says, "Simply Fresh - barbecue & more") has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year's Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup - this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They're open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM - I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It's a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won't regret coming here, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it's hard to do *everything* well). Over the next hour or so, I'll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it's over, I'll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I'll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can't be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.
  15. Mamma's Kitchen is 5 minutes away from me and pretty much what the OP describes Mamma's Kitchen has been our family spot for years. It's close by and they're very consistent. It's been run by the same Greek family since it opened. It's casual, family friendly comfort food. The menu is made up of various cliches like fettuccine alfredo and lasagna, but also a smattering of Greek dishes like mousakka. Nothing very adventurous, but the food is good, everything is made fresh and there's zero chance you'll leave hungry. And the gyros are great.
  16. Why can't anyone open a diner here like they have in NY? Where you can order everything from eggs, eggplant rollatini, or souvlaki, etc.
  17. With apologies if this topic already exists but couldn't find it with a search using highly complex and proprietary methods Great shop owned by a wonderful European couple which has been open almost two years. Just a few storefronts north of La Tomate, the store has a wonderful and thoughtfully-chosen selection of a wide range of products from Greece, Italy and around the Med. Vinegars, cheeses, pastas, coffee, some refrigerated lunch or dinner items and some really wonderful honeys including one (Stayia) from a small Greek producer only available here and at Bread Furst, who get it from these guys. Really worth checking out next time you're in the Dupont area or need something specific of Greek provenance. Niko and Oana are both really knowledgable and hospitable. Sort of a mediterranean-focused concept like the new Indian Pansaari on 17th but in a smaller space. Online here.
  18. GRK Fresh Greek, described by some as a "Greek Chipotle", opened recently on 19th between M and L in South Dupont. Looks like an offshoot of a NYC place. Yes, they have salads, and a nice Greek yogurt bar, but essentially this is a gyro place. The kitchen is dominated by the gyro spits, grilling up chicken, pork, portabellos, and a beef/lamb combo. You pick one, decide if you want it on a pita or on a platter with a side, and pick one of three tzatzikis. I went with the lamb/beef on pita, with the traditional tzatziki (Grk). They also have a spicy one and a garlicky one. The gyro comes with red onion and tomato. To put it simply, it was excellent. Real meat, not the spam-like gyro stuff you see at most places. Nice flavor and a little char, juicy and satisfying. I would have preferred more topping choices...some chopped cucumber and feta crumbles would have been nice...but stressing the meat certainly isn't a bad idea. Decent sized sandwich, but not huge...about right for lunch. A little slow getting the food, but it just opened. I'll be going back.
  19. Eleni's is not yet open, but the signage is mostly in place and a look through the front door reveals "Eleni's" etched in the glass that separate's the entrance area from the dining room. A quick Web search reveals no other Eleni's this side of Crete or Washington State. What Springfield needs like a hole in the head is another family-run Greek restaurant. I'm looking forward to see what Eleni's will do to distinguish itself from Delia's or Saratoga Family Restaurant or Springfield Restaurant or even Malik's. The concept is ubiquitous, sort of like opening a Pho shop in Falls Church.
  20. I just ordered Pastitsio noodles from Amazon, as there seems to be no place in the area to buy them. It's not hard to make.
  21. I have been looking for an opportunity to get to Athena Pallas ever since I heard that grilled octopus was on the menu. I made it there today, and I was pleasantly surprised. At lunch, the grilled octopus is an appetizer, so I ordered a double, along with a small Greek salad. It was extremely good, and I would return for it again, or take a detour for it, or whatever I need to say to make it clear that this was a dish that deserves significant praise. Nicely grilled, with plenty of char texture and flavor, and with a light lemon and oregano saucing....simply delicious. How best to describe Athena Pallas...? It's not Kapnos or Nostos, in that it is far from trendy or upscale. These are classic Greek dishes prepared simply. Think Taverna Cretekou in Old Town, but at least half a star better. Athena Pallas also appears to enjoy an elderly demographic, with at least two-thirds of a fairly full lunchtime restaurant falling into that category. That may be the case because it's been around for a while, it's not too expensive, its food is very traditional instead of chic, and the noise level is way down. Call it a comfortable -- or comforting -- place, where you'd want to take your parents or grandparents for a nice meal. Check it out here. I know a fellow who is 80-ish, a retired executive from the IT industry with a nice bank account, who eats out almost every day. He can eat anywhere he wants to eat, but his typical haunts are Cafe Renaissance in Vienna, Da Domenico in Tysons and Village Bistro in Rosslyn. I bumped into him today, for the first time in about a year, at Athena Pallas. Neither of us were surprised to find each other in this restaurant.
  22. Still true in my experience, unfortunately. Our server was ostensibly charming but overbearing. The pacing was horrible. Once he took our orders, he largely disappeared. At one point, I wondered if he'd clocked out for the night. While it was a busy Saturday night and the kitchen might have been in the weeds, he did nothing to apprise us of the status of our orders. He also did not bother to course the various parts of my order, though I should have been assertive about that. It was bad to assume that he had a plan. I shied away from the entrees (starting at $35) and instead ordered a first and second course and a side dish. I'm accustomed to servers asking how I would like items to come out under those circumstances. He didn't. I should have asked about that, so mea culpa. But, really, a professional waiter should have known better. I didn't get any food (except bread) until almost an hour after placing our orders. The rest of the food came out somewhat haphazardly, in part because two people shared a first course and one person got a first and second. Even when the entrees were coming out for everyone, though, they didn't all appear at the same time but in bursts. (I was the only person who didn't order an entree.) The food (after all this) was okay. Decent. Fair. There were some bones left in the filleted whole branzini. One person who ordered crab cakes didn't like them enough even to finish them. Looking over at the Caesar salad (ordered by my husband), I thought it didn't have any lettuce in it. There was a mound of stuff in the center of a plate. It turned out that everything was covered in a blanket of grated cheese and dressing, rendering the lettuce invisible in the dim lighting of the restaurant. It did have an actual Caesar dressing on it, though, with anchovy coming through. When I finally got my food, there was barely enough room for the three large plates on the table. My favorite was the brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms. I wolfed them down and didn't really note what was in their sauce, I think a vinaigrette of some sort. (Balsamic?) The sprouts were crisp-tender and cooked to my liking. The grilled calamari was cold by the time it reached me. Other than being a little on the tough side (and cold), it had a pleasing smokiness to it and was pretty tasty. The red and yellow beet tartare at first appeared to have been cooked, which puzzled me, until I realized it was simply the way everything had been diced and formed into a cake. (Not being able to see much was a hindrance to appreciating the visual aesthetics of the food). That was bathed in what seemed to be a citrus vinaigrette and had some bits of feta mixed in. I can't comment much on the food I didn't eat. Most of the plates looked good insofar as I could see them. The plating of the filet mignon with asparagus and potatoes was especially attractive. There was also an amuse bouche, which seemed to be tuna tartare. It was served with a couple thin shavings of something that seemed to be hard cheese but had no real flavor. I still don't know what that was. No one at the table particularly liked this. The ambiance of the restaurant is pleasant enough, and I can see it being described as a romantic dining spot, if only because it's very dimly lit. The courtyard is charming. This place is impressive on the surface. We were someone else's guests, and the person paying the bill didn't notice the auto-grat, so he added in a tip on top of the total, Fortunately someone at the table noticed it and pointed it out so he could "X" out the additional tip. I'd like to think the server would have pointed it out if it came to that, but...yeah.
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