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  1. Thai Peppers Menu Hubby and I wanted to try out Thai Peppers as people had talked about it around the hood. I have to say as soon as I saw their menu- I knew it wasn't Thai Square (although they have taken a few of my favorite weird things off their menu), Bangkok 54 or even Thainida. The menu was fairly pedestrian, but I am sure most people think it is fine. That being said my veggie panang curry was serviceable, flavors I expected, nice brown rice, nice and warm, a little spice, but not over the top. The chicken satays were large pieces of meat, not bad in flavor, I just think could have been marinated a bit more. But again, nothing bad. They seem to be a pretty bang out carry out business and service was very responsive. We sat downstairs which has 0 ambiance, and no music, but as I we went out because I was trying to recover from the crud, we really weren't all that particular. Anyway, it's fine but there are a lot better options just a few miles further.
  2. As I was in a bit of a "treat yo'self" mood last night, I decided to check out Mike Isabella's new place Kapnos and apply some strict ethnic scrutiny to what he is offering to the DC-area bourgeoisie as Greek food. The focus Kapnos (meaning 'smoke') is grilled foods from Northern Greece, although many of the items of the menu are classic Greek dishes regardless of their local origin within the country. Not wanting to BS around with the shi-shi items on the menu, e.g., kohlrabi crudite (I'm fairly sure the average Greek does not know what kohlrabi is, and certainly not in this economy...) or duck pita (duck phyllo pie on the menu), I lined up some of my favorite foods and those that I thought would most representative of Kapnos' focus. Tyrokafteri "“ Too much tyri (cheese) and not enough kafteri (spiciness). Tyrokafteri should really bring some heat, and I thought the sparse and thin slices of hot pepper could not provide enough heat to balance what essentially was a large plate of whipped feta with olive oil. The fresh-baked pita was really nice though; I always liked that at Zaytinya. Patates tou Fourno (aka Fourno Patates on the menu) "“ My username on this site also happens to list two of the basic ingredients for patates tou fourno (oven-roasted potatoes): ladi (oil) and lemoni (not surprisingly, lemon), oven-roasted potatoes have always been one of my absolute favorite dishes since I was a kid. So, you can imagine they hold a special place in my food life. Isabella's version is good, and more importantly, the dish does not try to do anything clever; they are simple and rustic. The potatoes themselves had that nice golden appearance with some charring, and were neither too mealy nor undercooked. However, in Greek cuisine, you can rarely have oil without lemon, and unfortunately, that's what was lacking from these potatoes. A bit more lemon and this dish will be a standard plate for every table at Kapnos. Charred Octopus "“ This was the big winner, and I could tell from the moment I sunk my knife into the first tentacle. Octopus is tricky to cook (as I learned first-hand recently), so I commend any chef who nails this. This was tender, not chewy in the slightest, and had that great roast flavor. Plus, the green harissa was a really nice addition to the dish. Overall favorite and this should be a standard plate for anyone dining here. Roasted Goat "“ So close, but not there yet. The goat is quite tender and has all the characteristics of delicious spit-roasted meats. However, like the potatoes, it was lacking something to balance out all that meatiness. I would have liked another herb or perhaps a tad more salt on the goat itself, because the harissa + yogurt combo on the plate was not enough to balance. But, I can see this dish improving over time as the restaurant evolves. Overall, I'd say that Kapnos earns a solid B+ right now. Since the restaurant is so new, I imagine the recipes will be worked and re-worked until they hit their peak. However, it's a worthwhile entry and I'll be keeping an eye on its progress over time.
  3. In addition a full suite of typical Taiwanese bakery items, J.J. Bakery in Arcadia (I've only been to that location) also has a limited selection of cooked/hot breakfast/dim sum foods (at least in the morning), making it an even more attractive alternative to Din Tai Fung when the lines are too long. We've had the turnip cakes (no longer crispy on the edges if it's been sitting there a while, but otherwise quite good) and the big meat and vegetable buns (very good. I love giant buns, and the fillings are flavorful, plentiful, and not at all sketchy tasting/feeling). It's great fast food. I've also run in an grabbed bakery items before/after a DTF run many times, and they have always been good, if not particularly memorable. In case it's not obvious, they also serve hot and cold drinks, including boba drinks. The one time I got a boba tea it was perfectly fine.
  4. I'm normally a purist when it comes to burgers, but Hubcap Grill has made me rethink that stance. Over the course of a few visits to the Heights location now, I've had a standard cheeseburger (unless you are an NFL linebacker or Olympic athlete w/ massive caloric requirements best not to go for the double), the seasonal hatch chile cheeseburger, the guacamole swiss, and the philly cheesesteak burger. The relatively thin (but massive in diameter) 1/3rd pound freshly-ground patties are cooked more or less to medium, with a nice crust. The buns are custom-made specifically for Hubcap, and accomplish the impossible feat of remaining intact despite the onslaught of drippy toppings and glorious fat. I started things simply, with the house cheeseburger. Served with standard toppings, you get a real sense of the quality of the beef, and of the deftness of the hand that is seasoning it. So far, so good. I'd come back again and again for the simple deal, though I could imagine that sometimes I might want to opt for a "lighter" meal with a smaller, skinnier, fast-food style burger, like Shake Shack (or apparently the soon-to-open FM Burger just of Washington Ave). Of the specialty burgers, the only one I wouldn't be in a hurry to order again would be the guac/swiss. Not that it was bad by any means, but it just didn't do enough for me to sway me from the plain jane. The hatch chile was a thing of beauty that will leave you blissful, sated, and wrecked. There is no skimping on the chiles here, and this is Texas, so there is no skimping on the spice level of said chiles. You will need more than one beer (or Topo Chico) for this. Order appropriately up front, so you aren't waiting in line to get another beverage, mouth ablaze. I was VERY skeptical of the Philly cheesesteak burger, but after hearing it's praises sung by Alison Cook from the Chronicle, and Texas Monthly, and then being steered that way by owner Ricky Craig himself, I had to do it. Christ almighty was that a sandwich. It's a mess, and it's huge, and you might die when you finish it, but dammit, it's good. This is a thing that if done wrong, would be the worst of 2 worlds: a shitty cheesesteak, and a shitty burger, or maybe worse yet: a good burger ruined by a shitty cheesesteak. Alison Cook recently encountered a less than stellar version, and wrote about it, lighting a fire under Craig, who went around to each of his locations to retrain (and offer free burgers to folks to prove the quality was back). I am glad to have avoided the off-day, and whatever Craig did to whip his team into shape certainly seems to have worked. Also of note: the sliders come 4 to an order, and are topped with grilled onions. Great size for the little people, but are great in their own right. Simple. Delicious. Fries are hand cut and mostly great (my last order was greasy and a bit on the undercooked side). Sweet potato fries excellent as well. Strong selection of local beers in cans and bottles.
  5. Still love this place, with a slight preference to the Northridge location when it sensible to go there instead of the Encino location (we almost always get this as takeout on the way home from somewhere in LA, so the distance difference from the 101 is small but significant, but at late hours only Northridge is available). Though it hasn't been practical to try a back-to-back tasting, the cooks at the original location seem just a little more seasoned, with the spicing and balance just a smidge more deft. Though they have a huge menu, with specific Northern and Southern specialties, we have stuck mostly with our Northern favorites, the khao soy and kang ho (the noodles never stick together, it's loaded with vegetables, and has a distinctively tangy curry flavor). We've also tried several other ordinary noodle dishes and apps (all are fine-good-great, but unmemorable compared to these dishes, though my husband really like the angel wings [stuffed chicken]) and a few of the more interesting plates from the Southern menu (very good), but these dishes are what we crave. They take a lot of care with takeout orders, lining containers with foil, individually packaging all the little spices/sauces, and making air vents to preserve crispness as needed. They were on the LA Weekly's Essentials list of restaurants last year but fell off this year, which might actually be the sweet spot of publicity (they were slammed several times when we stopped by last year, and shortly after publication the FOH folks at least were adorably clueless that they had made the list) for visitors, as they seem to remain busy but you can get your food in a reasonable amount of time. We originally found them while looking for late-night food coming home from Six Flags Magic Mountain (a GREAT roller coaster park, and I'm saying this as a huge Cedar Point fan). It's really at an excellent location if you need good food at odd hours (or any time!) coming back to the city from the north. The Encino location is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and Northridge is open until 2 AM on those days for the college kids
  6. Damn. Back before we got a Maison Kayser around the corner here in DC, I used to hit the 40th St location when I visited the NY office and always ogled the wares in the window at Lady M a couple doors down the block (this is across from Bryant Park). If those things taste half as good as they look....
  7. Little Grano [Grano Pasta Bar] is probably the best place in the Hampden area.I am not sure of the raison d'etre of the big one [Grano Emporio].
  8. With my wife and older boy out seeing the Astros take on the Rangers, I turned to take out for dinner tonight, and ordered from the Montrose location of Mala Sichuan Bistro. I went with my standard szechuan restaurant benchmark order of ma po tofu, cucumber with chili oil, and a noodle of some sort (typically dan dan mien, but I went with cold "funky noodles" from Mala). I am pleased to report that Mala is, as the kids say, legit. The ma po was spicy and numbing, but not overwhelmingly so. The funk of the broad bean paste was there, without the overwhelming saltiness I've experienced at other places. I stayed vegetarian tonight, but they do offer it with ground beef. The cucumbers were fresh and crisp, topped with a nice balance of chili oil and crumbled szechuan peppercorns. I think next time I'll try the version in garlic oil to add some variation to the flavors. The cold noodles were similar to Chengdu cold noodles, and a great version of them at that. The noodles were nicely cooked, with a good bit of residual bite, and nicely coated with the sauce as opposed to sitting undressed on a ladle-ful of sauce on the bottom of the bowl. There will be plenty of time to explore the legion of amazing holes in the wall in Chinatown, but for now, I'm glad to have found a more-than-solid joint close by.
  9. Happy to report that Pho Binh's location in the Heights offers "The Original" banh mi (off menu, but advertised on signs around the restaurant & on the cash register), which is essentially a cold-cut and paté sandwich. Grabbed one the other day for lunch. You're going to have a hard time finding a better way of spending $5.50 for lunch elsewhere in the city. Fantastic on its own, the flavors popped that much more with an easy shake of fish sauce and a thin line of Sriracha. I can also vouch for the lemongrass beef banh mi and the pork/spring roll bun. I am slightly embarrassed that I have yet to try the pho, especially considering the possibility of the roasted bone marrow add-on. Soon...soon.
  10. I was up there this past weekend and made several trips to Capogiro as it was right around the corner from the hotel. One of my favorites was the grapefruit with campari. Also had some toasted almond, bittersweet chocolate, limoncello, burnt sugar, and fior di latte. If you are in Philly go, and go often. As a side note I had dinner at Buddakan and had a very good meal. Details to follow when I have more time...
  11. Rappahannock River Oyster (RRO) is totally overdue for its own topic here on dr.com. Of course, that assumes it doesn't already have a topic on here somewhere? I only found scattered mentions in other topics like for Union Market or under shopping as an oyster source. Bet many of you didn't know: - RRO dates all the way back to 1899 and is still owned by the same family? - Rappahannock has an amazing 8-10 seat shack in Topping, VA by the bay with super, interesting and incredibly fresh and local seafood. Has anyone been? - They just opened up their latest and most grand restaurant in Richmond at 320 East Grace St.? - That said restaurant managed to pry open (pun intended) the Columbia Room enough to get bartender Katie Nelson to consult on a drink menu paired with RRO's seafood? - That the Croxton cousins, the owners, plan to open more places to slurp, eat and drink in/around DC/VA? - That these guys really are among those leading the effort to restore the Chesapeake oyster industry and claw back market share from those pesky west coasters, canadians, kiwis and gulf coast types? - That you don't have to go all the way to Topping (or Richmond) to slurp some fine oysters since they're up and running at Union Market (okay, most already know that ) I've now eaten my way through most of the menu at the very popular RRO Bar at Union Market. Wonderful oysters whether raw or grilled. I especially like the Stingrays and Rappahannock River oysters. Raw oysters sell for $2 each. Likewise on the tasty clams. Oh, and that oyster chowder which I think is made with Olde Salts (one of the four varieties they cultivate)! And, the more substantial meals: - the crab cake is both ample and packed with blue crab (served with a very nice celeriac salad); perfect for lunch ($14) - wonderful, large, sweet sea scallops with a healthy peppery arugula salad ($14) - an interesting and satisfying "lamb and clams" dish with sofrito, fingerlings and one other ingredient I'm forgetting. ($14) The bar at Union Market also has a short but nice wine list and friendly servers. Need to get a report from someone on the new Richmond outpost as soon as a rockwellian makes it there. Maybe it'll be me...but probably not knowing how far-ranging dr members are. Nothing stays unreported on long around here. Finally, An interesting Food & Wine article about the company and it's history written by Tom Colicchio Washingtonian's coverage of the new Richmond restaurant RRO's nicely done website
  12. No. 7 Sub is a relatively new sandwich shop just around the corner from the entrance to the Ace Hotel--a too-hip-for-you entry into the new New York hotel scene. No. 7 has some very nice sub sandwiches, and many vegetarian options that are likely worthwhile. I say likely only because we only tried one sub but were very impressed--the zucchini parm, a 9" sub roll filled with breaded zucchini, fontina cheese, pickled jalapenos, and barbecued potato chips, which was a very nice combination of flavors and textures. There isn't much sitting space, so this is primarily a grab-and-go affair. No. 7 sub is at 1188 Broadway, in the Ace Hotel building.
  13. I remember the Tysons Carnegie fondly and was so upset when it closed. Having grown up on (and even briefly working in a) New York deli, it was without question the only place around here that ever came close. While it was horrible for my cholesterol, boy was it good. We wouldn't split a sandwich because I always wanted to take half home to enjoy the next day. The only downside was that it looked and felt like an Embassy Suites lobby/restaurant (which it was), rather than like a real deli.
  14. You could have knocked me over with a feather. After an excellent meal at Ghibellina, I was strongly swayed that there may be a new king of the 14th Street Shuffle (the Dining Guide Shuffle, that is). Further proof that DC's Italian Renaissance is in full-swing. People are talking about this-and-that neighborhood, but the biggest change in DC's dining scene of late has been the explosion of high-quality, moderately upscale Italian restaurants. And Lupo Verde, at least downstairs at the bar, positively screams Italian. If you've never had a Na Biretta beer, get one, and if you like a lot of malt, get the Na Biretta Rossa ($9) - this is like Moretti La Rossa, but better, and on steroids. Excellent quality, and a very cool-looking bottle to boot. I would get this again in a heartbeat, but there are four Na Birettas on the menu, and I'm eager to try the other three. It took forever for me to get my appetizer, probably close to half an hour, but when it arrived, I knew what took so long: I cannot imagine the labor that went into the Torta di Cozze ($9), and they've got boulder-sized testicoli offering this on a 14th-Street menu. Nominally a "Mussels Cake," this was an incredibly elegant little plate of warm, shelled mussels, sandwiched between two small wafers, with a half-melted scoop of Burrata, a little Parmigiano, and a drizzle of leek sauce. While not a large dish, and perhaps more delightful than delicious, this was not a nine-dollar plate of food; get it now, or pay more later - assuming it can possibly remain on the menu. Lupo Verde has a nice little wines by the glass list, but I went straight for the house white: Pinot Grigio on Tap ($8) from Piemonte, and it was a solid (not perfect, but solid) match with the Torta di Cozze - ideally, you'd want something a bit fuller bodied and bone dry. I recently had a very good spaghetti carbonara at Rose's Luxury, so I thought I'd try Lupo Verde's Carbonara ($14) to compare - there was no comparison. Lupo Verde's is made with homemade paccheri, guanciale, eggs, and Pecorino(-Romano?), and the paccheri is a wonderful vehicle for this classic Roman dish. This was, without question, the finest carbonara I have ever eaten. Like the Mussels Cake, it was a fairly small portion, but it was also a fairly small price - my server came down and almost apologized that the dish, served in a metal bowl, is presented merely warm, not steaming hot, because "that's the way they eat it in Italy," he said. Maybe, but the dish was plenty hot enough for me, and I was entranced by its execution. Lupo Verde's house red is also from Piemonte: Sangiovese on Tap ($8), and while this was a perfectly nice wine, especially for the price, I would counsel having it with a less-delicate, perhaps tomato-based dish, or charcuterie, and I would again recommend a full-bodied, bone-dry white with the Carbonara. Although I was getting somewhat full, I knew I hadn't eaten very much - these were not large courses - and since it was early, I knew I'd be wanting something later. So I got a plate of Three Cheeses ($13) to go which came with slices of bread, walnuts, and apricots. I apologize for failing to note the cheeses, but if you'd like, you can piece the order together yourselves: Lupo Verde is currently offering a total of four DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta) cheeses, and I got the three that weren't Castelmagno. That was about the most non-helpful thing I've ever written, but the portions were fair, and although the cheeses are stored in plastic wrap, they were in perfect shape (on a similar note, my beer had gone several months past its expiration date, but it, too, was in perfect shape). It is important to recognize that I have now tried only two cooked courses at Lupo Verde, and I am not reviewing the restaurant; I am reviewing the individual meal. And I'm going to come right out and say that these were the two most refined dishes I can ever remember having on 14th Street. Needless to say, coverage is initiated, strongly, in Italic, and Lupo Verde, based on this one meal, is a legitimate contender for the 14th-Street crown. Yeah, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
  15. Northern Virginia Magazine reports on Liberty Tavern's plan for the old Murky Coffee space: Chef Liam LaCivita will oversee the kitchen. The article also has info on their new restaurant, Lyon Hall.
  16. It seems like a completely different place. The bibimbap is really, really tasty -- and something genuinely different amid the sea of blah sandwich places.
  17. My friend in Hollywood told me that there is a place there called Pizzeria Mozza which may have the best pizza in the world- topping even pizzeria bianco. has anyone on this board been there? my friend said the baker nancy silverton spent 5 years researching on how to make the perfect crust. the restaurant is co-owned by mario batali. my friend said the wait to get reservations in about a month (for pizza!?!). he also said they opened an Italian osteria next door serving more pasta that has an amazing mozzarella bar. Mozza website
  18. I picked up a dozen from Goldberg's New York Bagels in Silver Spring yesterday. They may or may not be authentic NYC-style bagels, but they meet my three criteria: chewy exterior, correct ratio of inside to crust, and salt on the everything. They have a variety called a "black Russian" that I have never seen; it's a pumpernickel that smells oniony and has sesame seeds on the outside. We'll see how they keep in the freezer. The tub of veggie cream cheese I got to go with was nothing special and wildly over priced at almost $8/lb. Several people ordered sandwiches while I was waiting to pay and they looked pretty good. They offer breakfast egg sandwiches, tuna salad, egg salad, veggie burgers, pizza bialys, and the usual cream cheese spreads. Forgot to add: Goldberg's New York Bagels 9328 Georgia Ave Silver Spring, MD 20910 240-450-4177
  19. I didn't see a thread on this so I thought I'd start one. This place serves one dish, Donburi, a Japanese comfort food - basically fried something over rice with egg. Donburi DC is in Adams Morgan next to Meskerem, and opened a few weeks ago. Seats maybe 15 people, sushi bar style in front of the prep area. Modern Asian atmosphere, lots of nice wood and blacks everywhere. I went last night, and it's clear they're still working the kinks out, so I would DEFINITELY withhold final judgement until they get everything in gear. Service was a tad slow, one of our orders got maybe lost? (I actually think someone else claimed our party's bowl as theirs, but either way, there was definite disorganization), and it was one guys' first time operating the cash register. They were very apologetic about all the issues, but I'm sure it'll get going soon. Finally I will say I am no expert on Japanese food, let alone donburi. This would be a first for me. Appetizer You order before you take a seat, and have a small variety of drink options, some Japanese ones included. There's also a free chilled tea to drink.They have 3 appetizer options, we got the sashimi and chicken karaage (fried chicken) ($6 each). Both were good, the sashimi was 4 hefty portions of salmon, the chicken was a little overbattered but overall quite juicy and tender with a crispy exterior, but then again I am a total sucker for fried chicken. Entree I only tried the katsudon, the fried pork cutlet option (forget price, but around $10+?). It's served with a fried egg ontop, with onions simmered in a dark, sweet soy sauce. It also came with pickled spicy peppers and pickled daikon(?) It was good. It was not great. The pork was a little flavorless and it could have overall used a bit more sauce. I think it may have a sat out for a little (could not have been long though as party turnover was high) and lost a bit of its luster after being fried (as I said, there were technical difficulties). The gooey, savory egg however, was doing some fantastic work and really brought the whole dish together. I don't feel like the pepper or daikon lent much to the whole dish, but they added a little variety to each bite. Anyway, it was good, and totally hit the comfort food spot for me. I think, given a months time or so, I'd definitely consider returning to see what's improved. As it is now, its a pretty good price for some pretty good food. I wouldn't destination dine there though, at least not yet. For now, I'd give it 7/10.
  20. Surprised there isn't a thread for this place yet. It has, for my money, the best Ethiopian food in Shaw/U Street. Wonderful veggie platters, plus delicious kitfo and doro wat. Note that they don't have fuul or chicken tibs though (just beef and lamb). Great takeout too; tons of food at great prices. Anyway, I'm posting because of this exciting, yet concerning article. Chercher is expanding, which is great, but the article contains a tidbit that I desperately hope will turn out not to be the case: ""Abebe says he’s also started work on a 60-seat Columbia Heights location at 3608 14th Street NW that’s scheduled to open in February. That Chercher, the smallest of the bunch, will house a large kitchen in the back where staffers will prepare and cook all of the food for the entire chain. Abebe says he’s installing a central kitchen, in part, to maintain quality control across the brand. "Ethiopian Chain Chercher Plots Massive Area Expansion" by Lenore Adkins on dc.eater.com (*) “The problem is … they don’t cook the same,” Abebe told Eater DC. “Because why does it take a while to cook a stew, like chicken stew long hours? So we (will) cook in one place so everywhere people go, they get the same kind of food.”" They're going to make all the food in Columbia Heights and then, what, reheat it? This sounds like a no-good, very bad plan.
  21. District Dumplings: Jun 6, 2018 - "District Dumplings Set To Open New Location in Arlington Ridge Shopping Center" by Alex Koma on arlnow.com
  22. The other week, I was staying up near Towson University, and overheard a lady talking about a crab-cake shack that was "Oprah Winfrey's favorite!" After a bit of digging, I realized they were talking about the locally renowned Pappas Restaurant and Sports Bar, famous for their crab cakes, and deified everywhere as "the best of the best of the best," etc. Because of where I was staying, I went to the Parkville location, which was interesting because it's directly across the street from (what appears to be) their main shipping facility, as well as a third building on that small intersection, for carry-out only. Here's the picture of the Parkville Sports Bar, and if you blow it up, and look closely, you'll see the shipping facility across the street on the left, and the carryout joint on the right - note the sign that says, "Maryland Steamed Crabs." Pappas is anything-but shy when it comes to flaunting all the lavish praise they've been receiving for decades - this is the bottom part of a sign that's posted on their front door - there are many, many more accolades, both on their building, and on their website. I ordered the "Double Crab Cake" for $32.99, the menu saying, "Two of the best crab cakes in town! Just ask Oprah!!" And what showed up was absolutely gorgeous: But I have some bad news for Oprah Winfrey. And I have some bad news for Baltimore. And I have some bad news for people who think they've been enjoying the world's best Chesapeake Blue Crab for years if not decades. Sigh ... I don't see how this was possibly Chesapeake Blue Crab. Furthermore, I don't see how it was possibly from Maryland, or even from America. It seems like I'm always the person who walks in at 4 AM and pisses on the party which has been going on since sunset; I also wonder if I'm the only person who notices, or even cares, about these things. From the very first bite, I "knew" this wasn't Chesapeake Blue Crab - the lumps were *enormous*, the size of grapes, and were extremely consistent in size (huge), texture (tough), and taste (nearly absent). And $32.99 for two crab cakes that were *this* big? If these were made from Chesapeake Blue Crab, the restaurant would be out of business in a week. I'd already made up my mind, but I needed something a little more "official" to go on, other than my own opinion, so I talked with two servers with whom I'd struck up a friendly rapport. "There's no way this is Chesapeake Blue Crab," I said to both of them. They both fell silent, glanced at each other for a moment, and one of them vaguely shook his head no. "Two lump crab cakes this size would cost a fortune," I added, encouraging them to say something. "You're smart," one of them said to me. "You can tell the difference." We continued our conversation. Reportedly, "they" (I'm not quite sure who "they" are) have "crab meat tastings" a couple times a week with different distributors. And, after I asked how the meat is selected, I was told - without hearing any specific names - it's from whoever has the most-consistent, least-expensive product. I'm no expert, but I grew up in Maryland, and have been eating Blue Crab my entire life - lumps this big, this firm, this tasteless, and this consistently shaped, scream out "Southeast Asia" to me (recall Todd Kliman's fine City Paper exposé about Phillip's Crab House, et al, using Southeast Asian crab meat - you can pretty much consider this Part Two of that exposé, without the extensive reporting and fact-checking that went into it). Although I didn't read every word of their menu, and haven't scoured every word of their website, I did spent about 20-30 minutes specifically searching for damning language, and I found none. Nowhere did I see that these crabs are Chesapeake Blue Crabs, from Maryland, or even from America, but have a look for yourselves. About the closest I came was in the very first picture up above - the sign across the street says, "Maryland Steamed Crabs." Note, however, that it doesn't say, "Steamed Maryland Crabs," which would give it an entirely new meaning. In other words, I am absolutely not accusing Pappas of anything shady in terms of false advertising, because I don't think they're claiming to be serving Maryland crab, and they're apparently taking great pains with their language to "circle the wagon" without actually firing a single arrow. They're letting rave reviews from "journalists" - dozens of rave reviews from "journalists" (*) - do the talking for them about what an amazing experience these crab cakes are, and there's so much noise that the ignorance of the masses seems to overlook the minor detail that they're buying into a marketing blitz that has everything to do with the Chesapeake Bay, even though the worlds "Chesapeake Bay" seem not to be used at all. (*) I was once told, by a journalist, in the angriest, most-hostile terms imaginable, that I'm no journalist - essentially because I have no training. In a similar light, I am absolutely not saying that Pappas never serves Maryland or Chesapeake Blue Crab - merely that the circumstantial evidence presented to me on this visit was pretty overwhelming. As for my meal? Just because the crab meat wasn't dredged from the Chesapeake Bay doesn't mean it wasn't good - I loved my crab cakes. Yes, the meat was bland, but it was still crab, and it was still alive and skittering around in the water, somewhere. I would absolutely come here again, and get this exact same thing, with the exact same expectations - there is minimal binder, virtually no leg meat (or much of any fibrous meat) that I could detect, and the primary scent of the crab cakes was something like that of a savory soufflé (i.e., egg, perhaps used as binder), which I find extremely appealing. The beer selection at Pappas is surprisingly good (and cheap!); the side orders are of banquet-hall quality. So don't take this as a condemnation of Pappas Restaurant and Sports Bar; it isn't. But do be aware that this one journalist's restaurant critic's person's impression is that he dined on something other than Chesapeake Blue Crab on this particular evening - extrapolate as you wish, since my investigation went no further than what you just read. That said, I doubt you'll be seeing this write-up on any websites anytime soon - being honest can be isolating, and truthful, knowledge-based writing is not very conducive to fame and fortune - at least not in this self-serving, PR-driven industry. Don't get me started on the most popular "craft beer journalists." Cheers, Rocks
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