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  1. 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.
  2. For those of you who drive through the 28/29 area, you know what I'm talking about. They've literally been constructing at that site for years. The only signs say "Cooley Electric." My wife called the Cooley phone number and they said it will be a mexican restaurant. I've heard a rumor that each level will be progressively higher scale than the one below (there are three levels). It's built to have views of the mountains in the far distance with balconies on level two and three on the west side. Is any of this even true? Any idea when it will open, what it will be called, if it's local or a chain, or anything at all about it?
  3. I followed GPS into the Old Crossing Center, across from the insane Alto Plaze. While the latter looks like a run down strip joint or something from Disney World after the apocalypse, Old Crossing is seemingly zombie free and is home to more restaurants than almost anywhere I can think of in the DMV. Certain blocks of 14th street might compete but they do not have a huge Super H Mart! So for su, I drove the entire mall with my video on so I could capture the names of all the restaurants. At some point I ill see if my video can be uploaded. Tomo 2 spots I could not read the names of Ihop Jang Won Chinese Korean CheoGaJip Chicken Super H Mart with a food court and a pharmacy where you can get your statin perscription refilled Honey Pig Korean Red Ginseng which I think is a herbalist not a restaurant Danji Papa Johns LuLu Cafe Eul Shi Gae Dairy Queen Las 3 Regiones Gom E Tang Gom Shabu Shabu Little Italy Deli Red Rocks Tequila Bar and Grill New Great Wall Evergreen Korean Plus several beauty shops, an ice store, banks, travel agencies, bike shops, laundromat etc etc etc. Having re-watched my video, I think it wiser not to upload it in the interest of preventing motion sickness or accusations that I was drunk. I drove thru three neighboring shopping centers and there were another 20 or so restaurant with juxtapositions as a Kabob restaurant sharing the center with an Indian, Vietnamese, A Smoothie place, several american fast food icons etc. To anyone in Centreville or adjacent to whom my previous knowledge of Centreville was that is was somewhere "out there" {with me waving my hand vaguely not in the direction of Centreville, showing my ignorance had multi dimensions,} I apologize. I think my retirement will include a lot of meals in the area. A LOT.
  4. I tried Bear Rock once when I worked in FC. Completely forgettable, no surprise that it's gone. But, this new place screams "Joe's Crab Shack" to me, and that's not a compliment. What are the odds of this place being any good? My little girl would love to have a local source for mudbugs, but the lobby of an upscale condo is unlikely to be it.
  5. Anyone else tried this place yet? I've been twice. The food is very good (the pizza is really good). Service needs work.
  6. In a perfect world, Malaysian would be the new Thai. If everyone considered the truism that cuisine is largely a product of geography, and that Malaysian food is thus heavily influenced by Thai and Chinese cooking with significant, but less assertive, Indian cuisine influences, they might decide that Malaysia Kopitiam is worth trying. And if everyone in the D.C. area ate at Malaysia Kopitiam a couple of times, Malaysian restaurants might start springing up in equal numbers to Thai restaurants. Malaysia Kopitiam is where I head when I am downtown and want to grab a fast, inexpensive dinner with a buddy or by myself. It is not a first- or second-date restaurant. It is not a business-lunch restaurant. And it is probably not a restaurant one can get his or her parents to try, as "Malaysian" to them probably sounds as alien as "Martian." One enters the restaurant by going down a few stairs. The dining room is divided into two main dining areas, but the restaurant is still not much bigger than one's family's basement rec room. The wood paneling, worn carpet, kitschy decoration, two-person mini-bar, and casual atmosphere evokes thoughts of a standard 1970s-era Chinese restaurant in New York City. The tables and booths were probably last replaced during the (first) Reagan administration. The menu is a place-mat-sized laminate, and the accompanying picture menu is bound in a black binder straight from Staples. But when one opens the binder, and actually sets eyes on pictures of the roughly 100 menu options, the surroundings become immaterial, and food becomes the focus. My most recent visit to Malaysia Kopitiam was with four other people. One had eaten there with me once before. The other three had never eaten there or any other Malaysian restaurant. I started out by ordering some safe appetizers for the table. Three orders of curry puffs (two to a plate) at $2.50 an order is a great way to start the meal. The curry puffs are close cousins to Indian samosa, the main differences being that they are not quite as large as standard samosa, and they are somewhat crescent-shaped, as opposed to the pyramid shape of most samosa. They are hot, doughy, and filled with curried potatoes and peas. I also ordered a round of roti canai. When one orders roti at an Indian restaurant, the expectation is that what will come out will be a baked whole wheat flatbread. At Malaysian restaurants, roti is a flatbread, but the similarity ends there. It is fried, flaky, and lush. An order of roti at Malaysia Kopitiam brings out warm flatbread, and ordering roti "canai" translates into a bowl of curried chicken accompanying the bread. While the chicken chunks floating in the curry tend to be tough and chewy, the "canai" is worth ordering because the curry itself is wonderfully spicy and rich. Any bit of the liquid that is not sopped up by the bread will almost certainly end up being used as a dip for an entree. I ordered achar salad for two of us to split. Achar salad is one of those dishes that suffers from an off-putting description on menus, but wins one over when it materializes. The achar salad at Malaysia Kopitiam is described as "pickled pineapple, jicama, carrot, cucumber, [and] cabbage in a spicy, sweet & sour sauce top[ped] with peanuts and sesame seed." The salad comes out in canoe-shaped bowl, and it is just big enough for two people to share. The dish never strikes me as spicy, and the sharpness of the components' pickling gives way to the sweetness of the salad's sauce. The salad is covered in a generous serving of crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. This is one of those dishes in which individual flavors give way to the whole, and it is so satisfying that leaving a bite is not an option. Though there were five of us at the table, we ordered only three of the entree options. Two people ordered the black pepper chicken, one person ordered the assam sambal shrimp, and two of us split the curry gluten. The black pepper chicken is a "safe" dish, a simple stir-fry of vegetables and chicken (of a far better quality than that used in the canai curry sauce) in a pepper sauce. It is not far removed from its cousin on a million Chinese menus, and its preparation at Malaysia Kopitiam is competent, if not adventurous. The assam sambal shrimp plate produces a number of thick, well-cooked shrimp stir-fried with red peppers and onions in a spicy and sour sauce. I did not try the dish, though the person who ordered it enjoyed it. The curry gluten is a unique dish, mixing stir-fried chunks of super-chewy gluten, soft, pillowy tofu triangles, and green and red bell peppers in a creamy yellow curry that is sweet with just a hint of spiciness. The gluten is an acquired taste (or, more accurately, texture); most diners will leave the chewy gluten aside and concentrate on the tofu. I find the gluten to have such an interesting mouth-feel that I keep grabbing chunks of it with my chopsticks despite my appreciation of the flavorful, curry-soaked tofu. We cleaned the plate, with the last of the still-warm curry serving as a dip for the last few remaining pieces of roti. Malaysia Kopitiam deserves its perpetual placement in the Washingtonian Top 100 Cheat Eats. All of the aforementioned food for five people, plus three sodas, came to a total of $90.00, and that includes tax and a restaurant-added gratuity, plus our rounding up to an even number. Five appreciative diners walked out of the restaurant happily chatting about our meal and ready to spread the Malaysian gospel to our friends.
  7. Pho Hot and Pho Bistro were the only two pho joints I knew of in Centreville. Was there another? Yes, Centreville is becoming Koreatown II. There was a WaPo article a couple years ago about it. Old Centreville Crossing and both parts of Centreville Square have many choices. I've only been to a few so far. Pho Hot and Tian are my favorites of the few I've tried. I haven't been to Hwang's. Below is a list I found on another web site. It's a post from about a year ago, so a couple of these are likely o/b and there are probably a couple new ones. But, it's an extensive list of what it's Centreville. Many of them are independent places or part of a small, local group.
  8. I saw a post on Matsu Sushi in the Chantilly thread, but I couldn't find a topic, so I started one. Website Hours: LUNCH Mon-Fri 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM Sat 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM DINNER Mon-Thurs 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM Fri-Sat 5:00 PM - 10:30 PM Sun 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM I went there for lunch with my brother today as it was close to his office and I haven't had sushi in a while. For lunch it was extremely efficient and you can definitely get in and out on a reasonable lunch time schedule. We both got sushi with miso soup and salad. Their salad dressing was fine, but not my favorite. Their miso soup was a bit too cloudy, but again was fine. The sushi was very uniform and neat. The rice was nicely prepared and I thought they did a very good job with the rice. I thought everything was very fresh and they had a nice selection. It wouldn't be my top sushi choice in all the sushi places I can go to, but I was really impressed at the service, how fast and efficient it was and how fresh everything was for a shopping center in Centreville. THAT would make me go back.
  9. Ok. This place is part of our regular rotation. Its nestled in a little strip mall near the nicest trailer park you'll ever see. I can honestly say I have never had a bad meal here. I have also never had a great meal here either. Everything I have had is in a solid 7 range. The Carnitas, Barbacoa, and Stewed chicken are probably the best. Put them in an enchilada, burrito or taco... it's kind of the same. On Saturdays they have a Kid's eat for a buck promotion.... So I find myself here once a month. Most of the time they have a woman in there that does balloon animals. She is an artist. Really some the most elaborate balloon animal creations you'll see at a Mexican restaurant at 7pm on a Saturday (or anywhere else). Hey... I have three kids.... these things are important. With that said, they are doing a good job of playing to the Chantilly/SR demographics and tend to be full on a Saturday. My favorite thing here is actually their breakfast burritos. I like them better than Anitas (heresy!). The difference between a breakfast burrito with chorizo here and at Anitas is that El Fresco actually puts chorizo in theirs. If you are in the area, they are worth trying. I always get the chorizo with red chile.
  10. Ciro's is the Centreville location. According to their web site, they also have a place in Stone Ridge (new community out 50, just past South Riding). I'm not familiar with the Manassas one. For some reason, my wife likes Ciro's over Tony's, but they're the exact same place as far as I can tell. I prefer Tony's just because I was going to them for years before I found Ciro's. I live right in the middle of both of them, so they each get our business. The other place I like for pizza is Havabite in Old Town Fairfax.
  11. I stopped in for lunch at Danji Asian Bistro today, and my bill was under $10 (after tax but before tip) for what was a relatively massive portion of food. Danji is in the gigantic Old Centreville Crossing Shopping center (the one with Spa World, H Mart, Honey Pig, etc.), and it's front-and-center so you can't really miss it. There were only a few people dining for lunch, and one employee was easily handling all front of the house operations. I felt like ordering something unusual, so I got the Kalchi Jorim ($8.99, $9.99 at dinner), which was translated as "Belt Fish and Vegetables." The order came with five panchan in addition to a wonderful bowl of flavorful broth with tofu, and a fairly generous portion of Belt Fish with some vegetables and a small amount of (moderately spicy) sauce in a hot metal bowl, alongside a plain bowl of steamed rice. Belt Fish comes across to me as a cheap, bulk fish, and I'd be very surprised to find it was on any type of endangered-species list - this was most likely frozen as well, as it had a fairly firm texture. If you're in a hurry to eat, this is one dish you want to stay away from, as it is quite bony, both with the main spinal cord, but also with smaller, needle-like bones throughout - it would be tough (and probably not worth it) for a restaurant to filet this fish, as there wouldn't be much meat left after you did. Still, taken as a whole, my lunch was a bargain, and I left full and happy, only ten-dollars poorer, and probably consumed less than 1,000 calories including my bowl of steamed rice. Although I wouldn't go out of my way to return to Danji (there are several interesting restaurants in this shopping center), I wouldn't avoid it either - it's worth a try, and is certainly an average to above-average Korean restaurant. Psst ... they have Korean Fried Chicken on their menu.
  12. I've been keeping an eye on this space for a while since the old Scotto's Rigatoni Grill disapeared. I've seen the signs for Aguaymanto for some time but they hadn't opened yet. Last thursday I was cutting through the area on my way to Chipotle (having talked my son out of Chick'fil'e). As I droe by I noticed lights on here and hung a quick left to check it out. I'm glad I did. They opened a few weeks ago. and they did a very good job of remodling space. The staff there was very nice and were especially kind to my rampaging 2 year old. We got carry out, a half a chicken with yuca and Seco con Frijole which was a Beef stew (with cliantro and garlic), beans and rice. Both dishes were quite good although the chicken was a little dry (probably the nature of the beast). Qhile we waited for the food they gave out a small bowl of freshly roasted corn (which was quite good). When the food was ready one of the managers even helped me carry the food to the car (as I was wrangling with the aforementioned 2 year old). Anyways I am glad to have them around as they are on my way home and will likely be a regular addition to the carry out rotation. Edited to add the website: www.aguaymantorestaurant.com
  13. Tucked away in a strip mall in Centreville is, what I consider to be, a very solid Pho place. I've been there a few times over the last few months and its been solid every time. I haven't explored the menu that much, essentially stuck to the pho but since it is only 7 or 8 bucks a bowl it hits a certain price point. If you are in the area, and are in the mood for a quick, cheap lunch - give them a try.
  14. Did you know there was an ethiopian restaraurant in Centreville? Neither did I. I was running errands with the boys a week ago when I decided to run into this place to get a menu. They had no carryout menus so I reviewed one of the normal ones, hoping that my 2 and 5 year olds wouldn't trash the place. On a lark I decided to get one of their combo meals, as I have never had ethiopian before. I'm no authority but my wife and I enjoyed everything. Here is where it is important to take note. They are also a bakery. I spoke with the owner and she takes pride in the deserts they make in house. I've been back twice, just for deserts, workign my way through their selections. The cheesecake and carrot cake were the stars. It is located in the same strip of mall as Bon Chon. Here is their site: mannabistro.com. It is fairly well hidden so I wanted to be sure to write them up because I think it is worth checking them out. Someone else can tell me how their other food rates, but their deserts are good (and reasonably priced).
  15. There's a dearth of good Korean BBQ places in Rockville so I was excited to hear about Iron Age, which opened up about a year ago. Unfortunately my experience here wasn't positive. I went with about seven other people for a meetup group. Between us we split a shabu shabu pot and the pork BBQ set. The BBQ portion is all you can eat for $18-$22 per person. For this reason they were really strict about the shabu shabu people not sampling any grilled meats. Service was poor. Our server seemed incapable of multitasking, despite the fact that the restaurant was nearly empty. He flat out refused to take orders when he was busy doing something else. We didn't even get our first glass of water until the grill and the shabu shabu had been set up. On the plus side, he was prompt once he decided to graciously accept our request. But I'm willing to forgive bad service for good food, and the food was not good. We asked for lettuce and we got this sad looking bowl of diced up greens dressed in a sweet soy sauce. I'm accustom to having some sort of wrapper (lettuce or wontons or something) for KBBQ and we didn't get anything like that. The dipping sauces were anemic: both the ssamjang and the chili sauce were watery. The complimentary gyeran jjim was a joke: completely flavorless. The other banchan were mostly misses: a potato salad that was too sweet and a sludgy kimchee that, while sour (the way I like it), had no texture and tasted mushy. As for the meats: the pork belly was expected. Thankfully it's hard to mess up. Next came the beef brisket, which was still frozen and the fat parts were disintegrating. The soy marinated pork had an off taste. I was disappointed they didn't offer a gochujang-based daeji bulgogi which would've been a better use for the meat. So this place is a far cry from Honey Pig or Shin Chon, which are my primary experiences with good KBBQ. Based on my experience here I can't reccommend it, but I wanted to do a write up in case someone does a search.
  16. So WTOP is having another "Best of" places and this time, the theme is Mexican. One of the places commented on their FB page is a place called Red Rocks Cafe & Tequila Bar (WaPo link - no known webpage found), which piques my curiosity because it's not Austin Grill, and it doesn't appear to be a chain. Has anyone been?
  17. Second the recommendation for Indian Ocean. We ate an early dinner there recently, and it was excellent. The samosas got eaten before I could try them (which is probably a positive recommendation), but I did get a vegetable pakora, and it was the best pakora I have ever eaten. I wish I knew how they got the besan flour so light and soft on the inside with the outside so perfectly crispy. Nicely spiced, served elegantly (yes, elegantly) on a plate with swirls of tamarind and cilantro chutneys. Mr. lperry loved his chicken korma, and I weenied out a bit choosing palak paneer, figuring it was a safe bet at an unknown restaurant. I was surprised at the delicate spicing, the fresh greens, the aromatic, chopped herbal topping, and the paneer, which had the taste and texture of house made. Our guest ordered the malai kofta lajawab, and I got a taste. Delicious, balanced spice, and lovely presentation with the croquettes neatly arranged and sauced, another winner. The naan was gorgeous: puffed with little, crispy brown bubbles, great flavor, and just the right amount of ghee. Everything was very good or excellent, so much so, that we are trying to figure out how we can get out to Centreville more frequently, just to eat at this restaurant. I haven't enjoyed a restaurant meal that much in some time. If you are out in that direction, do yourself a favor and go to Indian Ocean.
  18. Reporting on Le Bledo made me think of it. There is a quick-e-mart type Vietnamese store in Centreville that sells Banh Minh called Park and Shop. It is by the 7-11 on 29 near the bowling alley. The sandwiches are 3.50 and are made on fresh baked bread. Worth a try if you are in need of a snack and you are in the area. In fact, they sell the bread for a quarter a roll in a huge box up front. I've been known to pick up several, an onion, a pepper and some frozen sliced rib eye and make some KILLER cheesesteaks.
  19. I haven't been to this place, and in fact the main reason I feel compelled to start a thread is its bizarre and humorous signage: "Chicken Land Pig Princess". This seems like it should be one of those "punctuation saves lives" situations, but I'm not quite sure how. (For the record, Fairfax County's records indicate that there should be a hyphen and some spaces separating 'Land' and 'Pig'. Because 'Land-pig' would be even weirder.) Anyway, it's clearly a Korean joint, and the photos on this Korean-language website look appealing enough (a recent health inspection report, less so). Has anybody been? And if so...what's up with "pig princess"?
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