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Found 939 results

  1. Coco Loco. Xing Kuba. Terramar. Cesco back when it was good. Cottonwood Cafe back when it was good.
  2. Of the new crop of restaurants on Columbia Heights' 11th Street strip, I've been to Kangaroo Boxing Club the most--four times. This isn't by design, but it's easy, comfortable, welcoming, and has enough high points that it's easy to look past the weak ones. The pastrami, for instance. I'm no expert, but this is by far the best I've ever had. I mean, outstanding, off-the-charts, off-the-hook terrific. The rye bread holds up to it and I don't know how it's possible, but the mustard makes it all even better. Seriously: get the pastrami. I'm not as wild about the other meats. The Smokey Joe is okay--too much, too strong, too salty sauce mixed with over-shredded beef that's only remarkable if you get a couple of the awesome smoky end pieces in the mix. The chocolate BBQ on the pulled chicken is also pretty spicy, and the chicken is fine. I don't remember much about the pulled pork (not a good sign, but it was a couple of months ago) except that I couldn't really find a sauce I liked--I think they all were too spicy for me*--and the bottom bun was soaked through with grease. I clearly need to give it another go. Those sandwich buns are good though. The beans vex me. They vex me so. The first time they were amazing; the second time they tasted like someone had spilled a bottle of vinegar on them; the third time, amazing again; the fourth time vinegar again, plus something else not so good. What the hell? Seems to me that we've got two chefs making two different recipes, and it makes me sad because I've clearly got a 50-50 chance of getting a ramekin of yuck, and those odds just aren't fair. But when they're done right, the beans are the best side on the menu, along with the johnny cakes. The mac and cheese is pretty darn good, and the greens and salad are run-of-the-mill. The garlic fries are nice, but it's the dipping sauce that makes them dangerously addictive. I think they only have three beer taps, but they're stocked with good stuff (the Redtober and Mojo are my recent faves) so I haven't explored the bottles. I stay away from the cocktails, which, even when on special, just aren't that well made. The service is across the board terrific, but the joint is seriously tiny. The bar has been full pretty much every time I've been in, and every seat in the place tends to be taken by 6:30. *Is BBQ usually this spicy? I'm sort of on the mild-to-medium end of the spectrum, but I was surprised that every sauce was so firey. Sigh. Guess I'll have to stick with the pastrami (poor me!).
  3. I haven't eaten at Peking Duck in ages, but I'll try it again soon, on your recommendation. It's really hard to find good Chinese food in this area, although we have other decent choices for food. The places I've tried in the last year (China Cafe, Top's China, China One, Green Olive, Chef Huang's (decent lunch buffet), & Great Wall (under new management & not as good) are sub optimal.
  4. I know it's not really fair to judge a restaurant after one lunch, and an RW lunch at that, but since it's been open too long not to have a thread, I will anyway. The simple description, and I apologize to the current team that may or not being trying to avoid comparisons, is that it's essentially Vidalia with slightly different decor. And since I loved Vidalia, I mean that in a good way. Really, if you had told me I had just eaten at Vidalia after an interior makeover, I'd have no reason to doubt you. Started with a delicious basket of banana bread with whipped butter and a fruit compote. First course: Chesapeake Sugar Toads new orleans bbq, popcorn grits, pickled okra Essentially a poor man's shrimp and grits, except that I prefer sugar toad to shrimp any day of the week. If you've never had sugar toad (a little Chesapeake Bay puffer fish) before, you should. The only place I've had it before is, well, Vidalia. It's got a taste and texture somewhere between white fish, crab and shrimp, and was perfect with the toothy grits and sauce. Second course: Confit Duck Leg corn & tasso ham maque choux, duck sausage, pickled peach jam A perfect rainy day course. A nicely meaty leg with crisp skin...the sides had a touch of sweetness that cut through the duck really well. Dessert: Finnish Aura Blue Cheese concord grapes, rye bread, candied walnuts, spruce tip honey Simply a great combination of flavors and textures. So again, I hope I'm not insulting Chef Hamilton in any way by saying, in a obviously small sample size, that this place tastes like a re-born Vidalia. I'll certainly be back.
  5. There is this good Indian restaurant across from the Tortilla Factory in Herndon that has a nice "spread". I apologize but the name is not remarkable but the food is! On weekends you get bread baskets of hot naan at your table. They have a chaat bar with the little crisps, chickpeas/potato blend, yogurt & tamarind sauce and the fixin's.... also salad! I love a good CHAAT bar can't find any down here yet. They usually have Lamb/Goat (I always confuse the two - don't ask!) a spinach dish, a vegetable dish such as okra with tomatoes or potatoes and peppers and other delicious stuff! Two kinds of rice are featured the saffron rice and a chicken basmati rice also they have Tandoori chicken and a real spicy chicken on a wok near the breads and pakora's. Their pakoras and other breads are great as is most of their food. For dessert they usually have Gulab Jamun and/or custard w/fruit or rice pudding (indian style). They have a generous bar and the owner is very nice! Now if I can find a restaurant in VA that makes Poori regularly and has papadum and Samosas in the buffet! (wink) On a side note we've had mixed reviews from friends. Our direct friends loved it but on a separate visit... well, their friends said the waiter asked them "Where is your accent from" - they replied "We're from (another country)" to which the waiter purportedly said... "What do you think about .....(something controversial and NOT appropriate)?" which made them upset/concerned! They got up and left and told my friend about this. It would not make me NOT go unless it was said to me, or I overheard it... but I thought it might be worth mentioning.
  6. Can't believe you people didn't got going on Palena yet. The cafe menu continues to grow and amaze as always. From the latest, bisque with mussels, touch of rice and spinach flan; stuffed Pennsylvania lamb with piquillo bread sauce; and hen gallantine sexed up with pistachios and foie gras have blown my mind. The menu is so familiar and well-loved by now that ordering became a struggle, although not entirely un-looked-forward to. Should I have something new? Or should I get the best burger in NW? Of course, last night I figured had to have my burger fix before taking off for two weeks of caviar therapy. I said it first...Jeff is very dreamy and extremely dexterous with beverages of all sorts.
  7. I always want to stop here when I have to go to court in Prince William County. And I drove by and then it closed for the season, drove by, then closed for the season. This past Monday I did well in court so I said, "Ahhha! I am going to stop and treat myself." Kline's just looks like that custard shop you could find all over the country in small town America twenty or so years ago, probably because it has been around forever, but the thing is, it is still here. There was a line and lots of kids in the back enjoying their ice cream at the tables. I really liked the plain vanilla custard here. To me it tastes very rich, like drinking whole milk, it just has that good fat flavor that makes it seem very full of body. I got it mixed with heath bar as that is reminiscent of my child hood. Was even better to have while I endured stop and go traffic on the way home to Arlington on 66. After eating some other custards in the area, I think it might be my favorite. Would love to hear if their flavored custards are as good, or the sundaes.
  8. We tried the EAT bar last night. It's new and it was pretty busy. Started with a couple of snacks - 2 of the excellent salt cod fritters and an order of roasted olives(not sure I get the idea of roasting olives). We both had the chestnut soup with duck confit. This was absolutely wonderful and suprisingly quite spicy. I then had a strip steak (comes on its own - I'd probably order some frites next time). She had the garlic sausage with red cabbage. Both were very good. We had a couple of Victory Hop Wallops on tap, and a couple of glasses of something red. I would hope that they can extend their beer offerings in the future - I think there were 6 decent drafts. We'll definitely be back and maybe eat at a booth next time. Eating at the bar got a bit crowded out.
  9. I'm surprised that Pinkberry's biggest fan (NCPinDC, I'm talking to you ) hasn't started a thread. Looks like there's a full blown fro-yo war coming to Clarendon, to go along with the pizza and cupcake wars. I'm still partial to Red Mango's 'original' flavor, but did enjoy Pinkberry's new Lychee flavor, which I tried in New Orleans last week. The Dupont Circle location is supposed to open in early May. 16 days it says on the website - May 5?
  10. The Requin pop-up is opening on Dec. 11 at the former Gypsy Soul location in the Mosaic District before it opens in its permanent location.
  11. I had been in Osaka a few times in the past. It's a few doors down from Thai Cafe, which is in the Dining Guide, but I was surprised that Osaka was not in the Dining Guide. I actually was aiming for Thai Cafe but girlfriend did a last-second vector to Osaka, and it was worth the detour. Girlfriend and I had a very pleasant dinner at Osaka tonight. We ordered liberally throughout the sushi menu, with plenty of nigiri, including medium fatty tuna as well as salmon belly, and three rolls -- spicy tuna, crunchy real crab and avocado and eel. Among the nigiri was plenty of tuna, salmon, white tuna, yellowtail, eel, salmon roe and quail egg. There appears to be some kind of all day 'happy hour' going on during the weekends and a few other days of the week, so the pieces were nicely priced, albeit a bit small. Tuna, for example, priced for one piece per order was $1.95, so two pieces at $3.90 isn't bad. The one piece per order concept threw me off a bit, but we had more than enough food between us. The fish was uniformly fresh and colorful, almost glistening, and as good as sushi gets in the general Springfield-Franconia-Lorton-Burke area. A full carafe of wine, priced at about $27.00, along with all the sushi we could handle, plus miso soup and salad for two, plus tax and tip, came to just under $100. I will return.
  12. A restaurant that has not yet opened, yet has a single 5-star rating is opening next to the controversial Asiatique. (cajun smelling seafood sushi anyone?) Le Kon website I am oddly transfixed at this particular location for some reason. Maybe its the really bad driving that happens near the store fronts. Shall we place bets on length of tenure, or does somebody have to dine there first?
  13. Carlos recognized me almost instantly. I thought he looked like he'd put on a few pounds. But there was no mistaking the man running the front of the house at Louisiana Kitchen, which opened last Saturday in the former New Orleans Bistro space on Cordell Ave. The menu is almost exactly, exactly the same as that of the now-departed Louisiana Express. They even managed to carry over the phone number from Louisiana Express: 301 652 6945. The only accidental omission, Carlos admitted, was the "Cajun pizza". They're going to try to run without it for now. Prices seem to be very slightly higher...a quarter here, fifty cents there, maybe a buck on a few of the apps. But the setting is now fresh and shiny, with new furniture, dishes and flatware, and finally some room between the tables. Yes, the spicy fries are back! Running the kitchen is co-owner José Blanco, the long-time chef at L.E. The two of them managed to hire many of the former staff from L.E., although I didn't see any of them on this Thursday afternoon. Several locations for the venture were considered from Silver Spring to Frederick, but when the former New Orleans Bistro space came available, everything clicked into place. The space came broom-clean with none of the decorations, so the interior re-do has been limited to a new floor, some paint and wallpaper, new fixtures, and the addition of a window from the dining room to the back of the rotisserie. There aren't that many clichéd doohickeys on the wall yet. José's in-laws are helping with some ongoing tweaks to the interior, but otherwise it's up and running. There's also a little blurb on their website regarding the passing of Peter Finkhauser, the owner of Louisiana Express.
  14. All due respect to Chef O., none of my sporadic visits to 4-S has ever turned up anything of particular note, though it is a perfectly good restaurant. I prefer Viet Royale, literally right next door (and newly listed on the Washingtonian 100 Very Best list), and there's a pho specialty place (or two) that has a strong reputation among local soup aficionados.
  15. Consider Pó, which is on Carnelia Street in the Village. It has a six-course tasting menu at the unheard of price of $48, and the food is extraordinary. I think that this was Mario's first place in New York, and it continues in the tradition. It's small, not elegant and a tough reservation, but a wonderful value for New York or, for that matter, anywhere else.
  16. "Lupa, Restaurant that Replaced Petit Louis in Columbia, To Close this Weekend after a Year in Business" by Sarah Meehan on baltimoresun.com This was in the former Red Pearl space, which was in the former Jessie Wong's Hong Kong space.
  17. In a fit of hubris... I left the map at home figuring that I knew exactly where Fortune was and, having read the map quickly, could get us there. At the risk of alienating all northern Virginian's, we were stuck in Dante's 8th level of hell (reserved for those stupid enough to drive in Virginia on a Sunday, or during rush hour, or during not rush hour, or, say, any time except 3:25am and 3:27am on certain Tuesdays when there is actually only a small traffic jam at every light) we spent an hour getting from 495 to Bailey's crossroads. Wound up at Peking Gourmet, which isn't. Maybe tonight is a two negroni night as well. Ah well...
  18. So, I went for lunch. It was ok. And very strange. 2 of us for a late lunch on Tuesday, 2 weeks ago. There was no line, but they were clearly understaffed, as there were several tables available, but we had to wait, as did the few tables that came in after us. Then it took us a while to get water. Refills were also difficult, and it was a VERY hot day. The service was pleasant enough, but slow and a bit oddly pushy. At one point I asked about the milkshakes, but decided not to order one until dessert. This resulted in "You want to order that dessert now? How about now? How about now?" Dude, I’m barely a third of the way through my lunch! As I said, we had a late lunch. As we were leaving, they were putting up a sign that said they were closed until 5 (or maybe 5:30?). Food was REALLY slow to come out. Food was quite tasty, and fairly priced. I had a patty melt, and my friend had a club sandwich. Both worth eating, and very good fries.
  19. Last week, I got this tweet from Jonathan Copeland: Although I had largely forgotten about it, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, it resided, because I was thirty-minutes early for an appointment in Falls Church today, and - <blink> - I remembered. I didn't remember who sent it, and I didn't remember the name of the restaurant; merely that someone I trusted had mentioned good Banh Mi in Eden Center - I pulled in. I wasn't at all sure which restaurant it was, and there has been *so much* changeover in this shopping center in the past six months that Saigon West is borderline unrecognizable. I waffled a bit, then headed into Banh Ta, and as soon as I walked in, I thought to myself, 'This *must* be the place.' Banh Ta is a tiny little pillbox boutique, just a few stores down from the outstanding Thanh Son Tofu, which has the best tofu I've found in the DC area. Despite being just a counter, it's very upscale looking, with market goods and an atmosphere that reminds me of a smaller version of the incredible Phu Quy Deli Delight. If you haven't been to Thanh Son Tofu or Phu Quy Deli Delight: GO! I ordered a #1, Pork Belly (Bah Mi Thit ??, $4), the ?? being on the sign in the first link in the previous paragraph, and absolutely indecipherable by me and my illiterate Vietnamese (my apologies to native speakers - any guidance will be much appreciated). It's no secret that I haven't exactly been blown away by DC-area Banh Mi - in fact, the only ones I've had that I even consider "good" have been somewhat Americanized (Dickson Wine Bar and the underrated and under-appreciated Ba Bay). Until today, that is. Thanks to Jonathan's recommendation, I've now had what I believe to be the first authentic Banh Mi that I can say, with my European-influenced palate, and with an absolutely clear conscience, is *really, really good*! You don't even need a second one to fill up on, as the size is ample, so both qualitatively and quantitatively, we have ourselves a front runner in the local Banh Mi wars - you could say, if you valued bad puns more than honorable use of language, that this Banh Mi, won me. These three storefronts in Eden Center are less than 100 yards away from each other, and justify a special excursion to experience. I am - *finally* - sold on the merits of this sandwich, and I suspect that in Vietnam, it gets even better than this. Absolutely initialized in Italic in the East Falls Church section of the Virginia Dining Guide, and I'm very much looking forward to a repeat visit, thanks to the recommendation of Jonathan Copeland.
  20. Continuing in my attempt to eat at most Thai restaurants in the southern half of the county, I picked up lunch today from Bangkok Noodle, which is located at the intersection of Commerce & Backlick. I got Tom yum goong ($4.95), larb gai ($6.95) & sukiyaki noodle soup-chicken, beef, pork, cellophane noodles, napa cabbage, Chinese celery, egg, watercress, & sesame seeds in spicy red bean curd soup ($9.95) for Tom. The food was excellent, great blend of hot/sour/salty/sweet for my tom yum (I've been eating this soup several times/wk lately) & the larb had a perfect amount of heat (marked on the menu as 1 rooster-American hot). It looks like they specialize in Thai noodle soups-next time, I want to try the Paradise soup ($14.95)-cellophane noodles w/ seafood, ground pork, fish balls, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, topped w/ crispy bacon & boiled egg in a hot & sour broth-this one is 3 roosters-Thai hot. It's a lovely space, looks like a beach house w/ blue, green, & tan lapped siding & a colorful mural of photos. Definitely a contender for a Springfield $20 Tuesday (happy hour specials from 4-7), I'll be going back to sample more menu items.
  21. Just had an event catered by Backyard Barbecue which is located just north of East Falls Church metro. Pulled pork and coleslaw was the limit of the order, but what BB delivered was spot on. I am kind of surprised, there are so many poor to mediocre barbecue joints inside the beltway, I didn't think BBQ could survive around here. The sauce was nicely spicy, with a hint of vinegar and a smoky background flavor that I think might have been cumin. I am not a huge fan of cumin, but it seemed to work here. Buns were basic, but the slaw was crispy and pretty tasty as well. Definitely a neighborhood cafe/caterer that I hope will succeed. Their website is www.backyardbbqcompany.com.
  22. On the advice of my Vietnamese barber, who knows a thing or two about Vietnamese food, I tried Pho 495 today for lunch. Emblazoned on the menu is "Best Vietnamese Noodle Soup in Northern Virginia' (or words to that effect) and I am inclined to accept that assertion. I had the No. 1 beef combo with added meatballs, and I was very impressed. This was a deeply rich and hearty broth, easily simmered for a very long time based on how much deep flavor and complexity it displayed. It was loaded with all the basic bits and pieces -- tripe, tendon, cartilage, beef pieces and the added meatballs. I can't say that I've had any better at all the various places I've tasted pho in northern Virginia, and I'm not stretching the truth. Too bad we're nearing the kind of weather where I tend to avoid hot soups, but I know I'll be back often in the autumn, or the next time we have a raw, rainy day. 7215 Commerce Street, Springfield www.pho495.com
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