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Found 15 results

  1. Don, Not sure if you'd prefer to place this in the former "Family Meal" thread, but I didn't find another thread for Aggio in Ashburn. I've been to Aggio three times now. We first visited before we moved to Ashburn, and I thought it would be fun to check the place out. We sat next to the open kitchen to celebrate a birthday. Everything was great, but the place was empty and the service was a bit off. Oddly enough, there was little interaction with the chefs despite the fact the place was nearly empty. We moved to Ashburn in July, and our second visit was a couple of of weeks ago. Here's what I posted to yelp (hoping to give a little boost to their business). I'm finally getting around to providing a mention here, in hopes that some of Rock's readers will give it a try. **************************** If you enjoy fresh house-made pasta and delicious drinks that are fairly priced, do yourself a favor and go to Aggio. The food certainly stands up to some of the best in the DC metro area, and the prices make the establishment an absolute bargain. Our server was excellent, and she was friendly and attentive during the entire meal. We enjoyed a couple of wonderful cocktails, that thanks to happy hour pricing they were also an incredible value. All drinks are half price during happy hour. $4.50 for a well-made boulevardier? Yes, please. The warm focaccia arrived with whipped ricotta with accented with lemon zest and pepper, as well as a whipped mortadella spread that was plated on a *pesto reduction. Both were wonderful. We chose the Burrata and the Brussels for appetizers. Both were delicious; the burrata dish featured beautiful and tasty heirloom tomatoes, and interestingly was topped with olive oil "soil". We both ordered pasta for our entrees; the Cacio e Pepe was a creamy, silky version topped with a 63 degree egg (think lightly cooked yolk). (No picture of that dish) The lasagna consisted of several layers of tender pasta that was crisp around the edges, and enveloping an incredible lamb bolognese. The dish was both light and rich and rich at the same time, and its certainly one of the best versions of lasagna I've tasted. ******************************************** We paid another visit a week later, and the food remained excellent. I enjoyed a short rib dish, served with fresh corn polenta, glazed carrots, and gremolata, that was superb. It had an interesting texture--very similar to pastrami-but the flavor was rich and the meat was tender. I asked about the preparation, and was told that the beef is marinated and then prepared sous-vide. We ordered a goat cheese ravioli that was described as "Ravioli, goat cheese, garlic scapes, corn" but when the dish arrived, it was prepared much differently, and served with roasted beets. Hmmm. During this visit, our server was pleasant and worked hard, but it was very apparent she had not received nearly enough training. I'm not saying this to be harsh, but she knew almost nothing about the menu, and didn't know anything about wine basics. Fortunately, the manager, who we thought was just the bartender, visited our table when we asked about wine pairings. He recommended a red for the ravioli, which I thought was odd until he explained the change to the preparation. As it turns out, he has worked with Voltaggio for some time, and he had been brought in to help with the front of the house. I realize Ashburn does not have the server "bench" that's available to DC restaurants, but I really hope Aggio will devote some time to improving the service by educating their staff about the basics. They made changes to simplify their menu, so it certainly appears they are making changes to drive their business. Prices are reasonable, and I don't know of another place in this area that features homemade pasta.
  2. It is truly amazing how much the area of S. Van Dorn Street, S. Pickett Street, and Edsall Road - all part of Alexandria near the Van Dorn Street Metro station - has been built up in the past few years - I had absolutely no idea a Red Lobster had opened up on S. Van Dorn Street, which shows just how long it has been since I've been here. In one of the self-contained complexes rests the Portner Brewhouse, opened by the descendents of Robert Portner. Having tried three different beers here, I wish I could say that the beer lived up to the romance, but both the atmosphere - which is cold and corporate-feeling (this brewery was obviously very well-funded) - and more importantly, the beers themselves, looked and tasted full-on industrial, even though the fermentation tanks are easily seen through windows behind the bar. I wanted to try the house staples and standards, so my friend and I had the following (we arrived during Social Hour, so prices were a dollar off): Hoffbrau Pilsner (20-ounce draft, $5) - despite it's 5.9% ABV, this was a glass of generic nothingness. Vienna Cabinet Lager (16-ounce draft, $4) - the word "copper" in the menu description caught my eye, as this is often a sign of an Amber Ale, a Scotch Ale, or a Red Ale - at 5% ABV, this was marginally my favorite beer of the three, (remember, my palate has a preference for malt over most hops), but I wouldn't return just for this. My friend didn't care for either beer, so I was "forced" to drink the above two - however, the words "orange peel" and "coriander" intrigued her enough to try this: Jaxson's Wheat (16-ounce draft, $4.25) - cloudy, and with more citrus and resin than the first two beers, but still with a palate presence of Anywheat from the grocery store. The problem with all three beers is that there was very little nose, virtually no depth, and a clipped finish - this was a forgettable experience in a forgettable atmosphere that felt like something you'd find inside a shopping mall. If I lived here, then maybe, but I just can't see making an effort, and I'm really sorry to say this, too, as this is the type of place I pull for.
  3. The somewhat, erm, "unkempt" Happy Family closed, and the space is now a sparkling clean Silk Road - a somewhat more interesting pillbox of a restaurant. Make sure to look under "Chef's Specialties" if you visit their website. I thought sure I wrote about Happy Family once, but I can't find it anywhere. Silk Road is directly across Route 29 from Ramen Factory 42.
  4. Well, this is awkward. I walked by Kitty's Saloon yesterday, only to see it had closed, and just now found out it closed back in September. A friend of mine liked the place to get a burger and watch a game, so while it wasn't my first choice, it certainly wasn't my last choice, either. It was a four year run. They called themselves "contemporary redneck" but I can't for the life of me recall any memorable dishes. Ah, whiskey. It was a clean and comfortable space, a bit rustic. I understand there were some code issues, but they were not apparent to me.
  5. I'm surprised Brinkley's in Falls Church wasn't mentioned on here unless I didn't see it?
  6. ... and so are its archives: https://assets.dnainfo.com/message.html And so goes a treasure trove of local journalism, including my own limited and mediocre first attempts to write about food. A no-prize to the person who can find my post about Don on the Wayback Machine. The high point of my public-facing writing "career"!
  7. One less BBQ option in the DMV: Lincoln's Bar-B-Que in Silver Spring has closed: "Lincoln's Bar-B-Que Has Closed" by David Lay on sourceofthespring.com
  8. There may be some major news coming out tomorrow afternoon at L'Academie de Cuisine. Francois Dionot has called a mandatory meeting for the entire staff tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 PM, with almost no information being handed out in advance. Rumors are swirling, but right now, they remain unsubstantiated - people fear the worst in situations such as this, which is understandable.
  9. Driving by this morning, Meat In A Box is gone. There is a place called Kabob[olo]gy in it's place and the signage says "Mediterranean cuisine." I have no idea if it's a rebranded operation from the Meat folks or if there is a completely new regime/chef in place. And the Smashburger has closed.
  10. Cafe Kimchi has closed. The space is now open under (I believe) different ownership with a new name and prettier look. The new restaurant is Torai, which serves Korean and Japanese food. Yelp link (obligatory "Sorry, Don.") Someone I know who lives nearby told me about the change and said that the food is quite good and a step up from Cafe Kimchi. I have not been in to eat here yet and, for that matter, only got food at Cafe Kimchi once. I forget what it was but it wasn't something that traveled too well. Given the small space, takeout probably remains the best option here, though there is some seating. The space is at 751 8th Street, SE, next to District Doughnuts.
  11. I'm not sure when Sol y Mar closed, but Gisele's Creole Cuisine, a Haitian place, has apparently opened in the Royal Mile space per Robert Dyer's blog.
  12. Old Arlington Grill - which is on the opposite side of the entrance to Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse as the underrated Mazagan, is closed, and there's a banner up for a new restaurant which is coming. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the restaurant (it caught me off-guard), but it's something ethnic - maybe Thai. If anyone is driving by on Columbia Pike, take a peak at the sign and let us know?
  13. Mar 14, 2017 - "Bel-Loc Diner To Close March 26 after 53 Years" by Rachael Pacella on baltimoresun.com Note: Bel-Loc Diner has taken its place on the "Oldest Restaurants in the Baltimore and Annapolis Area" list.