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  1. Sounds like part of Ardeo+Bardeo will be re-vamped into Bindaas, an Indian street food restaurant with Vikram Sunderam overseeing the food: "Rasika Chef Vikran Sunderam to Oversee Upcoming Indian Street-Food Restaurant" by Becky Krystal on washingtonpost.com At 50 seats, I'm assuming the smaller side space that used to be Bardeo will become Bindaas. Targeted opening early August, but you know how that goes. According to the article, Ardeo+Bardeo will continue with a dining room and the upstairs patio.
  2. Tapas are also very good at Taberna del Alabardero. I was there a few nights ago again. The tapas still stand strong, although they aren't much better than Jaleo's and cost slightly more per plate (unless you get there for half price tapas between 3 and 5 p.m. weekdays, I think). The wine by the glass and the sangria were outstanding values (and not many over $10 a glass).
  3. http://www.bubandpops.com/Home_Page.php I hadn't realized this spot opened in February. I had the chance to drop in for a quick bite last month and was pleased...though I don't want to go too often as the kettle chips are very tempting and quite good. The day I stopped in I had a Turkey sub, and I loved it as it was shaved thinly, and roasted fresh. Wisely they have the chips on the counter for samples. Wise for them, unwise for me! I bought them and immediately put them in the kitchen when I returned to work so others would eat the majority. It is a family run operation, and it shows. They are extremely friendly and will chat with you if they are slow and you have the time. Nice to have a non-chain, family restaurant in the franchise-heavy golden triangle. Mr. S went on a different day and tried the brisket and said it was delicious. The menu has lots of appealing items, but almost all are off limits for me due to allergies. I do hope others will go and report back on the rest of the menu as I think this type of place can easily be missed. (like all their home-made pickles and roast pork sammies) It's in an English Basement and difficult to see from the road. They're also aiming to catch the late-night crowd as they are open 'til 3am.
  4. For your next challenge, you need to plunge into the raw bar at the Old Ebbitt. Half price from 3-5 and 11-1.
  5. I can't find an existing thread. If there is one, please merge. I did not go here, but my wife did, for lunch. Here's what she said 'And I had an absolutely AMAZEBALLS lunch today. AMAZEBALLS. Did you see the picture I texted you? It was horribly expensive for lunch though. But daaaaaamn!' You have to understand, she's in publications and just doesn't talk like this. Apparently, it was a really good lunch.
  6. I was invited for dinner at Sichuan Pavillion couple nights ago. Prior to my visit, I searched on the web to check out some reviews...there was almost none. Despite the fact that I probably passed by the restaurant thousands of times, it never struck me to check it out. The restaurant has a "traditional chinese/sichuan" menu on the last page of menu...the remaining of the menu is what you would see at a typical Chinese-American take out joint. We ordered from the traditional menu and we were pleasantly suprised at the authenticity of the dishes. We ordered the husband and wife beef tendon/tripe appetizer, sweet and sour cabbage, ma po tofu, steamed flounder, noodles with meat sauce (chinese take of spaghetti bolognese), chicken with dried red peppers, steam beef with red sauce and sauteed pea shoots. All of the sichuan dishes definitely had a kick and numbing sensation. Compared to Peter Chang, I would rank it lower but compared to Hong Kong Palace, the Szhechuan place on 14th Street and China Star, Sichuan Pavillion fared better. Can't wait to try out more dishes with a larger group.
  7. From the sounds of things, it seems that Little Sesame is a separate entity getting its start in DGS's lower-level, with a common co-owner in Nick Wiseman. Thus, it will also get its own thread. Congratulations to the whole team, Nick, Robin, and everyone else - please stay active here and let us know when you expand beyond lunch, get a beer and wine license, open another location, etc. All these pop-ups and restaurants within restaurant are parallel to recent college graduates living with mom and dad for a couple of years because they can't afford to pay rent (heck, I did it for a year - I think it's a great idea, and it can even bring the family closer together).
  8. I had a stellar dinner at the Rib tonight. It is comforting to go to a place that has knowledgeable staff. From the bar to the dining room, nothing could be faulted. The place looks great, the ambience perfect. This is a grown-up restaurant. That means coat and tie. I had a perfect lobster bisque. The crab imperial is all lump crab. The prime rib I had was indeed the best rib I've ever eaten. Tender, flavorful, ample. Why no buzz about this place? I don't eat there often enough.
  9. How about Equinox? Who has been there and what were your thoughts? I have searched this forum and haven't seen mention of it.
  10. I did a search and couldn't find anything on Tio Pepe's. This is a Spanish Restaurant in Baltimore that was amazing the two times I have been there. The first time there, my wife had a special with scallops and a lemon wine butter sauce. The scallops were the best I have ever had ... melted in my mouth and the flavor was amazing. I had a dish called the 3 Amigos which was lamb beef and pork (either pork or chicken ... I forget) and it was really good. The second time there I was with a group of people and we ordered fish that was filleted table side. The presentation was wonderful and the flavor amazing. The sangria was also a definite hit ... in their pitchers with the fresh fruit. Has anyone else happened upon this restaurant? If so ... which dishes were great and which ones should be avoided?
  11. A new year brings new openings. Hung Liu In Print "Hung Liu In Print invites viewers to explore the relationship between the artist’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. To make her prints, Liu (b.1948) uses an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color, and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Describing printmaking as “poetry,” she emphasizes the spontaneity of the layering process, which allows each image to build organically with each successive layer. Before immigrating to California in 1984, Liu grew up during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, where she worked alongside fieldworkers and trained as a painter. Adapting figures from historical Chinese photographs, Liu reimagines antique depictions of laborers, refugees, and prostitutes. Her multifaceted oeuvre probes the human condition and confronts issues of culture, identity, and personal and national history. Best known as a painter, Liu ably translates the “weeping realism” that characterizes her canvases into the medium of prints. This focus exhibition highlights selected prints from the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as the artist’s related tapestry designs."
  12. Surprised there hasn't been discussion of Batali's extravagant new venture - Eataly. I'm going to be in NYC next week and it'll be hard not to give this place a visit. This is so over the top but the success of the one in Venice makes one think this could actually work.
  13. Locavino, from the management team behind Adega Wine Cellars in Downtown Silver Spring, will be opening in former Adega space: https://www.sourceofthespring.com/business/adega-wine-veterans-take-over-space-will-open-new-cafe/
  14. Prince of Petworth on the receiving end of another game of telephone regarding rumors on Joe's Stone Crab coming to DC. (The typo in the title of that post and the subsequent comments are comedy gold). If true this is pretty awesome. We've resorted to next day FedEx of a few dozen claws when we get the hankering when stone crabs are in season. With shipping it ends up being about what you would pay at retail, but any time I've found them in this market they have been less than fresh. If there was a place I could plop down at the bar and get a half dozen or do when the urge hits ... sweet.
  15. Better late than never. M.E. Swings is a true DC area coffee pioneer, having been founded here in 1916. Long roasting downtown and a major presence through the roaring 20s and WWII, the company has a wonderfully rich history and commitment to our region. In 2006, the last generation of the founding family relinquished control and sold to a non-family buyer. Today, the company roasts in Alexandria and operates a single retail shop just east of the World Bank across from the Old Executive Office Building. I tend to think of Swings with respect for its history but, sadly, not with a lot of enthusiasm for its product. Very important to fess up that I have not visited the downtown shop but will very soon. So why a dour view of the product? I've had Swings coffee many times in restaurants and, at least a few times, in homes where they'd bought the beans. Based on those experiences, I can say that the flavors weren't vibrant, rich or especially complex and that I didn't so much enjoy them. This was a consistent view. While true that home and restaurant brewed coffee can suffer from all kinds of equipment and technique issues, I think I've had it enough in situations where I had good visibility to the brew method, bean freshness and equipment used with still the same impression. We know a few more things about Swings that support a view that the company has fallen behind a booming coffee scene increasingly dominated by great independent shops focused on new approaches, freshness and the highest quality single origin beans. First, Swings simply doesn't have the focus that the great independents here do. They have a healthy wholesale business not just with restaurants but also with grocery stores ranging from Safeway to Whole Foods. Large batch commercial roasting though they do use Probats in Alexandria which tend to be fine roasting machines. Second, their known practices aren't quite up to modern standards. They routinely sell beans that were roasted months (as many as 6) before; just not a timeline for great coffee as discussed on many other threads. They also tend to emphasize blends. Blends can be fine or even wonderful but an emphasis on those at the expense of single origin beans often illustrates a roaster not emphasizing freshness and the highest quality arabica beans. Finally, I know a couple of local restaurants (which shall remain unnamed) that have switched or are in the process of switching from Swings because they feel the coffee isn't helping them with their customers. It doesn't get a lot of raves or positive feedback. Again, true that restaurants muck up coffee all the time but the better coffee roasters work with their restaurant partners to ensure that doesn't happen. This is why you can get a very good or excellent cup at places like Eve, Society Fair, NRG's restaurants (Birch & Barley, Evening Star, Buzz), R24 or Woodberry Kitchen. As a coffee hound, I'd love to see one of the old line locals really up their game. This applies to three roasters primarily: Swings, Quartermaine and Mayorga. But I fear these companies long ago decided that quantity was the path to success versus the harder slog to ensure great quality. I will visit the shop--they may be using fresher beans there than available elsewhere; I'm not sure. But based on what I have experienced so far and know, Swings isn't close to the same level of the fast growing number of super local retailers and roasters we've written about in many other threads.
  16. “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” –Come on, ya’ll, every one of you knows who said this 🙂 “Tell me who you hire, and I will tell you who you are.” -KMango Just a quick shout out, and a bit of head shaking, to Amy Brandwein. Stuck in CityCenter for almost three months, I practically lived at Piccolina. I darted in for morning coffee, grabbed late afternoon snacks, and took out several evening dinners. You name it, I inhaled it. Which is where the head shaking comes in. I probably negated a lot of cold weather workouts via my jaunts into the blissfully aromatic, fire-warmed cafe. Without exception, the ingredient quality and immense satisfaction of each dish delivered. Of special note were command performances of eggplant Parmesan, lamb sausage scacce, and turmeric roasted carrots with yogurt. Deliciousness can be found at many DC haunts. However, the staff here appear to love what they do, enjoy each other, deeply care for their customers, and demonstrate immense pride in their products. I wound up chatting with several employees on random occasions, various mornings and evenings. They all spoke favorably of hard work, reflecting their ethic. Their eyes lit up when describing the day’s offerings. A few times while I awaited my order, Amy walked in to check on stock or pick up an item for Centrolina. Each time, the staff treated her with genuine warmth and admiration. She returned it, joking around or expressing gratitude. As I have observed elsewhere, once “the boss” leaves the room, that marks the arrival of rolled eyes or negative comments. But each time she left, deep smiles remained, everyone seemed elevated and boosted from the exchange. Amy has created an achievement beyond measure. She has connected great people with great food and is hiring for fit. Despite the stresses of a fast-paced, top-quality culinary production, she creates a respectful, meaningful and fun place to work. She demonstrates character, values, and integrity in action. Brava, Amy, Brava. And please, please keep me away from those chocolate crackle cookies.
  17. I feel like I am on a mission to find really good, fast, and tasty lunch places while working downtown near Metro Center for this month. Today's find was based on a recent post for quick lunch ideas near Metro Center (see post #12 for original suggestion), specifically, a recommendation for Mayur Kabab House. Having driven past there numerous times, but not brave enough to go in until today, I was quite pleased with the results. For lunch, the best option is their Lunch Buffet for $8.00 (tax included). The buffet, which can be dine-in or carry out (I chose the latter) includes four vegetable dishes, chicken curry (bone-in), chicken kabab (also bone-in) and rice and baked naan. The portions were HUGE, to the extent that I now have dinner too. The vegetable dishes for today were: daal, paneer with peas, an eggplant dish, and a cauliflower dish. The eggplant was very soft and flavorful and the chicken kabob and curry chicken both very moist and not dried out from the burners. Would definitely go back.
  18. I'm amazed that there's still no thread for Fig & Olive, a week after opening! Well, time to correct that. I can report that their second public evening, June 26, was a huge success--in contrast to Space-X's Falcon 9 launch that morning. My wife made a reservation for us a few weeks in advance. Good thing, because our excellent bartender, Carlos, informed us that they had 500 reservations on opening night the day prior, and the place was nearly full at 6:30pm despite some of the most torrential rains I've seen in a while. For a few more days they open a 4pm daily, but soon they'll be open for lunch--I think starting July 6. Background: You can read about the restaurant group's concept on it's website, but in short it's "Mediterranean cuisine" and features, fresh, seasonal ingredients and olive oil cooking. The menu has dishes inspired by Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on. They make a point that they don't use butter in the kitchen (except for a puffed pastry dessert). They focus on fresh ingredients and slowing things down. To that end, there's a liberal array of pillows and comfy chairs and couches set up for dining on the first floor, in addition to the main bar. They also pointed out power strips under the bar, saying it's to encourage getting some work done (likely not during happy hour!). There's a patio dining area, which is on the Palmer Way and is shielded from main streets by the City Center buildings. On the second floor is a more traditional dining setup, with pillows and a second bar. The decor reminds me of upscale Pottery Barn, but not in a bad way. There's also a private dining room, where Ashton Carter and wife (and security) enjoyed an early dinner before we spotted them on the way out. Bar: The bar service is fantastic. Crostini! Ok, couldn't write any more without saying it. There about 10 crostini options, available in 3 or 6-piece orders. They are hands down the best crostini I've ever had anywhere. I would eat 3 or 6 of every one I tasted. We spit 6, asking for chef's choice (as long as we got the Burrata). Each one comes on a toasted piece focaccia about 3x1.5" and nearly .25" thick. You can cut most in half to share. One of the most interesting was "heirloom carrot, shaved thinly, with spicy charmoula and tapenade. Amazing. So was the Burrata, Prosciutto, Pata Negra, Shrimp & Avocado, and others. Carlos told us the staff had been training for about 2 months, and he was familiar with all the menu items which we asked about. I enjoyed a seasonal cocktail which started with muddled celery & arugula, added lemon juice, rum and fresh pepper. Very refreshing. My wife enjoyed Champagne. They have four beers on tap, one of which is Port City Optimal Wit. Kudos to Bill Butcher for landing that. Dinner: When we sat for dinner we had attentive, competent, knowledgeable service. The "spring" menu is great, front and back. I had the Paella del Mar (looks smallish, but filling and delish), others had Chilean Sea Bass (marinated w/ lemon thyme, carrot, asparagus, celery root purée, roasted potato, charmoula mascarpone harissa olive oil emulsion) and Truffle Risotto. The Sea Bass was probably the best. The presentation of Rosemary Lamb Chops is notable. They arrive sliced on a plate under glass, which is then removed to great fanfare, allowing the aromas and some steam to escape. Focaccia bread is served with dinner, accompanied by three olive oils: a Spanish, an Italian, and a Greek-style (which is actually from California), all available for purchase. Wines: You can review the list here. By the glass feature mostly European wines with a few from CA. Oddly, the upstairs bar was adorned with quite a few bottles of Dom Pérignon. A DP Rosé (2003) is available for $625. Desert: I can only remark on the Caramelized Apple Tart; it was very good but merits no more discussion. My only complaint was that the coffee (normalé) was marginally warm. A refill was so tepid I asked for fresh, which was soon brewed. Still not as hot as I'd expect but ok. Espresso-drinks are prepared in the largest Nespresso machine I've ever seen, by the upstairs bar. I would normally scoff at this, but I recently read coffee uber-brain James Hoffman's piece on how specialty coffee can no longer just scoff at Nespresso. So it was interesting to see that kind of equipment in a place like Fig & Olive. Final notes: All in all, this is a different experience from most DC dining. We had a great time and plan to return soon. My main concern now is getting a reservation. When I need to write at some point in the future, I look forward to hangin' at the bar writing with a Manhattan, rather than a latte in a coffee house. Another interesting note on atmosphere: a DJ begins spinning tunes in the lounge about 8pm. Very tasteful and cool vibe. The music doesn't intrude into the upstairs.
  19. So...based on this review it sound like Oval Room is deserving of its own thread. Anybody besides Waitman and Mrs. B been since Chef Secich took the helm?
  20. Anyone been yet? I know they are only open for lunch so far, but the initial buzz seems quite good. I was never in doubt of course, but I think this could be something really special. We have ressies for the middle of next month for dinner, so I will be sure to report back but just curious to see if anyone has been there yet. Also....thoughts on parking? Mirabelle
  21. i searched and to no avail, much to my chagrinning consternation. or perhaps my grasp of operating machinery lacks something, a certain finesse, predictedly ending in, how the french say, a certain cul de sac. enough of this tomfoolery. if for no other reason, go to tosca and order the tomato marmelade tart with ricotta basil gelato and basil syrup. the disc of pastry, baked to a golden hue recalling the skin tones of the snug decaying descendents of aristocrats who play their life away beneath the long dead still mediterreanean sun in nice and monaco, crackles at the slightest pressure, as your fork oozes through the tranquil carmine pond of tomato marmelade, marmelade whose very flavor completely obfuscates the taste buds: it is sweet, yes, but not sugar sweet, but still not raw sliced tomate sweet and anything but acidic; the verdant quenelle of gelato haunts with ricotta's fresh whey-ness yet tempers the aggressive and volatile source of this faintly sweet soft emerald gem, the basil. it is like no dessert and yet, it is the apotheosis of simple desserts: seasonal fruit tart, with an appropiate accoutrementing creaminess. ive not had my fix this year and this changes. this changes tonight. you owe it to yourself to have this dessert. really you do.
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