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  1. I think I found a gem! It's been a while since I last had Ethiopian cuisine. I always enjoyed it, but this joint was a cut above anything I had before. My dining partner and I must have said some variation of "wow, this is good!" twenty times last night as we dove into a platter of veggie sambusa, stuffed jalapenos (sinig), kitfo, lentils (misir wot), yellow peas (kik wot), collard greens (gomen), cabbage (tikil gomen), chickpea stew (shiro), potato stew (dinich wot), and of course plenty of injera. We found it impossible to figure out which was the weakest dish. Each ingredient in the sambusa was distinct, rather than a pasty mess as I've had elsewhere. All of the vegetable and legume preparations tasted so bright and fresh. Often with these stewed dishes, the taste and texture brings to mind a vat stewing away until it's mush. That wasn't the case here. I asked the waiter to bring out the kitfo just as he'd like it. He claimed he liked it medium rare which surprised me since I thought it was generally raw. Perhaps he had seen too many Americans send it back. Anyway, I had it medium rare and the flavors were astounding. Total damage with tax and tip was about $50 and we walked out stuffed. The service was friendly and helpful. If you look at the menu, you'll see that they serve breakfast. That'll be my next trip. Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant
  2. so, did anyone ever start a thread for Mellow Mushroom? We had a craving for pizza last night, Pete's wasn't picking up their phone, and so we bundled up and sat at the bar at Mellow. And it is, in fact, mellow. Decent beer list, TVs on but quiet, not slammed. Yes, all of the pizza names are hilarious if you're easily amused. I had the Kosmic Karma, which was a red-sauce pizza with pesto, tomato, spinach, mozz and feta-- though I had them hold the feta. The crust is brushed with dried cheese, as well. Nick had a calzone. This is not couture pizza, it's college-town pizza. Really nice bartender, and it hit the spot.
  3. I'm told this is located where The Weiner's Circle used to be in Herndon. Heard about this "Hot Chicken" place through friends. Stopped by before work and got 3 Hot Chicken Sandwiches for my coworkers and myself. We all agreed it was the best chicken sandwich we had ever had. The chicken is at 5 levels. If you order it at a 4 or 5 you have to sign a release. Don't know if that's real or theatre, but I can tell you that a level 2 heat was pretty damn hot. One of my coworkers was sweating. The sandwiches are chicken breast, toasted buns, vinegar based slaw and unbelievably tasty pickles. If I read correctly, they have Hot Chicken pieces with an emphasis on wings. They also have fried Okra that I'm going to try next time. Open weekdays 11am to 7pm.
  4. Oddly enough I guess I never added this place to DR's - if you are at the WooBoi Chicken place Weird Brothers is to the left if facing Dunkin' Donuts or coffee or whatever they are calling it now. Weird Brothers is small, only a few tables to sit at, but the coffee is great. If you want something a lot more small-town than most of the coffee shops it is a great place. They roast their coffee in plain site, and the brother who runs the place (the other is deceased) is there quite a bit. The staff friendly, and they have an assortment of pastries and sandwiches they stock from local shops. They have a NitroBrew tap as well. For the small size, the staff is pretty efficient, so if you encounter a line, it usually moves quickly. NOTE: they also sell 1lb & 5lb bags of beans or ground coffee - I buy beans and go through a lot of coffee on a weekly basis. Embrace the Dark Side is their espresso bean, and strong. The nice thing is since they roast daily, the stuff is about as fresh as you will get.
  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. Located in the Worldgate Shopping Centre, just of the Dulles Toll Road and Elden Street - Anatolian BIstro, is tucked away on the upper level close to Starbucks and Panera. Open for lunch and dinner, their menu from start to finish features authentic Turkish and Mediterranean treats. The best part is they serve Doner Kabob daily, made fresh, and when it is out, they do not have anymore that day. Interior is simple and quaint, with applicable music playing in the background. The service was excellent and quick. Their Doner Kabob is served over rice with a roasted pepper, tomato and yogurt sauce on the side. Their baklava was light and fluffy - a perfect treat at the end of a meal. Having only been her once, I will be back - if you are looking for something not typically found in this area, give it a shot.
  7. Nunu's Thai dishes located in Herndon (formerly the KMart Shopping Plaza), is new, but owner has been involved in area Thai places for many years. He will welcome you when you visit and wish you back upon departure. The food flavorful, and servers accommodate requests easily. The place is relatively small, but is usually pretty busy. They offer daily specials (lunch includes soup and a main course), for less than $15. Have been here several times and it is consistently good. When in the area and craving authentic Thai food - worth a strong consideration.
  8. Charcoal Kabob House at the KMart shopping plaza in Herndon off of Elden Street is their main location. Been there for years. They are one of the few who actually use charcoal to cook their selections. This place is great! They recently updated the interior and added nicer seats and basically updated it. Reasonably priced and great chicken, Koobideh. The restaurant is run by brothers, I think 3, who are all very gracious and appreciate your business. The sides are always good too. The consistency of the clientele is a testament to their quality and value. The shopping center has quite a bit of turnover so it is nice to see a place like this succeed for many years.
  9. The next time your always-late sister causes you to have some time to kill in the Herndon area, duck into Aditi Spice Depot on Elden Street. You'll find they have fresh curry leaves (score!) and a new idli steamer to replace your tired, post-apocalyptic stage prop that has become your old device. On the way out, ask the cashier where in Herndon is worth checking out for Indian cuisine. He'll recommend, among other places, Paradise Indian which is "just up the street" (he'll point to the left). When your sister finally arrives, and you realize the restaurant she chose is not open for lunch on Sunday, it will all be OK. You'll have a backup plan just down the street (point left). Today's expansive buffet was, at $12, a flavorful bargain. Normally not a fan of the spoon-n-go method of eating, I'd return here in a heartbeat. Exceptional flavor and freshness throughout, standouts being gobhi fry (cauliflower), goat curry, coconut chutney, lime pickle, and anything with chick peas or the exceptional house-made paneer. Numerous servers kept the buffet astutely clean and rightfully filled. Unlimited 10 ounce bottles of water seemed to be included in the price of the buffet, helpful since several dishes featured deeply spicy creations. We found the service personally attentive and friendly for a buffet. Soiled plates disappeared quickly, waters replaced rapidly, and the bag of ice I requested for the cooler in my car was met with not only a smile, but with a waterproof-wrapped version reflecting exceptional care. By the time we left around 2:00, we were the only non-Indian patrons in a very packed, very satisfied patron restaurant brimming with efficiency. From Alexandria, I'm pointing up and to the left, you should go, check it out.
  10. I went Matasuke last night for dinner with a group of friends, specifically to try their hibachi. I found the experience to be kind of meh. My whole group ordered hibachi, everyone's dish was in the 23-25 dollar range and came with soup, salad and shrimp appetizer but the fried rice was an extra 2.50. To me this felt pretty expensive for the quality of food served to us. The miso soup was heavily salty. The salad greens were wilted and limp and drowning in dressing. The brighter side the fried rice was pretty decent, as was the vegetables. The steak was cooked to perfection but my chicken was a bit on the tough side. I suppose part of the 22+ entrees goes towards the hibachi chef who was sufficiently entertaining (he did a neat trick where he flipped an egg up in the air and caught it on a the side edge of his spatula) All in all I felt that the whole thing was kind of overpriced. The service wasn't very good and they were trying to rush us all night long. I had not had hibachi in 8 years so I probably won't go back for it for another 8 or so. A coworker of mine swears by their sushi though so it might be worth others to check out that. Address: 320 23rd St S, Arlington, VA
  11. My seven year-old daughter won't eat anything "exotic" except Pad Thai, so we checked this joint out Friday night. Service was friendly, but it took a long time for our food to arrive even though the restaurant still had a few empty tables. I ordered the Spicy Beef Salad to start and the Slow-braised Pork as my entree. The salad was disappointing with its browning root ends of iceberg lettuce. I wouldn't say the beef, which I'm pretty sure was flank, was gamy, but perhaps it was a heavy hand on the fish sauce that overpowered the beef flavor. I started off enjoying the pork, but with each bite the sauce tasted sweeter and sweeter until it seemed like I could have put the sauce on some vanilla ice cream and it would have been good. Additionally, about a third of the chunks of pork were virtually all fat. The Pad Thai, however, was about as good as I've had. The noodles weren't gummy, greasy or dry, the veggies were fresh, and it had just enough of that smokiness to make it interesting. I couldn't believe how much she ate! The location of the bathroom was a little weird. You have to squeeze your way through the expediting area of the kitchen to get there. La Ong Thai Website
  12. I first heard about this vegetarian Indian restaurant back in April but never had an opportunity to check out the place until today. This place is located in Herndon off of Fairfax County Parkway. If you are on the toll road you can take the exit for Fairfax County Parkway. There was a steady stream of customers during lunch time. I decided to go with the masala dosas and channa bhatura. The dosa was spot on. Probably one of the better dosas I have had in the DMV. I was not that impressed by the Channa Bhatura. I think the version at Punjabi by Nature is better. If you are vegetarian or looking for something besides the usual kabob joints, I would give this place a look. Tim Carman of the Washington Post recently did a write up on the place. 1. Masala Dosa 2. Channa Bhatura
  13. A two-year old post on CH said Jimmy's in Herndon had poutine. Thanks, Kevin
  14. Is it possible that there's anything approaching Jin River out near Reston?
  15. Not sure if this should be its own thread or not, but the location in Herndon is now this: http://www.pieroscorner.com/. "Piero's Corner." The fried calamari used more of the whole body of the squid, rather than the ubiquitous evenly-sized rings, and the marinara sauce was surprisingly spicy (in a good way). The chicken parm was artfully presented, and used full, thick, and juicy breasts rather than pounded cutlets. The red sauce on the pasta was garlicky and bright. I got the "valtellina" pizza: speck, tomato, mascarpone, and arugula. The flavors were incredible: the tomato sauce was deep, and rich, and earthy, and savory. The mascarpone was creamy, but neither overwhelmed nor soggified the pizza. The crust on the other hand was abysmal. It was soft, and flavorless, and utterly unworthy of its toppings. I'd venture to say it was undercooked, but really I think it was just cooked at too low of a temperature. They advertise "brick oven," which to me implies 600-900 degrees, but this couldn't have been cooked at higher than 400: the top was barely browned, and the bottom had absolutely zero structure. The pedigree on the chef is impressive: he's actually Italian, spent time with Roberto Donna, helmed the Morrison House... The impression I got from this place was that there were little hints of a really good chef, but he's too constrained in conforming to strip-mall, suburban Italian to truly do anything great and has lost his passion. I'm not saying he needs to start serving octopus with lychee foam and sous vide heirloom plaintains, just that he has a prime chance to elevate those "strip mall classics" to something better. Also, according to their website, the pizzas use "Sam Marzano" [sic] tomatoes. I'm not sure who this Sam guy is, but...
  16. I was driving in unfamiliar territory today, and decided I'd go random ethnic. It's too bad I did, because there's apparently this website called donrockwell.com that has favorably reviewed a restaurant called Hyderabadi Biryani Corner which I literally walked right by, looked at the menu, and then continued two doors down to Chutneys Vegetarian. It was biryani versus dosa, and I was in the mood for healthy and vegetarian, so I went to Chutneys. Let me come right out and say that this place is a *dive*, and if you have any problems with perceived hygiene in restaurants, this is not the place for you (I suspect some of our members have been here before, and will confirm my claim). However, it had a standard, if small, menu of Southern Indian specialties, including numerous types of dosa. It's been months since I've been to Woodlands, and the thought of a wheat-based dosa really appealed to me. I had just gotten some cardio, so a Mango Lassi ($1.99) went down like amrit (oops, wrong part of the country). And I got my standard dosa which I invariably get at Woodlands, the Rava Onion Masala Dosa ($7.49). The good news: the cook is a girl on a flat-top grill, and she made the dosa about as well as she could have made it - the crèpe itself was perfect, it was huge, and it looked just right from the outside. The bad news: the three chutneys it came with got a fingertip-dip only, and the sambar tasted like it came straight out of a can. There's more bad news: the inside of the dosa was *laden* with green chilis - too many, and I'm just not used to this many Scoville heat units; the turmeric potatoes, however, were fine, and there were lots of them - it was a huge dosa, both inside and out. For whatever reason, the bill was only $9 (the minimum amount for Visa is $10, but they let me use it anyway so I left a generous tip). You know, if you're in Herndon, and you're dying for Southern Indian, I'm not going to tell you to drive to Fairfax for Woodlands, but I will finish by saying that I kept a close eye throughout my meal for any unwelcome "visitors" (there were none), but my goodness this place is dirty - I would not have ordered anything meat-based. I tagged this thread "Hindu Catering" because the menu literally says, "We cater for Hindu religious and social events."
  17. When we moved from Arlington to Herndon, I was afraid my wife's heart would break from losing Me Jana/Lebanese Taverna market and the other local places to get a quick shot of shawarma when needed. In one of Herndon's many strip malls of ethnic delights on Elden (this one has four Indian places of various styles and regions, a halal grocery store, a Russian deli, a German place where the owner's Thai wife snuck some things on the menu) is Granada Cafe, which beyond doing excellent Lebanese staples such as shawarma/fettoush/kibbeh etc. has some Syrian and Iraqi dishes, including something which I never thought I'd see outside of Iraq, the delectable sammoun. Sammoun is a soft sandwich loaf that defies easy description. It's shaped like a baguette truncated into a crescent-roll shape, very soft with a hint of sweetness. If you've only ever had pita and lavash, sammoun is eye-opening. The Granada Sandwich (tender beef strips, pickled beets and carrots, marinated eggplant, and a touch of curry) comes stuffed in a sammoun, as does their version of shish tawook, which is like a yankee bbq sandwich because it takes a perfectly good bit of bread, meat, and sauce and then throws coleslaw in it. All the breads are fresh-baked in their brick oven and any sandwich can come on sammoun for an extra dollar, I believe. They also bake Turkish pide in this oven, though I haven't tried one. They do a fairly steady business for lunch, but I've never seen them busy for dinner outside of Ramadan. They have an impressive dessert case from the bakery side of the house - different strains of baklawa, bird's nests, knafeh, etc. So far I've only been disappointed with the meat and cheese fetayer - it's possible that they're not getting the turnover they need, so they end up a little dry; otherwise, this is a great chance for fans of Middle Eastern food to try something new.
  18. We had a delicious supper at Uptown in the K-mart plaza yesterday! This place is very unique and different for a pizza place which has a fancy ordering computer where you touch the screen to select what you want and what quantity or type. No "sit down style" waitress/waiter service when we were there. You order and they bring the food to your table and you get your own utensils, papergoods and drinks. We just wanted a quick supper We shared the New Yorker Pizza Medium (and took some home) I ordered Lobster Ravioli, hubby spaghetti and meatballs and we both ordered cannoli's for dessert. The pizza was very tasty and made almost to "bronx or NY perfection" and the cannolis were the best I've had since 1978 with an exception being a small place on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx in a real "Italian bakery". The food overall was not disappointing considering it is in a strip mall and more of a help yourself restaurant... and it was very empty but nice and clean and had alot of black and white photo's scattered throughout. It is very unique and definitely worth the trip. I've heard that if they were in DC they would be on par with 2 Amys. The lowdown information: Uptown Brick Oven Pizza 470 Elden St Herndon, VA 20170 (703) 230-0005 www.uptownbrickpizza.com Bring an appetite
  19. Check out Sorrento Grill on Waxpool Rd. Despite the name, it's not Italian. It's more of a pan-mediterranean kind of place. The food is good and fresh and pretty cheap.
  20. John who owns Herndon Plumbing is a Master plumber. His family has been in the business since the late 1950's. I cannot rave enough about him. Unfortunately, we have needed him a half dozen times over the past five or so years. But he has also done a great deal of work in our neighborhood for a long time and is known well. In our case it has not just been a clogged drain. We have had a pinhole leak (which can mean breaking through drywall to get to it), water pipes underneath the ground and pipes in the wall in our bathroom (behind marble which he was able to reach without having to break the tiles). To say that he is knowledgeable is an understatement. Included in his repertoire is a sewer video camera. In truth he is old school with a very small company and it is probably going to be him who does the work. I'll also note that he is not inexpensive but the work will be correctly diagnosed and it will be done right. To be honest most of the jobs we know of John having done are much larger but I want to mention him for anyone that may need a seriously good Master plumber in the future. Especially in a more complicated job. We trust him. Joe Heflin
  21. This nondescript storefront, next to a Goodwill store, sits in the armpit of a Herndon shopping center. We stopped in tonight, partly because we were starved, partly because everyone of the 20+ seats was filled at 10:00PM. We spent ten minutes reading the menu which, while in English, had very little meaning to us. Finally, I told the person behind the counter I was adventurous and loved "flavor." He asked me if I was "used to" hot food? I said a manly "yes" and asked what he thought we should order which would be a good representative of Hyderabad Indian cuisine. He suggested the vegetarian methi paneer, shrimp Chettinad, garlic nan and, for my wife who was leery of everything I was trying to talk her into, tikka masala. I must mention here that I have eaten my way through the U. K. Many times. I once had dinner three nights in a row at Akbar's in Manchester, sharing the third night with the owner of Blackpool Pleasure Beach while her Bentley was parked outside waiting for us. I've also been fortunate to experience Vineet Bhatia both when he was at Zaika and later in his own two Michelin star restaurant. I can't begin to count the other dives, storefronts and white table cloth restaurants I've experienced in London and Manchester, certainly including what were suppose to be their best. Some of Hyderabadi Biryani Corner, amazingly, approaches this level of excellence. It is also among the most explosively incendiary food I have ever eaten in my life-yet worth my blistering breath. The garlic naan is the equal of any I have ever had. Chettinad is a complex curry with layers of flavor. And, the methi paneer worth crossing the Potomac river to try. Actually, it may be worth crossing the Atlantic ocean also. A Herndon storefront. When you graduate from Rasika and want to know where to go...
  22. I had a good soup for lunch today at SBC Cafe. I would have sworn there was a topic on SBC Cafe around here somewhere, but that must have been in a previous life. So I'll bring things up to speed so my post has a little substance and to "expand the literature" on SBC. This little spot in a strip mall in Herndon got a bit of attention a few years back, early in its life after a rave from Sietsema and has been a favorite stop of mine for a nice lunch. When the owners left to open 21 P, they sold SBC along with the recipes. The new owners have done a lot of work sprucing the spartan interior up (new flooring and tile work and chairs and tables and pictures on the wall) and have done a good job keeping the spirit and quality consistent, although the service is a little overwhelmed at times these days. I'm a big fan of their soups - the regulars are Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper, Gumbo and Conch Chowder. Only once that I can remember have I ventured into their soup of the day and found it to be less than good (a gummy, over floured cream of mushroom). Today's special was Cream of Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Bean. A mellow cheese soup on one side of the bowl and a contrasting (in both appearance and flavor) earthy black bean on the other side (they do this same trick with the roasted pepper soups). Both were good on their own, but together the slight heat from the pepper jack cheese perked up the bean side and the texture of the bean soup eased back the richness of the cheese side. One of the best soups I've had in recent memory.
  23. Euro Bistro is on Elden which is basically Baron Cameron as it goes into Herndon for those who are newer to the area, like I am! Jeff and I went to supper here tonight and had many delicious tasting dishes. We started with a nice shrimp bisque each - it only needed fresh pepper but since none was offered we used the table pepper, it tasted perfect after that. Next we shared a nicely presented goat cheese and proscuitto plate and some hot bread. We had some soft drinks, but they have an extensive wine/beer list. Then we ordered the main course hubby got one type of veal dish which was called Z-something... and I got another one that had heavy cream and mushrooms and bits of cooked bacon, a "heart doctor's delight"! Then we got dessert, mine was a tasty hot apple streudel w/vanilla bean ice cream. He got the bread pudding. Both were presented beautifully as well and tasted very good. The price w/tip was under $75.00 for all that which included soups, appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 desserts and half a dozen drinks. The service was pretty good, but could be a bit better. It's funny the other day we felt a restaurant was too attentive, I guess I am too picky. http://donrockwell.com/public/style_emoticons/#EMO_DIR#/tongue.gif
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