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Found 60 results

  1. Last night, six of us ate and drank our way through much of the menu at the Black Squirrel, drawn by the promise of Tuesday's half-off-all-food deal and the hope that we could add a new spot to our list of places to eat in Adams Morgan. I think they've been open six weeks and I hope that, in another six weeks, things will be humming. Last night, things were not humming. The place felt a little schizophrenic -- cheery red walls and dark wood, one or two extra televisions, a funky tree trunk table in the window... Sports bar? Bistro? What's going on? The menu was similarly discombobulated -- chicken wings, burgers, fried calamari, duck spring rolls, artisinal cheese and charcuterie plate, fried chicken, leg of lamb... What? The service, however, was one note -- brutal. The front of the house went down in flames last night. They were more than overwhelmed by the number of people pouring in. It clearly wasn't due to anything but bad planning and a new restaurant. There were coverage problems -- there seemed to be two managers, two runners/kitchen staff, and one waitress working what must have been her third shift. There were delivery problems -- we didn't order that. There were checkout problems -- there are people packed in at the bar, staring at us to leave, and we couldn't get a check. They really need a strong manager to institute some protocols, carve out responsibilities and figure out how to staff that place. The beer... The beer list was good. There were eight or nine taps, including two house beers which I assume are Old Dominion, a Redhook and Czekvar (spelling?) and maybe a Belgian too, along with 60 or so bottles. The food... the food was not very good. The universal comment was "I guess this is worth $10, but it's certainly not worth $20," referencing the fact that our $20 entrees were $10 on Tuesdays. - the chicken wings were typical small, gnarled, Pizza Mart delivery with Franks-based sauce. Eh. - the duck spring roll was a 2" diameter fried tube stuffed with greasy duck, cabbage and raisins. Eh. - the Tomato/Basil/Mozzarella salad was, you know, fine. Creamy fresh cheese, March tomatoes, fine balsamic. - the Fried Chicken was panko-crusted, which was a little strange, but it was juicy and good. The collards were bitter and the side of mac-n-cheese was very runny, with gruyere that made it a little pungent/bitey, for my taste. - The rib portions appeared small and and were described as unremarkable, but I did not sample them. - The lamb shank was the star of the meal -- everyone who tasted it (not me) reported it was the best thing they'd put in their mouths. The burger did look tasty, but, again, not first hand account. My overall impression was that this place was hoping to offer something a half-step up from Bourbon, but they haven't quite been able to execute either stylistically, food-wise or service-wise. Alex
  2. The popular NYC BBQ joint is coming to a 13,000 sq ft space two blocks from the Verizon Center. Anyone eaten there in NY? More mediocre barbecue in the District, or is this reason for hope?
  3. Website. The chefs here work on using locally sourced produce, meats, poultry, and other proteins. They are creative with their dishes as well as cocktails and do an excellent job with wine parings. I have been there 3 or 4 times now and will definitely go again mostly because they are trying to do the right thing by staying away from factory meats and produce. I think they are a bit pricey compared to other restaurants in the region doing the same thing, but they are one of a very few in Fredericksburg going this route. Because their finished product consistantly well balanced, flavorful, and worth the visit (we are 45+ min away & we meet friends there; this is the one place we can agree on) we will continue to patronize Bistro Bethem.
  4. Liberty Barbecue, the newest enterprise of the Liberty Tavern/Lyon Hall/Northside Social folks, had its Grand opening last night in Falls Church. Located In the space most recently occupied by Famous Daves on Broad Street. The schedule for the rest of December is unclear, but they say in January they will be serving both lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Full bar with a small but adequate wine list, and, of course, a nice selection of beer. Wi-Fi is also provided. I had a quarter slab of ribs which were very meaty, perfectly cooked, but could have used a touch more smoke. The sauces need some work -- appeared to be commercial rather than house made. They had a band, but I didn't stick around to hear the music (I arrived at 5 when the doors opened, and the music wasn't starting til 9 -- call me a light-weight, but I had to go home). The place is totally concrete so if you're sensitive to noise, better bring ear-plugs. All-in-all this is a welcome addition to central Falls Church, and I expect they will have as much success as their other ventures have enjoyed. Wishing the best of luck in the New Year!
  5. So the area in and around the Lake Anne Plaza still aesthetically remains much like it was when Reston initially designed. Concrete structures, on the water, and hidden since it is off the beaten path (it is not RTC nor Northpoint Shopping Center). This relatively new venture by a local family is a great place to grab coffee (they source from Cafe Amouri in Vienna, Virginia), breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is small, but the outdoor seating pared with the nights they feature live music is relaxing and simple. Right now on Sunday evenings they feature Patio party with Paella ($18) but that is all they have on Sunday evenings. If you want more variety, check out the regular menu and decent wine list. They have a nice white Sangria as well. You will often find several of the family members who own/run the establishment there working and more than friendly.
  6. The outdoor patio is expansive, and the water view probably the best on this side of the Lake Anne (Plaza). The family-owned restaurant has been here for many years, and in the business (not here, but in the NoVa area) for many more. There are large umbrellas to help ward off the sun, but the setting is 1970's concrete and brick with a running fountain at one end. The food is decent, some of their specials better choices than regular items. We have never had a bad meal here, and the service has improved significantly, now they have modernized the ordering process. There is a sports bar with 30 TVs so if you want a local place to hang and watch games with friends, it is easy to do that here. It is not a large space, so it can fill up quickly. We were told they recently got a new pizza oven from Italy, but were still getting the hang of it (cooking temps). I am sure it is up and fully functional now, since that was several weeks ago.
  7. After Jake's American Grille was quoting a 30-40 minute wait Saturday night with standing room only at the crowded bar, we hopped next door and had a very pleasant dinner at Terasol. Apparently Terasol was a short lived venture in Chevy Chase Arcade and after a two year search has re-opened at 5010 Connecticut Avenue (across the street from Politics and Prose). The front third of the space is an artisan gallery, selling locally produced pottery, jewelry, paintings photography, etc. The back two-thirds is a cafe serving up French bistro classics - onion soup, pate, quiches, ratatouille, boeuf bourguignon, roast chicken, to name a few dishes. The pate plate was two healthy slabs with a small pile of dressed greens, some sliced cornichons, and a little pot of grainy mustard. The quiche was light, fluffy, and quivering. The rataouille, served up in a medium sized souffle bowl, was luscious. Overall, the food made a very good first impression, perfect for a light lunch or dinner. Service was friendly and well meaning but a little hectic and confused. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  8. Met up with some friends on Friday night to try Smokehouse Live in Leesburg. No better way I can think of to describe this place than suburban Hill Country - same system, same basic theme, very similar menus. The good - The bar area here is bright and very open with friendly service, a limited bar menu and good happy hour prices. Nice selection of bourbons, some cocktails during happy hour for $5 and a tap selection that goes beyond the Shiner limitations of HC downtown. But then... The rest - Hill Country (normally I would say so many comparisons to HC would be unfair, but they don't seem to even be trying to hide the imitation, so...) somehow manages to pull off sticking a room full of bench tables together and have it not seem totally cold and impersonal. Smokehouse Live can't say the same - plywood walls, disjointed floor plan and an oddly cramped 'market' ordering area made me miss some cheap and tacky kitsch and finished hardwood. But hey, you're here for the barbeque, right? The pulled pork was ok - not awesome, but not bad - wished it had more bbq flavor. I will admit - I order lean brisket - and am used to this being a bit more on the dry side than the 'wet' orders, but this was so dry it was crumbling apart. The beef shoulder (crod) is just a hard cut to work with - even after trimming visible tough areas I still had trouble chewing (not sure this is as much the restaurants fault as just a tough cut). Texas Chainsaw sauce was ok, though could have used more heat for being the 'spicy' version; eastern carolina was a little close to being straight vinegar for me. Please, for the love of God, if you only read one sentence in this write up, read this one: A 16oz portion of collard greens will cost you $14.25. Just to make sure we didn't miss anyone there - A 16oz portion of greens will cost you $14.25. Now to be fair, your little order card does list the price for each side in tiny little numbers inside the bubbles. Generally being a person who is not so concerned with price that I thought a side order of collard greens for two people might break me, I didn't really pay attention - after all, its a side of greens and some turkey that was left over from the day before. I would love to see their food cost for this. Or for the $14.25 portion of macaroni and cheese. Or for the $14.25 portion of lima beans and corn. But moving on... It was our server's first day, or at least appeared to be, so I hold her completely blameless but when you are half way through your meal and still do not have someone take your drink order, AND when you have flagged down three different staff members begging for drinks and then a manager, AND when you give you drink order to all three of these staff members never to see said drinks, it gets old. I'll still never understand why, when the new server finally appeared, she made an Arnold Palmer using Mountain Dew, but at this point I was beyond questioning. Bottom line - would totally go back for happy hour at the bar and listen to some music, but the dinner experience was approaching 'one-and-done' levels of not good. P.s. didn't want to start a new topic for a restaurant so far out that wasn't good, but please feel free to move as needed
  9. Another independent house in lower Montgomery County serving Vigilante. Silver Spring has seen a very nice uptick in local coffee shops in the past year -- Bump "˜n Grind 1200 E-W Hwy Silver Spring, MD 20910 http://bumpngrind.co Need to check it out, shame parking is atrocious on that part of East-West.
  10. The aforesaid JV's "Live Music Room" was not there when we went there in late October/early November of 2014. They sure could use it though, because prior capacity was about 50, and that included people having to sit in booths with their backs to the stage. I grew up about a mile from this place, played Little League baseball at a field directly adjacent to this strip mall, and I always felt like (with no real evidence) that this was a "locals" bar that you did not want to enter if you did not already belong to the group of regulars. I was not one of said regulars. When I entered for the first time, a couple of months ago, I think I was probably right had it been 10 or 20 years earlier. Now, it seems very welcoming, but the décor is stuck in the past, a la Vienna Inn. We only had beers (no draft beer at the time), so I cannot comment on the food, other than it looked like a somewhat limited, standard dive bar menu. The live music seems to be the real attraction, so hopefully the addition of the "Live Music Room" will allow them to book some slightly bigger acts. To that end, the strip mall and the size of JV's kind of reminds me of the original Birchmere down at the back end of Fairlington, in a similar strip mall t0 JV's that I think was razed and subsumed into what is now the expanded (over the original) Shirlington shopping/eating district.
  11. I hear Johnny Brenda's is cool place to hang out, from the group that has a place called The Standard Tap.
  12. Although I've had many a late night drink/dessert here while listening to live piano jazz over the past few years, the food was never something to come here for. Well, gotta say that may be changing. I joined a group of 4 friends which chose 701 for dinner on Friday night. We were pleasantly surprised with our meals [we were sampling each others all night]. Seems that 701 has a new Chef Bobby Verua [sp?] who started this past Restaurant Week [whatta time to start lol]. Think he hails from NY, and brings subtle Asian influence to the dishes [but not in what I call the normal retread way]. For starters, we tried the Beef Carpaccio w/ Arugula, shaved Parmesan, & Mustard Vinaigrette, Ribbons of Tuna [Crushed Avocado, Rice Crisps, and a creamy Garlic sauce ... great contrast w/ the rice crisps and the tuna!], Fried Calamari [perfectly fried lightly w/ a light coating ... but the accompanying sauce really kicks it up], and Asian Pear/Romaine/Bleu Cheese salad, and a small plate of Pumpkin Raviolis [glazed Chestnuts w/ Truffle-Sage brown butter sauce, lightly sweet]. Very good beginning to our meal. For mains, we tried the Horseradish-Crusted Veal Chop w/ Quail Egg, Potato Dauphin, & a Sweet-Soy Bordelaise [hunk a scoop of everything in one bite, great], Glazed Pork Belly w/ Sweet Potato Puree & Pickled Cherries [tasty fatty goodness, another place for me to get my Pork Belly fill lol], Stuffed Saddle of Lamb w/ Braised Tomatoes, Crisped Potato Confit, and Pear Demi [quite good but didn't love], Dry-Aged Sirlion Steak w/ Ancho-Soy Glaze, Gingered Shiitakes and Truffled Potatoes [nicely done], and Roasted Mahi-Mahi w/ Sweet Potato Ravioli, Malayasian Chili Sauce & Basil Oil [liked but also didn't love]. Perhaps my tastes of the Veal Chop & Pork Belly tainted the rest of my tasting, dunno but the flavors of those 2 were excellent. As for desserts, not so much. We were cautioned by the server that the desserts aren't there yet, the Chef hasn't focused yet on them [putting his stamp on the 1st/2nds] but will be very soon. Thankful for that information [and not particularly attracted to the dessert list], we still shared a couple w/ coffee. Lemon cheesecake [eh], and honestly an Apple-something else which was cold [i.e. not fully cooked, not easy to cut through] that underwhelmed me. Our thoughts were that warm desserts would have gone over well with the cold weather, perhaps something lightened like a warm ricotta cheesecake, else a bread pudding or sorts. There are lots of choices if the Chef peruses the competition, looking forward to trying his versions once ready [just based on what we saw with the other courses]. As for service, it's fine as it's always been for me. He had a good sense of humor, chatted us up, and nicely prefaced our expectations about the desserts [so as not to ruin or lessen our experience much] We were mentioned how happy we were with the meals to the server, that the Chef stopped by to thank us. He's young, looks to be only in his early 30s perhaps? Very gracious. Server mentioned how liked he was so far, & has the kitchen's respect already. [guess plugging away at 200 meals during a RW night on your 1st week can do that heh]. Now I have an excuse to actually try meals at 701! Maybe take advantage of their Pre-Theater menu for less than $30.
  13. Ambitious sounding project opening next week in the old Borders space at 14th and F. If done well, could be really great.
  14. Balagger, the Ethiopian place that went into the Jackie's space, appears to be open. They also have an outpost in Skyline. The owners of Balagger also opened a coffee shop called Ground where Sidebar used to be.
  15. Situated on Lake Anne in Reston, Kalypso's Sports Tavern, with expansive outdoor seating across from the dock area and water. Plaza is dated due to the concrete theme of 1970s construction, but there are several recent additions to the area which all appear to be fairing well. Had not been here in some time but found ourselves there Sunday and decided to give it another shot. Outdoor seating area was nice, umbrellas are a little worn and could use a cleaning, but the open-air area was nice. They have improved their ordering system so it is automated and very efficient. From Humus appetizer to dinner salads, entrees and kids meals, everything was fresh, and nicely prepared. Service was efficient, and food came out quickly and hot. Lucky for us they had live music Saturday evening starting at 5:30 PM, which was great for atmosphere. Place was decently busy and when we departed around 7, there were people waiting to be seated.
  16. I'm not sure how often Nanny's used to have music, but they generally have live music on Saturday nights these days.
  17. I'm trying Appioo for dinner tonight and was surprised to find no discussion on here. Anyone been? Recommendations? It's billed as African but seems to be Ghanaian - a cuisine I'm not familiar with. I will report back on this thread later this evening or tomorrow. Appioo on Facebook "A Taste of Ghana in DC: Appioo African Bar and Grill" by Jaimee Swift on blackfoodie.co
  18. Opened July 30th, Acre 121 has been very well received by its neighbors and the news of this low country, BBQ has been spreading. The space is the old Commonwealth but it has been transformed. The wood floors and high ceilings open floor plan make this a very popular spot for dinner and a great spot to watch some local performers in an intimate setting. Join us at 1400 Irving Street, Washington, DC 20010. Reservations Suggested 202 328-0121. www.acre121.com
  19. Down an out of the way road in Jessup, a group of friends and I had a fun evening at Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden last night. I had heard stories of this place for some time. A few of my childhood friends' parents used to got here for literal buckets of beer and dancing when I was growing up in the area. The space is huge, designed to seat 800 people. We were lucky to have the evening's band be Steve Meisner and his polka band from Madison, WI. There are regulars to this place, their tables marked with wood plaques engraved with their names. There were a lot of families with children running around. We ordered pitchers of Spaten pils and octoberfest to start- no more buckets. Too bad. We then got several appetizers including their pork wings, sausage plates, and very salty Bavarian radishes. I had a weisswurst plate, and then a taste of their German chocolate cake. While the cuisine was not stellar, the atmosphere was the real draw. The polka band started up at 8, and was greeted by a line of regulars who stood in front playing instruments like tambourine and washboards to the first song. Then everyone danced polka or western swing or whatever to the night's sets of music. It felt like night in the Midwest again.
  20. Website here:http://www.ramsheadonstage.com/ I didn't see a topic for Rams Head. They have multiple locations. The Annapolis location is pretty close to my Mom's house. We always find it to be pretty general purpose. The food isn't bad, although not necessarily remarkable, but it is a good place to go with pickier eaters because everyone can find something they will like, and it is pretty reasonable in terms of price. We went for brunch the other day as we just wanted some eggs and Miss Shirley's is crazy busy and kind of expensive, and Lucky Rooster and Chick and Ruths were a longer walk in the cold. We had a completely clueless server, who was very nice, but nevertheless clueless. I asked if they had any non-dairy creamers and he didn't think so; I had tea. It was brought in a mug that clearly needed descaled of coffee junk build-up, to the point, I was a bit surprised he brought it out like that. He took our order without writing anything down, I think that was a mistake for him. Mom wanted a water that never came (although we saw a water that was full on the empty table behind us, so maybe he sat it there and forgot?). She ordered poached eggs and they brought fried, they took it back, but by the time it came out, her english muffin was cold, although to me it didn't appear toasted in the first place. We had other servers that seemed to fill in and help and then he would come and be surprised someone helped us. It was a little odd, but normally service here is pretty adequate. They also have some good live music acts from time to time. They had jazz playing in the back which was nice, and had I been inclined, the $10 bloody mary bar seemed like quite a good deal. I had eggs benedict with a country style ham that was really good, the eggs were nice and runny and their breakfast potatoes have a nice crisp to them. When Mom's food came out, despite the cold bread, the rest was good.
  21. Magnolia's on King - We went just after they started taking reservations. The bar upstairs is WONDERFUL - unique cocktails (range $12-16) I had not tried before with a range that everyone enjoyed something. We though of trying the appetizers upstairs but figured (wrongly) that we could get them downstairs. Know that they do not server the drink or bar menu down in the restaurant (To risky to carry down the stairs was reason given). Bar is well lit, easy seating that can adjust to different party sizes but I can see it getting to full fairly quickly. I highly recommend 'The Cure' black bottle scotch, ardbeg 10 year, domaine de canton, lemon juice, honey. Generous sized drinks and worth the higher pricing. The restaurant has some serving issues but those were all due to being just opened (wait staff not able to answer questions and having to go check), they seemed pretty inexperienced. Wine list is good, cocktails downstairs are pretty simple, but the southerner in our group was pleased to see the multiple Fanta options. Dinner was good but not great, my options were limited because of spice levels (many options are heavy on the hot side). I had the Bison Meatloaf which was good but not great. Others had Catfish (Very happy), Fried Chicken (good but not great (If you want great see my review of Tupelo's )) and Denver Steak. (Range $18-35) portion size was good. Dessert Cobbler was good as was the Smore's bread pudding but neither worth a special trip The Southerner with us said the corn bread was to sweet but the greens were wonderful, though the cobbler should have been double crusted. The chef came out and talked to us for feedback (though later on our Southerner wanted to add some more but there is no email address on the web page) he seemed sincere but also talked down other restaurants when we gave comparisons. Overall I'll be back for the bar and might give the restaurant another try in a few months once they settle in but not sure since so many better options in that area. Well lit and Grandma friendly but not sure will make the list to take her to.
  22. I'm going to the Bombay Club for the first time tonight for dinner and I want to know what dishes I should make sure not to miss. I'm surprised that there is not already a thread for this restaurant. Does that mean that it is not worth my time? It seems to get good, solid reviews, but there is an absence of fervor about it. Any idea why? I really, really want to like it.
  23. Haute Dogs & Fries has just opened in Alexandria at 610 Montgomery St (steps from TJ Stone's). I haven't been to this location, or the original in Purcellville, but it looks like they will be a nice addition to the north end of Old Town.
  24. I went to Dead Rabbit for the first time last night. The cocktails were quite good. We got there in time for the $1 oyster special (5-7 M-F upstairs, IIRC) and while they were good, they were rather poorly shucked. Downstairs, it was hectic but kind of fun.
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