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Found 422 results

  1. Victor Albisu's Taco Bamba opened yesterday in Falls Church/Tysons. It was a rough opening day. When the wife and I arrived at about 7PM the air conditioning was not working and their expediter was doing double duty dealing with the AC techs. We tried six tacos between us, Lengua, Tripas, Suadera and Pastor. All of the fillings were excellent, especially the tripe. The Pastor was not made on a rotating spit and suffered for not being quite crispy enough on the exterior. The flavorings on all the other meats were excellent, better than anything I have had in DC. The house made salsas that were served with the tacos were also excellent. We did not try the tamales, but if they are as good as the ones sold in his mother's store next door, then they are very good. The biggest disappointment were the tortillas. They were flour instead of corn and were not house made. My wife, the Arizonan, seeing the packaged soft tacos opted for the crispy tacos which were made from masa and they worked better than the soft flour ones. For me, the result was like having great pastrami on wonder bread. I hope they get a better supplier for the tortillas. I also prefer to dress my own tacos with, depending on the type of taco, cabbage, raddish, cilantro, onion or peppers. The tacos came pre-dressed though they did have small cups of diced raddish available. With opening night jitters, we ended up missing part of our order, but that is par for the course for any opening night. I am going to work my way down the menu and give them a chance to work out the kinks. As a former Miami resident, I am looking forward to trying their Torta Cubana and I hope they take a shot at another MIami favorite I miss Lechon (whole roasted pig). All things considered, I am very happy Victor Albisu has saved me a trip to Maryland to get a taco
  2. Went last night to ChiKo in Barracks. I had been interested in going, but just don't get to that area as much these days. It's "Chipotle-esque" inside, industrial look, done quite well. There isn't a whole lot of seating, you get in line, take a number and then hope a table opens up. There were 3 of us, so we went to town ordering. It's small plates-ish, but some of the items could definitely make a good size for lunch. It's not Chipotle as in customizable - you order items that are being continuously made fresh in the open kitchen. - Double fried chicken wings - spicy soy glazed - expertly fried, just a bit sweet for me, compared to BC, but these come right of the fryer and perfect crunch - Pork and kim chi poststicker - really tasty, with a nice dipping sauce - Kimchi stew - with pork belly, subtle, not very hard core on the kim chi, but well done - Smashed salmon - with squash and korean red chili paste ... very good - Wagshal's chopp'd brisket - this came most highly recommended by the staff member, but it was not the most loved - I didn't try it, since I don't eat the beef, there's a soft egg and you mix it in. - Cumin lamb stir fry - with wheat noodles... this was one of my favorite dishes I've had in DC in a long time, really well prepped, noodles had good chew (not sure if made in house), spicy but not terribly so, braised tender lamb, pretty much everyone's favorite - Chiko "shrimp and grits" - another WOW dish! Congee and garlic-sauced shrimp, so tasty. I think maybe I liked this better than the lamb. - Wok blistered Chinese broccoli - greens, a palate cleanser, done differently than at Chinese restaurants - it has thicker stems $125 for 3 of us, including one adult beverage each. Not really "fast-casual" - it takes a bit of time to get your food, as it is made to order, and it's not exactly cheap to get full for dinner (what we had was a good amount, we finished almost all of it and were comfortably full). But, high quality. I really like it - I would go back for that lamb stir fry. The ingredients are all really good compared to most Asian places, I think that's why everything just tasted "brighter". And, as someone else on Yelp said, it's not really Chinese - Korean fusion - it's Chinese and Korean dishes, all on the same menu. It's pronounced - "Chi" with a long I sound .. duh - "Chinese Korean". Got corrected when we said chee-ko.
  3. This place has gotten a few mentions - most recently in this weekend's first edition of the Wall Street Journal's Weekend rag. Slated to open in November, it's supposed to bring Portuguese-influenced Indian food from the Goa region, as well as coconut and curry leaf dishes from Kerala and almond and pistachio infused cuisines from the Mogul region. 633 D St. NW. Any other buzz?
  4. Thai by Thai is one of Sterling's Thai restaurants, and the only one I know of with a "secret" Thai menu. It has become our Thai restaurant of choice. I couldn't find a thread devoted to it, and it is deserving of one. It's a brightly lit place where you order at the counter and they bring food to your table and has a much nicer vibe than most counter-ordering locations. The menu posted over the service counter doesn't hint at the existence of the special Thai menu, but does have a few street food items, such as the sun-dried beef. They have monthly specials posted on the cash register, which are items they are auditioning as possible additions to the Thai menu. The Thai menu is available upon request and includes English translations. Its content changes with some frequency but includes wonderful fare such as deep fried pork belly strips with Chinese Broccoli, fried pork rib chunks with sticky rice and an incendiary dipping sauce, and a pig organ soup. Be sure to have one of their noodle dishes other than the Pad Thai. Noodles come out with a wonderful smokey touch. The Pad Thai is unexceptional, probably tailored for the tastes of the majority of their lunchtime customers. When we look around at our fellow diners, most have ordered a fried rice dish or the Pad Thai. Our experience has generally been that the person running the deep fryer knows their business--the pork strips in that pork with broccoli are perfectly crisped and maintain that texture for as long as it takes to inhale the dish. Noodle dishes are generously portioned; the other dishes are often less so. Thai by Thai's Sterling location is on Rt. 7 just West of Dranesville Road, across the street from the Shoppers Food Whorehouse and the Burlington Coat Factory, in the same plaza as Grand Mart. They also had a sign announcing the December 19 opening of a second location, this time at 29 and 50, near a mobile phone shop. We're just hoping that the chefs who do such exceptional woking and frying are not headed off for that location.
  5. I went to Annangol for dinner and enjoyed it overall. It's at 4215 Annandale Center Dr, in same shopping strip as Napoleon bakery. The seafood pancake was alot of green onion, slices of carrot, and a few little bits of octopus and shrimp. But mostly green onion. The fried dumplings were good though a little greasy. For the main dishes, we ordered short ribs on the bone, short ribs not on the bone, and spicy pork ribs. The server brought a plate of lettuce/other greens for wrapping the meat. She also brought a round platter divided into sections with banchan (including kimchi and a scoop of potato salad) and raw garlic, slices of long green peppers, and spicy bean paste to include with the lettuce when wrapping the meat. She also brought a metal bowl filled with slices of onion. Although there's a burner in the center of the table, she brought the meat already cooked. That's a plus or a minus depending on how much you like cooking it yourself. We were glad to receive it cooked because then we could eat it right away without fussing with it. The onion slices went on the burner with the meat. The short ribs had a bit of a smoky flavor, and my parents were glad that the marinade was not too sweet. The spicy pork was 1 bone plus meat, and the pork was not particularly spicy. I liked the beef better overall. (Annangol also has duck on the menu, both with and without special sauce. The server told us it's a minimum of 2 orders though.)
  6. Opened last week. Website here. No menu online yet, I have a paper copy, will try to photograph and post a pic later this weekend. Open 11am -9pm Sunday and Monday; 11am -9:30pm Tuesday -Thursday, 11 am -10 pm Friday Saturday. 7945 MacArthur Blvd.
  7. Although it's been there for more than two years, I have yet to try the offerings at Nicecream Factory's Clarendon location (former home of Red Mango). They must be doing something right, as they are opening a second location in Old Town, at 726 King Street, right next door to Eammon's: A Dublin Chipper. Yogi Castle closed a year ago, so that section of King Street hasn't had a frozen dessert option for a while. With Five Guys opening across the street in the near future, there should be plenty of casual diners looking for something sweet to follow their burger. They use liquid nitrogen to flash freeze ice cream to order, supposedly making a denser and creamier finished product, with custom, fresh ingredients. Anybody tried it?
  8. Went to the Class 302 Cafe location in Cerritos and wasn't super enthused. The drinks are big and colorful but were wayyyyy too sweet, with no compensating tartness, for my tastes. Our group had several of the boba drink options (tea, smoothies, etc.) and I didn't care for any of them (soft boba, ugh). It looks like other locations have an interesting self-serve option, sort of like the Pinkberry of boba spots, but the Cerritos location is counter service only where they make your drinks. I noticed that shaved ice was big with the other patrons while we were there (well, also it's summer). I didn't see if the Cerritos location has hot food but it is available at other locations, according to the online menu. Has anyone else been? The self-serve boba bar might be interesting.
  9. I spend a lot of satisfying times in Bozzelli's and I think it belongs in the dining guide. It is a family-owned and operated deli with a seating area on Alban Road in Springfield -- Backlick runs from Annandale to Springfield, changes its name to Alban roughly at the big oil tanks across I-95S, and then changes its name to Pohick when it crosses Rolling Road into Lorton and Fairfax Station. Bozzelli's menu includes some of the best subs in the DC area. They have a few "signatures" like the Metro (basically an Italian hoagie), the absolutely decadent Pepperoni, Steak and Cheese, the Senator (Italian cheeseburger) and many more, all of which I can tell you are as good as any in the northern Virginia 'burbs....at least this side of the Italian Store. What finally drove me to write them up was the best breakfast sandwich I've had in a long time -- ham, egg, cheese, peppers and ketchup on an 8" pressed Italian bun. Man, was that good...! And on Fridays in Lent, there isn't a better 12" tuna salad sub anywhere. Bozzelli's also offers salads, a few pasta dishes, fresh-made desserts and unusually good pizza. They also have cooking classes on the occasional Wednesday evening, where Mama puts on some displays of excellent Italian cooking. http://springfield.bozzellideli.com/
  10. I grabbed lunch here for the first time today, think it's been open for a little over a month. I haven't been to every taco joint in the district yet, but the first visit here beat every visit I've made to Taqueria Distrito Federal. I had the lengua, the carnitas, and the fish taco (daily special; tilapia). The lengua had a nice crust on it, which I've not had on lengua in the past and made for more of a roast pork belly mouthfeel, and the carnitas were properly fried and chunky, not pulled pork. The fish was not overcooked, although the fish taco as a whole had more of an earthy chili funk to it than the brightness of a Baja-style fish taco. The spiciness of the base tacos was fairly mild. They have a nice selection of salsas on the table to fix that, though. I believe the tortillas were homemade, just off the griddle. A bit apt to crack but still flexible enough to do the job, great flavor, and with the correct number of two per taco. My wife's al pastor huarache was also delicious. Taqueria Habanero on Yelp Jon
  11. Team, We have been reading this forum for a long time and found it very helpful in enhancing our dining experience. Now, me and my partner Enzo Algarme have opened our own food establishment and want to invite you guys to check it out. Enzo, who is from Naples, Italy, worked in the kitchen of the renown "Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente" (certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana) in Naples, where he learned how to make authentic Neapolitan specialties, which we are now making here, in Arlington, Virginia. Some things, like the Neapolitan Fried Calzone, you can't find anywhere else in this area. We also make Palle di Riso (crunchy rice balls stuffed with peas, veggie crumble and cheese), Panzarotti - potato croquettes stuffed with mozzarella, Neapolitan-style pizza (we do not have a wood-burning oven, but use the same recipe and the ingredients as pizzerias in Naples). The food we serve is the authentic Neapolitan STREET food, just like you find on the streets of Naples. Our food establishment is a STREET CART, not a restaurant, so the prices are more than reasonable. We have been open for about 1 week in the neighbourhood of Ballston, in Arlington, VA just outside the Metro station, at the corner of Stuart and 9th streets. We are only open Mon-Fri for breakfast and lunch right now, from 8 to 3:30, but soon will be open until 8pm. Come to give us a shot! Anastasiya and Enzo pupatella.com myspace.com/pupatella1pizza
  12. Paty's American looks and feels familiar, which is no surprise given it's a new restaurant in the GAR group. To be clear, I've always liked these restaurants, believing they offer a good meal (and most often I think it's better than good), that's reasonably priced, and comes with excellent service. To be sure, thats my take on most "upscale chains" (e.g. Cheesecake Factory), and I'm not a tough critic in general, so you might need a grain of salt with this review. Still, one among an army of hostesses led us to a comfortable booth in a neo-industrial space (with one wall having a gigantic, and bizarre mural consisting of an eclectic collection of famous people), drink orders were taken promptly, and our server even asked our preference for bread in the soon-to-arrive bread basket (we wanted those donut hole-like rolls, natch). I had the Tex-Mex Eggrolls and the Louisiana Pasta and both held up their end of the bargain. We were handled by multiple servers and bus-persons, and everyone was eager to help. The boy got the Calamari, and the lobster ginger sauce that came with it was very tasty. The wife got the Charleston Salad, which looked fresh and comes with quite a bit of fried chicken. This restaurant holds the line with the others.
  13. Who else is excited for some Jersey-style pizza? Tweet from @AllPurposeDC leading to this article: "Where to Eat in 2016" by Jed Portman on gardenandgun.com (featuring a paragraph about All Purpose).
  14. Big Buns Gourmet Grill, 4401 Wilson Blvd in Ballston (but it's not actually facing Wilson Blvd. It's on the other side of Vapiano in a courtyard between Wilson and Fairfax.) Click for website. I saw this place one day after leaving Vapiano and was curious to try it. It's a fast food burger place. They offer beef, chicken, mahi mahi, or portobello burgers (in a bun or bowl) with your choice of cheeses, toppings and sauces. They also offer regular fries, sweet potato fries, milkshakes, malts, floats, sodas, and beer. Near the soda fountain, they have four Italian soda type syrups that you can mix in your drink, like cherry to make a cherry coke. I had a beef burger which came well-done but was still juicy. (They didn't ask how I wanted it. I don't know if that's an option.) It's not a very thick burger, but it was wide enough that I needed to hold it with both hands. The burger was $5.95, not counting additional charges for special toppings. The fries were each $1.85. I really liked the regular fries, they were thicker than shoestring fries and had a very potato-y flavor though it would be nice if they were just a little crispier. The sweet potato fries were thinner than the regular fries and were ok but nowhere near as good as the ones at Eleventh. Has anyone else tried Big Buns?
  15. I'll put in a plug for King Street Blues on S. St. Asaph St. one block south of King in Old Town, Alexandria. The place has been there for years and I don't think their menu has changed one iota since it opened. When it's cold outside and you're hungry, it's hard to beat their meatloaf and chicken fried steak. Both with mashed potatoes and gravy. Either will fill and warm you up. Good beer on tap. Service and environs OK. A good neighborhood spot. Clickety
  16. I've been meaning to try 101 Noodle Express for a while, since it specializes in some of my favorites items in Chinese cuisine - noodles and dumplings. I had passed it over in favor of trying other places because the flagship item, the Shangdong-style beef roll, isn't my favorite. BIG MISTAKE. Turns out I didn't like them as much at other places simply because they weren't as good. Here, they are the highest expression of the snack, consistent and omnipresent at every table for a reason. The crepe-like bing is thin, flaky, and rich, but not oily. The beef is high-quality and sliced uniformly thin. There is just enough cilantro, scallions, and salty-sweet bean sauce to bring balanced flavors and textures. In case you aren't familiar with the beef roll (I think A&J recently put a version on the menu, but I never tasted it there), here's a nice description. The balance and uniform thinness of the layers, as well as tight wrapping, is key. We ate most of our roll at lunch and promptly ordered another to go (they travel really well!). We also got some dan dan noodles, which had a tiny kick but weren't particularly spicy (which we were expecting, since this is decidedly not a Szechuan place) and the hand-torn noodles were pleasingly chewy. We didn't have room for dumplings, but the many plates of pan-fried dumplings we saw scattered about the room were plump and had golden, crunchy-looking bottoms. We were at the Alhambra location, which is a casual strip-mall spot serving budget-friendly, simple, snacky food until late night (1 AM). They have a few other locations in Arcadia, Culver City, and Irvine. I learned one thing about their operations from their website that I find very promising for visiting other locations: 101 Noodle Express boasts a central, factory-like kitchen to secure quality control of its franchises.
  17. Overall a good impression on a lovely Saturday night at Denizens. Outside they have a large patio with picnic tables with seating for 200 people. The vibe is urban beer garden. Inside are various rooms over two stories. To be honest, most of the offerings they have on tap right now aren't really in my beer wheelhouse, but the Lowest Lord English-Style ESB was solid, perfectly fine to quaff on a late-summer night. The veggie burger with cheddar was actually pretty tasty and the fries were on the thinner match-stick side. The patio was busy all night, but it didn't feel crowded. They certainly seemed to be doing good business. I've sampled a couple of their beers now, not sure I would rank them in the top tier of DC area breweries, but they are probably squarely in the next tier down and put out a solid product. If it wasn't such a trek out to Silver Spring, I'd be back more often.
  18. Guess some of you will be headed down my way now. http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2013/02/14/broker-new-fredericksburg-restaurant-likely-to-draw-from-no-va/
  19. Señor Ramon Taqueria Opens on Baron Cameron Avenue by Fatimah Waseem, RestonNow Looks like the restaurant will open before the signage goes up; it says in the article it is opening today. This strip-mall shares the Home Depot parking lot and this location used to be a Greeberry's, then a Thai (Hibiscus Thai) place and now this. It is a few doors down from Willard's Menu Reston location. Menu looks pretty good, and will have to go by soon to check it out. We need more local Mexican-type places the Anita's and Uncle Julio's get old quickly.
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