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Found 31 results

  1. I will say that the falafel from Amsterdam simply does not compare to the one at Max's. I found it to be extremely dense and moist, rather than the amazingly light, crisp texture of the ones at Max's. You can choose from white or wheat pita, and the guy filling the pitas that night was a little impatient and flustered despite the fact that it wasn't really that busy. It was a little weird. Chill out man! I think that the selection of toppings at Amsterdam is a bit more varied and a little bit better. Every time I go to Max's they're out of one that I like (though I guess that shows its popularity). The fries at Amsterdam are okay, nothing to write home about. They have "Dutch mayo" which is too sweet for my fries and is a bit closer to salad cream. Nonetheless, today I find myself craving the delicious toppings from Amsterdam.
  2. "Photos: Mezeh Mediterranean Gril Now Open in RTC West" by Fatimah Waseem on restonnow.com
  3. Al Saray, a short-lived attempt at Egyptian fare, is no longer with us. In its place in Springfield Plaza will be The Halal Guys, which began as a food truck in Manhattan and is now "going global," with locations in our area coming to Springfield Plaza, University Mall in Fairfax, Dunn Loring, and H Street NE. I wish them well, and I hope they checked their sales projections. That stretch of Baklick Road in Springfield will deliver direct competition from Karahi Kabob House, Afghan Bistro and Flame Kabob, not to mention Eleni's for solid gyros and a handful of downright good char-broiled pollo places. I would have thought the market was saturated for grilled proteins, but what do I know?
  4. I'm starting a dedicated topic about Zaytinya because it doesn't appear to have one. It's on my mind right now, mostly because a friend is going there tonight and her pronunciation cracked me up. I have zero idea of I myself pronounce it right (Zay-TEE-nyah), however I am completely certain that she wasn't even close. The number of variations I see on the spelling of the name also astounds me. My most recent visit was two weeks ago for lunch. I find lunch to be a pleasant time to visit the place - less crowded, particularly in the bar area. That said, when my friend and I arrived and asked about a table for two, we received blank stares from the two hostesses (in spite of it being after 1 pm, and there being quite a few vacant two-tops scattered here and there). We took matters into our own hands and sat in the bar. Service was prompt (until it was check time) and the food was very, very tasty. Although...as I am sitting here typing, I realize that our carrot fritters never did arrive. Hmm. We had the stewed lamb with eggplant puree, asparagus, chicken with orzo and tomato sauce, and hummus. My new-to-town friend, originally from Wales by way of NYC, was suitably impressed, particularly when the bill amounted to about $30 with tip.
  5. Now this means that there will be three good quality eats casual places to get Israeli/Palestinian/Middle East food within 2 blocks when you add in Naf Naf and Yafa Grille. Lucky people who work downtown.
  6. I'm always on the hunt for good falafel/shawarma in the DC area. Not a huge Amsterdam Falafel fan; prefer Pita Hut in Rockville. I went with a buddy for lunch today to the month old Shawafel in the Atlas District. The address is 1322 H St NE. I had the falafel/shawarma sandwich, which came with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, pickled turnips, mint, and tahini. Everything is made in house. The sandwich was absolutely incredible and blew all competition out of the water. The space is really well laid out, extremely clean, and Alberto the owner couldn't have been nicer. All meats are spit roasted and the sandwiches are more "laffa" style then in a pita. We also shared an order of labneh, which tasted super fresh, and an order of fries, which are hand cut. Great new addition for DC's fast casual scene!
  7. I was walking out from Baja Fresh when I noticed this place, which is relatively new. I popped in quickly to see what it was all about, and it reminded me of the schwarma places like they have in Jerusalem. I stopped by for lunch the next day (nothing says "I love you" on Mothers Day like takeout Schwarma), and got chicken in a pouch with yogurt sauce, hummus, pickles, onion, and tomato/cucumber mix. It was solid if unspectacular. The chicken was flavorful and it appears they have new fancy cookers (rotating, gyro style, with auto cutter), so it had moist and crunchy parts. There were at least a dozen choices for toppings, and they looked good, if nothing else. The pita they gave me was stuffed, so they don't skimp out on the meat or toppings. The side of fries were terrible (limp and tasteless). The side of hummus and pita was huge, given the price, tho I never got around to tasting it alone (it was unremarkable in my sandwich, but there was a lot of other stuff in there, too). There are clearly service issues to be worked out, but nothing that can't be solved with time and experience (that is, nothing egregious happened).
  8. This place opened up on Duke St where Maggio used to be, by the bike shop. The menu looked so interested - typical kebabs, hummus, dolma and the like. But, there were many other things I've never heard of - stews, fried fish dishes, lamb shank, etc. It had the feel of Amoo's - families, native languages heard, family owned and operated, but it's Iraqi not Iranian. From the few yelp reviews, this is the only Iraqi place in the area and the Iraqi community is very excited and impressed with the cooking. The place was packed, almost all middle eastern crowd. We tried to place a carryout order and they just couldn't get to us - after over ten minutes, we still couldn't place an order so ended up leaving. I know they were super busy, but we were starving and had some little kids involved and it wasn't going to work out. The food I saw looked impressive, they have Iraqi breakfast at 9a and it looks like a real solid operation. I'll try again to eat there soon, but when someone else goes, please report!
  9. Driving by this morning, Meat In A Box is gone. There is a place called Kabob[olo]gy in it's place and the signage says "Mediterranean cuisine." I have no idea if it's a rebranded operation from the Meat folks or if there is a completely new regime/chef in place. And the Smashburger has closed.
  10. After living in Colesville for almost 7 years, I finally got around to trying Max's Kosher Cafe on University. Its in the same shopping center as Full Key and Pho Hiep Hua which I frequent so often that my food often arrives at the table as soon as I do. In any case, I had heard about it somewhere regrding falafel and that sounded good. But when I got there, I saw a schwerma rotisserie and thats what I had to have. Schwerma is layers of beef and sometimes lanb, roasted as it turns and sliced as needed to serve. Unlike chicago style gyros, made out of ground stuff, Schwerma is layers of lean meat with a big piece of fat on top to moisten and help the browning. At Max's, there is a wide array of topping to go into your sandwich" cukes & tomatoes; shredded cabbage, red cabbage, pickled cauliflower, pickled turnip, sour pickle, hot peppers, 5 different sauces, sauerkraut and more. A half is one hell of a lot of meat. You just point to what you want and theywill keep piling it on and then top your sandwich with even more meat. A dollop of tahini (here very thick and rich) is added at the end. Of the cooked foods, all I have had is a bowl of matzoh ball soup whhich is hands down the best matzoh ball soup I have had in DC. As good as Brent's Deli in Northridge California and that is praise indeed. The matzoh balls are what my mom would ahve called flufka, very light, almost etherial. Somehow these light balls do in fact trun to stone in your stomach, giving evidence of your meal for hours to come. This is not a bad thing! Service ranges from friendly to surly, but when you cannot eat what $10 will buy, its worth it.
  11. Could folks list restaurants (Middle Eastern, Greek, Mexican, Turkish) that stack their cones with real meat, instead of the processed stuff? I don't care if the meat is frozen; I just don't want it processed. I don't care if it's ground and mixed with spices; I just don't want fillers. I'm talking about something like this: as opposed to something like this:
  12. Mama Ayesha's. I've always been intrigued by the location (off by itself at the end of the Ellington Bridge). I now live right behind it, but still haven't made it over. Anyone ever been?
  13. This is an interesting situation for me as moderator, and if we had an existing thread for Boss Hog's (we don't), I'd probably mark that as closed and give Simply Fresh a clean slate. Chef Rana (Rana is her first name) took over Boss Hogs in June, 2015, and changed it to Simply Fresh - both the interior and the patio look *nothing* like I remember Boss Hogs looking like, so unless I'm not remembering correctly, she really gave it a redo. I was driving in McLean, and was planning on going somewhere else, but I saw the sign for Simply Fresh, and it looked brand new to me, almost like some sort of grand opening, so I parked on Elm Street and marched on in, shocked at how nice looking the restaurant is now. It's still a cafe, but it's very clean, and looks like it just opened last week (the cashier told me it's been open since the summer, which surprises me). The cashier is a young gentleman, and Rana is his mom (I'm assuming from the language on their website (they have a second website, apparently for online ordering) that she's the owner as well as the chef). Since he's attached to the restaurant, and since there's such a diversity of items on the menu, I trusted him, and flat-out asked him what he liked. "I really like the lamb," he said, and so the lamb it was. This is where it gets even more interesting for me, because last night I went to Hula Girl in Shirlington, and had what amounted to a blue-plate special with their steak teriyaki. As it turns out, the Roasted Lamb with Potatoes ($12.99) made these two restaurants, in my mind, somewhat alike - the lamb, too, was a blue-plate special. The dish was like something my mom would have made (if she was Greek) - a few slices of fully cooked leg of lamb, high on the flavor meter, accompanied by large, bite-sized chunks of roasted potatoes, and a side salad - both dishes (this one, and the one from last night) were meat-starch-salad, were about the same size, and were about the same price; the only thing different - vastly different - is the atmosphere of the two restaurants: Hula Girl is a bright, loud bar; Simply Fresh is a quiet, workaday cafe. I had just gotten some always-needed cardio, and was starving - I knew halfway through the dish that I was not going to be terribly full, despite it being a perfectly reasonably sized portion of food. Knowing that the Orange Bowl was starting at 4PM, and that I'd be plastered in front of the screen (I'm watching and typing at the same time), I wisely got a second dish to go for later in the day, which was a "special" listed on the chalkboard out in front of the restaurant - however, the exact same dish is on their regular menu, so it was more marketing than anything else. I figured the Roasted Chicken with Potatoes ($9.50) would be the same plate of food as the lamb, and other than substituting chicken for lamb, it was. An uncut, half-chicken was well-roasted - rubbed, moist, and super tasty - whether or not you get the chicken or lamb depends solely if you're in the mood for chicken or lamb - I can recommend them both as good, hearty plates of food - nothing you'll remember in a month, but solid. Just having finished the chicken dish a few minutes ago (I didn't even need to heat it up), I realize that this was my final meal, and final write-up, of 2015, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do to celebrate the New Year, than to support a local, family-owned, mom-n-pop (or, in this case, mom-n-son) restaurant - Hula Girl, too, despite it's pomp and circumstance, is pretty much of a mom-n-pop; just in a completely different style (and most likely with some investors). Simply Fresh (the sign says, "Simply Fresh - barbecue & more") has BBQ, and a couple girls walked in and picked up a $100+ order, undoubtedly to celebrate New Year's Eve. Simply Fresh is big on breakfast, and across from the counter on the right, where you order your meal, it also has a counter on the left, with a pastry display case and an Illy coffee setup - this is probably where the cashier is in the mornings (have a look at this breakfast menu, and file it away in your head for future reference). They're open 7 days a week at 7AM each morning, except for Sundays, when they open at 8AM - I would not hesitate to try the breakfasts here. It's a pleasant, albeit somewhat stark, place to eat, and you won't regret coming here, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was a clunker or two on the menu (when one person does all the cooking, it's hard to do *everything* well). Over the next hour or so, I'll be either cursing at the TV or jumping with joy (Clemson is down 17-16 at halftime to a resilient Oklahoma Sooner team), and then, when it's over, I'll forget about it (unless Clemson wins), and I'll be spending this evening doing exactly what I want to be doing, given that I can't be with the people I want to be with: staying home, not having a drop to drink, relentlessly practicing a Beethoven sonata, maybe watching a rerun or two, and being thankful for this wonderful community. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for, and please remember always how grateful I am to have you in my life.
  14. Lady KN and I dined at Eleni's in Springfield this evening, but as we returned down Backlick Road, the signs announcing the Grand Opening of Alsaray -- or Al-Saray, (or السراي which means "the palace" in Arabic) -- drew my attention. It is the same spare lunch counter establishment (hardly a palace) as was Momo's, which it replaced, with the very Arabic addition of two tables out front for outdoor seating to accommodate a handful of people. We didn't eat there tonight, but I did a menu reconaissance, and there is a decidedly Egyptian flair to the offerings. First and foremost, "kushari" makes its first-ever appearance in Springfield! Once my zero-carb diet is over, I will be all over that dish, for sure! In addition, foul madames and kibdah iskandarani ("Iskanderun" is Alexandria in Arabic, the city on the Nile near the Mediterranean), the latter dish being pan-fried beef liver with garlic. chili peppers and spices. The standard Middle Eastern mezze dishes, accompanied by kabobs and shawermas, highlight the menu. I would like to say that Alsaray is a welcome addition to the Springfield dining scene, but I'll wait until I actually taste the food. However, there's kushari, so I'm looking forward to tucking in. The website isn't up quite yet, but stay tuned....
  15. Stopped by Shawama Spot that used to be in M'Dawg Haute Dogs space. I was so excited since I love shawarma, but this was a huge disappointment. The meat was like dried out end bits of a roast beef and way too salty. Some of the toppings are similar to those at Amsterdam Falafel, and the bread rather than being pita was round but weird and spongy. This is nothing like the greasy gyro-like bits of meat that I would get in London. Sad.
  16. I didnt know PitaPlus was opened whenever i stop in at the greek place next door Pita Plus is always closed and it has an abandoned look. How do the gyros at Greek Deli Express compare with Pita Plus in College Park?
  17. I went back in January soon after they opened. I was rather pleased with the Shawarma, but thought the service set up was slow and inefficient. Certainly a lot of potential there. It's good to have some competition in the neighborhood.
  18. Ate here tonight fir the first time and will be back. I couldn't find a thread for this restaurant, which is on Wilson Blvd in Arlington, west of Pupatella, right next to La Union (which I also couldn't find a thread for, but we decided to try Sultana Grill tonight instead). Sultana Grill bills itself as Moroccan and Mediterranean food. I was a little dubious, but we liked it enough to declare, mid-meal, that we planned to add it to our rotation. The hummus came with freshly chopped parsley, olive oil, and pickled turnips and tasted less tahini-like than Lebanese Taverna Market's. We agreed it was a different taste, with a lighter feel. Same with the tomato avocado salad. It was tangier with more of an herbal taste, and more lightly dressed. Pita bread was nothing to write home about. Spinach pies were baked, not fried and were lemony. I like more spinach and less dough, but I would get these again. Came with what I think was a tahini/herb dip. Chicken shwarma was delicious. Not sure what the marinade and spicing were, but the chicken was tender, chopped to a nice size, and came with garlic spread, more pickled stuff, and saffron rice that was just the right consistency. We were the only non-Arabic-speaking family in the place for dinner (not that it was packed). Capped it off with Moroccan tea (minty sweet) served in the lovely glass cups and a silver teapoton a silver tray. Service was not quick, but we weren't in a hurry. If I missed a thread somewhere on the site for this, my apologies, but I thought it was a tasty, family-owned place I'd go back to, so I thought I'd share.
  19. I've driven past Bawadi (formerly Samedi Sweets Cafe) many, many times in the past, but have never been in, so I thought it was high time I scoped out the scene. When I opened the door, I was greeted by an automated recording triggered by the door opening. Presumably this was a one-sentence greeting, but I was joking to myself that it was really saying, "If you don't understand this, then turn around and get the hell out of here!" I walked straight to the sweets counter, but couldn't help noticing the somewhat meager lunch buffet. However, I peeked inside the food warmers, and a lot of the things looked really good - there were, for example some plain grilled meats to go along with traditional stews - perhaps a dozen things in all. I asked the lady behind the sweets counter, and she said the weekday price is $9.95, and from what I saw, that was definitely a bargain. I ordered two things to go: a Kanafeh and a Nammoura, and although I don't know the price, the total came out to something like $7.78 - I just gave the lady $9.00. She thoughtfully packed the sugar syrup for the Nammoura in a separate tin, and I didn't even put it on until the next day (Nammoura is the Lebanese name for this extremely common Middle-Eastern treat, and I'm not sure I've ever had a bad one - especially when it's doused in orange-blossom or rosewater syrup). Unfortunately, the Kanafeh (the one that looks like it has shredded carrots on top which is actually shredded, toasted wheat), is a cheese-based dessert, and the cheese at the bottom of mine was not the freshest. While not completely over-the-hill, it was not as "new" as I would prefer, and after eating half of the dessert, I flipped it over, took a whiff, and decided not to finish - it wasn't *bad*, mind you; but I'd had my fill, and I've had this dessert many times when it was just compelling; this just wasn't worth the considerable calories given that it wasn't outstanding. On my way out, I opened the door, and got a different greeting, one which I imagined to be something like, "And stay out, white boy!" I smiled, got into my car, and drove down Route 7.
  20. A new neighborhood kebob spot from the folks behind Nooshi and (I think) Moby Dick. Soft opening tonight for neighbors with 50% off of all checks. Lovely decor and a small but tasty menu... Reasonable prices. "Fast casual" with table service and a full bar. A good addition to the neighborhood. Look forward to the Nooshi-esque concept opening upstairs from it in coming months.
  21. I drive Washington Blvd every day and just glanced over and noticed it this morning (same building as the marble and tile place). From what I can find it is a Persian take out spot. Does anyone have the scoop on this place? Why did they choose that name (is it a tribute to Timberlake and Samberg?!?!)? I consider myself a hardcore carnivore, but I can honestly say I didn't read the sign and think "Mmmmmmmmmm, meat in a box!" On the plus side, it is on the right side to make for an easy stop on the way home.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. I have the moniker of Kibbee Nayee, so I should know something about Middle Eastern fare. My mother may be the best Middle Eastern cook in the world, but since she lives 120 miles away, I have to have a substitute. I've been all over northern Virginia, the District and southern Maryland. There is no better Middle Eastern food in this region than Mediterranean Gourmet Market. Fair warning, this is a deli/market more than a restaurant. There are only a sparse few tables scattered between a few rows of grocery shelves, but the magic is in the back, wherein lies the kitchen and wood-fired oven. The Lebanese "pizzas" that emerge from here dwarf the chic nouveau flatbread places cropping up all over our beloved 'burbs. But don't stop here. The little mini-pies, loaded with any of meat, labne (thick yogurt), cheese, spinach or kishk (a yogurt-sesame paste) are delicious and fortifying. Then there's the mezze, an assortment of anything you can imagine, but lifted higher than the current Middle Eastern standbys. Try hommus (the best around), baba ghanouj, tabouli, lubieh (green beans) and bamieh (okra) bil zeit (braised in tomato sauce), stuffed grape leaves, olives, and on and on. If you're able, move on the main courses, where chicken, lamb and beef shish kabob highlight the offerings. There's also gyros and souvlaki, which may be a tip of the hat to the Greek neighbors of the Lebanese, but if you taste these versions you'll understand, culinarily speaking, that these delicious dishes came from the Lebanese-Syrian region and were taken over by the Greeks. Interestingly, whenever I ask a taxi cab driver where they like to eat, they invariably point to this haven of the best of Middle Eastern cuisine. Thankfully, it's only a few miles from where I live, but if it were 100 miles away, I would still be a regular.
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