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Been to Level in Annapolis 3 times in the past two weekends and my wife and I are convinced this is the best small plates restaurant in the Annapolis area. Large and crowded but we have been able to snag reservations on consecutive Friday nights. Place isn't quiet and adult oriented. I.E. I didn't see any children or really children friendly food. Small but great list of curated cocktails. My wife had a pair of Gimlets with Lime Foam and shaved Lime Rind and I have Moscow Mules with handmade Ginger Beer. Seemed like a good selection of Beer and Wines. We had Finca La Mata on Saturday night, a good wine which I have bought by the case. Annapolis is a drinking town and it doesn't disappoint in this regard. We have had salads, Fried Cuban Rolls, Lamb, Sea Bass, Pork Loin, frites and they were all great. They have 4-5 entrees in groupings such as sea, land, veggie, pasta and appetizers. On West street about a mile away from city dock, which makes for easier parking.
I tried out Meggrolls last night. It's in the former Five Guys space at 107 N. Fayette Street in Old Town. The space is pleasant -- navy and white, with a touch of dusty orange in the dining area, blond wood tables and chairs, and a bunch of framed '80s album covers in the dining area. Right now, they're open for dinner hours only, at 5:00, so they can get a feel for the flow. The menu is small, about a half dozen Meggrolls offered, plus some cole slaw variations, french fries, and chili, and the chalkboard advertises that pies are coming soon. The chalkboard also says that 1 roll is a good snack and 2 is a meal. Well, 1 roll and a side of slaw would be more than plenty of food for me; I did the 2 rolls (no sides) and it was a stretch -- remember, it's all deep fried. At $6.75+ per roll (sides are a la carte), taking the chalkboard's advice gets pricey pretty fast for what is, at its heart, tasty craft junkfood. The rolls are a cheeseburger, buffalo chicken, gyro, mac-n-cheese, and chicken parm. The rolls are expertly fried, and fried to order. I could see into the frying area and each chamber of the fryer was labeled for each type of roll so none of the flavors mingle. They're using some sort of iPad register system and it looks cute but I wonder how it's going to hold up over the medium term, let alone long term. Because it's done to order, and a small kitchen (one fry cook/roll splitter and one dressing the rolls at the pass, it can get backed up quickly and one even small order gone wrong can throw the whole thing into the weeds. Case in point, I was in a mini-rush of folks getting off work and arriving about 5:45, and was 3rd or 4th to order and 10th or 11th to get my 2 rolls, one of which was done many minutes (and several intervening pick-ups) before the other. The rolls were dark brown, crunchy, not greasy, and held up well to a 30 minute car ride home, but I certainly wouldn't recommend that sort of holding time. I tried the spicy buffalo chicken roll and the gyro roll. The chicken was a mild-to-medium spicy piece of chicken that appeared to have been pre-cooked in the spiced coating, then egg roll wrapped with a little something else inside the roll, deep fried and then split lengthwise and topped with a small celery stick and dressed with bleu or ranch dressing (I had the bleu on the side since it was a to-go order). I would have liked it a bit spicier and with more of a celery kick to it. The gyro was a spiced lamb patty, sort of like kofta, deep fried, split lengthwise and topped with (a very bland) tzatziki, shredded lettuce and halved grape tomatoes. I liked this one a little better than the buffalo chicken, but felt it was a bit out of balance with too much yogurt/not enough herbs compared to the lamb. The flavor of the lamb was good. I scraped off most of the tzatziki and ate it with the tomatoes instead, and a punch of fresh herbs and garlic would have done it good. Overall, it was a fun meal but I'd really put it in the category of a well-made junky treat and not something I'll eat very often.
How about Portabello's in Arlington? So far, we are 2 for 2 for overall good meals there. Anyone else have thoughts?
mtureck posted a topic in Washington DC Restaurants and DiningFirst, let me point out that I'm not a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine, so hopefully someone that is will jump on this and give you a better overall opinion of this place. Personally, I'm just happy that in the space of a few weeks, south Dupont opened two spots with ramen in a few blocks of each other...this place, and Oki Ramen down the street, which I haven't tried yet. As you can see there's lots more than ramen at Nagomi. Nov 2014 Lunch Menu Nov 2014 Dinner Menu So look at this as a very quick, and totally incomplete, preview. I had a very solid bowl of shoyu ramen...the other choices were, um...well, I'd tell you if the menus weren't so damn slow to load. Hopefully they'll work on that. Anyway, it was a very traditional bowl...noodles, soft boiled egg, sliced pork and some veggies. The noodles didn't quite have enough of a chew for my taste, but the broth was excellent, and I'd go back again to try the other varieties. Which are...come on...getting there....aha, shio and tonkotsu. So please, if you're an izakaya fan, go on by and fill in all my blanks...this has been a pretty cursed location, so hopefully this place can change that.