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  1. I go through reservation websites all the time, hoping to find a new restaurant with outdoor dining. That's how I found Ruthie's All-day on Opentable. And then I read a piece on the restaurant by Eater. They also have free parking - that clinched the deal. So I ordered Wood Grilled Oysters with yuzu kosho butter. I had no idea what yuzu kosho butter is but what the heck! It turned out to be delicious - I only wish the oysters were bigger. The Wood Grilled Striploin with chimichurri was less magnificent (not a great piece of meat compared to the ribeye I've been buying at Balducci's)
  2. We finally got around to checking out La Casita, a pupuseria and carryout in a tiny little strip near the corner of Piney Branch Road and Dale Drive. The pupusas mixtas had a nice little crunch to the outside, creamy beans, and good curtido. Carne Asada was respectable and the grilled shell-on jumbo shrimp, Camarones a la Plancha, were much better than expected. All Platos de La Casita come with yellow rice studded with tiny pieces of carrot, and either pureed and rather soupy refried red beans or a surprisingly fresh salad. We ordered Enchiladas Salvadorenas (corn tortillas fried until very c
  3. Last week, I went to the Rye Street Tavern, NoHo Hospitality Group's latest foray into Baltimore. It was on a Sunday evening, so we naturally gravitated towards their "Southern Fried Sundays" - a fried chicken dinner, served family style. Keep reading, because I'm going to tell you a little secret about ordering this meal that wouldn't be at all obvious to a first-time diner. and it will make the difference between you "liking it," and "loving it." The cocktails were somewhat expensive, but were well-made and delicious: And a little loaf of cornbread comes out just before e
  4. I don't remember how I heard about this joint. It could've been Tyler Cowen, or it could've been Chowhound. We ordered from the Chinese menu, which has pretty pictures and English translation. We had some mapo fish with tofu ($14), cumin lamb, ($14) pot stickers ($7), and hand scratch pan cake ($4). The cumin lamb arrived first, along with its body odor-like smell. Luckily it tasted much better than it smells. The lamb had some gaminess, but the cumin and chili peppers did a good job of covering that up. Other than 1 particularly chewy piece, the lamb was tender and plentiful. The mapo
  5. 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.
  6. Shouk is a fast-casual eatery serving 100 percent plant-based deliciousness!!! Here is the menu: - the restaurant opened May 3rd. On Sunday, May 15, 2016, I enjoyed the following: Shouk Pita with roasted fennel, crispy potato, red pepper, pistachio pesto Polenta fries with tomato tahina Shouk Salad with lots of fresh & roasted veggies, crunch, tahina vinaigrette
  7. I had lunch solo at the bar recently at Gotham Bar and Grill. I enjoyed the food, but more than that, I was incredibly impressed by the service. What sticks in my mind is that the bartender was just so nice, yet formal, in the manner in which he checked in during the meal and asked the usual routine questions. The service was also excellent otherwise. For example, someone served me a roll promptly, and once I finished it, the bartender asked if I'd like another piece. None of my usual craning to try to locate and accost the bread server. My food was delicious. I started with the yel
  8. I searched for a thread on Thai Square, but I couldn't find one, so I apologize if I'm search-function impaired, but I thought this place deserved its own space. I'm glad that Tom S. isn't hyping it anymore, because it's now safe to go back! While they are still busy, it's possible to get seated at some point in the evening, and they are now willing and able to fill takeout orders in a reasonable length of time. When I eat here, I'm reminded of how much I enjoy eating simple, homey, Thai food. None of this bland, oversauced, and terribly underspiced poor excuses that they've been serving up
  9. Ricciuti's is located in the historic Olney House, on Route 108, just off Georgia Avenue in Olney MD. It started out years ago as a pizza and Italian sandwich restaurant, but over the years has transformed into a nice restaurant with great wood fired pizzas and a fine dining menu (Italian for he most part) with a very good wine list, especially for Montgomery County. (They have a Wine Spectator award) The core of the restaurant is still the wood fired pizza oven. Pizzas come out crisp and hot, with lots and lots of toppings available. While they are not cheap, the pizzas are nothing like
  10. Liu Chaosheng - who dat, you might ask. Well, he's the guy who opened Hong Kong Palace and Uncle Liu's Hot Pot, and he's now opened Asian Origin, in the old Panache space on Pinnacle Drive as noted in this McLean Patch article. When I first received a menu, I noted its Sichuan dishes and instantly decided to compare it to HKP (not knowing at the time they're sister restaurants). The beef, tendon, and tripe dish is $9 at HKP and $12 at AO. Spicy wontons are $6 at HKP and $8 at AO. Dan Dan Noodles are $7 at HKP and $8 at AO. So the prices are higher at AO, presumably r
  11. So last weekend I took Nick Cho up on his offer . Had a blast. Learned a lot. Drank a lot of espresso, most of it pretty bad. Now that I have a real taste for it, where do I go to get the good stuff? Is there any in DC? Where are your favorite places, and why do you like them? [Murky coffee has its own thread. Starbucks need not apply] ...help? --- The following posts have been split into separate threads: Big Bear Cafe (marketfan) Bourbon Coffee (DaRiv18) Tynan Coffee and Tea (DaRiv18) Mayorga Coffee Roasters (hillvalley) Restaurant Eve Bistro (goodeats)
  12. Continuing our tour through spectacularly divey, if culinarily mediocre McLean restaurants, the boy and I had breakfast at MFR on Sunday. We ordered basic items and the food was quite good, actually. We each ordered 2 eggs, over easy, and they were perfectly cooked, with nary a botched yolk. The two pancakes we large, plate-sized, striking a good balance between fluff and heft. Accouterments of bacon and sausage were good, with the bacon nicely cooked to personal preference (I like it brittle). The only miss were the homefries that just didn't have anything to it, and weren't prepared with any
  13. In the ice rink plaza over in Ashburn, Ford's Fish Shack is the third restaurant in the same space. Food-wise, of my first try, it's already blown the previous two out of the water. One of my coworkers had gone on and on about how much he liked the fish and chips. A buddy of mine and I went there for lunch. I had the lobster roll ($17), and if you use Mark Slater's definition of how trite it may be from another thread, well, this one is NOT trite. It was DELICIOUS. The lobster was nice and firm, the roll buttery, the combination with the just right amount of dressing fantastic. It came with s
  14. Dal Grano is next to the former Bistro Vivant, now Masala. Bland is the key word here. I had fettuccine with seafood white wine sauce. The dish had some nicely cooked shrimp and calamari rings, and some mussels (not in shell). I think it was the mussels that made the dish fishy, otherwise it had little flavor. I also think the pasta is not firm enough.
  15. I had been in Osaka a few times in the past. It's a few doors down from Thai Cafe, which is in the Dining Guide, but I was surprised that Osaka was not in the Dining Guide. I actually was aiming for Thai Cafe but girlfriend did a last-second vector to Osaka, and it was worth the detour. Girlfriend and I had a very pleasant dinner at Osaka tonight. We ordered liberally throughout the sushi menu, with plenty of nigiri, including medium fatty tuna as well as salmon belly, and three rolls -- spicy tuna, crunchy real crab and avocado and eel. Among the nigiri was plenty of tuna, salmon, white tu
  16. Full disclaimer Scott is a great friend. I was there the first day he opened and have lent a hand as well as from time to time over the years. Helped hang some TVs, bar backed when he was swamped, worked the fryer, been on runs to Restaurant Depot, etc. All of that being said, Scott is a great guy (I knew him back when we were kickin it at Syracuse University) and he runs a heck of a sports bar/pub. I have always been a fan of his food and thought that his wings are the best in town (even though I am highly biased). It warms my heart that Tim Carman gave him such a nice review today
  17. I don't think I'd consider Parc essential - especially given the proliferation of brasseries in DC. They do what they do very well, but if you're staying off Rittenhouse it's really better suited as an option for breakfast, lunch or (even better) a spontaneous glass of bubbles in the afternoon.
  18. M&N's Pizza is so weird and yet so awesome. It is in a micro turret shaped building. They sell beer, too. They make mostly average pizza. But they make two pizzas of note. One of them for the pure awesome hilarity of it and the other because it actually tastes good! My coworkers discovered this place years ago and it has become the defacto place the company orders pizzas from for office things. Office lunches or meetings. Whatever. Like I said, most of it is just so blerghishly average. But the guy running the place is so friendly and nice that you just want to buy more stuff from him.
  19. 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 i
  20. It's been a while since I've been to Maiwand Grill, but this place had some great kabobs and pumpkin. I don't know if this is connected to the Maiwand Kabob in Columbia, but this is near Cuba de Ayer.
  21. Reaching into the past here, but there's a Maiwand Grill with locations in Baltimore and Burtonsville, which seems to be unaffiliated with Maiwand Kabob (5 area locations) as far as I can tell. That said, the Maiwand Grill in Baltimore City is a fantastic restaurant. The hummus and pumpkin with ground beef were on point, and the kabob entrees are amazing deals for the amount and quality of food (~$10 with bread, rice, salad, and spicy green chutney). The kofta kabob and chicken malai (marinated in sour cream and butter with ginger, garlic and fresh coriander leaves) kabobs I tried are inc
  22. Neapolitan Pizza in Tysons: Crust Pizza. If I missed this place already covered, my apologies. Recently opened in the Tysons area 1/2 block off Route 123 and Old Courthouse. It is next door to the ABC store. If you want a great pizza and do not want to drive to Falls Church (Orso), or DC (2 Amys) or (Paradiso), give this place a shot. Decent seating and all new space. TVs usually have a soccer match on or NFL on Sunday. You order at the counter and they bring out your food. This is very casual, but also very good. Beer available. If you want a true wood-fired experience it is
  23. Alison Cook has listed Roost in her Top 100 for a few years now, placing it at 29 in this edition. From reading about the restaurant, Chef Naderi introduces a new menu monthly, highlighting local and seasonal ingredients with little regard for staying in one particular "lane" of cuisine. Cristina and I had a quiet and pleasant dinner the other night. Top-line assessment: Pleasant enough to be a neighborhood fave, but in a sprawling food town like Houston, it would be tough to recommend traveling for a special visit. We started with 2 appetizers: the much lauded fried cauliflower with b
  24. We met friends at 71Above for drinks and some appetizers. We had to leave for a show so we did not stay for dinner (although our friends did). We sat at the bar and one among us took charge and ordered the appetizers and while they were uniformly good, I spent way to much time talking rather than focusing on the food so I cannot offer much more in the way of a commentary. But what I can report is.... Man, what a view!
  25. While the food was reliable and capable and decent...But the service and the singing waitstaff (seriously, they sing operatic arias, etc) is what makes this place. The Victor Cafe. Had a blast there last year with friends.
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