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Found 80 results

  1. 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
  2. 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 reflecting a higher rent as well as fancier décor. Now I have to decide whether to drive a little farther to HKP or stay in McLean.
  3. 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)
  4. 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 real thought. As with Rocco's, the ambiance was spot on and the service was friendly and attentive, particularly concerning drink refills. [i'm guessing this place also qualifies for the "oldest restaurants" thread, tho I didn't take notice of the date and they don't have a website.]
  5. 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 shoestring fries that I could've eaten pounds of. My friend got a fried fish sandwich ($9.50) - it was huge, and his only complaint a bit too heavy to combine with a beer and then go back to work on a Friday afternoon. I'm going to have to go back here a few more times to, uh, make sure the quality stays up...yeah, that's it....
  6. 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 at some of the many, many random Thai joints that have popped up (I do appreciate the attempts to use clever names, though I've wondered why no one has yet tried Thai Me Up!) as Thai food has increased significantly in popularity with the masses. Last night we had three dishes: pad see ew with beef, eggplant with chicken and basil, and catfish with chilies and eggplant. The noodles were dry-fried, with just enough sauce and grease to caramelize the noodle edges. Yum! I like that they use Chinese broccoli, as is right and proper, instead of regular broccoli. We had told the server, "spicy is good," in response to her concerned query about our choices. However, the (chunks of asian) eggplant and basil chicken dish, while bursting with basil goodness, was not exactly searing to the palate. (But how do I justify deep-frying my vegetables, if I don't get a restaurant to do it??!!) The dish was delicious, but mild. Maybe next time I'll tell them that "spicy is necessary." The catfish was fried (thin steak slices) and served with thin slices of those cute, green, baby (Thai?) eggplants, a lot of basil, and the same basic brown sauce, with the crucial addition of a generous amount of chilies. While the flavor was excellent (and definitely needed rice to ensure consumer comfort), I have to say that my enjoyment of the dish was reduced somewhat because of the effort involved in finding and removing the spine and other bones. Each bite required rather delicate chewing to avoid stabby little points of fishy revenge. I understand, though, that this might not be a problem for others. Great service - friendly but unobtrusive. My water glass barely had time to dip below full (key for me when chilies are involved) before it was refilled. So that's me. I love this place! Anyone else want to cop to eating Thai comfort food? I'm curious if others have suggestions on dishes to try...
  7. 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.
  8. 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 tuna, yellowtail, eel, salmon roe and quail egg. There appears to be some kind of all day 'happy hour' going on during the weekends and a few other days of the week, so the pieces were nicely priced, albeit a bit small. Tuna, for example, priced for one piece per order was $1.95, so two pieces at $3.90 isn't bad. The one piece per order concept threw me off a bit, but we had more than enough food between us. The fish was uniformly fresh and colorful, almost glistening, and as good as sushi gets in the general Springfield-Franconia-Lorton-Burke area. A full carafe of wine, priced at about $27.00, along with all the sushi we could handle, plus miso soup and salad for two, plus tax and tip, came to just under $100. I will return.
  9. 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 everything else arrives: Then, the family-style dinner: Everything about this meal screamed "Repeat!" - everything, that is, except the price: We paid $70 for those two little assemblages of food that you see just above (plus the cornbread). "Geez," I said, "$70, and we got *four* pieces of chicken!" I mean, it was great and everything, but as you can see, there are three starch-heavy items: the cornbread, the biscuits, and the potatoes, and we both paced our dinners so that we finished everything at the same time. We were mildly full, and yes, the richness of the cooking made everything satisfying, but come on! I wanted more chicken, darn it! So, just as we were winding down, our server came up to us, and said, "Would you all care for some more chicken, or side dishes?" "Wat?" Okay, so ... spending my money so you don't have to ... we asked for some more chicken, potatoes, and collards (made with delicious bacon, btw), and got a healthy second portion; the rub is that we had *no idea* it was coming, so we filled up on starch, when we would have really preferred a better balance with another piece of chicken. Remember: Those second portions are coming your way, but not a word was said about them until we had almost finished the meal - if you take *that* into consideration, and use it to your advantage, then $35 is a very fair price for this meal. Also, the restaurant gave us two spice muffins "to have with breakfast the next morning," which is always a nice touch. To Rye Street's full credit, they offered to box up the second helping which we couldn't finish - we felt sheepish about this, since boxing up all-you-can-eat meals is something of a shady practice, but they would hear nothing of it. Keep in mind: I don't know if this is all-you-can-eat; I suspect you get two helpings, and *maybe* a third helping if you really do a number on everything, but I wouldn't count on that. Still, in no way did they seem like they were trying to skimp on things, so this was merely a lack of knowledge on our part - learn from our mistake! Go here on a Sunday night, get this exact same thing, and *remember* that it's essentially all-you-can-eat - I can't guarantee we'd have gotten a third helping, but who knows? There's no need to stuff yourself with carbs, merely so you don't leave hungry. Furthermore, the restaurant, and the grounds it's on (it shares acreage with a distillery) is beautiful - there's even a battleship in the background! And that is damned good fried chicken!
  10. 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 in the Washington Post. Scott has pumped blood sweat, and tears into Ventnor for almost 10 years. Over the almost 10 years he has worked more hours than most in a lifetime. I know of him taking just one week off since opening. All of his hard work really shows in how he runs his operation. If you have never visited, I suggest you stop by. Scott will most likely be there, and he is always willing to chat you up if you are in the mood. Ventnor Sports Cafe
  11. 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.
  12. 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. He's infectious. That being said they make a cheeseburger pizza. I know, I know. What the hell?! Close your eyes, breath in the vapor through opened mouth and nose, as you inhal-o-latch in to the first bite and what do you think? McDonald's Cheeseburger. I kid you not. It's probably been 15 years since I had one of those things. Maybe longer. But it somehow is so universally known that it just is. This is that cheeseburger in pie form. Pure awesome hilarity. The other one, despite having average crust, sauce and cheese, is the Spicy Thai pizza. I am not really a fan of thematic pizzas, but I'm game to try it. It may not be exactly Thai, it is pizza after all, and even though the flavors are not purely authentic Thai, it oddly scratches the bizzaro itch you did not know you had. It's a devious pizza because all you really want is the flavor and not the average crust. Is it a place you want to go to and eat? Maybe not, at least maybe not more than a few times, but I'll bet you'll be back if only for the guy running it and that damn Spicy Thai pizza.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 incredibly tender and flavorful. The chicken malai, in particular, is dry grilled but still juicy, with a nice mild herby flavor that pairs great with the chutney. Definitely will be my go to whenever I'm in the Hippodrome/Royal Farms Arena area.
  16. 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 worth a shot. Reasonable $$ and salads are decent as well. Parking lot is in back of the restaurant.
  17. 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 bonito and miso dressing, and the "bread service" of a Slow Dough giant (GIANT!) pretzel, with 3 spreads (marinara, pimento cheese, and furikake butter). The cauliflower was indeed tasty, reminiscent of takoyaki. The only thing I would say is that after a few bites, they became a little dull (as in, not sharp), and could've used some sort of acidic element to brighten things up (capers maybe? a squeeze of lemon? I don't know). The pretzel itself was massive, warm, buttery, and delicious. The spreads...eh. The marinara was totally off-putting in a way neither of us could put a finger on, but it went completely untouched. The pimento cheese was a totally straightforward take, without any noticeable spice. The furikake butter won out, mainly because it was butter. This dish seemed like an afterthought. I moved on to the "Country Captain" chicken - pan seared, along with deep fried wings, and topped with a vaguely curry-ish sauce with raisins. All in all a nicely cooked, but standard take on a Lowcountry classic. Cristina had fried quail served over black eyed peas and greens. I much preferred this dish, mainly for the delicious peas. Earthy and with just enough bite to them. We drank a South African Cab blend (2013 John X Merriman Stellenbosch) that played well with everything we ordered - medium bodied, with a good amount of earthiness that I enjoy. Roost has a small but nicely curated wine list and a number of local beers on tap. Given that the menu changes monthly, I think it's probably worth another look down the line, but for now I have it in my good-not-great category.
  18. 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 fish with tofu arrived on a plate rather than a bowl. The tofu was tender and the fish was not the least bit fishy. The more I ate of it, the more I enjoyed it. At first it was just spicy and salty but I detected more flavor as I continued shoveling the stuff down my throat. The pot stickers were nothing special, the dough being rather thick. The pan cake didn't have any flavor. A decent authentic Chinese joint (which makes it 10x better than any American Chinese restaurant in my book). They also have a buffet but I didn't see what was on there.
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. (Search returned nothing and I don't recall seeing a thread, so here goes) I had a lovely dinner (with a large group, none the less) at the new Liberty Tree last night. Pizza and small plates on H street, I believe they've been open a whole two weeks or so now. It feel strange to tout the virtues of a salad, but the "rare tuna" was pretty wicked. Spinach, Kalamata, white beans, topped with seared tuna with some pine nuts. Seriously, best salad in a while. And the salads come in two sizes, thank you very much (I hate not knowing if it's going to be huge or small...at least with two sizes you can have some idea if you're ordering as a starter versus a main). Margherita pizza with prosciutto, also pretty darned yummy. I snuck a bite of the bread pudding (didn't leave room for more than that) and it was seriously good. The kicker? Noticeably affordable. Our bill came and my friend and I had to laugh because her two bottles of Lambic ($12 each, which I think seems pretty normal since they're at TJ's for $10) came to a full half of our dinner check. I'm excited, this place is good. I think it's going to be crowded when word gets out.
  23. Barking Mad Cafe has a solid coffee program. They use Counter Culture beans and can draw a serious espresso. Their cappuccinos and lattes are also good, although I have had a few cappuccinos that were wetter than I prefer. They have drip coffee, but no pour over. The standout, though, is their cold brew. During the summer, they had two offerings, both on nitro taps. It's so smooth it's like drinking Guinness coffee. The coffee served at Barking Mad Cafe would be noteworthy anywhere in the DC area. IMHO, it's extraordinary in Gaithersburg, which has nothing comparable within a reasonable distance.
  24. We had brunch earlier today to make up for a disastrous dinner last night at a local Vietnamese place in the Castro (Jasmine Garden, (708 14th Street (Church Street)). The waitstaff didn't hear that I had ordered chicken pho even though I repeated my order a few times. As a result, I never received my entree. The steamed bass that B ordered was somehow mixed in with glass noodles and a thick cloying sauce. Strike another local place off our list which we won't be returning to anytime soon. Brunch was much better, in spades. Monsieur Benjamin 451 Gough Street (Ivy Street) http://www.monsieurbenjamin.com/ It's a beautiful glass enclosed space with an open kitchen, a marble counter, one communal table, several two- and four-tops and an outdoor seating area. The room can get loud. At the time we were there, it was half-full and eventually became three quarters-full. Lots of wooden surfaces, glass surfaces, hard edges and square corners mean that there's no sound absorption. You can hear your partner if he or she is sitting next to you but you might have to speak louder than normal in order to make yourself heard by the staff. That is a valid criticism that we have, so take it for what it's worth. Butter lettuce salad with fines herbes and radishes. Very lightly dressed. B loved it, even with the minute amounts of tarragon that were present in the vinaigrette. Fried frogs' legs en aigre doux, with garlic and lemon. Expertly fried, and greaseless. Great attention to detail. It made me sit up and take notice - this is a place we should return to, for dinner. Oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in red wine), with duck confit, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes and sauce au poivre. Well-made, although the sauce was a tad oversalted. Tarte au chocolat, mint sherbet, shortbread cookie. Was perfect. Can't say much more than that. Total bill came out to $114 ($57 per person). The restaurant adds a 20% surcharge which replaces the need to add a tip.
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