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  1. I am BACK!!! After a long, long hiatus, partially as a result of travels, and partially as a result of issues with my learning disability, I have had trouble coming back to writing. But encouragement from so many of my friends and family has moved me to get back into it. I’ve continued to try hundreds of new restaurants, particularly in NYC where I am from. I thought I’d start it out with a particularly unique Staten Island establishment: Lakruwana. Little Sri Lanka’s NYC HQ is in Staten Island, which makes for a cumbersome journey to its great concomitant restaurants, but it’s well worth it in the end. There isn’t an overwhelming number of restaurants per se-- perhaps no more than 15-- but many of them have become celebrated among the few places to get quality Sri Lankan food in the city. I am also doing a major New Jersey and Staten Island push, so this resto fit into my new offensive! Lakruwana is quite an experience to visit. Its gold-laden front doors are covered in Sri Lankan reliefs, making for a grand entrance to an interior that looks like some warped alternate Sri Lankan reality from the surrounding Staten Island hills. Underneath the restaurant is the Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum (the only one of its kind in the city), if you want to tack that onto your food adventure here! Anywho, I went with my girlfriend, who was immensely skeptical of this Staten Island food push, and we both came away convinced of the virtues of these recent tactical maneuvers. The food is very tasty, although I am slightly rusty on Sri Lankan, and have yet to try some of the other options in the area. I want to hold off a full throttle endorsement until such time, but for now can highly recommend this place. We got the classics--lamprais for me, kottu for her. I was a big fan of the lamprais, which have the potential to taste kind of bland since its just rice mixed up with stuff. In this case, each element: the onions, the cashews, the curry etc., were all very good, AND worked together in a wonderful harmony of flavors. I got fish curry with mine, which I have been craving, and while it lacked some of the funky unusual tastes that one might find with a South Indian fish curry, it was cooked very well, and still tasted good. Spiciness was a slight issue for me since I love extreme spice, but they tried their best to bump up the heat. Ultimately Sri Lankan isn’t like Bangladeshi, for instance, in the sense that its extreme spices are often mild by comparison, from my experience. The kottu was also very good, and I was very fond of the chicken curry that came with it. Usually kottu can be kind of dry, but the wonderful lil curry sauce was perfect to enliven the taste and moisten the starch a bit, so to speak. I was sad to have missed the buffet. People rave about the buffet served in these giant clay pots. Indeed, that is how I remember first finding out about the resto whereby one of the websites I follow said “we went for the buffet” etc. All in all, I recommend you go try this place, and the others around to compare (like New Asha, San Rasa, etc.). Little Sri Lanka isn’t necessarily a Chinatown 2 in terms of its offerings and sheer breadth, but it is an under-explored, unsung hotspot for venerable cuisine.
  2. Spoke with the owners of Banana Leaf, a new Sri Lankan restaurant opening next to Jakes on Connecticut Ave in Van Ness/Chevy Chase. I don't have a whole lot of information other than they tell me this will be the first Sri Lankan restaurant in the DC metro area. It is affiliated with Banana Leaf in NYC, but the primary day to day operation will be by two guys I met who live in DC. They expect the restaurant to open in the next few weeks with a liquor license to follow.
  3. This restaurant opened up about 3 weeks ago, and not a review on Yelp or DR or anywhere that I can see. I went in a week ago to look at the menu. They had standard north Indian fare, a Sri Lankan menu, and oddly enough, a few Thai dishes. So, yesterday, I had not eaten all day and went over there to pick up some take out. It was only two of us, so we didn't get to try much, but I'll definitely go back to try more dishes. The place inside isn't much different than when it was Po Siam. I think some of the same decorations are up. I'm sure it will take some time. The bar area remains, but the alcohol does not. Wondering what their plan is going to be for that... I ordered off of the Sri Lankan section. Dhal Vede - "the quintessential street food of south India and Sri Lanka" (not my words, I just googled it). It's a small patty made of split yellow lentils, chilies, curry powder or leaves, chickpea flour. About 2-2.5 inches, circular. They are tasty and a nice snack. 3 in an order for $4. Eaten with tamarind sauce and cilantro sauce. Mutton Curry - deep brown color, meat on the bone, flavorful. My dining partner has some issues with spicy food, so we went with medium spice level. It was rich and I enjoyed it. It was $11-12 and not a very big portion. There was a fair amount of meat. Eggplant dish - I forgot the Indian name. Not too different than baingan bartha. It was good, but skin was on, and I don't always like that. Sorry, not super descriptive - feel like takeout is super hard to get a hold of. I liked it. I'm going to try as many of the other dishes as I can. Since Bombay Curry Company seems like it will never open, this is what we have for South Asian in the Del Ray area. At about 615p, it was nearly empty, save for one other person who came in for take out. She tried ordering a Thai dish. I hope people give it a chance.
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