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Found 10 results

  1. http://www.falafelinc.org/ We took a group of college kids to the new Spy Museum via the Alexandria water-taxi to the Wharf. After the spy museum we walked down to the Wharf for dinner. We had a vegetarian in our group, and all the group agreed that Falafel Inc sounded good. It is fast casual, with a little machine that pops out falafels to order. The drink options seemed a little limited. You could get a sandwich (in a pita), or a bowl (salad), with add-ons like hummus, zataar fries, tabouli, etc. I think there was a small confusion on what a bowl and sandwich were for the group when we first walked in. It seems like they could just say pita or salad. There are no tables inside, but outside there were high tops and tables you could stand/sit at to eat. They have sauces you can add after you get your sandwich- those have names, but the names don't really correspond to what it is- I would prefer if they just said like cilantro sauce, mild spicy, spicy, etc. I figured the bright orange was a hot sauce of sorts and got that, I was right and I quite liked it. Anyway, the naming could be better, but the sandwich really was pretty decent with the sauce. Fries were good, not quite as good as those from Lebanese Taverna Market, enough for at least two to share. I can't remember if the sauce descriptions were on the hanging menu, they were likely on the printed one, if there was a sign right above the sauces that would help. But also having one that says it can't be described is a bit trite. Anyway, good for a not too expensive grab and go at the Wharf with a vegetarian.
  2. This new massive restaurant from the owner of Masseria opened last week on the Wharf, so we went last night. The entrance is right on Maine Avenue, unlike the majority of the restaurants on the Wharf. You walk into a relatively casual café and market, and are led to your table upstairs to a swankier dining room. The room was a little too brightly lit for our tastes, but I know many complain about rooms being too dark, so we may be in the minority. We started with a decent bourbon and amaro cocktail to start, followed by delicious buffalo mozzarella and figs stuffed with ricotta and nduja. We then split a delicious pasta (note: I am FAR from a pasta snob/expert, so others may disagree) filled with cauliflower with a hint of anchovy before our entrees: decadent tortellini filled with fall squash for my fiancé, and a whole branzino with a dill-lemon emulsion for the entrée. My branzino was very good but unexciting (to be clear, I didn't expect it to be exciting when I ordered it), and the sauce was tangy and refreshing. The tortellini was fantastic and a decent portion; the parmesan on it reminded me, in the best way, of the nostalgia of the Kraft pre-grated cheese in the green container that we all grew up with. The side of beets we got with mint, oranges and fennel was a HUGE portion for $10. Lastly, we shared a rhum cake with freshly whipped cream that was outstanding. Service was super friendly and, for the most part, knowledgeable. Our waitress was quite engaging and glad to show off her knowledge of the menu. One quirk: we mentioned during our meal that we wanted to check out the vaunted "Amaro Library" after dinner. Before our entrees came, our waitress said they had spots open and that we should go now. We resisted a bit because we were happy at our table and didn't want all the food to have to be brought to the bar, but she was pretty insistent, saying that the bar would likely fill up soon. So we went, regretfully so. I love eating at the bar alone, but it made it difficult to carry on as nice of a conversation when we weren't sitting face-to-face. Worse, the bartender, who was otherwise perfectly nice, was a bit stressed out about all the tickets coming in from the waiters, and got a bit snippy with them, which dampened the mood a bit. As for the amaro bar itself, we were let down. Despite having an interesting-looking collection, there was no menu, so we didn't know what was available and what flavors they had. The friendly bartender revealed that he had limited knowledge of the actual amari and had to defer to a colleague for some help. We liked what we ended up getting, but were disappointed considering how much they've hyped up their amaro bar. The selection and knowledge at Little Coco's is much better, at least for now. The crowd, by the way, was extremely Sceney, the same type of crowd you'd find at RPM or Nobu. Not sure what it is about the Wharf that attracts these crowds (not that I totally dislike it), but it's starkly different from the people you'd see at other restaurants in the city.
  3. I was a bit surprised to see that there were no posts on this restaurant, as Fabio has historically been a figure that has sparked conversation on DR. My wife and I went last night to a mostly full restaurant that is styled very similarly to Fiola Mare, although this space is much larger than Fabio's place on the Georgetown waterfront. Our first observation is that there are a lot of people working on the floor at Del Mar. Including the 2 women working at the host stand, we interacted with 6 different people in our first 2 minutes after being seated. Some people find this style of service attentive; my wife and I feel smothered. My feeling is that if I haven't even opened my menu, any question other than the type of water that I would like is premature. Especially questions about wine from the sommelier before I have been given a wine list, but I digress. After the service staff dispersed, I delved into the menu, which was organized by rather short sections of 3-5 dishes by different types of raw and cold dishes, hot dishes/appetizers, mains, and plates to be shared. We kicked things off with 6 oysters from New Jersey that were described as "briny and succulent", which is right up my alley. Unfortunately, while the oysters were succulent, I would definitely not describe them as briny, as they were a bit flat and not woken up by the Escabeche Vinaigrette. Another sauce was also delivered with the oysters, described as an "aioli", which was interesting as I have never heard of anyone having a mayo-like dip with oysters. This sounded awful to me, but my curiosity was piqued, so I tried it to make sure I wasn't missing anything with one of my oysters, and it was just as poorly paired and bad as it sounds. I'm assuming the inclusion was a mistake, as I can't imagine anyone liking what I tried last night. Shame on me for not using my better judgment, I guess. From there we went to hot appetizers, where we chose the Sopa de Castana y Cangrejo and the Scallops, Sea Urchin, and Black Truffles. The soup was far and away the best dish of the night, exactly what we were looking for on a cold night. It felt vintage-Trabocchi, very rich and flavorful, extracting flavors from ingredients and appropriate spicing to deliver a rich, well-balanced dish. We wanted seconds. The scallops were also nice, well paired with the vibrant sea urchin, but this would have been a better warm weather dish as it was very cold and very light. For our main, we got the Arroz Negro de Calamares en su Tinta. I should note here that we have had paella and arroz negro many times on trips to Spain and at restaurants in the US. We have had a couple versions that we really liked, but we often feel underwhelmed by these types of dishes. Maybe we don't love paella (or Spanish food in general)? I'm not sure, but I figure that I would point this out before saying that we were massively disappointed in this dish. It came out and was plated well by our waiter into large portions along with a side of lemon and, yet again, aioli. I asked the waiter about the aioli, to see if there was a particular way to eat the arroz with it as I have never seen it presented this way. He said that it was how "everybody" ate the dish, which confused me because I have had paella in Mallorca and Barcelona and have never seen it come with any sort of mayo substance. Is this normal? Again, I took the bait and put a dab of it on the side of my plate, dipping a bit of calamari and black rice in to take a taste. No. I can't believe that "everybody" eats this dish this way, as it became gooey and added nothing to the flavor palate. I ignored it for the rest of the meal, but again I must not be getting it, because I found the arroz to be bland and rather uninteresting, even with a copious amount of lemon squirted on top. Also, the calamari was somehow grilled and very chewy on the outside, but slimy and wet on the inside, combining both ways that I don't like my calamari cooked into one bite somehow. We were starving, but both of us still left a lot on our plates, as this just did not work for us on so many levels. We were a bit disheartened after the arroz negro, so we decided to pass on dessert and get the bill. For 2 glasses of Cava Brut, a middle of the road bottle of Ribeiro ($65), and the food listed above, the bill came to $232 after tax. I had to look twice, as this was more money than we had spent on any meal since our last visit to Komi, and far from extravagant or particularly satisfying food. At this price point, I can't possibly see us coming back here, but again maybe we just don't like this style of cuisine or we could have ordered better (cold crudo on a 40 degree night, yes that's my bad). I'll be interested to see how this place does over the years, as it really is huge, very expensive, and in the hot new high-rent district of DC.
  4. Cathal Armstrong's new restaurant Kaliwa is opening possibly tomorrow at the Wharf (751 Wharf St, SW, DC) (via Laura Hayes' tweet). More info about the restaurant at Washington City Paper: "Kaliwa Brings Food with Full Funk and Fire to the Wharf when it Opens Next Week" by Laura Hayes on washingtoncitypaper.com
  5. I was asked to comment about DC's Best Dining Neighborhood by my friend Warren Rojas. With due respect to other restaurant writers, some of whom are seduced by the new, the popular, the televised, and the highly publicized, I'm telling you right now that The Wharf will be to Washington, DC what The Inner Harbor is to Baltimore: A destination for tourists, but a place where locals will never go, except once a year when they're hosting out-of-town guests. The smartest thing The Wharf could do would be to charge $10 for parking to anyone with a valid DMV driver's license. You heard it here first. Sorry I'm not more popular - proclamations like this are why - but even though I'll never be famous during my lifetime, I sleep very well at night (actually, I don't, but it's not because of this). --- PS - One of my New Year's resolutions is to write one, solid review per week. I've had many false starts in recent years; not this time, not if I can help it. Just think of me as the fugue in Beethoven's Hammerklavier. Cheers, Stable Genius
  6. For many years I'd been chasing my memory of the Zarape de Pato I'd had during Santibañez's reign at Fonda San Miguel in Austin, sublime stacked enchiladas with spicy shredded duck between the layers, and a chile cream sauce.. I even purchased the restaurant's cookbook to try recreating it at home, only to discover that the cookbook was published after he left the restaurant and the recipe in the book was distinctly different. I searched the menus at Rosa Mexicano because he founded the original NYC restaurants, thinking its presence would justify a visit to the DC outpost, despite, um, you know...No dice. I'd given up on the fruitless quest when, a few months ago, I realized he had a new restaurant at The Wharf. It is on the dinner menu (only) at Mi Vida! Reservations are hard to come by, and I'm not typically down near there at the beginning of dinner service to score a walk-in table. So, rain or not, my husband and I took the Circulator down last night for the reservation I had finally snagged. We were rewarded with a window table at the top of the restaurant, with a beautiful view of the water and boats shimmering in the rain. Memories being what they are, it was different than I remembered. For one thing, this has a habanero cream sauce, and I'm pretty sure the older version was poblano. The tortillas are smaller. It's overall smaller, though it's listed on the "sharing" portion of the menu. Perhaps that is because it is so rich (the price is pretty rich too: $15). The consolation prize is that it's closer to the original than any approximation I'd encountered. My husband enjoyed the bite I let him have. It's all but certain that I'd have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been searching for it for 15 years. Finding it was more satisfying than eating it, if that makes any sense. I imagine that next time I order it, my expectations will have realigned and I will enjoy it more. There was other food! Because I almost always order nachos when I see them and their $14 Tatanachos looked good (Crispy Tortillas, Black Beans, Melted Chihuahua & Oaxaca Cheeses, Crispy Ancho Peppers, Pickled Jalapeños, Salsa Verde, Crema, Cilantro), they rounded out my order. They were arranged beautifully on the plate, something my husband commented on a few times. Those were also on the sharing menu and actually got shared. While I stuck with the sharable starters, my husband wolfed down the main course of salmon he ordered, which didn't get shared. (SALMÓN EN SALSA DE PIÑA $26 Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Wild Salmon, Sweet Potato Mash, Pineapple-Tomatillo Sauce). He really liked the salmon and sweet potato pairing. There is much more of the menu to explore: tacos, ceviche, guacamole (whoa, was the server pushing that)...plenty of things to try when the whole enchilada isn't chasing a memory. I hope we can get that table again .
  7. "This DC Wharf Restaurant Called the Police on a Diner For Alleged Hostile Behavior. She Says It Was Racially Motivated" by Anna Spiegel for Washingtonian. All I can offer is that when I've found a piece of hair in my food, I just take it out and toss it. I'm not fond of other people's hair in my food but it's not really something worth whining about to the management.
  8. Try Artechouse with the kids. Saw some pretty neat augmented reality exhibits there. That plus a lunch makes for a great afternoon. Plus you can pick up seafood to bring home.
  9. Wow. This place was bad. We were there for Fourth of July so we could watch fireworks. That is perhaps the only redeeming quality of this spot. Surly bartender. Salt and pepper squid rings? I was expecting what I would usually get at a Chinese restaurant, nice bits of sea salt and cracked peppercorns with thick white rings of squid. I got thin rings that could easily have been rubberbands with some terrible batter that I don't think came within spitting range of pepper. That was the only thing I ordered, but with an app that bad, I can't even imagine what the other food must taste like.
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