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  1. Tom Sietsema's review. Big fan of the original Hollywood East and excited that they're now doing dim sum. Looks like the new place is right across the street from Good Fortune on University Boulevard, hopefully the competition will spur both to new heights. (It sure it won't make parking any easier round there on weekends, though.)
  2. After living in Colesville for almost 7 years, I finally got around to trying Max's Kosher Cafe on University. Its in the same shopping center as Full Key and Pho Hiep Hua which I frequent so often that my food often arrives at the table as soon as I do. In any case, I had heard about it somewhere regrding falafel and that sounded good. But when I got there, I saw a schwerma rotisserie and thats what I had to have. Schwerma is layers of beef and sometimes lanb, roasted as it turns and sliced as needed to serve. Unlike chicago style gyros, made out of ground stuff, Schwerma is layers of lean meat with a big piece of fat on top to moisten and help the browning. At Max's, there is a wide array of topping to go into your sandwich" cukes & tomatoes; shredded cabbage, red cabbage, pickled cauliflower, pickled turnip, sour pickle, hot peppers, 5 different sauces, sauerkraut and more. A half is one hell of a lot of meat. You just point to what you want and theywill keep piling it on and then top your sandwich with even more meat. A dollop of tahini (here very thick and rich) is added at the end. Of the cooked foods, all I have had is a bowl of matzoh ball soup whhich is hands down the best matzoh ball soup I have had in DC. As good as Brent's Deli in Northridge California and that is praise indeed. The matzoh balls are what my mom would ahve called flufka, very light, almost etherial. Somehow these light balls do in fact trun to stone in your stomach, giving evidence of your meal for hours to come. This is not a bad thing! Service ranges from friendly to surly, but when you cannot eat what $10 will buy, its worth it.
  3. With a tittle like that, maybe you are expecting tuxedo shirted waiters and mariachi music in the background {ala Samanthas) and you oculdn't be more wrong. First off, instead of a brightly painted home like interior, the place is brightly lit in the middle of an Asian owned Mercato in a strip mall on Ennalls Ave in Wheaton {even thought the card insists on Ennalls Eve!}. The staff is a varied roster of very friendly, if English limited Latina's usually presided over by one of the owners. The menu, up until the printing of trifold cards with the menu printed on both sides, consisted of bad pictures on the wall. There is no sign outside with any name, and before the aforementioned cards, I heard it called only Juanita's Kitchen, and that was only once. We are the only folk I have ever seen int he place who were neither the owners nor Latino. Lots of Older Latino Dad's being taken thee by their sons. Women, almost exclusively, cook there {aside from Kay}. The food: Spectacular! Better than any of the myriad other choices serving up DC's signature combo of Salvadoran, Honduran & Tex Mex. Last night, we pointed to one of the pictures, labeled enchilladas, with another non readable name which turned out to be a huge pile of chicken fried to a golden brown with skin as crispy as that of the roast pig at Din sum, if not more so, atop a massive amount of fried plantains smothered in shredded cabbage and doused with mayo,ketchup and salsa. Had I known what it was, I would have never ordered it and my life would be lessened for the lack. If course my life may be lessened anyways from the cholesterol! When I was growing up, my teen years were spent delivering furniture for my Dad's furniture store in South Central. One highlight was the occasional trip to Queen Bee's {or was it aunt Bee's} near the infamous corner of Normandy & Florence where massive amounts of food could be had for a pittance and the dishes came either plain {with 2 sides} or smothered {with two sides and something to cover the main dish}. Inthe case of the fried chicken, it was smothered in cole slaw with a touch of salsa and the dish last night approached the memory of my last meal at Bee's! We ahd one pupusa "revuelta" or mixed cheese and pork. The pupusas are patted by hand and griddles to order. They come out greaseless {all the lard stays in the dough where it belongs}, crispy on the outside with burnt spots and a lush, incendiarilyy hot filling. Kay ordered a sopa di res that was completely untouched because of the massive amount of chicken. Two Tamarindo and a tip that brought wide eyes and big smiles from the ladies for $25. Other amazing dishes include: Sopa di Pollo when they have it. Carne Asada provided you have good teeth and the willingness to chew in order toget a gamy seasoned tough pieceof steak down the old gullet {accompanied by massively good black beans and crappy rice}. Lengua al Guisada is amazing: stewed till tender tongue with beans and rice. Not my style was a hugely rich and greasy balliades which is a sort of cross between a turn over and a quesadilla: a rich doughy tortilla/pastry folded over melted white cheese, black beans & avocado slices with chunks of meat. We spend between $15 and $25 for dinner for two. We gain insight to another culture thru the Novellas or the talk/talent shows on the TVs and we have a great meal in the bargain. 2521 Ennalls Eve {sic}, Wheaton MD 20902 301-933-5843 Hours approximately 6am 'til 10pm but they have been known to be closed by 9:30.
  4. Macdara's Grille, which was in the Squire's Rock Creek Chophouse space after Squire's closed, appears to have closed in February. I noticed today signage on the space for Hakuna Matata Grill, which bills itself on its Facebook page as authentic East African cuisine (but judging by the page not necessarily or not only Ethiopian). I didn't notice if they were open, but also judging from the Facebook page it looks like not quite yet. Their website is still under construction.
  5. My favorite Thai in Monkey Cty. is Ruan Thai in Wheaton. Just off of University about two blocks East of Georgia. Warning - It ain't much on ambience.
  6. I like San Woo but I think WooMi is much better. We love the KimChee Jigae and other soups like Man Doo Guk. I also love the seasoned tofu appetizer. They make a casserole Mandoo which, if there are 4 or 6 of you would be a great starter. Their $9 all you can eat lunch is a guilty pleasure. I think the Sushi is only so-so.
  7. From what I've read here, this is coming from the owners of the Limerick Pub, Squire's Rock Creek Chop House is opening just across the street on Price Ave in Wheaton. The concept reminds me of Ferdinands. I don't expect a destination restaurant, but perhaps a local watering hole where family can gather? Will be interesting to see how it is priced as well.
  8. I first tried out Seoul Food's offerings at the DC Grey Market a few months back. They're now a full-blown food truck and received a nice writeup in yesterday's Good to Go column. They make their way to Courthouse once every week or two, and Rosslyn, Clarendon, and Ballston are among their regular stops. So far I've tried a couple of different dishes and find that they are tasty, filling, and a pretty good value. As the article notes, the bibimbap is a little different than the usual restaurant version, with shredded fresh carrots and radishes and salad greens included. The beef and the tofu version are both good, especially with the spicy chili sauce on top mingling with the runny egg yolk. The Superbowl tends more Latin, but is also loaded with good flavors and fresh ingredients.
  9. I'm not sure when Sol y Mar closed, but Gisele's Creole Cuisine, a Haitian place, has apparently opened in the Royal Mile space per Robert Dyer's blog.
  10. New, just open for about 8 days so far. The sign says Asian Food but the menu is Chinese. There is one noodle, congee and "Over Bridge Yunan Noodle Coming Soon" manu in a plastic holder on the table, and a spiral bound generic menu listing all the typical dishes of a generic Chinese restaurant menu, more than any one restaurant could possible do well. My strategy woould be to discuss the order with the waiter rather than pick from the huge menu. We tried Congee with dry scallop, oyster and pork thinking that it would be made with dried scallp and fresh oyster. It was made with dried scallop and dried oyster and so was aggressively fishy but the pork element was very good (if a little sparse) and the congee itself was wonderful, better than either Full Key or HECOTB. I had the HK style shrimp dumplings which had a lot of very large dumplings (2 bites per) filled with coarsely chopped shrimp, pork and veggies. But the broth was a little lacking in flavor and the filling bland. If they spice things up it will be a super bowl of soup. I will give them a little time before trying again. I do want to try the Over Bridge Yunan Noodle dishes when the arrive. From a google search, they appear to be hand pulled noodles. No alcohol yet. Open till midnight during the week and 1am on Friday and Saturday.
  11. I noticed a sign while driving today for Chutney Indian Restaurant supposedly coming soon to a space near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and University Boulevard in Wheaton. I don't know what used to be in the space. The only information I can find online is this skeletal Eater post. I'm wondering whether this place has any relation to the restaurant of the same name in Columbia, for which I can't find a thread despite rave reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor (I know, I know ... but still). I wouldn't mind at all having a closer option for Indian food than Ghar-E-Kabab, which I think is our closest option now. (I live near the Forest Glen metro.)
  12. Every time Bob's mother is in town, we try to find a different Filipino restaurant to take her to (she's an 88-yr.-old Filipina). Most of the places we've been to have been to have been mediocre at best but I saw a good notice of Lumpia, Pansit elsewhere so we decided to try it out on Saturday. It's in the Festival Center on Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg, just beyond the Grand Mart, and appears to have been a Japanese restaurant earlier (at least, that's what the low tables in the front window area suggests). A brief talk with the owner told us that she used to run a catering business, and opened the restaurant early this year; she seems to have an eye toward offering healthier versions of traditional dishes. Lumpia, Pansit does a weekday buffet ($6.95?) and a more extensive weekend buffet for $12.75, which includes nearly 20 different dishes. They also serve a regular a la carte menu on weekday evenings. While I'm hardly a Filipino food expert, I think this was the best that we have found in the DC area so far. The vegetarian pansit bihon and palabok, were both quite good, as were a chicken curry and escabeche (though in the latter, the fish was a bit dried out). The fresh lumpia were outstanding, as were the two fried versions. Two soups were offered, including a very tangy sinigang; I didn't try the turola. Since I got filled up on those items, I didn't have as much of the other, meatier items, though I enjoyed the bistek and kaldereta; the adobo chicken was a bit too salty (well, everything was). I was too full and not adventurous enough for the kare-kare, dinuguan, menudo, or the pinakbet (I've had it before and didn't care for it). For dessert they had a warm halo-halo, thick with coconut milk and laced with rice balls, jackfruit, and mango. They said this is an "afternoon halo halo," and the traditional icy version is an evening dish. Weirdly, it reminded me of the Norwegian rommegrot that I used to get back in Montana and Minnesota. Overall, it wasn't bad for a buffet, and while the atmosphere is nothing, the staff was nice. I would actually consider going back even without Bob's mom, which is not something I would otherwise say about the other Filipino places we've tried. (FYI, atbp. is Tagalog for etc.)
  13. After reading Todd Kliman's recommendation of Thai Taste by Kob, we went that Friday. The restaurant is located on Fern St. in Wheaton, behind the very good Hung Phat grocery store (fresh rice noodles and Red Boat fish sauce). The location seems to be an incubator for well-regarded restaurants, formerly being the home of Nava Thai and Mi La Cay. We had the following dishes: Moo Yang (appetizer)- recommended by Kliman. Grilled pork with a delicious dark spicy sauce; the roasted ground rice added a pleasing texture. Pork was juicy with a nice char. Reminded me of a grilled beef dish called "tiger's tears". Blanket shrimp (appetizer)- Shrimp wrapped in rice paper and fried. Served with a sweet chili sauce. Moist shrimp, well-flavored sauce. Pad Ma Maung Himmapan (entree)- Meat dipped in batter and fried with a semi-hot red chili paste with fried cashews and red chili. This was a disappointment, possibly because of miscommunication regarding heat tolerance. There were no red chilis or chili paste, rather there were sauteed onions, red bell pepper, and jalapenos. The meat was properly fried but too much without an acid counterpoint. The condiments didn't help and I tired of it. Maybe the traditional dish would have been better. Pad Thai and Panang curry (entrees)- Both were fine. Fried Crispy Coconut Plantain w/ condensed milk (dessert)- very good. My wife enjoyed it. Baked taro egg custard w/ sticky rice (dessert)- My son and I loved this. The custard was nicely eggy; the taro gave it a grayish color. The rice was chewy and salty and there was a sauce we thought reminded us of popcorn. An unusual and tasty combo. The service was very friendly but there was a bit of a language issue that kept me from figuring out the better items on the menu (the kids yapping at me while I was discussing the menu didn't help either). Kind of a hipster vibe, including square plates and bowls that sit at an angle. We spent about $60 for four (no alcohol) and which included a February 10% discount. I look forward to visiting again. Next time, we'll focus on the dishes in the Thai street food section.
  14. Meetup at Thai Taste by Kob for some firey Thai street food, anyone? Less blistering dishes are not out of the question, although I personally would like at least one or two Thai-spicy options.... My schedule is really difficult, the best day this month is probably Sunday 22 November, I'm thinking lunchtime. Other Sundays in November might be possible if the 22nd is terrible.
  15. I haven't been there yet, but I recently learned of a new restaurant in Wheaton called BeClaws. They bill themselves as Cajun fusion. People on my neighborhood listserv seem to like it, for whatever that's worth. Has anyone been?
  16. I hate to begin a new thread by announcing that a restaurant has closed, but such is the case with Matamoros in Wheaton (Thanks, KS, here's a Review I wrote about it).
  17. We went to Lotus Cafe a long time ago and it was just okay then, no better than any others in the area and Pho 75 was tops at that time. But we just had the opportunity to try out a fairly new restaurant in Wheaton on Wednesday, and I had the best Pho I have had in a long time. The broth was incredibly beef-y and flavorful. Check it out and let me know if you agree, Thomas P. (Summer rolls were tasty as well) Cam Ranh Bay Pho and Grill It's located in half the building that used to house Good Fortune, on Univ. Blvd. (The other half is a Chinese restaurant.)
  18. The former Good Fortune space on University Boulevard in Wheaton is now split into two restaurants - Cam Ranh Bay on the right, and Gourmet Inspirations on the left. The ownership has changed, but the space has been renovated and on their website (http://www.gichinese.com), the new owner of Gourmet Inspiration says: It has been a while since I went to Good Fortune - the interior has definitely been spruced up. We arrived shortly after they opened at 10:30 on Sunday, there were only a few tables of folks when we got there but it was filling up rapidly by 11:30. At first only a few carts were circulating, but more carts were added after a little while and new items were added to the carts. The good: "¢ everything we got was fresh and hot "¢ no line or wait to get in at opening "¢ service was attentive with tea, carts, and a special order of gai lan The acceptable: "¢ gai lan, siu mai, har gao, cream buns, shrimp rice noodle rolls, taro puffs The less than stellar: "¢ the tofu skin rolls were in a weird gelatinous sauce and the filling was odd in a way that I couldn't quite figure out We only had three in our party, one of whom was not very hungry, so did not sample a wide range. While this was not the greatest dim sum ever, I have had far worse. I'd eat dim sum here again, although in part that is because it is one of the closest to my house in PG county and I don't like Oriental East on weekends. Also, they have made arrangements to allow use of part of the Bank of America lot across the street for parking on Sundays and evenings, and at the Pearle Vision lot when Pearle is closed.
  19. Song Phat has their grand opening signs up so I went for a quick lunch today. Vietnamese noodle house & grill menu with a few additions. I tried the grilled meat wrapped in grape leaf and the papaya salad with grilled shrimp. The meatballs were tasty enough but a bit large so the ratio of crispy to center was a little low. The papaya salad was good loaded with red pepper for a hot kick. The grilled shrimp were ok. They ahve only been open a few days and I hope they keep working on the execution to raise it a touch. As it is, the best Wheaton Vietnamese choice and a good spot for fresh, spicy food right now.
  20. Don't know diddly about this joint. Probably never will. It's a rare day I haul ass anywhere north of Cleveland Park. Nevertheless, this message arrived in the mailbox of joy and I have no idea whether this dude can cook, but I've had most of these beers, and the water of life, and they're mighty fine. (Actually, my sked is pretty booked for late Oct., early Nov., or I'd give serious consideration to going since it's on the subway.)
  21. 2559 Ennalls Ave., Wheaton, MD 20902 Meant to write something about this a while ago, but never got around to it. We went here a couple of months ago after a small write up in the Washingtonian. Seafood is the specialty here. Ceviche and fried seafood to be more exact. One piece of caution, they don't speak english very well, but never-the-less the food was really good and we will go back at some point. All ceviche was made fresh and tasted fresh as well. The fried seafood had the perfect amount of breading and a nice crispness. We ordered once ceviche, and a platter of an additinoal ceviche and a mixed assortment of fried seafood (shrimp, octopus, flounder, scallops, and mussles), all served on a bed of pickeled red onions. Everything had a nice brightness to it. So here is where the language barrier kicks in. When we ordered, the server said we needed more food (there were three adults). We asked for her suggestion and she recomended the "house dish" she couldn't tell us what it was in English, but we obliged. Turned out, it was the same platter of ceviche and fried seafood, only adding on a rice dish with more seafood. Needless to say, what we had originally ordered was more than enough for the three of us (the portion was very generous) and when the second platter came we continued to gorge ourselves and somehow one guy and two little women finished all of the food (the three year old who ordered a quesadilla sat there in amazment). Regardless, we will make it back there.
  22. I've had lunch at Pio-Pio in Clarendon twice now, after medical appointments nearby one month apart. Yesterday, I had a quarter chicken, yuca, and spiced cabbage. I've had deep-fried yuca at various Peruvian chicken joints dozens of times, but yesterday was the first time I ever had it right out of the fryer, and oh man was it good, hot, crisp, soft inside (all except for one too-thick piece that wasn't cooked through). The chicken was good too. The spiced cabbage is mostly vinegar-marinated cabbage with a few slices of jalapeno, and is fine, if served up too generously.
  23. I am a big fan of Sunday brunch. There is nothing quite like the feeling on the morning after the night before. You wake up late. Every cell in your body feels swollen to three times its original size after last night's excesses. Surely is not natural for the sun to be so bright so early in the morning, you think, channeling Bridget Jones. You drag yourself out of bed, pull on jeans and a skanky top and grope your way through the streets to the nearest brunch joint with eyes half shut. (For those of you who live in West End "“ you don't know me.) Finally, after what seems like an endless wait, the first ice cold glass of mimosa lands on your table. You take a big gulp of cold acidic liquid, and as it drips down your esophagus, you feel life is slowly returning to your body as the cells shrink to what I sincerely hope was their original size. Life suddenly feels more tolerable. All the above notwithstanding, every now and then I turn against this tried, true and loved experience and seek other ways to return to life on Sunday mornings. Latin dim sum at Café Atlantico fits the bill, but I've done it and done it and done it. Last Sunday, it was time to do an actual dim sum. Tom says, and I concur, that dim sum options in Chinatown DC suck arse. Dingy dining rooms "“ what few are open on Sundays - cunningly keep the light out, and just as well, since their roast pork buns taste like they have been fashioned out of dirty toilet tissues. Anything more adventurous then General Tsao's chicken seems beyond this land of Let's Please the Masses â„¢. So, time to haul bottom to Wheaton to what Tom sez is a real deal. As any good fortune worth its salt, Good Fortune needs you to travel far, far away from Dupont. For former Terps, please don't do what this one did and take University Blvd. East. You'll waste half an hour. Go west. Good Fortune is low on design and good on food. We were too late to see the carts darting around, which may have been the reason for ordering way too much food. This is what has been had: - beef innards - steam roast pork buns - shrimp toast - shrimp cakes - pork and chive dumplings - shark fin dumplings - shrimp paste balls - sticky rice (Lotus something or the other) with Chinese sausage and chicken - spare ribs with black bean salt - duck feet stuffed with shrimp - sesame paste balls for dessert. If you drive and like good food, and I am as DC-chauvinist piggish as they come, there is really no reason not to come here. Shrimp toast is delicious, if dripping with oil. Anything made into dumplings is a winner "“ my pork and chive version was bursting with flavor and light. The shark fins one tasted very intense, and really, is there any reason not to? Shrimp balls actually taste of shrimp. Roast pork buns are generous pockets of porky goodness nestled inside airy dough balls. Nibbling on duck feet brings you back to life as you really do need to pay attention not to swallow tiny bones "“ the stuffing is a generous dollop of shrimp meat secured around the feet with what appears to be skin (of ducks, one sincerely hopes). Don't do what I did and smear hot sauce on everything in sight as it packs quite a kick. Luckily, sesame balls provide a much-needed sweet tooth respite from that folly as its sticky, gooey, caramel-like goodness coats your mouth. As I said, it was way too much food. The total for two with multiple ice teas (no refills) was $42, which included dinner that night. And I got my bonus: a fortune cookie in form of personalized advice from the kindly old Chinese waiter. As I was signing the check, he patted my deltoids and said: "You have good body! But you eat too much! When you old, you fat!" Really, what do you say to that? "It's okay, I only have six months left?" (Have other snappy comebacks? PM me.) On the other hand, mmmm, that can be an interesting game on par with naughty schoolgirl and strict principal. "Come here, Miss Pritchard. Close the door. You've been eating too much. Let me show you exactly where your girth is now exceeding school regulation"¦" But I digress. Washington is a wonderful place to be and I would hate to be any place else. But for better or worse, there are better and more authentic ethnic finds outside the Beltway. And even the most ardent devotees of Washington should occasionally let their love of good adventurous food triumph over their repulsion toward all things suburban. This one does and loves it.
  24. Nava Thai is at the back of the Hung Fat Thai Market on Fern Street in Wheaton. It is closed on Wednesdays. Our first visit did not register much and we have not been back in a while. But recently I have heard good things so we gave it a try! Sunday after Thanksgiving, and wife & I needed a good lunch to get the juices flowing before going into the restaurant for a long day of accounting issues & running the restaurant for dinner. Soup was in order. We first thought about a run to Bob's Shabu squared but it was too far. Sergio's for pupusas & chicken soup sounded perfect so we drove there. When we parked around the corner I saw Nava Thai across the street. So despite our so so first meal there we returned. Good move! We had a couple of bowls of soup & a plate of Som Tum. I had the market noodle soup with pork. My only quibble was the sweetness level of the broth, but I fear that this may just as likely be an issue of the sweetness level being proper and my just not liking it that sweet as any other reason. But since it was corrected with the addition of a little vinegar with hot chiles, what the heck. The nonrubbery and surprisingly flavorful mystery-meatballs were particularly good, the pork abundant and flavorful. Kay had the roast duck stew soup and it was fine with a lot of spice from the duck. The Som Tum was wondrous! Fiery hot, with a thicker dressing that made a more complete whole of the dish. It wasn't a simple salad of papaya in a dressing but a complex whole. I loved the use of the green beans and the squished grape tomatoes added flavor, a little relief from the considerable heat and a nice texture contrast. Unlike the recent som tum at both Ruan Thai and Thai Square, this one lacked the tiny dried shrimp but the dressing had lots of the powdered crustaceans in there. Simply the best Som Tum I have had in ages (since the hole in the wall in East Hollywood or the joints on sherman way in the San Fernando Valley of LA). Based on a small sample size, I think that Nava is now equal to Thai Square and for many dishes, ahead of Ruan Thai. But Ruan Thai has some stuff I have never had before and does such a superb job on their veggie components of their dishes that much careful consideration will have to be given to both. But for general eating, Nava is now ahead of Ruan, but I will go to Ruan when I feel like their wonderful eggplant dishes (which is often) or the steamed bun mi and chicken in red curry at lunch. Superb food, cheap ($36 for three beers and 3 dishes served by a wonderfully sweet server who was so concerned that we like their food. The heat kept me going all day and long into the night!! I am sure this will be a first of many visits back.
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