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Carlyle, Shirlington Village

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I live couple minutes away from Shirlington and have dinner there often. I really like T.H.A.I. and I think Guapos and Carlyle cafe are doing good job with their food. You should try the specials at T.H.A.I.

One thing very consistent with Carlyle is the no matter when I go , what I have their service is good and same.

I agree that the service at Carlyle is pleasant. And the food is pretty good. Not life-changing or anything like that, but good for what it is.

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Since I live a hop-skip-and-a-stagger over the 395 pedestrian footbridge from Shirlington, I figured it was high-time I gave Carlyle another go, after what I remember to be a satisfying meal here a good ten years ago or so. I sat at the bar and received generally good service from a couple of different bartenders. The crowd thinned out somewhat during the 7-9 PM window, but it was never wall-to-wall people; there always seemed to be at least one or two open seats at the bar. I tried both the Carlyle Lager and Carlyle Pale Ale on draft. These are brewed by Dominion, and both were quite bland, with no discernable hop aroma or hop flavor to the ale, and the lager tasting similar to various Anheuser-Busch products I've had over the years. The Deviled Egg appetizer was the highlight, served with strips of crisp maple-flavored bacon. The Miso-Glazed Black Cod entree was perfectly cooked, translucent-white and flaky, but seemed to get most of its flavor from the Miso glaze and not from the fish itself. It was accompanied by an ice cream scoop-sized ball of sticky rice and a small amount of fresh-tasting citrus slaw. The only service glitch to speak of was the lack of bread service. After I inquired, a breadbasket was promptly brought out with apologies.

Overall, a good meal and friendly service at a reasonable price, but this place is sorely in need of a serious upgrade to their beer taps.

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the lager tasting similar to various Anheuser-Busch products I've had over the years.

Overall, a good meal and friendly service at a reasonable price, but this place is sorely in need of a serious upgrade to their beer taps.

Like the bread, the beer at Great American Restaurant Group's restaurants is company-made, but horrible. This used to be an excellent restaurant (does anyone remember the jazzy radio commercial (might have been WTOP 1500 AM) where the New-York-sounding guy was singing, "Wanna bistro? Or wanna res-taur-annnntttt? ... you and me, we could be so bon vivannnntttt ... so come with me, have fun with me ... <etc., etc. etc. with me> ... let's rendezvous at the Carlyle Grand Cafe!"). That was back in the hey-day, and that was back when it was good.

Discuss,

Rocks

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Like U-Bet, I am pretty much "a hop-skip-and-a-stagger over the 395 pedestrian footbridge from Shirlington", but after one too many horrible experiences at Carlyle I have given up, hell I have given up on Shirlington for the most part... no actually with the exception of the Harris Teeter, I have given up on it completely.

But to keep this on topic, as Don says, the bread is horrible, well with one exception, the bits of fried dough, but then again it might be fried nature of them that I find appealing.

As an aside, my wife came by to ask what I was doing and when I told her the topic she commented "best thing they ever did was take 'Grand' of the name, because it has not been that in years."

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But to keep this on topic, as Don says, the bread is horrible, well with one exception, the bits of fried dough, but then again it might be fried nature of them that I find appealing.

You know, I don't even agree with this. When they first started serving them (and my memory is cloudy here, but I think this is before "Best Buns" was actually "Best Buns"), these things tasted like wickedly good, freshly fried donut holes (which I guess, in theory, they still are), but they've really changed over the years and have become a bland product. I used to ask for a second order for dessert (this was at Artie's), and they'd always bring them happily. The most recent thing I liked in their bread basket (which has become much less bountiful) was the jalapeno-cheddar bread, but I don't even like this anymore - it has become sterile and very "white-bread" tasting. (Sorry for my crappy handwriting (name the coffee house).)

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You know, I don't even agree with this. When they first started serving them (and my memory is cloudy here, but I think this is before "Best Buns" was actually "Best Buns"), these things tasted like wickedly good, freshly fried donut holes (which I guess, in theory, they still are)
Come to think of it, the last few times we have been to a GAR establishment we have turned down the bread basket when asked, but wait when did they start asking?

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You know, I don't even agree with this. When they first started serving them (and my memory is cloudy here, but I think this is before "Best Buns" was actually "Best Buns"), these things tasted like wickedly good, freshly fried donut holes (which I guess, in theory, they still are), but they've really changed over the years and have become a bland product. I used to ask for a second order for dessert - and they'd always bring them happily. The most recent thing I liked in their bread basket (which has become much less bountiful) was the jalapeno-cheddar bread, but I don't even like this anymore - it has become sterile and very "white-bread" tasting.

They serve those wonderful fried doughnut holes at their other restaurants except there... Only on Sundays they told me last month.. Was Mikes the second one they opened?

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the New-York-sounding guy was singing, "Wanna bistro? Or wanna res-taur-annnntttt? ... you and me, we could be so bon vivannnntttt ... so come with me, have fun with me ... <etc., etc. etc. with me> ... let's rendezvous at the Carlyle Grand Cafe!").

Bobby Short, who also sang the theme song for the "Charlie" perfume commercials.

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Come to think of it, the last few times we have been to a GAR establishment we have turned down the bread basket when asked, but wait when did they start asking?

In my experience, you usually have to ask for the bread basket if you're sitting at the bar, but they almost always bring one out if you're at a table or booth.

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We had lunch at Carlyle today. Iced teas arrived promptly. But after ordering two large salads we waited and waited. Parties arriving after us were being served. After about 30 minutes we asked the server why it was taking so long to deliver two salads. After apologizing the food arrived in about a minute. Then the manager came by to apologize. Then another apology--and extremely involved explantation--from our server. Finally, without asking, our server informed us that our entire lunch was being comped! Classy.

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Has anyone been to Carlyle recently? I am heading here for dinner tomorrow night- not my choice- and have much trepidation. I would appreciate some recent insights.

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Has anyone been to Carlyle recently? I am heading here for dinner tomorrow night- not my choice- and have much trepidation. I would appreciate some recent insights.

No, I've not been recently, but perhaps after dinner you can suggest stopping in at dramatically revamped The Curious Grape. With numerous wines by the half and full pour, and small plates in an inviting, modern atmosphere, you will have a chic choice to extend the conversation and vittles. As you walk out of the Carlyle, turn right, it's up on the corner on the right. You will find it well worth a browse of the retail section, and at least having a quick sip of wine.

Will also be good to see what others say about recent Carlyle experiences....

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Thanks for this- I've changed our reservation to The Curious Grape. I'm looking forward to checking it out before a show at Signature Theatre.

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Some people spit on Carlyle, but I think it is great. Their food, service, bread is excellent and everything is reasonably priced. if they took regular reservations instead of this call-ahead stuff, I'd be there more often.

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My family used to love Carlyle and we went there frequently. That changed several years ago for mainly two reasons. First, the salt in their food increased to an unbearable level for us. We don't tend to like the taste of that much salt and it is a health concern for us. Secondly, the menu became boring. In the past, Carlyle changed their menu seasonally. Yes, you would experience some initial disappointment that something you had liked wasn't on the menu any longer, but you usually found something new to love. For the past few years, it's the same menu each time you go and it's boring. Having said that, this past year, we have gone there a few times and have found by ordering simply, we've been able to enjoy our meals. My dad and I tend to order either the filet with any sauces on the side and those smoked mushrooms left off. The filets themselves are seasoned perfectly and the sodium culprits we can use sparingly. They also have had grilled rockfish as their fish of the day and this has also been good. I doubt Carlyle will ever be a restaurant that we will want to go often, but once every couple of months yes.

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Come to think of it, I had the lobster potsticker appetizer a few weeks ago and it was salty. I think next time I'll ask for "no added salt" and see what happens.

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They used to have a wonderful bone in rib eye that I thought was the best I ever had. Of course, that was pre Ray's the Whatever. But, alas, it disappeared a few years ago.

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Had dinner a Carlyle last night with wife and son.  This is solid food nothing spectacular but very solid.  Service was good and the sound level was great which allowed us to engage in conversation.  Wife and I have their short stack Salmon on top of Cauliflower puree along with 2 stalks asparagus. Could have used a few more stalks!  My son had a  hanger steak he devoured and thought it was really good.

Ample parking and good location away from some of the Arlington hustle.

 

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