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Dining Near Eastern Market and Barracks Row


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I've been thinking of trying that place [Fusion Grill] recently but just didn't get the opportunity, and was wondering when a thread would start up here. Of course, my worst fears were confirmed. When will the horror end?

Probably when we stop going to these crap restaurants . . . at all . . . ever . . . for any reason.

I haven't been to Banana Cafe or Starfish lately, how are they holding up?

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Probably when we stop going to these crap restaurants . . . at all . . . ever . . . for any reason.

I haven't been to Banana Cafe or Starfish lately, how are they holding up?

I've successfully avoid Banana Cafe since 1998 and Starfish since 2004.

Of course, I had lunch at the Hawk and Dove twice this week and it's only Tuesday so I'm as guilty as anyone else of going to the local crap places on the Hill.

15+ years of working here. All I want is a decent lunch...

Jennifer

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I haven't been to Banana Cafe or Starfish lately, how are they holding up?

Crap and crappier.

Starfish is just plain bad, I've eaten there twice and it sucked starfish balls both times. At least Banana Cafe has a decent sidewalk/patio area.

Save your money and go to Montemartre or Sonoma instead.

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I've successfully avoid Banana Cafe since 1998 and Starfish since 2004.

Of course, I had lunch at the Hawk and Dove twice this week and it's only Tuesday so I'm as guilty as anyone else of going to the local crap places on the Hill.

15+ years of working here. All I want is a decent lunch...

Jennifer

I've lived on the Hill since 1995 and have never eaten at Banana Cafe. It has always exuded a "bad food" vibe that, from what I've heard here, is more than just imaginary. But of course I cannot comment on it personally.

Starfish was one of the first places on Barracks Row that gave one hope that this could be an interesting street for restaurants. I liked my first visit there, which was shortly after it opened. But at that point a roadkill restaurant on the Hill would have been enough to generate twitters of local culinary interest, so my expectations were not as high as they are today. In the meantime, Starfish has succumbed to that pervasive Hill virus that turns everything into pseudo-pubs with sports fans and dirty bathrooms (or weird front operations for God-knows-what). I simply insist on better food at that price point these days, and places like Park Cafe and Starfish (and Tunnicliff's, and, and, and) deserve all the wrath that befalls them. People should consider it their civic duty to stay the hell out of these places and not support such overpriced slop. At least Hawk and Dove is sincere. There's nothing wrong with dives filled with local lore.

Sonoma, Montmartre, Belga, Johnny's, Bis: Those are the names for good eating on the Hill. What we need now is more places with good food at a more everyday price point. One can dream.

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Probably when we stop going to these crap restaurants . . . at all . . . ever . . . for any reason.

I haven't been to Banana Cafe or Starfish lately, how are they holding up?

The only time I went to Starfish, it was so bad in every way that I never went back. There is something about the cheese enchiladas at Banana Cafe that I like. I know, beat me with a stick. My husband doesn't even like being dragged there with me, and he's usually pretty mellow.

The last time I ate at Banana Cafe (alone), someone at a neighboring table did a graphic acting-out of a proctologist's appointment up against my table. The previous trip at another table in that area had resulted in something similar (not getting into it). That last trip, after my stomach turned, I took most of my food home in styrofoam and tried to eat it the next day. Despite my odd weakness for this place, I don't know when I'll be back. I suspect I'll get to Cafe Berlin first wink.gif

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Walked by Meyhane a little while ago. They seemed to have gone on a summer vacation and never come back. Now there are signs in the windows saying that Locanda Cucina Meditalia will be opening in the space Fall 2006.

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Walked by Meyhane a little while ago. They seemed to have gone on a summer vacation and never come back. Now there are signs in the windows saying that Locanda Cucina Meditalia will be opening in the space Fall 2006.

Mediocre Italian coming to the Hill? It can't possibly be as bad as Alberto's, can it???

At least it's not another peusdo-Mexian-Salvadoran place or another storefront lousy Chinese place.

Jennifer, still bitter about the food on the Hill after all these years.

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Its a little off the current route of this thread but Tapatini is a rather interesting experience. Friday nights they do a $25 open bar. Unfortunately I had had a couple martinis before we ordered any food. If I recall the calamari was actually quite good. We went for dinner at Beluga afterwards. That was yummy.

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I walked past the other day and there were tons of permits and stop work notices and paper on the windows. There is a sign up above the windows, but this place has been in the works for what over a year?

There is also a place which looks pretty trendy and hip on 8th that is being worked on...can't remember the name though

Jordans 8. From the guy who does Tapatinis. Its going to be a steakhouse on one floor and sushi on the other. Needless to say, I'm more excited about the Locanda concept.

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Jordans 8. From the guy who does Tapatinis. Its going to be a steakhouse on one floor and sushi on the other. Needless to say, I'm more excited about the Locanda concept.

This place is now open. We walked by it earlier tonight. There was no menu posted. It looked sleek and modern.

The place occupying the former Ellington's site appears to be on the verge of opening as well. No sign or menu up, though.

The early reviews for Locanda and the possibility that one or more of these might be decent are excellent signs for this neck of the woods.

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Where exactly is Jordans 8? Is there any hope for a decent sushi joint on the hill? It almost seems cosmically impossible. The last one was a Japanese-French fusion restaurant on the corner of Penn. and 4th back in the late '80's when fusion was new and hip.

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Where exactly is Jordans 8?

On 8th Street SE between Marty's & Fusion Grill or across the street from Belga. I just can't get excited about trying a place that is half steakhouse half sushi. I'd be thrilled to be wrong about that though.

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On 8th Street SE between Marty's & Fusion Grill or across the street from Belga. I just can't get excited about trying a place that is half steakhouse half sushi. I'd be thrilled to be wrong about that though.
I talked to someone who was there the first day it was open and he sounded positive. I didn't get details, and I believe he knows the owner/management, so fwiw.
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The address for Jordan's 8 is 523 8th St., SE (202-543-6401). I finally got there last night and went to the sushi bar upstairs. I'd been having a craving for sushi all week. I had trouble reading the order card since the print was very small, and the bartender/server very helpfully came over and helped me select my order. I got several different kinds of maki rolls, but they ended up being pretty similar to each other. There was a section on the menu that had their special house combinations, and I ordered the "Volcano" ($15): tuna, avocado, cucumber, layered with salmon and scallop aioli. The presentation on this was beautiful. The aioli looked quite a bit like thousand island dressing--a beautiful salmon color and consistency.

I also got a Philly roll ($6) and a tuna, fresh crab, and avocado roll ($7). I wanted to order the daikon radish wrap they had on the special menu, but they were out of the daikon. I had more than enough food as it was, though. I did not note how many pieces came with each order.

While I enjoyed the food I got, I am utterly unqualified to say how good it was as sushi. I'd like to hear an opinion of this food from someone who knows what he or she is talking about. I found the prices to be somewhat high (though that impression is probably based on the comparatively high price of the volcano).

I enjoy sushi more when I go out with people who know about what to order. This is a type of food that I retain utterly no information on, and also one of the foods I'm least adventurous about, on the whole. Not being able to read the menu made this more complicated. (I believe the bartender said that they would be getting something with larger print.)

The upstairs is very sleek in its design, with an attractive lounge area (facing 8th street) in addition to the bar. It was quiet when I was there, but I'm sure it's designed to have a pretty distinct vibe later in the evening.

I had heard secondhand of people I knew going there and enjoying the sushi, but all of the other feedback I've gotten has been for the downstairs. I didn't stop to look in downstairs and was wishing I had. I know Don doesn't like secondhand comments, but I think this is pretty balanced :angry:. I spoke to one person who had eaten in the steakhouse and had the experience of steaks being overcooked twice, but feedback on the seafood was more positive. A non-red meat eater I spoke with gave a glowing review of her meal downstairs: caprese salad and a soup that I think was the seafood bisque. Other the steak temperature issue, all I've heard has been positive. (They gave me a copy of the downstairs menu and wine list if anyone is interested. They don't have anything up at their web site yet. )

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Walking down Pennsylvania Ave SE today, I saw that Hunan King, the Chinese place next to the L'il Pub has closed. It was just okay, but it was still my go-to place for Chinese carry-out. Do any other Hill dwellers have any preferences among the other Chinese carry-out places on the Hill?

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Walking down Pennsylvania Ave SE today, I saw that Hunan King, the Chinese place next to the L'il Pub has closed. It was just okay, but it was still my go-to place for Chinese carry-out. Do any other Hill dwellers have any preferences among the other Chinese carry-out places on the Hill?
That's too bad. I hadn't gone there much recently but used to find their food pretty decent. I have gotten takeout from Hunan Dynasty--200 block of Penn--but I more often eat-in there. It's okay.
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I heard today that both the Bread and Chocolate and the Ben & Jerry's on Seventh St. SE near Eastern Market will be closing by mid-November. Certainly the former is no great loss, even if it did big weekend business. Does anyone know what might be taking its place? (I wonder if this is where the new location for Rockville's Cava might be, which Sietsema has reported is coming to the Hill.) And as far as B & J's goes, it would be great if Montmartre could expand into the space, maybe create more of a wine bar section or something.

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As dirty and nasty as it is, the Chinese takeout on 8th Street (China wall?), across the street from the fire station does great drunk Chinese food...General Tso chicken dripping in too much batter and sauce drunk Chinese food that is :lol:

Go with the combo platter with pork fried rice and an egg roll for like $8.

BTW, has anyone ever been to the Chinese Restaurant (Young Chow) around Connecticut and 3rd...next door to the Mexican/Salvadorean place. I often see bus loads of asians being herded there.

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A restaurant is going to replace the sports shop on the 200 block of 7th Street, SE, just opposite Eastern Market. The person who told me was unsure but thought it was going to be either Italian or Greek food.

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The place next to Las Placitas (used to be called Szechuan House) was far better than any other Chinese place in the area. I think it's called the Fusion Cafe now, but they'll still do normal Chinese takeout if you order by phone or from the bar. The rest of their menu is pretty decent as well.

Hunan King did make their own Egg- and Spring Rolls, which will be missed.

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Has anyone tried Dulce yet, from the owners of H Street Martini Lounge in NE? They've been open with modified hours while waiting for their liquor license, next to what is apparently the now-defunct Pacific Cafe (The Hill Is Home, in its review of Dulce, says a seafood restaurant is going there, FWIW). Given that this place is right near me, it could become a staple if it's any good.

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There's information on some new places here.

I was psyched when I saw that post the other day -- Ted's Bulletin work getting going -- and I had posted something about Zest here, but I'm still unclear on if they're aiming more for the restaurant vibe, or the bar/club vibe. Still, I love seeing all of this going on. :P Yeah, I'm an unabashed "I love my neighborhood!" booster. :(

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Wow. Between that and the folks who own Cheseapeake Room, Lola's and Molly Malone's buying (or assuming the lease of ) the building currently housing the Cap Hill Vet Clinic, two restaurant groups will have the lion's share of Barracks Row.

Yeah, I'm starting to sense an anti-trust case coming on. :lol:

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Apparently the building that was Pacific Cafe is going to be a Mexican/Salvadoran place from the owners of La Plaza (although that's according to the two people walking their dog past as we were walking home from 8th Street last night; where they got their information, I have no idea.)

Given that La Lomita is two blocks away, this seems like an odd choice, but not necessarily a bad one. We'll see, since that little block seems to be death for restaurants.

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Apparently the building that was Pacific Cafe is going to be a Mexican/Salvadoran place from the owners of La Plaza (although that's according to the two people walking their dog past as we were walking home from 8th Street last night; where they got their information, I have no idea.)

Given that La Lomita is two blocks away, this seems like an odd choice, but not necessarily a bad one. We'll see, since that little block seems to be death for restaurants.

This information came from a local blog (and maybe one of the Capitol Hill papers) some time ago. It will be a Mexican-Cuban place called Mi Vecinda ("My Neighborhood"). Hopefully, it will be better than Banana Cafe, though it would be hard to get much worse. I'm hopeful that the warmth and friendliness that Henry brings to La Plaza will also mark this new place--and maybe even change things up a bit.

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So should've I, but I thought there was a tiny chance maybe the two restaurant groups might be teaming up on this!

Honestly, that kind of makes sense. It's just a matter of time at this point, it seems ... devour or be devoured.

Is Cervera's oyster bar concept also slated for 8th Street?

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They should go in together and build a parking lot so the residents can have their streets back.

Funny I just read in Roll Call that this was actually happening and they were buying a lot from the Barracks. Of course the story also claims Barracks Row is a Foodie Haven.... remarkable revival yes, but ...

Maybe while they are working together the Ted's/Matchbox guys can teach the Lola/Molly Malone/Chesapeake guys how to produce a decent meal. Chesapeake Room looks nice like Ted's, but yech... probably the worst and least intersting tasting meal I've had in some time.

Should have checked the dining guide before agreeing to try it.

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I am getting a little tired of burgers and pizza not that I don't love burgers and pizza, but it's becoming a little overkill. It would be nice to see a more healthy casual restaurant. He seems to have a west coast vibe, why not some causal, but healthy stuff served in a low key environment? I would love to see him cook something like that and show some real creativity.

And I would love a nice healthy casual breakfast joint near the Eastern Market as all the breakfast places over there are so crowded. Or a place that had as good of breakfast as places like Matt's Big Breakfast in Phoenix. You could do farm fresh breakfast and casual other meals of the day and I would be all happy, but pizza... no, I doubt I will be going there.

This is a very astute analysis of most everything that is (still) wrong with dining on Capitol Hill. The main problem is that you have the usual contingent of staffers, a couple generations of heretofore deprived residents who are willing to eat almost anything--including burgers and pizza--as long as it's good, combined, on the weekends, with suburban tourists in town for their weekly city thrill. The result is the mobbing of the few places that have sprung up here in just the last 5 years. It's the bad outcome of what is essentially a good development.

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They're all aiming medium-low, and they're all hitting their targets.

Cheers,

Rocks

Not a comment or response regarding Montmartre, but rather Don's remark regarding the area in general:

Note estimated travel time. Much less time than it takes to find a parking spot and dig up enough quarters to cover 'til ten.

It may be a chain, but they really do try hard to maintain a local flavor while aiming medium-high.

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