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I will be finding myself in Ballston with regularity and am looking forward to seeing what is close (or close enough) to try. I'll be most often about 4 blocks from the Ballston metro. I see there is a Mussel Bar, a Kapnos Taverna, a Super Pollo and other places to try. Puputella is not too far either. A dash to the German Gourmet to load up on nussschinken and fleischsalat is cool as well.

What places should I be trying? Lunches most commonly but also dinners sometimes. I eat anything and am happy with cheap eats to nicer places - I am an equal opportunity eater. TIA.

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Will you have a car?  Most of the best places IMHO are a short drive away.  In walking distance you have: Earl's Sandwiches (stick with the in-house roast meats like turkey or pork). My husband really likes this place, there are things I like, but I don't love it.  Kapnos, Mike's Cafe for bimbibap or a sandwich, Mussel Bar (some hit and miss items, but I think their mussels are very solid), Cheesetique, Nando's, Big Buns, Sweetgreen (they have some good new bowls), Taylor Gourmet, RusUz.  There are lots of food trucks- which I would eat at if I was here for lunch.  Hunan Gate has some good things on the Chinese menu- I like the hand pulled noodles with meat sauce, sechuan string beans, pork and sour napa dumplings.  Then there are more normal options: Potbelly, Zoe's, Which Wich.  There is a little Italian place behind Thai Temple, Cafe Tirolo that if you are craving spaghetti or something of the like, is fine and cheap- I haven't tried any of their other offerings, I remember having some type of Asian ethnic food I have thought about trying.  I think Rustico is so-so and a bit over priced, but they are decent. I haven't been to Yona in a while.  Pepita used to be great for some things, last time I went they had tamed their salsa verde, which was disappointing, it had a really nice kick.  There is also a peruvian chicken joint back behind the Liberty Center, which we have only been to once.  Oh!  We haven't been to Grand Cru in forever, but it seems to be fairly busy?

If you have a car I would add in Carribean Grill, The Italian Store, Pupatella, Lebanese Taverna Market.

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Puputella is a 12 minute walk, but yes I do have a car but am slightly loathe to bother with that for lunch. Any word on SER at all? I walked by Grand Cru today and made a mental note to look it up. Thanks mucho for your list o' stuff to consider regardless!!

 

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2 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Puputella is a 12 minute walk, but yes I do have a car but am slightly loathe to bother with that for lunch. Any word on SER at all? I walked by Grand Cru today and made a mental note to look it up. Thanks mucho for your list o' stuff to consider regardless!!

I had a couple good things when it first opened.  I went back for a burger and it wasn't as good, so I just haven't had the momentum to go back.  Hubby won't go there, so I have to go when he isn't home and I don't cook, which just doesn't happen as often.  BTW there were about 15 (I think) food trucks in Wellburn Square area- there was no lack of options.  I wish I was in Ballston for lunch more often!

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10 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Puputella is a 12 minute walk, but yes I do have a car but am slightly loathe to bother with that for lunch. Any word on SER at all? I walked by Grand Cru today and made a mental note to look it up. Thanks mucho for your list o' stuff to consider regardless!!

SER is so-so for lunch, better for HH and dinner.

That's not an exciting territory for lunch options, sad to say....

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On 2/18/2017 at 3:18 PM, ktmoomau said:

There is a little Italian place behind Thai Temple, Cafe Tirolo that if you are craving spaghetti or something of the like, is fine and cheap- I haven't tried any of their other offerings, I remember having some type of Asian ethnic food I have thought about trying.  

Cafe Tirolo is an Austro-Italian "cafe" now run by Koreans who learned the recipes from the original owners.  Their chicken parm with spaghetti is solid as is their schnitzel.  They also offer Korean food but I only go there for the European stuff.

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I live around Ballston and I frequently go to Booeymonger's.  Their sandwiches are pretty good, not great, but it is a comfortable place to eat and read the paper.  You can customize your own sandwich so I either get hot pastrami with mustard on rye (or bagel) or I get ham and brie on croissant.  Yes, I'm in a rut.  Friendly staff.  When weather is nice, you can sit outside.  I'm also there sometimes for breakfast too.  I like the Chicken Little (cholesterol be damned).

If you can go to Pupatella, you can go to Fettoosh which is right next door.  Went there for the first time yesterday for lunch.  Food is delish.  I had the vegetarian combo (falafel, spinach pie, cheese pie, dolmas, baba ghanoush, hummus, tabbouleh).  My friends had lamb with veggies and beef shwarma platter.   They liked their meals as well.  Bonus:  they sell Mexican coke (although the staff didn't know it was called that).  Downside:  the place has an overpowering smell of I don't know what - sort of like a car freshener that you hang in your car but 100 times the strength.  I would probably do take out from now on.

 

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You know, I have never been to the Booeymonger in the 11 years I have lived right by it.  The name kind of grosses me out, even though it isn't booger-monger, I just can't get past it.  Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

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Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good..

Sushi2Go is no gourmet experience, but is much better than you might think. I was expecting the sushi here to be in line with something you might get at a grocery store but it is better. This is not Sushi Taro by any means, but everything is prepared to order and tastes very fresh. In addition, the woman working the register (there are usually only two people working there) is super nice and friendly. It is a charming little business and worth giving a short if you are looking for some sushi and not eat it in a restaurant. 

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1 hour ago, ktmoomau said:

You know, I have never been to the Booeymonger in the 11 years I have lived right by it.  The name kind of grosses me out, even though it isn't booger-monger, I just can't get past it.  Oh and if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

I've eaten at booiemongers for probably 30+ years.  It works.  It's more than decent--certainly not great.  I've eaten (not dined) at all of them.  

Its not buggers, its bouie. Get over it. ?

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4 hours ago, DaveO said:

I've eaten at booiemongers for probably 30+ years.  It works.  It's more than decent--certainly not great.  I've eaten (not dined) at all of them.  

Its not buggers, its bouie. Get over it. ?

Bowie-Mongers. Lie Ziggy Stardust.

I ended up at the peruvian chickan charcoal joint across the street from Pupatella today. they oddly serve kabobs and an extremely limited indian menu too. I would rate their Peruvian chicken below Chick on the Run in Bethesda, but it is a solid representation of the dish for sure. Better than anything in Laurel/Beltsville if that is any help.

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I've eaten at Booey's many times. It is convenient for a coffee meeting, but the sandwich counter isn't anything special.

At the risk of criticism, I prefer the Korean buffet on the first floor of 4601 N. Fairfax Dr. to Booey's. I believe it's called Ballston Cafe, and it is among the many Korean-run buffets in our busy working area that includes many positive features -- (1) the buffet itself is immaculate, down to perfect presentation for each dish, (2) you can make your own dish, with plenty of variety and changing options all the time, and (3) the sandwich counter at the back is at least as good as Booey's, and even more meticulous in terms of presentation.

These Korean-run buffets -- and I've eaten at dozens of them -- only have breakfast and lunch service, and the presentation down to the cut of the vegetables demonstrates a kitchen with some degree of discipline. All of that said, I'm merely voicing a convenient option that doesn't suck on that side of Glebe.

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A few years ago, I  had physical therapy in that building.  I think I heard the cafe there was good.  Can you sit and eat or is it carryout only?  I like to support the mom & pops.

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1 minute ago, hopsing said:

A few years ago, I  had physical therapy in that building.  I think I heard the cafe there was good.  Can you sit and eat or is it carryout only?  I like to support the mom & pops.

It has table seating along the windows, maybe enough seats for 30-40 people. Of course, the office buildings all around there make for a very good carry-out business.

 

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On 2/25/2017 at 10:09 AM, Kibbee Nayee said:

I've eaten at Booey's many times. It is convenient for a coffee meeting, but the sandwich counter isn't anything special.

At the risk of criticism, I prefer the Korean buffet on the first floor of 4601 N. Fairfax Dr. to Booey's. I believe it's called Ballston Cafe, and it is among the many Korean-run buffets in our busy working area that includes many positive features -- (1) the buffet itself is immaculate, down to perfect presentation for each dish, (2) you can make your own dish, with plenty of variety and changing options all the time, and (3) the sandwich counter at the back is at least as good as Booey's, and even more meticulous in terms of presentation.

These Korean-run buffets -- and I've eaten at dozens of them -- only have breakfast and lunch service, and the presentation down to the cut of the vegetables demonstrates a kitchen with some degree of discipline. All of that said, I'm merely voicing a convenient option that doesn't suck on that side of Glebe.

It always smells good (they have a blood lab in that building that I have to get my thyroid tested every 6 months or so), but I am normally there at breakfasty time smelling them make lunch.  Will have to go in sometime.  There is another place like this by the tanning salon on Wilson Blvd, I have been in once, it was tasty.

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Gallery Cafe Ballston is in the minority of Korean-owned breakfast/lunch places for not having a buffet. I've enjoyed their sandwiches and rice dishes.

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On 2/24/2017 at 3:36 PM, ktmoomau said:

if someone tries Sushi2Go, let me know!  I walk by this on the way to my nail place, and I don't ever think it can be good...

I'll second what @stupidusername said about it. I went last night. Everything about this place screams "Terrible. Don't bother." but it punches way above it's weight and I don't mean that to be damning with faint praise. Ordered the "Sushi & Sashimi Special" ($24, I believe). Had the usual suspects. Added seaweed salad, order of 6 gyoza, and a premade cold squid salad [altogether = the image shown x 2 + a little extra]. Was plenty for two of us.

Service was extremely fast and the woman running the counter was as sweet and charming as advertised. Will definitely become a go-to for my en route takeout dinner routine, especially since I need to cut down on my Wiseguy's intake. We were originally craving Takumi - obviously not an equal substitute - but given time constraints and worse than usual traffic due to the rain, we had to compromise and were not disappointed.

 

 

Awesome_1488941894556.jpg

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I picked up Peruvian Chicken from the El Pollo Rico (932 N Kenmore St, Arlington, VA 2220) to bring home for dinner. It was good, but not exceptional. While I am slightly forgiving of the final product because it had to travel with me back to Laurel, I think if I ate it immediately, I would have liked it a smidge better, but not enough to rank this as among the best I have ever had. That being said, it's worth a look if you are hungry and nearby.  Their cole slaw was pretty good, FWIW.

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I got their chicken once a couple of years ago due to the buzz, but thought it was just okay.  I did like their steak fries though.  They were awesome with a real potato-y taste.

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52 minutes ago, yeah said:

@Pool Boy @hopsing

Just curious, what are some Pollo a la Brasa places in the area you like better than El Pollo Rico? 

I've always liked Super Pollo. I'm not sure the chicken is any better than El Pollo Rico (probably about the same), but they have great sides and much more varied options there.

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1 hour ago, yeah said:

@Pool Boy @hopsing

Just curious, what are some Pollo a la Brasa places in the area you like better than El Pollo Rico? 

I like Crisp and Juicy the most, and they have three kinds of sauce and excellent sides.

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11 hours ago, yeah said:

@Pool Boy @hopsing

Just curious, what are some Pollo a la Brasa places in the area you like better than El Pollo Rico? 

My experiences are mainly in Maryland. My NoVa dining experiences of the Peruvian chicken sort are somewhat slim. I am working in Ballston now, so I am exploring and evaluating. My current benchmark is Chicken on the Run in Bethesda.

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Carribean Grill (you would have to drive) has much much better sides, and I think their chicken is very good.  I like the chicken at El Pollo Rico, and I think it is superior in chicken, but I don't go often due to the sides.

Also we tried Sushi2go on Friday night.  I got the veggie roll, rainbow roll and maryland roll.  The Maryland roll was too big, and the softshell wasn't crisp, I wouldn't get it again.  But the veggie roll and rainbow roll were both acceptable. The rice isn't as good, and rolls aren't as precisely made as nice sushi place, but it was decent, quick and affordable.  The woman working the counter is a hoot though, and they have great green tea behind the counter, they also have melon and mango cream soda.

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I strongly agree El Pollo Rico is superior judging by the chicken alone.  Others I've found either dry, over-, under- or weirdly seasoned (see Don's hilarious post on the Wilson Blvd Super Pollo). The popularity of Rico seems to breed a virtuous cycle of fast turnover, so the chickens aren't spending too much time under direct heat.  Also agree sides are better elsewhere, but I'm not really there for the sides. 

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