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Dining in Shirlington


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Kay and I are subscribers to the Signature. So 6 times a year, I pick her up Downtown 21 & E at 5:30 and we need to be in o ur seats at 7:30. Add into that that my usually impeccable sense of direction (I even know my way around the Bermuda Triangle that is the surroundins of Siena Italy) stops working at the VA state line, we ahve been relegated to trying the dining spots of Shirlington Town Village. So far:

Carlysle... we had more servers stop at our table than I have employeed at Dino. The food was eh beyond belief and not cheap.

Cap City Brewing- how can actual hamburger meat taste that bland. Good beer but poor service to cap off the poor food.

Luna Diner- meatloaf that was mostly filler covered by gravy out of a jar with a thick skin on it, salad with croutons out of a plastic bag, almost decent hamburger but the fried are those freaking coated crap things, horrible service (the server never smiled, I had to actually show her that they had Anchor Steam on the beer list, when informed that Sierra Nevada on tap was not available, she suggested Hefeweitzen like a. Hefeweitzen tells the story (ie who made it might be a piece of info that I would like to know) and b. an ale is not available so give me a hefeweitzen?, our water was not refilled after our food showed up, no one asked how the food was (incredibly reminiscent of the food I ate at my Dorm at University of Chicago but thanks for asking!).

The little Middle East place whose name I forget... Again, bland but pretty much the best of the bunch.

We were going to try Extra Virgin but the menu last week included Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, inslata Caprese with Fresh tomatoes, and several other dishes with way out of season ingredients. Hello! It's winter!

Is Bonsai any good? Bistro Bistro had one table in it (while Luna was full and had a couple waiting for our table on our way out). T.H.A.I.? (Don I know where all your periods went...).

Is there somewhere along our route that would be good? Somewhere we can get parking?

I thought about Blue Duck Tavern but don't know about the parking part, and do they have a bar area where we could get a quick & light meal?

We are going back in a week or two for another show and my choice this time is going to be a BBQ sandwich eaten in the car from Weenie Beenie unless I can get some help from you VA knowlegable types!

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Kay and I are subscribers to the Signature. So 6 times a year, I pick her up Downtown 21 & E at 5:30 and we need to be in o ur seats at 7:30. Add into that that my usually impeccable sense of direction (I even know my way around the Bermuda Triangle that is the surroundins of Siena Italy) stops working at the VA state line, we ahve been relegated to trying the dining spots of Shirlington Town Village. So far:

Carlysle... we had more servers stop at our table than I have employeed at Dino. The food was eh beyond belief and not cheap.

Cap City Brewing- how can actual hamburger meat taste that bland. Good beer but poor service to cap off the poor food.

Luna Diner- meatloaf that was mostly filler covered by gravy out of a jar with a thick skin on it, salad with croutons out of a plastic bag, almost decent hamburger but the fried are those freaking coated crap things, horrible service (the server never smiled, I had to actually show her that they had Anchor Steam on the beer list, when informed that Sierra Nevada on tap was not available, she suggested Hefeweitzen like a. Hefeweitzen tells the story (ie who made it might be a piece of info that I would like to know) and b. an ale is not available so give me a hefeweitzen?, our water was not refilled after our food showed up, no one asked how the food was (incredibly reminiscent of the food I ate at my Dorm at University of Chicago but thanks for asking!).

The little Middle East place whose name I forget... Again, bland but pretty much the best of the bunch.

We were going to try Extra Virgin but the menu last week included Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, inslata Caprese with Fresh tomatoes, and several other dishes with way out of season ingredients. Hello! It's winter!

Is Bonsai any good? Bistro Bistro had one table in it (while Luna was full and had a couple waiting for our table on our way out). T.H.A.I.? (Don I know where all your periods went...).

Is there somewhere along our route that would be good? Somewhere we can get parking?

I thought about Blue Duck Tavern but don't know about the parking part, and do they have a bar area where we could get a quick & light meal?

We are going back in a week or two for another show and my choice this time is going to be a BBQ sandwich eaten in the car from Weenie Beenie unless I can get some help from you VA knowlegable types!

I think T.H.A.I is the best option of the bunch. It has been a while since I have been there, anyone have a recent report?

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I think T.H.A.I is the best option of the bunch. It has been a while since I have been there, anyone have a recent report?
I agree with this, and would add Aroma to the edible choices in Shirlington. However, you can find much better Thai and Indian choices nearby (Thai Square, Bombay Curry Company).
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How far are these from the Signature?
About 5 minutes. Thai Square is near the corner of Glebe and Columbia, while Bombay is on Mt. Vernon as you drive towards Del Ray, and Del Merei Grille is in the same strip as Bombay, it would be another option that is certainly better than the crap you find at Shirlington.
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I lived across 395 from Shirlington for a couple of years. It's been a while since I did any serious eating there, but not much seems to have changed. I third the suggestion that T.H.A.I. is the best available option in Shirlington itself.

Better yet, right after the 14th street bridge, get on the GW parkway south. At the first light, go right and you'll drive right by Rustico. Take the Rte. 1 bridge over the railroad tracks, take a left at the light at the end of the bridge, drive past the Y and take a right on Mt Vernon. You've got Los Tios, Del Merei and Bombay Curry Company. Keep going north, veer left onto Glebe and 5 minutes later you can be in Shirlington. Any and all of which should allow you to be in and out in 1 hour and have plenty of time to get to the theater.

Or, now that I think about it. Get off in Crystal City and head to Bebo.

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The sushi at Bonsai is excellent, and Peter, the owner, is fun to talk to. I haven't had many of the the non-sushi dishes, but can vouch for the hamachikama, mussels, and ankimo as being delicious. The uni is always very fresh, and I love the tempura rolls and spider rolls.

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The little Middle East place whose name I forget... Again, bland but pretty much the best of the bunch.

We were going to try Extra Virgin but the menu last week included Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, inslata Caprese with Fresh tomatoes, and several other dishes with way out of season ingredients. Hello! It's winter!

Alladin's is the Middle East place. It's not bad, I pop in every now and then for lunch (I work at L'enfant so every now and then we'll hope in a car and hit up a place along 395). Not great, but not bad.

I wouldn't bother with Extra Virgin. We've been once and everything was fairly bland and just generally not good. I'd rather eat at the Bungalow, which is saying alot considering it's the pool hall place down the road. And I don't remember their food being good. But hey, at least they aren't trying to make it look like they try, unlike Extra Virgin...

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We are going to try Bonsai next time when we are in a rush, or layalina when we have more time. Tahi Square and a return trip to Bangkok 54 will be in the works later in the season. Thanks for the tips
Bonsai is not bad. Reminds me of a California sushi place. Service was decent, sushi was reasonably priced and fresh.
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I'm sure Rocks will sart a new thread on Bonsai, but we went there last night before Saving Aimee.

Want a review? Well the two leads in Saving Aimee were superb but the play lacks artistic integrity and what do you expect from lyrics by Kathy Lee Gifford: June Moon, Boon, Tune! Stupid rhymes etc along with insipid music. Simply the worst Signature production I have seen...... Oh the restaurant...

Gosh I wanted to like it. Nice folk, earnest service, big sake list. But the food was all off, not in a non fresh sense but in a flavor sense.

The takosu was way too sweet. Su is vineger marinated food. This su had so much sugar its a wonder I did not go into diabetic shock. Ankimo was fresh and had decent flavor but it was mealy or floury or something, and instead of grated raddish it had neon red died tobiko. The fatty tuna was fatty yellow tail and two slivers on rice for $9.75 was expensive. And if I order tuna, dammit give me tuna. By then we were so disappointed at the meal that we just wanted to finish and go so we said nothing. The regular yellow tail was ordinary. The servings were the tiniest sushi slices I have ever had. I know that American sushi is often too big, but these slices were so tiny (3/4" by 1.2" at most, they did not even cover the rice)! The rice was totally devoid of flavor. The spinach oshidashi was good but its just spinach, bonito flakes and dashi stock. Large sake was served a little too lukewarm. $67 for a tiny amount of food. Simply not worth it. At Kotobuki we wold be stuffed to the gills for that much money. At Tako (I know Don hates it) we would ahve been wowed by something special pulled out by the owner and served up with creative sauces or with very traditional presents. To wrap up, nothing bad exactly, but nothing memorable at a high price for what you get.

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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.

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The question is: Is it bad form for another restaurateur to complain publicly about another?

From the Gospel according to DonRocks:

After a lot of thought, I decided not to make real names a requirement in posting, but having observed and learned from experience, anonymous criticism about restaurants (i.e., peoples livelihoods) will be gently discouraged, so if you don't use your real names in your postings, please be responsible in your writing. And please do consider using your real name, either as your username, or in your signature file. Industry professionals: please disclose your affiliations, if not in public, then at least in confidence to hillvalley or mktye. Thanks!

deangold's comments appear to be reasonable criticism. He tells you what he did not like AND the reasons. It is not a "complaint" because he does more than tell you that he did not like the flavor of the food. He tells you why the su flavor was off, the texture of the ankimo was mealy (could it have been frozen and thawed badly?), why he considered the sushi expensive, incorrectly described, and not proportional to the rice etc. His comments were informative and useful (imho). But going back to DonRocks' foundational post, you might consider not posting criticism anonymously. I know deangold is his real name and that the owner of Dino is posting (thus disclosing his affiliation). His reputation suffers if he posts irresponsibly. He is personally responsible if his criticism is petty, unfair, or prejudiced. OTOH, if DLB posts a negative comment, and (let us assume) it is unfair and made for an ulterior reason, that is anonymous criticism (albeit about deangold's post instead of a restaurant) :blink: .

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I agree with this, and would add Aroma to the edible choices in Shirlington. However, you can find much better Thai and Indian choices nearby (Thai Square, Bombay Curry Company).

My brother from NYC was staying at the Hilton Mark Center nearby on Friday night, so we gave T.H.A.I. a shot. A little pricy, but not bad. Thai iced tea was a bit watery, though. Good date place, I'd say.

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We tried THAI tonight before seeing Nest. The food was good but not memorable on the basis of two dishes we had. The fresh spring roll was well filled but not overly flavorful. The girlled flank steak Essan style had great accompaniments (som tum and insanely good sticky rice served steaming hot in a green leaf of some sort) but the beef itself was tough and dry from overcooking. I would probably go back in a time pinch but I finally figured out how to get from Columbia Pike to the theater (and I left a trail of breadcrumbs so that I can find my way the next time :blink: ) so I think our next Thai experience will be a return to Bangkok 54 or Thai Square.

Since we only ahve one more play this year, I will wait to adventure into Del Ray for the fall season.

By the way, if you want a good theater experience, see nest. Pretty heavy/challenging play incredibly well directed by Joe Carolco who also did a superb job with Assasins. Not a light evening of entertainment.

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I need suggestions for brunch in Shirlington Village, preferably a place that takes reservations. Does Luna? Carlyle is my back up but I am open to suggestions.

It is not personally my favorite but Extra Virgin does have a brunch and does take reservations. You may also want to check Bistro Bistro

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I need suggestions for brunch in Shirlington Village, preferably a place that takes reservations. Does Luna? Carlyle is my back up but I am open to suggestions.
Luna does not, if I recall correctly. I've been to Carlyle quite a few times (it's in the 'hood) and have walked in before with a party of 8 and have never had trouble getting a table immediately.
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It is not personally my favorite but Extra Virgin does have a brunch and does take reservations. You may also want to check Bistro Bistro
I got roped into a brunch there with a large party, and it worked out really well. It was not at all busy, we had a large group and the food was totally fine. If you are a large party, it might be at least a good backup.
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Last night we went to Alladin with a friend who just moved to town. If I can remember correctly, we had hummus, the v-nine soup (my entrée, very nice), Jasmine's favorite, and the lamb plate. Everyone enjoyed their food. Even though it is a chain, we like Alladin because it is consistently good and the service is always great. This is in contrast to other Shirlington restaurants where the food quality can swing pretty wildly.

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About a month ago, Chef/Owner Peter Yoo of Bonsai in Shirlington started a half price happy hour. Every Monday through Friday, 4:00 to 6:00, with:

~Half-priced sushi (including nigiri, temaki, and all other maki; some of those are normally $12 or more)

~Half-priced beer (!)

~Half-priced hot sake (cringe)

I've wound up stopping in a few times, happening to coincide with the special. I noticed no drop in quality from the usual fare, and no shortages of smiles and anime-epic tales from the chef. Raised in Brazil, immersed in Portuguese, speaking Japanese and Korean at home, picking up Spanish along the way, and finally finding home in the ethnic diversity of Arlington. Hard to believe he's been running Bonsai in various incarnations for almost 20 years.

A solid neighborhood option, and a bargain at half price.

post-5654-127316507086_thumb.jpg

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Village of Shirlington's Facebook post:

We are pleased to announce that DAK Chicken will be coming soon to the Village at Shirlington in the former Bonsai space on Campbell Avenue. DAK Chicken, a modern Korean fusion restaurant will offer Korean style soy garlic, spicy, or honey glazed chicken, as well as a variety of Korean style fusion food and unique Korean drinks. It is scheduled to open later this summer.

DAK Chicken joins Palette 22 and Hula Girl as new restaurants coming soon to the Village.
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Village of Shirlington's Facebook post:

We are pleased to announce that DAK Chicken will be coming soon to the Village at Shirlington in the former Bonsai space on Campbell Avenue. DAK Chicken, a modern Korean fusion restaurant will offer Korean style soy garlic, spicy, or honey glazed chicken, as well as a variety of Korean style fusion food and unique Korean drinks. It is scheduled to open later this summer.

DAK Chicken joins Palette 22 and Hula Girl as new restaurants coming soon to the Village.

Northern Virginia Magazine says Dak Chicken is opening this Friday, Aug. 14, 2015.

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