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Bob Wells

Caribbean Grill, Caribbean and Pan-Latino on Lee Highway and George Mason Drive in North Arlington

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I live in that neighborhood, but have never tried the place. Pronouncing the name always sounded too much like "gonorrhea" to me, and needless to say that turned me off.

If you're looking for a good, cheap lunch spot in that neighborhood, I'd recommend either Caribbean Grill (rotisserie chicken, cuban sandwiches, etc.) at the corner of Lee Highway and George Mason, or Heidelberg Bakery (great baked goods, Boars Head meats) a little farther east on Lee.

Yeah, both good choices. I've worked in Falls Church (just over the line) for 14 years so I know both of those places well. Caribbean Grill has OUTSTANDING side dishes -- their yuca is superb, and their plantains melt in your mouth. While their chicken is very good, I've often just gotten side dishes for lunch.

This was actually my first time trying any of the eateries in Lee-Harrison (other than Dogma for my pups). Pietanza looks interesting too, but also a bit pricy. Then there's Sushi-Zen. Any 411 on either of those? I'm guessing "Oriental Gourmet" is as bad as you'd expect from the name?

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I was surprised to revisit Twinsdaddy's posting just now, because when I was standing in line today, the side orders are precisely what scared me. The carrots and broccoli looked like what I'd expect at Shoney's, and the black beans and rice were ... "moist." No yuca came out of the fryer in the ten minutes I waited; the little bit which was there had been sitting under a heat lamp. This doesn't mean anything was bad, but nothing really appealed to me visually.

While I waited, I was waffling about the Cuban Sandwich ($5.15), touted as "'The perfect Cuban sandwich' by the Washington Post," according to the menu. Then the person in front of me ordered one. The girl who took the order spun around from the register, split a baguette wedge, then got out a spatula and proceeded to scoop out a racquetball-sized glob of what I assume to be butter, slathered it on both pieces of bread, and stuck it on the grill.

So after that caloric little episode, I went with the Jerked Roasted Chicken ($9.99 for a whole chicken, cleaved into quarters), and I'm glad I did, because it's pretty good. This was a very big chicken, probably as big as the ones at Chicken Out, and it comes across as more Peruvian than Jamaican - the spicing is zesty and flavorful, but not at all "hot" - a lot of the heat comes from the green sauce, which is probably some combination of mustard, cilantro, and a little habanero pepper sauce. The ample portion of breast meat was pretty dry, but I don't know how long the chicken had been out of the grill (it was sitting in a tray under a piece of foil).

As far as charbroil-roasted chickens go on the Lee Highway corridor, if I was equidistant between Caribbean Grill and Crisp and Juicy, I'd go to Crisp and Juicy every single time. But if I was further down towards Falls Church, equidistant between Caribbean Grill and Super Chicken, I'd probably work both into my rotation.

And they really should consider buying new pots.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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While I waited, I was waffling about the Cuban Sandwich ($5.15), touted as "'The perfect Cuban sandwich' by the Washington Post," according to the menu. Then the person in front of me ordered one. The girl who took the order spun around from the register, split a baguette wedge, then got out a spatula and proceeded to scoop out a racquetball-sized glob of what I assume to be butter, slathered it on both pieces of bread, and stuck it on the grill.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Be glad you didn't. I have had the sandwich one time, when prodded by a Sietsma chat and thought it to be greasy with an unappealing flavor of overused, baked on oil of the griddle. The roasted pork tasted old and refrigerated and definitely wasn't the wonderful, fatty, flavorful roasted pork it should have been, and it definitely wasn't pork loin, it was a just not good. In all fairness, I only had the one sandwich, which i only ate two bites. If this is a rare misstep, i could be convinced to give it another try. But as it stands, i think the cuban at that cuban joint in the international food court is better and cheaper. Just my two cents.....

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We went here the other day in the middle of errands and split a half chicken, chicken saltena, cuban rice, mixed vegetables and fried yuca.  We may have over ordered by just a little but I had been at the gym and was starving.  I didn't eat the cuban rice, it isn't my jam and I don't think theirs is a good enough version to try to convince myself it could be.  The chicken was very good, I like dipping the steamed carrot and broccoli into their sauces and feel a bit better of my gluttonous devouring of chicken.  Yuca was good.  BUT the chicken saltena, oh man, spicy and just awesome in every way, this is where it is at.  I could eat one of those almost every day.  

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Went the other night to take out the full chicken dinner.  We got plantains and cuban rice for sides.  At home I made some squash.  The chicken was a bit spicier than normal, but in a good way.  I always like the plantains there.  I didn't indulge to get a saltena, but they are very good here.  We eat here probably about once every month or two.  Their Caribbean burritos are very good.

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Caribbean Grill continues to maybe be the place Hubby and I miss the most from Arlington.  On the way home last night from C-ville, we were driving 66 and decided to swing through Arlington to get it to go.  The chicken may not be as good as Crisp & Juicy or El Pollo Rico.  But the saltenas- oh the saltenas, are so good, and the sides continue to be some of the best.  We get the family meal and get fried yuca, cuban rice (last night it was especially fresh and good), steamed veggies (because I insist on some veggies) and plantains.  There were only three saltenas left last night.  I bought two, and the last one was sold to the gentleman behind me.  It is a good deal, the staff is really nice, and the food is good.  

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