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Yet again, another new dining experience!  This time, it was the Bombay Club, owned by the same folks who own a favorite restaurant of mine — Rasika

  • Food: With my love of spicy food, I asked the waiter what would be better — green chili chicken or the Tandoori chicken chops.  He said the Tandoori chicken chops was spicier than the green chili chicken.  So not feeling like having a running nose and tearing eyes, I ordered the green chili chicken.  I went with a couple other folks and one of them ordered the other “spicy” dish.  Folks, my dish was a thousand times spicier than the Tandoori chicken chops.  I had tears and my sinuses were definitely cleared.  But, I did like it — even though the spiciness overpowered the cilantro and mint.  We also ordered a basket of their assorted breads which were very good (and helped ease the heat).
  • Service: Our waiter was very nice, but he was dead wrong on the spicy food.  Thankfully, I have a pretty strong spicy food tolerance, but it was still hot. 
  • Atmosphere: The interior is classic, simple elegance. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I’ll definitely go back to try some of their other dishes like their chicken tikka or some of their lamb dishes. 

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Friday – Saturday: 6:00pm – 11:00pm, Sunday: 5:30pm – 9:00pm; Sunday Brunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm
  • Address: 815 Connecticut Ave., NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: (202) 659-3727

During one of those weekends when it rained the entire time, I decided it’d be a great day to make mussels in red wine sauce and graze on it all day. 

First of all, make sure you clean the mussels or you’ll have that gross, gritty sand. 

Then I tried out this recipe

Mussels in Red Wine Cooking  Mussels in Red Wine Cooking  Mussels in Red Wine

Of course, I also made my favorite baguettes.  It’s meals like this when I don’t care what the weather is like outside…

My friend got discounted tickets through Goldstar for Hairspray and so we decided to do dinner beforehand at Haad Thai

  • Food:We ordered the spring rolls which were really good.  They were lightly fried and flaky.  The sweet and sour sauce were definitely canned, but it worked.  The vegetarian Pad Thai we ordered was different.  While we ordered ours with medium heat, it had no spice.  In addition, the tofu was a bit hard and not spongy like it was supposed to be.   
  • Service: Our server was polite, but very confused when we asked for more chilies for our Pad Thai.  In the end, she brought out a simple 3 jar rack with 3 different kinds of chilies — perfect!
  • Atmosphere: The walls have a tropical theme and if you visit their Web site, you can see the photos.  From the photos, it seems like you’re sitting outside, but in reality at the restaurant, you know you’re not.  However, they do have pretty big windows (perhaps floor-to-ceiling — can’t remember) so it was very light inside.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’d go back for their spring rolls and to try their calamari.  But I didn’t think their Pad Thai was great.  On the upside, beer is around $4 at all times so it’s almost as if they had a happy hour.  I can see why people who work in this area would like to go there for a quick lunch though.

Details:

  • Reservations not required.
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30 AM-2:30 PM, 5-10:30 PM; Saturday 12 PM-10:30 PM; Sunday 5 PM-10:30 PM
  • Address: 1100 New York Ave; Washington DC 20005 (entrance is on 11th Street)
  • Ph: 202-682-1111

I know, I know — Morton’s is a chain, but unlike some other chains (ahem, none to be mentioned here but take a look at the list of “Restaurants I’ve Been”), they’ve managed to still be pretty good.

  • Food: First, let’s talk about their enormous (freshly baked?) onion bread they plop in front of you.  It’s the size of a half of a soccer ball and the top has onion flakes.  It’s really yummy.  Then to be healthy,  I ordered the salmon salad which was pretty good.  I wanted to order a steak, but for a mid-day meal it seemed too much!  Then we ordered a slice of the S&S Cheesecake, which we were told gets FedEx’ed to Morton’s on a daily basis from the Brooklyn store.  It was absolutely amazing — creamy, rich, moist, and perfect.   We also ordered Morton’s Legendary Chocolate Cake which was thick, dark, and also amazing. 
  • Service: We had a very nice server who knew exactly when to approach the table — a tough task but one he did very well!
  • Atmosphere: In earlier times when you’d see or hear about those smoke-filled rooms, this is one of the places I feel they’re talking about — with the dark interior and huge booths — you can tell this was (and is?) a place politicians, lobbyists, and business people go to talk shop. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall:  Unlike other chains, Morton’s has still managed to churn out good food.  Their offerings and service remind you that this was a place for “movers and shakers” to make deals.  While I would never come here on my own, I’d have no problem taking clients.   

Happy Hour: Monday-Fridays from 4:30-6:30 and 9:30pm to 11pm, they offer “Bar Bites” for $5 per plate.

Details:

  • Reservations recommended/needed.
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30am to 11pm; Saturday 5:30pm to 11pm; Sunday 5pm to 10pm
  • Address: 1050 Connecticut Ave NW # 2, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 955-5997

With the summer here, I’ve been starting to test out no-cooking recipes.  And one item I love to eat is Ceviche.

I cut this recipe in half since I was only cooking for 2.  I had a lot still leftover and ate it 3 days later — and it was still really yummy. 

It was fresh, simple, and so good.  Plus, no cooking!

Ceviche Cooking  Ceviche Served

I seem to always walk by places and never go in them and Skewers is another restaurant that I’ve wanted to try. 

  • Food:I ordered the Lamb Kebob Light Combination, but light it wasn’t!  There’s a lot of food!  I ordered a side of hummus which was a perfect smooth texture and fantastic flavor.  The tabouleh was fresh with lots (but not too much) cilantro and tomatoes.  The lamb had a little too much fat for my taste, but the good news was that it wasn’t dry and was yummy.  On either end of the lamb skewer was a small piece of delicious eggplant.  Next time, I’m going to have to order it because I bet it’s yummy.

Skewers Lamb Kebob Light Combination

  • Service: I ordered to go so they were fine.
  • Atmosphere: They have Belly Dancing Night on Saturdays. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I thought they offered a lot of really good food for a good price.  The interior is pretty casual so if you want to impress, this isn’t that place. 

Happy Hour: On Mondays, they offer half-priced bottles of wine. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-11 PM; Fri 11:30 AM-12 AM; Sat 12 PM-12AM; Sun 12 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1693 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 387-7400

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in DC is Hook.  Is it the fact that it’s an organic and sustainable restaurant in DC?  Is it the fact that the pastry chef is so widely respected?  Or is it because Barton Seaver is such a cutie?  Yeah…

Hook - Georgetown  Tackle Box and Hook - Georgetown

  • Food: To start off the meal, I ordered the calamari salad which had a great grilled, simple flavor.  So fresh and so good.  For my main course, I ordered the seared Steel Head Trout.  The flavor of the fish was simple and was a bit like salmon (but less oily!).   My dining companions ordered the Artic Char which had a great grilled taste and the Sablefish (my least favorite of the table).  For dessert, we ordered the Apple Tart (with almond frangipane, caramel sauce, and bourbon ice cream), donuts and coffee, and Bittersweet Chocolate Torte (with caramel ice cream, salted cashews).  My favorite dessert was the donuts and coffee — although they were much smaller than Buddakan, they were equally delicious. 

Hook Apple Tart  Hook Coffee and Donuts  Hook Bittersweet Chocolate Torte

  • Service: Their servers are put through an intense one week course on fish so they are able to talk to diners about what the fish tastes like (and what it’s similar to).  They’re also always polite and really good.  They know when to stop by to see how the food is and also when to leave the table alone.  I get a sense that most are professional servers. 
  • Atmosphere: At the end of the meal with the bill, they give everyone a fish handout to take with you on what fish is OK to eat and what isn’t (as far as being sustainable. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: This is one of my favorite restaurants in DC because the food is cooked simply but amazing.  The sides that accompany the main entree compliment perfectly.  The appetizers are amazing.  Desserts are ridiculously good.  The servers are fantastic.  There’s nothing else you can say — all good.  If you haven’t been, you must!

Details:

  • Reservations are strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Dinner: Sunday – Tuesday 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday – Saturday 5pm to 11pm; Lunch: Tuesday – Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10:30am to 2:30 pm
  • Address: 3241 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
  • Ph: (202) 625-4488

I went to Thai X-ing with a friend who had a car because otherwise, I don’t think I would have ever had a chance to try it.  Their menu can be found here.

  • Food: We ordered spring rolls which I didn’t love because I thought they were a bit bland.  But everything else we ordered was so good!  We also ordered Veggie Pad Thai which was sweeter than the normal pad thai you’d get at other restaurants, but then had a slight heat kick at the end.  It was fantastic!  Then we ordered Chicken Vigsittaboot with watercress and spicy peanut sauce which was also amazing. 

Thai X-ing Spring Rolls  Thai X-ing Veggie Pad Thai  Thai X-ing Chicken Vigsittaboot

  • Service: There’s one guy who cooks everything so his overhead has to be pretty low.  But it also means that you’re frequently waiting — even if you call in advance.  I called and placed our order and was told it’d take 40 minutes yet when we arrived about an hour later, he hadn’t even cooked it yet.  So if you have plans that require you to be somewhere at a certain time, this is not the restaurant for you.  I’d only go when you have no plans except dinner…just in case!
  • Atmosphere: While he has a table and chairs, it’s definitely a grab-and-go place.  There are lots of chairs and items on the wall to entertain you while you’re waiting for your food.
  • Attire: It’s to-go so it doesn’t matter.
  • Price: $
  • Overall: The Chicken Vigsittaboot was really good.  The pad thai was unique.  I’m looking forward to the next time I get to go back and try some of his curry dishes that I’ve heard so much about.  Definitely a hidden gem in DC! 

Details:

  • Hours: Tues-Sun 4-10 PM (delivery only happens on Friday and Saturday nights)
  • Address: 515 Florida Ave, Washington DC 20001
  • Ph: 202-332-4322

After hearing so many great things about Blue Duck Tavern, I finally went. Why did it take me so long to go?

  • Food:I went with a client and thankfully, a cool client that’s into sharing! So we ordered their braised barbecue beef “long rib”, crab cakes, triple fried fries, and glazed baby carrots.  The fries were more like logs (like when you cut tofu into eighths). But they were still insanely crispy!  And readers, you know I don’t like thick fries but damn, these were so yummy! The crab cakes were definitely some of the best in town – full of crab with a little breadcrumbs to hold it all together.  You know, the way crab cakes are supposed to be made.  Plus, there was a remoulade sauce on the side that didn’t overwhelm.  The beef was insanely tender and fell off the bone so easily.  The barbecue sauce tasted like good, homemade sauce.  Now on to my favorite course, dessert.  We ordered the chocolate cake with a side of vanilla ice cream (had to order this separately).  Our waiter made the vanilla ice cream sound like it was mind blowing good – but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong – the ice cream was good – rich, creamy vanilla, but it wasn’t earth shaking.  The chocolate cake wasn’t overly sweet and had a fantastic dark chocolate with a light rum flavor.  Yum. 
  • Service: Our server was nice, but a little pushy.
  • Atmosphere: It has a wide open feel and hundreds of people could easily be in the restaurant and you’d never know.  While they have a very open kitchen, the chefs/cooks are very quiet!  The interior has dark wood tables and chairs (and accent pieces on the walls), but the floor is very light and balances out nicely.  It’s comfortable and beautiful — definitely an impressive place to dine! 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: Here’s another restaurant that would easily impress even the toughest critics.  The food was cooked simply but so wonderfully!  Oh and don’t be surprised when you pull up to the Park Hyatt — this amazing restaurant is on the first floor of the hotel. 

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Breakfast in the Lounge: 6:30am – 10:30am; Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Weekend Brunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
  • Address: 1201 24th Street NW, Washington DC 20037
  • Ph: (202) 419-6755

After dog sitting for P3, she was quite generous with her “thank you” gift and gave me a gift certificate for Cashion’s.  I was excited because I’d never been before — and so I finally had the opportunity the other week.

  • Food:To put it mildly, some of the best appetizers ever!  I ordered the grilled octupus which had a great, simple grilled flavor.  My friend ordered the fried oysters in grits.  I’m not a grits fan (I don’t get why people like it, I really don’t.  It’s just about putting a lot of butter on it and if I put that much butter on anything I ate, I’d love it too).  But these were really good (probably a lot of butter).  And the oysters were super crispy with a bit of corn meal.  For the main, I ordered the seared tuna with black beans, mango, and cilantro.  While the tuna was perfectly cooked, I thought it lacked uniqueness.  And I think they forgot the cilantro because I didn’t taste it in my dish.  My friend ordered the shad roe.  Now I don’t know why she did, but she did.  If you don’t know shad roe, here’s a photo and an explanation.  And because she didn’t like it, I only got half of my seared tuna.  Oh well.  I ended up eating a lot of the bread since I was still hungry. 
  • Service: Our server was a bit too eager throughout the meal.  She kept asking if we understood the menu, which is nice the first time and annoying the second and third.  Perhaps we looked confused?
  • Atmosphere:From the exterior, it seems like it’ll be a small restaurant.  But the looks are deceiving because it’s long.  Straight back on the left is a bit of an elevated bar.  Then there are tables throughout.  We were fortunate to get a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows so it didn’t feel claustophobic, but I could see how that could happen when those windows are closed!
  • Attire: Business casual/casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I’ll definitely go back to try out other main courses and I hope they’ll offer those fried oysters again!  That’s the trouble with changing menus — you never know if your favorite is going to be available.  At the same time, you get to have new favorites!  So P3, thanks for the gift certificate!  Another good recommendation!

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Mondays closed; Tues 5:30-10 PM; Wed-Sat 5:30-11 PM; Sun 5:30-10 PM; Sunday Brunch 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Late Night Menu 12 AM-2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Address: 1819 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-797-1819

I had bought some eggroll wrappers and tofu and realized both were expiring in a few days.  So I realized I needed to do something with both of them soon.

I also realized I had a bunch of random ingredients that I wanted to use up — eggrolls are truly a perfect opportunity to do just that!

  • 1 tsp of garlic
  • 2 tsp of minced onions (dried)
  • 2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP corn starch (for the tofu)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red cabbage chopped finely
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots
  • 1 can of water chestnuts
  • 1 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1 package of eggroll wrappers

First, drain and remove as much moisture from the tofu.  Then cube the tofu and mix in a bowl with garlic, minced onions, cayenne pepper, corn starch.  Set aside.

Then heat up your wok with 1 tsp of vegetable oil.  Once it’s hot, put the cabbage in and cook until begins to soften.  I like it to still be crunchy so I find it only takes a couple of minutes.  Remove the cabbage to a bowl to  cool. 

Now take your eggroll wrappers and remove one.  Take your bowl of tofu and cooled cabbage and mix.  Make sure to toss all the ingredients well.  Now take some of the mixture and place on the eggroll wrapper and wrap (if you forgot how, visit here for instructions). 

Eggrolls with cabbage

 

Heat vegetable oil in the wok (fill so when you put the rolls in the wok, the oil covers 1/2 of the eggrolls).  Fry on both sides and once it’s done, drain on a paper towel. 

After hearing so much about Mai Thai from a friend (who goes to their Alexandria location), it was about time I tried it out for myself. 

  • Food:Since I went with a huge group, we ordered a lot of food.  I tried a little bit of everything — but of course, ordered my fried tofu and Pad Thai.  Both were good, but the standouts on the menu were their crab rolls (Crispy-fried king crab claw rolls stuffed with shrimp, chicken, shitake mushroom, bean thread and cilantro, served with a sweet and sour sauce) and fried calamari (Fresh squid, lightly battered, and deep-fried served with a sweet and sour sauce). 
  • Service: I went with a huge group so our server was a bit scattered and frazzled.  But I’m sure if it was just an “average” table of 2-4, it’d be great.
  • Atmosphere: The decorations on the wall and the feel of the restaurant is authentic with a twist meaning it’s slightly funky. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: This is going on my list of places to grab appetizers with a few friends.  Between their yummy appetizers and drink specials, it’d be a fun (and tasty) place to go! 

Happy Hour: Daily 3:30 PM-7 PM for top shelf cocktails $4.50; beer ($3.50); and various appetizers for $3-5.   

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:15 am-10:30 pm, Fri-Sat 11:15 am-11 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10:30 pm
  • Address: 1200 19th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-452-6870

I finally went to Georgia Brown’s the other day and ordered their fried chicken.  I really liked that the meat was all white and there was only the leg bone.  The mashed potatoes were pretty good but overall, it was too salty.  Was it worth $22? 

You’ll see I listed under “Places I’ve been” but I thought I’d share this photo of my meal.

Georgia Brown's Fried Chicken

I have heard great things about their Sunday brunch though!

Details:

  • Reservations recommended.
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; Fri 11:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; Sat 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.; Sun 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sun 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
  • Address: 950 15th Street NW; Washington, DC 20005  
  • Ph: (202) 393-4499

I’ve walked by Malaysia Kopitiam a thousand times and have always meant to try it.  Finally, I went and grabbed lunch.

  • Food:Self-described as “fine Malaysian cuisine with the influence of Malay, Chinese, and Indian food,” it was pretty good.  I ordered the spicy tamarind squid with stir-fried squid, pineapple, okra, onion, red pepper, carrot, and tomatoes in spicy tamarind sauce.  It wasn’t very spicy, but it was good.  And yet again, enough for lunch and dinner!

Malaysia Kopitiam Spicy Tamarind Squid

  • Service: Who knows, I ordered for pick-up.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a basement restaurant, which means it’s a bit dark and has an 8-10 stool bar.  While the atmosphere isn’t the most impressive, it’s not horrible either. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:They have a pretty good mixture of Asian beers and for only $4, it’s almost like a happy hour special.  Their food is way better than Penang and I would definitely go back.  Their menu has a lot of yummy sounding options such as their seafood tofu clay pot, noodle soup with stuffed mix vegetables, and seafood noodle soup.

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 AM-10 PM; Friday & Saturday 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sun 12 noon-10 PM
  • Address: 1827 M St NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-833-6232

I don’t know why, but the Beacon is always viewed as a good place for HH (happy hour) and food.  Personally, I disagree.  Instead, I prefer to tell people about Nage.

  • Food:While their menu can seem somewhat limited (it’s seasonal), their chalkboard offers another 10 various options — and from that menu, you can have a pre-fixe meal (3 courses for $35).  I’ve been a few times and have had some good meals.  The mac and cheese is more creamy than cheesy, so it’s definitely not 15ria.  Their Chesapeake oysters with spinach, fennel, mushrooms, and Asiago cheese are good.  Most recently, I ordered the Prime Rib burger which was cooked perfectly, though I didn’t care for their fries (they were a mixture of potatoes — including a few sweet potatoes, but not worth the calories since they weren’t crispy…you know how I love my fries crispy!).  As far as dessert, their best offering is the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.  I’m not a huge bread pudding fan, but this was insanely good! 
  • Service: They’ve always been courteous and efficient without being annoying.  In other words, good service.
  • Atmosphere: Strange as it might sound, this restaurant is in the Marriott Courtyard, down the block from Beacon.  But don’t let that scare you away!  They offer way better options for wine and beer and much better food.  Their restaurant is small and only has about 20 tables with a few bar tables and seats.  They also have a flat screen TV which always runs various sports games.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$ if you order off their bistro menu; $$$ if you order an app and main entree
  • Overall:  Next time you want to go to Beacon, try out Nage instead.  As a friend said when she went, “It’s not the best meal ever, but it’s pretty good.  I mean, it’s better than Beacon.”  Although the $$$ may make you pause from making it your new weekly hangout.   But their apps are reasonably priced so you could definitely go after work without spending an arm and a leg.

Happy Hour: I’ll have to let you know — I forgot to take a look but I know they have 1/2 priced wine (I think it’s on Mondays).

Details:

  • Reservations are suggested, but to be honest, I’ve never needed them.
  • Hours: Breakfast Daily 7-10:30 am; Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30 pm; Daily Dinner 5 pm – 9:30 pm
  • Address:1600 Rhodes Island Avenue, NW; Washington, D.C. 20036
  • Ph:  (202) 448-8005

I’m one of those.  I like to read reviews about places before I go so I know what to expect.  And the review I read about Vinoteca and their food was, to put it nicely, dismal.  So what do I do when my friend, who was going with me, asked about this place?  I say,  “Yeah, the wine list is supposed to be pretty good but the food supposedly sucks.”  Ha ha, nothing like setting everyone’s expectations!  

  • Food:After reading the horrible reviews about this place, my expectations were incredibly low.  While our server provided water right away, we didn’t get any bread until we ordered our food.  So we started off with a trio of charcuterie.  The bread was interesting that they provided — it was dark with black olives perhaps?  Not quite sure what kind of bread it was, but it was a bit dry.  I preferred the second type of bread that they gave us (after we asked for more) which was softer than a baguette, but had a good flavor.  Then we ordered their $12 mussels.  When you compare their mussels with the $8.25 from Les Halles, there’s no comparison.  Les Halles rules.  
  • Service: Our server didn’t seem happy about working when we were there.  She never smiled and seemed annoyed when we needed a couple of minutes to review the menu.
  • Atmosphere: They offer some great photos on their Web site here.  Inside it’s a comfortable (yet very loud) bar.  The dining area is small, but seems like a good spot for large groups. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’d go again for their happy hour to try their sliders, but to go pay full-priced considering the service and their mussels, I’d skip it. 

Happy Hour— Sunday-Thursday from 5-7 PM, they offer 10 wines by the glass; 3 sliders for $6; and 1/2 panini and fall squash soup for $5.55.

Details:

  • Hours: Sun 4:30 PM-2 AM; Mon closed; Tues-Thurs 4:30 PM-2 AM; Fri & Sat 4:30 PM-3 AM; Brunch Sat & Sun 10 AM-3 PM
  • Address: 1940 11th Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: 202-332-WINE

I was going with a friend to World Market to pick up a case of this really great $6 bottle of wine. 

Basically, 2005 was a great year for Cabernet Sauvignon so Hess Vineyards decided to create a label to sell some of this extra product.  The wine is called XS ’05 and for $6, it’s perfect to be your everyday wine.  It is a screw top (personally, that doesn’t bother me, but I know it does bother some).  I’m not a sommelier, so if you don’t believe, me, check out this blogger’s review.

Hess XS Red

Before we went to pick up our cases of wine, we decided to try Saigon Saigon in Pentagon City. 

  • Food:My friend ordered the small bowl ($7.95) of pho while I ordered the large bowl ($8.95) of Tai Nam pho.  As always it came with jalapenos, fresh basil, bean sprouts, and limes.  The beef was a bit thick though for my taste, but the broth and noodles were good.  I don’t think there was much of a difference between our bowls except that I got more broth than she did. 
  • Service: Polite and friendly
  • Atmosphere: The interior has a comfortable, soothing feel. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:If you live in the area, you can get them deliver (call 703-524-0800).  The menu can be found here (Menu Side A and  Menu Side B — click on the photo icon on the bottom right hand to make the menu screen bigger). This restaurant is owned by the same folks who own Asia Bistro and ZEN.  Since I have a tendency to go to Pentagon City for DSW, I’d definitely come back for a quick bowl of pho.  It’s not the greatest (that’s the place where they serve the raw beef on the side and it cooks in the broth — anyone know where that is?), but it’s decent.  It works  you know?

Details:

  • Hours: Serving lunch and dinner daily
  • Address: 1101 South Joyce Street; Arlington, VA 22202
  • Ph: 703-412-0822

I love my friends for many reasons.  But the main reason is because they’re incredibly smart — they are well-read, highly educated (whether through formal education or on their own), etc.  And most of them have also traveled extensively (funny because I really haven’t, but it’s something I’d love to do!) . 

It’s this last reason that I went to the Islander.  One of my friends has traveled more than anyone else I know, so when she said that this was one of the best Trinidadian restaurants she’s ever been to — I knew I had to go. 

  • Food: My friend made a lot of recommendations, but she said her favorite was the potato and chana roti (note that this isn’t the photo of what we got, but it was a great description and photo of the food!).  It comes with a side of this hot sauce which consists of mustard, hot peppers (she said it’s the size of black peppercorns but with the heat of a habanero), vinegar, salt, and a couple of other ingredients.  Before I had a chance to dump the hot sauce all over my roti, my friend warned me that it was insanely hot and to use a little bit.  Thank God she said that because it was fiercely hot.  I love hot food, but holy cow was this spicy!  The roti was fantastic and the hot sauce was a perfect addition.  We also ordered fried plantains, which might be the best in the city — except there was no creme fraiche or any other side to dip them in.  Regardless, they were really good.
  • Service:They were polite and kept calling everyone “honey.”  I felt like I was in someone’s house and not a restaurant.  
  • Atmosphere: What it lacks on the interior, it makes up for in the food.  If you’re looking for an upscale experience, this isn’t it.  But if you’re looking for authentic Caribbean food, this is the place for you.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’m looking forward to going back and trying some of their other dishes like their Calypso Chicken and brown stew chicken.  But really, I’m looking forward to that hot sauce.  Wow!  On Saturday nights between 8-midnight, they offer live jazz and Wednesdays from 7:30 PM-11:30 PM is karaoke.  For the list of events, please click here.

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: Mon closed; Tues-Wed 12 PM-10 PM; Thur 12 PM-11 PM; Fri-Sat 12 PM-12 AM; Sun 1 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1201 U Street NW; Washington, DC
  • Ph: 202-234-4871

Two+ years ago, I went to Ceiba for Restaurant Week.  I don’t remember what I ordered, but since I haven’t been since then…well, you know.

Anyway, I do remember the inside of the restaurant was nice and when I was researching Restaurant Week, I stumbled (no pun intended) upon their happy hour information.

Here it is!  I’ll have to go back sometime and do a review on the food. 

Monday-Friday from 2:30-10:30 PM $5 cocktails (throughout the restaurant) and complimentary bocaditos (appetizers) from 4-7 PM in the bar-area only.  

  • Monday — Drink special: Mojito/bocaditos: mini pressed Cuban sandwiches
  • Tuesday — Drink special: Caipirinha/bocadito: grilled Chorizo and a Chimichurri sauce
  • Wednesday — Drink special: Pisco Sour/bocadito: ceviche & crisp flour tortillas
  • Thursday — Drink special: Sangria/bocadito: assorted Tapas
  • Friday — Drink special: Margarita/bocadito: guacamole, blistered tomato salsa, crisp corn tortillas

Details:

  • Address: 701 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC 20005
  • Ph: (202) 393-3983

Unless you know where you’re going, Iron Gate Restaurant could be easily missed.  It has (surprise) a huge iron gate that’s open when they’re open. 

Iron Gate  Iron Gate Entrance

  • Food: While I was there for lunch, we received a basket of bread with a spread that had capers, roasted red peppers, and a bunch of other things.  It had a consistency of a very thick hummus, but I have no idea what else was in it.  But it was pretty good. I ordered the lamb shank with orzo and goat cheese and spinach.  While the lamb was cooked properly, it had a bit too much garlic.   My sides were great though.  Here’s a photo of their dinner menu (and if you click, you can actually see what’s available)
Iron Gate Dinner Menu

  • Service: Our server was polite and our ice tea and water glasses were always refilled.  Although when I’ve been there for drinks after work, they have a tendency to forget about you if you’re sitting outside and they’re not busy.
  • Atmosphere: Considered a romantic spot with their outside water fountain in their main outside dining area, it is a cute spot.  I’ve been many times for drinks after work with friends and love coming here for their courtyard.  They also usually have a special on wine and their hummus is good.  Inside is dark with fireplaces — you can see where it was once a stable and carriage house. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: When it’s a beautiful day outside, this is a perfect spot to go when you want to discuss the finer things in life over a bottle of wine and a few small plates . 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted and recommended.
  • Address: 1734 N Street NW; Washington, DC 20036 
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:30-10 PM; Sat 5:30-10 PM; Sun closed
  • Ph: 202-737-1370

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