date appropriate


I love what has happened with Columbia Heights.  There’s a great energy to the area.  I love visiting and checking out the new places.  So while I know Logan @ The Heights isn’t new, it was to me!

  • Food: I ordered the mixed greens with jicama and orange vinaigrette.  The salad was good and refreshing, but I think it’s because I love jicama.  I also ordered ginger fried calamari.  The sauce was too sweet and the calamari wasn’t crunchy at all.  Quite disappointing.
  • Service: We ordered at the bar so our service was lacking.  While it wasn’t that busy, he kept disappearing. 
  • Atmosphere: I love the interior.  It’s simple and comfortable.  There’s dark wood and tons of seating. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: While the ginger fried calamari was disappointing, I really liked this restaurant.  It has a great neighborhood feel.  I’ll definitely go back to try out some other food.  It seems like simple cuisine is going to be the best bet.  Oh, and if you’re looking for a place with the most Bloody Mary options, you’ve found it.

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4-7 PM at the bar with cheaper food; Sam Adams $3.50 and Brooklyn Lager $3.75; wine for $3.25.  To see the full menu, click here.

Details:

  • Reservations are taken Sun-Thurs Dinner & Weekday Lunch: Any size, any time; Fri & Sat Dinner: 7 – 10 pm, Parties of 5 or more only; Weekend Brunch: Parties of 5 or more only
  • Address: 3115 14th St. NW, Washington DC, 20010
  • Hours: Dinner: Mon-Fri, 5 pm; Sat & Sun, 4 pm; Lunch: Mon-Fri, Noon – 5 pm; Brunch: Sat & Sun, 11 am – 4 pm
  • Ph: 202-797-7227

I continue with my quest for finding great Thai in DC.  To be honest, so far, it’s been a bleak with a few bright beacons.  Anyway, I finally tried Thai Kingdom (menu is on their Web site).

  • Food: Surprise, I ordered Pad Thai (no peanuts and medium spice).  I also ordered the squid salad.  I think I’m going to stop ordering squid salad at Thai places because it seems that all squid salads use cardamon.  While their salad was totally different from Pasara, I think I liked Pasara’s better.  The Pad Thai had a lot more veggies included than I’m used to and I liked it.  There was a good amount of heat and flavor.  There was more grease than I like to see in my Pad Thai, but I did like it. 

Thai Kingdom Squid Yum  Thai Kingdom Pad Thai  Thai Kingdom Pad Thai

  • Service: I ordered to go, but I do applaud them for including chopsticks! 
  • Atmosphere: Inside there’s a lot of decoration.  When you walk in, on your right is an elevated (only by a foot or so) platform with a wall that’s all window so it makes the restaurant seem much bigger.  There’s about 10-15 tables.  Then on the main floor, there’s another 20-25 tables so it is a big restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’re looking for a casual and comfortable dining atmosphere, I’d check it out.  It’s decent Thai at a good price. 

Details:

  • Reservations are unnecessary
  • Address: 2021 K Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30 PM; Dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30 PM; Dinner Fri 5-11 PM; Sat 12 noon-11 PM; Sun 12 noon-10 PM;  
  • Ph: 202-835-1700

I had been to Thai Chili/Sushi Go Round once before a few years ago and recently stopped by again for a quick bite. 

  • Food: The sushi conveyor belt has 4 different color plates — blue, yellow, green, and red.  They clearly label the prices each plate color cost (but I can’t remember their prices).  I think the most expensive is around $5 and the cheapest is $2-3.  I’ve tried a lot of their sushi and it’s good.  They offer a good selection, but as with all sushi conveyor belts, you do have to know your sushi/nigiri!  Otherwise, you may end up paying for something you don’t like. 
  • Service: I’ve only eaten at the Sushi Go Round, but they are quick to clear any garbage you have and the covers to the sushi plates.
  • Atmosphere: It’s like there are two different restaurants.  Neither one has a lot of seats, but the Thai side has 10-12 tables and chairs while the Sushi Go Round has 20-25 stools around the conveyor belt.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’re in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area and are looking for something quick and healthy without going to a chain, I recommend trying this place out.  It’s decent sushi and let’s be honest, the conveyor belt is fun.  Ha ha.   

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-10:30 PM; Fri 11 AM-11 PM; Sat 12 noon – 11 PM; Sun 12 noon – 10:30 PM; Delivery Hours: Mon-Fri 11 AM-3 PM, 5-10 PM; Sat & Sun 5-10 PM (min $20)
  • Address: 701 7th Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: (202) 393-2905, (202) 393-2906

I love The Diner.  It’s like those old jeans that are perfectly broken in.  It might not be fancy, but it’s just good and you know what you’re going to get at all times.  So imagine my joy when they opened Open City.  Oddly enough though, I hadn’t gone until just recently.

  • Food:I ordered the chorizo scramble which was pretty good.  There was lots of chorizo in the eggs.  The hash browns were shredded and I was bummed because they weren’t crispy.  But they did have good flavor.  And the coffee they served was in the big cappuccino mugs, like what they serve at Tryst.  I wonder why they don’t do that at The Diner.
  • Service: Our server was fine, but like The Diner, they’re a bit scattered.  Sometimes you get a refill on coffee, sometimes you don’t. 
  • Atmosphere:They have horrible acoustics so don’t go with a low talker!  It’s really loud and I kept having to ask, “What” when I was trying to talk with my friend. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Unlike The Diner, Open City has outdoor seating which is really nice.  But Open City has more options than the standard breakfast and that makes me a fan.  Plus, I love the big mugs of coffee.  Like The Diner, expect a line on the weekends!  But here’s a tip — if you get there before 10 AM, your wait won’t be too long.

Details:

  • Reservations not accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 6 am – midnight Sat-Sun 6 am – 1 am
  • Address: 2331 Calvert Street NW; Washington, DC 20008
  • Ph: 202-332-2331

It was raining and crappy and so my friend and I decided to order in.  Plus, I had a bottle of Rose that I wanted to try. 

I don’t like Rose.  I never have.  But for some reason, when I was in the liquor store to buy some sparking wine (loved this one he recommended — Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain), the liquor store guy told me that even though I don’t like Rose, I’d like Juno Rose from South Africa. Now why is it that even though I know I don’t like Rose, I still ended up buying the wine?  Regardless, my friend was a super trooper and joined me in trying this bottle.  It was fine, but I didn’t love it and won’t buy it again.  The Cava was dry (but not too dry) and was a great sparkling wine to cool down from the humidity!

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain  Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava from Spain  Juno Rose from South Africa

Anyway, we decided to order from Jyoti.  Menu here.

  • Food:I first need to tell you that I don’t like cardamom.  I never have.  So ordering Indian is a bit of a challenge, but I do like Indian food!  I just need to be careful.  My friend ordered paneer makani (the orange container) which had a strong cardamom flavor.  I ordered the lamb rogan josh which was really good.  Then we got a side of roti and raita.  I thought it was really good!  They also gave us a huge portion of rice — look at it! And yes, their naan was better than the one I make (but they have a tandoori!). 

Jyoti Restaurant  Jyoti Restaurant

  • Service: Our delivery took over an hour.  And we were starving.  So it gets poor marks for taking more than an hour. 
  • Atmosphere: No idea, they delivered!
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:I was excited to hear that there’s Indian delivery ($15 min).  On their menu, they tell you it’ll take 45-60 minutes to deliver and if it’s bad weather or traffic, it’ll take longer.  My next order is going to be chicken tikka and samosa. 

Details:

  • Hours: Sun-Thurs 12 PM-10:30 PM; Fri & Sat 12 PM-12 AM
  • Address: 2433 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-518-5892

Yes, I made out to Virginia!  I was putzing one day and was surprised when I found myself at Seven Corners.  But also so happy because I knew I was in store for outstanding pho!  I decided to go to Eden Center and I wandered into Pho Xe  Lua.

  • Food: They only serve pho but I ordered my standard — Tai pho and an iced tea.  The beef was raw and so paper thin it was awesome.  I slurped my way through the meal and I was contemplating getting a second bowl for the next day.  It was delicious and it’s my favorite bowl of pho so far!

Pho Xe Lua Large Tai Pho  Pho Xe Lua

UPDATE 10/2008: I went again but ordered it to go.  This time, they had ngo gai — Asian cilantro that’s prickly with a kick and awesome.   This is still my favorite pho place…

Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho  Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho

  • Service: There is an older guy who seated me, took my order, and ran the cash register.  There was an older woman walking around as well and a busboy.  They leave you alone to linger as long as you’d like, but this also means they’re not stopping by constantly to refill your soda or ice tea glass. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s 15-20 tables and the interior won’t impress anyone.  When I first sat down, it wasn’t busy but by the time I left, it was almost completely packed.  And in the corner, there was a table of men playing some sort of domino-type game. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Bring your cash because it’s cash-only!  The large bowl of pho and ice tea was about $11, but it was seriously amazing.  I can’t wait to go back!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 7:30am- 8:00pm
  • Address:Eden Center; 6755-A Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-533-3130

My friend and I had tried to go to Inti Peruvian earlier but they are closed on Mondays (something they don’t tell you on their Web site).   

  • Food: To start, we shared the chicken tamale.  I’m not usually a huge tamale fan, but this one was really good.  What I loved was that the ingredients weren’t chopped up so fine that you couldn’t tell what it was — there were nice chunks of egg, pepper, shredded chicken, etc.  Then my friend ordered the Seco a la Nortena con Frijoles which was so tender and delicious.  I thought it was a great choice!  I ordered the Picante de Mariscos and was disappointed with rubbery seafood.  But the sauce was really good, especially when I added their green chili sauce.  There were two huge mussels though on either side of the seafood which were quite impressive.  BTW, the green chili sauce wasn’t really spicy, but it did add a tiny amount of heat.
  • Service: Our server was really polite and I liked her.  She also had good timing — she was there when we needed her and otherwise, left us alone.  I like that.
  • Atmosphere: So when we walked down the steps, we weren’t sure if we should go to the door on the left or the right.  We went to the door on the right, although I think both would have worked.  Then they told us that we could sit outside.  Really?  So we were surprised that outside was an option.  Inside they have 12-15 tables but outside, they have a cute deck with 8 tables with huge umbrellas that keep you covered.  At night, they have holiday lights on the inside of the tables.  The inside of the restaurant doesn’t have a lot of atmosphere, but it works.  It seems to be comfortable and cozy, but I’d suggest sitting outside if you can.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:So other than my chewy seafood, I also have to complain about the fact that they didn’t give us any bread (even though we saw everyone else on the patio get a basket!) but we did get this interesting corn thing — kinda like corn nuts but without a lot of flavor.  Overall, I’d go back.  I love their small, but comfortable patio.  Next time, I’ll try their beef or chicken entree.  

Details:

  • Reservations not required
  • Hours: Tues-Thurs 11 AM-10 PM; Fri & Sat 11 AM-11 PM; Sun 11 AM-9 PM; Closed on Mondays
  • Address:1825 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 797-0744

I was excited to see the Golden Triangle was getting a new Thai restaurant, Pasara.  Pasara has a restaurant in Alexandria, but as we all know, I rarely get out to NoVA (or Maryland).

  • Food: I ordered their grilled calamari salad and pad thai with tofu (and no peanuts).  First, the calamari salad had some great heat.  It was a bit heavy on the seasoning and I think there was some cardamom in there too.  So I wasn’t completely in love with the salad.  Now to the pad thai.  It was good because of the hot (temperature) but not spicy at all (my fault, forgot to ask for the heat!).  However, it was a bit greasy — you could tell see the grease on the plastic fork they gave me (no chopsticks – boo). 

Pasara Grilled Calamari Salad  Pasara Grilled Calamari Salad  Pasara Pad Thai Tofu

  •  Service: I ordered to go.
  • Atmosphere: When you walk in, their entrance isn’t big (shockingly small actually) which is forgiveable since they offer so much seating.  There are two stories with the 2nd floor overlooking the 1st floor.  While there’s a lot of seating, it’s not too squished.  On the right hand side, you’ll see 12-16 stool bars on the right hand side.  The interior is beautifully arranged and designed.  It’s a medium dark wood interior with great accent pieces throughout the restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Overall, I am glad Pasara moved into the Golden Triangle.  It’s another good dining option in the area.  At the same time, there’s too much grease for me on their Pad Thai.  Now that I know how to make it, I don’t understand the grease.  Also, here’s the menu

Pasara Menu  Pasara Menu  Pasara Menu  Pasara Menu

Details:

  • Hours: Sat & Sun 12 noon-10 PM; Mon-Fri 11 AM-10 PM
  • Address:1219 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 223-3777

I’ve walked by The Indian Experience (formerly Ascot Resturant) a lot whenever I go to Naan and have always said I wanted to try this place out.  I finally went!  And by the way, Ascot and Naan are owned by the same people. 

  • Food:I went with their buffet.  Now we know how I feel about buffets, but as far as buffets go, this was not bad.  The food they served was pretty good and the naan was freshly made throughout the meal.
  • Service: Not great…they’re a little gruff and unfriendly.  I went with 3 other people and they put a 15% gratuity on our bill.  I wasn’t a fan of that at all. 
  • Atmosphere: You walk downstairs and they have a pretty big restaurant.  On the left-hand side, you’ll see an elevated level with the buffet and tables.  The decor is a bit worn and the chairs are pretty comfortable, albeit a little low for the tables. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If I remember correctly, the buffet was $12.  If someone wanted to go to their buffet, I would be fine with that.  But my aversion to buffets remains so I’d prefer going to Naan for my chicken tikka and veggie samosa. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 am-9 pm
  • Address: 1708 L St NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 466-6404

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve been to The Diner.  I usually go for breakfast, but have been a couple of times for lunch/dinner. 

  • Food:I usually order some variation of the eggs, home fries, and toast with a side of coffee and hot sauce.  They have always cooked the eggs perfectly, but if I get the poached eggs, sometimes there’s a bit too much vinegar in their water.  If they serve you the hot and crispy home fries — delicious!  I’ve also had their pancakes, Croque Madame, and multiple omelets.  All good, diner-esque food. 
  • Service: The service can definitely be spotty.  Some of the waitstaff are really good and others, not so much.  I am judging this on how often they come by for refills on coffee. 
  • Atmosphere:It’s a pretty big restaurant, but it’s almost always busy.  You usually see a mixture of the neighborhood eating here — cops, recent college grads, families — everyone is here.  It is also really loud so be prepared to say “What” or to talk louder.  Bad acoustics. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:The Diner is open 24/7 and it’s clear that they definitely fulfill a niche in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.  They serve solid diner food at a good price.  They also have a liquor license. If you want to avoid the lines on Saturdays and Sundays, go before 10!  Otherwise, be prepared to wait!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Address: 2453 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-232-8800

I have always talked about wanting to go to Bar Louie (menu here) and just went after seeing the Sex and the City movie.  I didn’t realize, until just now, that it’s a bit of a chain!

  • Food:I ordered the Baja fish tacos which were pretty good.  The fish was seasoned very well (and not fried, yay!).  The only reason it got a “pretty good” is because the flour tortillas were soggy from the mango salad so it made eating the tacos quite difficult.  However, the mango salsa (with tomato and cilantro) was excellent.  The guacamole was decent.  We also ordered their tater tots after the bartender said that Bar Louie is famous for ’em.  The same friend who went with me to Bar Louie was with me at Tonic and we concurred that the tots weren’t as good as Tonic because they were cold and not as crispy.  My friend ordered the buffalo chicken and apparently, her food was also cold. 
  • Service: Our bartender was a little slow on the service and obviously the kitchen wasn’t exactly on it’s A game.  
  • Atmosphere:It’s very spacious and has nice outdoor seating.  It’d be a great place to go with a bunch of friends for a casual night or to watch a game.  Wow, I almost forgot to share.  Their bathroom, when we were there, clearly had a MAJOR problem.  It smelled so badly — I’m sure a back-up happened, but they should really put up a sign or something.  It was foul. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you want to meet up with a bunch of friends in Chinatown/Penn Quarter area, I think this is a great alternative to Clyde’s for a few beers and watch a game.  Their food is a bit of a “hit and miss,” but definitely try those fish tacos (but ask for the flour tortillas on the side or something).  I’ll go back and might try those sliders…I do love mini-burgers!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 11 AM-2 AM
  • Address: 701 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: 202-638-2460

The evening started out rough when we went to Hudson and no one waited on my friend and me.  We were both dressed business casual (coming straight from the office) yet NO ONE WAITED ON US.  We sat there for 15 minutes and nothing.  And in case you’re thinking, “Well, they were busy/short-staffed.”  No, there were about 5-9 employees who stood/sat there and only about 10 total people in the entire restaurant.  Wow. 

So then we decided to go to M Street Bar & Grill

The food was uninspired, yet we ordered a lot of it! We tried the prosciutto crisps, Angus sliders, bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits, mini pulled pork sandwiches, and handcut fries.  The winner out of the bunch was definitely the pulled pork because there was a little heat and balanced well with the sweetness from the BBQ sauce.  The burgers were dry and flavorless (and too much bun to meat ratio).  The fries were soggy.  There are too many problems to mention with the prosciutto crisps.

But the reason I’m writing about this place is because they have a pretty good happy hour.  It’s $19 for a pitcher of house mojitos or margaritas from 5-8 PM.  Now that’s a good deal! They also have beer and house wine on special.  On Wednesday nights, they have 1/2 priced wine with dinner.  Thursdays are live jazz nights from 6-9 PM. 

This is a good place to go for a few drinks with friends because you can talk (and hear) each other.  Although there were points throughout our evening where we realized the music was too loud, which we wouldn’t have noticed as much except they have a bad stereo system so it was rather annoying.

Details:

  • Hours: Breakfast – Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 10:30am, Saturday & Sunday: 7:30am – 10:30am; Brunch: Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm; 21 M lounge: Open For Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM Cocktails Mon-Sat 5 PM- Closing
  • Address: 2033 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 530-3621

Brasserie Beck.  I was supposed to go a couple of different times but things kept happening that prevented my visit.  I finally made it with a couple of friends. 

On a total personal side note, both of my food-loving friends (who are always up to try new places and cuisine) are leaving DC!  Ugh, it’s so depressing when cool, fun people leave this city.  Damn.  Now who am I going to go out to dinner with? 

  • Food:The bread they sit in front of you when you first sit down was crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  The butter was so incredibly rich and smooth.  Wow.  Outstanding!  Huge statement is about to be made — I think their mussels and frites are the best in town.  The frites were incredibly crispy with three sauces — aioli, curry, and tomato.  The mussels were hot (temperature wise) and so good.  As my friend pointed out though, there were a few that were a bit gritty, but it is so hard to get all the grit out.  I’m kinda used to it by now.  I also loved taking chunks of the bread and dipping into the mussels sauce.  Yum.  My friends ordered the chicken waterzooi and beef carbonnade.  Both were good, but neither one were better than my mussels! 
  • Service: Our server was really rather irritating to be quite honest.  I’m going to be nice and say that she was perhaps having a bad day, but she was very much “off her game” the evening we went.  She was absent when we needed her and rarely checked in to see how things were going.  Although when she did check in, it was two seconds after our food was delivered so we had yet to try the food.  Yeah, definitely bad timing!
  • Atmosphere:They have huge outdoor patio and while there’s little atmosphere outside (lots of concrete), it’s another restaurant that offers outdoor seating (yay).  We sat inside and the tables are smooshed together so it is a bit crowded.  But it is a relaxed atmosphere so I like it.
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$/$$
  • Overall:While Belgian food isn’t my favorite, I loved Brasserie Beck’s mussels and frites.  I would absolutely go again.  And make sure to read the comments below — thanks to Ralph who reminded me about their vast beer offerings.  Here’s a link to their beer menu

Details:

  • Reservations strongly recommended.
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-5 PM; Dinner Mon-Thurs 5-11 PM and Fri & Sat 5 PM-11:30 PM; Brunch Sundays 11:30AM-8 PPM
  • Address: 1101 K St, NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: 202-408-1717

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

I had gone to Tonic for a drink before when a friend and I were waiting for a couple of seats to open at Adam Express.  We decided to go back when Thai Fest Day was cancelled due to the rain.  Although we didn’t know that and so we drove up there.  Then when we realized there was no one else and no tents, we drove back and remembered Tonic was on our way home.

  • Food: I ordered the BBQ chicken sandwich with the BBQ sauce on the side.  The chicken sandwich was good, but a little on the dry side.  Thankfully, the BBQ sauce and the beer helped it all go down easily.  But the key was the tater tots.  Yes, the same little golden potato nuggets the school lunch lady served you.  First of all, I don’t know a lot of restaurants that serve “tots” in DC.  But whatever because Tonic serves ’em right — meaning they’re crispy and hot! 
  • Service: I love these bartenders.  They crack me up with their dry wit.  If you can’t take sarcasm, then don’t sit at the bar. 
  • Atmosphere: I’ve never been to the main dining room floor because we always (that’s the two times I’ve been) go to the bar in the basement.  It’s a comfortable bar with three flat screen TVs (sometimes they’re on various sports games or sometimes, it’s on random movies/TV shows like Charlie’s Angels).  It’s also dark so it’d be a perfect place to spend a rainy, crappy day. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: The “tots” are reason enough to come back for more.  But add the fact they’ve got a nice selection of beer and fun bartenders and you’ve got a perfect neighborhood bar and restaurant.   

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5-7 PM: half price draft beer, drinks and burgers.  Tuesdays: get a free bottle of select wines with a purchase of two entrees.  Wednesdays: kids under 12 eat free from the kid’s menu 5-8 PM with the purchase of one entree.

Details:

  • Hours:Restaurant Sun-Thurs 5-10:30 PM, Fri & Sat 5-11 PM; Brunch Sat & Sun 10 AM-3 PM; Bar Sun-Thurs 5-2 AM; Fri & Sat 5-3 AM; Pick-up available 5-11 daily
  • Address: 3155 Mt. Pleasant Street; Washington, DC 20010
  • Ph: 202-986-7661

It was a little chilly a few weeks ago and so I decided to grab some Pho soup.  To me, Pho is like a bowl of chicken noodle soup, only better.  It feels like a little bit of home (even though when I grew up, Pho wasn’t ever made nor consumed).  Anyway, I’m trying to find the best Pho in DC (among my many other goals) and decided to try Nam-Viet/Pho 79.

 

  • Food: No surprise here, but I ordered Pho soup.  While some places let you pick what cut of beef you want in your soup, there was no option.  Also, thanks to a tip from a commentator, I now always ask for the beef to be raw.  That’s when my server told me that large bowls of Pho always come with raw beef (yay!).  As soon as I got home and had a chance to dig in, I briefly heated the broth for about 2 minutes just in case (though I don’t think I had to since it was still pretty hot).  Anyway, as soon as I opened the lid, there was an intense aroma of star anise.  The styrofoam container held the raw beef; underneath that was the rice noodles; then on the left was bean sprouts; lime slice; and on the right side was cilantro and onions (white and green).  I was bummed there were no jalapeno slices, but I’m sure if I would have asked for them, they would have put some in.  Thankfully, I had some in the fridge!  They did include a little side mixture of hoisin and sricachi sauce.  The Pho was good because of the broth. 

 Nam-Viet/Pho 79  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 

So I went back again and this time, ordered the vegetable garden roll with tofu.  While it was a bit bland (yet chalked full of healthy veggies), the sauce made the rolls yummy.  And yes, I ordered the large bowl of pho again which was good!

Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Vegetable Garden Roll  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Vegetable Garden Roll  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Large Pho Bowl  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Large Pho Bowl

  • Service: I ordered to go and that means when you walk in, you go straight to the back of the restaurant to the bar.  There a server will take your order. 
  • Atmosphere: While it has more atmosphere than some places, it’s not going to impress anyone. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’ve never been and car-less like me, add this to your list of places to go for Pho.  It’s good and it’s incredibly convenient to the Cleveland Park metro stop. 

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 10 AM-10 PM
  • Address: 3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.; Washington D.C. 20008
  • Ph: 202-237-1015

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

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

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