Happy Hour


There are a handful of restaurants that I can honestly tell you that I’ve been more than 10 times.   Heck, more than 20 times.  Cafe Asia is one of those few places.

  • Food: Their fried tofu is pretty good and crispy except they put a couple of tofu pieces into a soy sauce with other seasonings so it gets soggy.  But the sauce and tofu is good.  I’ve ordered tons of their sushi and it’s also good. 
  • Service: They’re usually nice, but sometimes they’re extremely absent.
  • Atmosphere: From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look as big as it actually is.  It’s two stories with high ceilings and a contemporary feel.  Check out their photos here.Their tables are a bit low and in the first floor, none of their chairs have backs — it’s all low stools.  They do have a few booths though.  On the second floor, there’s chairs with backs…it’s good to know how long you’re going to stay since backless chairs can get to be a bit tough to stay in for a long period of time.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Here’s what I like about Cafe Asia – it’s not fancy and there’s usually not a wait.  You can chill at the their tables and participate in their happy hours (unlike most places where you have to stay in the bar area). 

Happy Hour: $1.25-per-piece nigiri, $2 sake and $2.50 beers at both their downtown DC and Arlington location daily from 4:30-7:30 PM

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-11pm; Fri 11:30am-12am; Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 12pm-11pm
  • Address: 1720 I Street NW; Washington, DC
  • Ph: 202.659.2696

Post Pub is one of those places that will never win any huge culinary praise, but then again, they don’t care.  It’s about making simple American fare with pretty good beer specials.

  • Food: I’ve been here several times, but during the most recent visit, I ordered a hamburger with fries.  Unfortunately, I had to go back to work so I couldn’t take advantage of their great lunch beer specials.  I always order hamburgers medium rare, but this time, the interior was so raw it was disgusting.  It wasn’t medium rare at all.  Now I know what you’re thinking — you should have sent it back.  I don’t send food back…I don’t know what’s coming back.  But in this situation, if I hadn’t been in such a rush, I would have.  The steak fries though were hot and crispy so that helped. 
  • Service: Our server was fine, nothing memorable.
  • Atmosphere:The inside is wooden panels with antiques.  The restaurant seems a bit weird and disjointed.  Immediately when you walk in, you’re in a tiny dining area but go to the left, and there’s a pretty big bar (15-20 stools) and a lot of booths. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: It’s a perfect place to go — whether it’s for lunch or dinner when you want to go somewhere for a quick lunch with a decent atmosphere.  It’s not fancy, expensive, or loud.  Next time, I’ll just make sure to order my burger medium well. 

Happy Hour: 5-8 PM weekdays with various beer specials.

Details:

  • Hours: Weekdays 11am-12am; Sat 11am-8pm
  • Address: 1422 L St NW, Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: (202) 628-2111

So I accidently participated in Summer 2008 Restaurant Week.  Let me explain.  I think RW, when it first started, was a lot of fun. It was exciting and people — from the waitstaff to the restaurants to the attendees — enjoyed it.  After my January 2008 experience, I decided I was done.  Some of the restaurants that participated offered such limited options; their waitstaff clearly hate this week; and it stopped being fun. 

That being said, I went to Grillfish.  It was a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try, but it’s also pretty inexpensive if you go besides RW.  So whatever, it gave me a chance to try three different courses.  Unfortunately, when I went at 12:30, they had ran out of a lot of the options so choices were limited. 

  • Food:I ordered the fried calamari which was hot (temperature wise), but had the weirdest batter ever.  I can’t describe it.  It wasn’t right at all for calamari.  The tomato sauce they included wasn’t complimentary to calamari (with a couple of new spices added, it would have been better over meatballs and pasta) and had too many large tomato chunks that made it awkward to dip the calamari.  For my main course, I ordered the shrimp po boy which was such a disappointment I can’t even begin.  First of all, the shrimps were so tiny (alright, more small — they weren’t the canned stuff).  Then when I started to eat it, the sandwich was ice cold.  There was way too much mayo which overpowered the shrimp.  The fries were really crispy though and hot.  So cheers to them for serving some good fries.  Then I originally wanted to get their chocolate bomb cake, but they were out.  So I ordered their chocolate cake with ice cream.  Good cake, but nothing too memorable.
  • Service: Our server was fine. 
  • Atmosphere:The interior reminds me a little bit like Logan @ The Heights (and yes, I know it’s owned by the same restaurant group) with very high ceilings and a comfortable atmosphere.  They have giant chalkboards that list the various fishes of the day. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:Hmm, not sure what I think of this place yet.  I definitely wouldn’t order what I had this time again, but would try some of their grilled fish.   

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 4 PM-7 PM and Saturday and Sunday 5 PM-7 PM with half-priced appetizers and drink specials.   

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 12 noon-4 PM; Dinner Sun 5 PM-10 PM, Mon-Thurs 4 PM-10 PM, Fri 4 PM-11 PM, Sat 5 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1200 New Hampshire Ave NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: (202) 331-7310

This is only going to be a drinks and appetizer blog posting for District ChopHouse.  I still haven’t had a meal there.

But I went after work and it was surprisingly not very packed.  They have a couple of homemade beers that were 1/2 price, but otherwise not really a great place for happy hour (no wines or food).  But their extensive homemade beer list is what drew us to the place.

Happy Hour runs Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Anyway, we ordered their calamari, chicken tenders, and Pancetta wrapped shrimp.  I’ll start with my least favorite and most disappointing – calamari.  It was long calamari (not rings) but that’s not why I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t crispy which is the biggest sin when talking about fried calamari.

The next was the shrimp which were really small.  The reason it wasn’t my least favorite was because anything wrapped in Pancetta is going to be good.  Pancetta solves all. 

The winner was the chicken tenders, which are usually not my favorite at all.  But these were seriously tasty.  They were crispy and the inside was seriously moist and, well, tender.  Plus, the honey mustard and BBQ sauces were pretty good. 

Side note: Onion rings passed by our table and my eyes were almost as big as they were.  They looked awesome.  Alas, we were full or we would have ordered some.  Anyone try them?  Are they as good as they appeared?

Details:

  • Hours: Mon.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Tue. – Fri.: 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sat.: – 11:00am – 11:00pm; Sun.: – 11:00am – 10:00pm; Sat. and Sun. Brunch – 11:00am to 3:00pm
    Address: 509 7th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 347-3434

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 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

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

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

When I moved to DC, I loved that you could order sushi and it’d be delivered to your door.  Where I used to live, Thai was about as exotic you got for delivery. 

I’ve eaten at Uni a few times before this review. 

  • Food:Working late one night, I ordered the Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad (left photo) and Mango Salmon Roll (left) and Extreme Picante Escolar Roll (right).  The salad was tasty and I would definitely order it again.  It was light and fresh — yum!  The Mango Salmon was OK (it’s not peak mango season so it was flat and tasteless).  The mint was also really bad.  So bad in fact that I had to take the leaves out and I love mint!  The Picante Escolar Roll was pretty good and I would order it again because it did have a nice kick. 

Uni Seafood Salad  Uni Rolls 

Update:So I ordered the Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad, Sundance Roll (with sun-dried tomato), and the Mango Salmon Roll.  The chilled Smoked Calamari  wasn’t smoky and not as delicious as I remember it.  The Mango Salmon was better, but it’s not my favorite.  And I absolutely hated the Sundance Roll.  There’s way too much sun-dried tomato. 

Uni Chilled Smoked Calamari Salad  Uni Sundance & Mango Salmon Roll

  • Service: I’ve eaten here before and the service is a bit “hit and miss.”  I’ve had really nice, pleasant waitstaff and then really unpleasant, rude ones.  And when I ordered for delivery, they had a person who didn’t speak English very well (at all) answering the phone. 
  • Atmosphere: Inside it’s a pretty small restaurant, but if you’re looking for a sushi restaurant with a private room — this is about the only place in the city. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I think it’s decent sushi at a reasonable price.  While their service can leave something to be desired, they do deliver to my office ($15 minimum food order for free delivery).  And if you’re looking for their menu, here you go: Uni Menu Page 1 and Uni Menu Page 2.

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 12 PM-2 PM “Sake-tini”

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 AM-2 PM; Dinner Mon-Thurs 5 PM-10 PM; Friday 5 PM-11 PM; Sat 1 PM-11 PM; Sun 5 PM-9:30 PM
  • Address: 2122 P Street NW; Washington, DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-833-8038

I have found my new favorite restaurant.  This is ridiculously good food at an insanely cheap price.  Why haven’t people been talking about this place more often? 

  • Food:I’ve been here twice in a week and yet I continue to find new and yummy items on their menu.  I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of possibilities!  Everything is outstanding — the fried plantains are some of the best in the city.  The spinach empanadas are also amazing because they’re so light and flaky.  They are a cavernous kind with spinach and garlic — way better (and cheaper) than Julia’s Empanadas.  In the 4th photo, the salad had a tang to it with a pico de gallo type dressing.  The rice was light and flavorful.  So far, the weakest item was the beef burrito because it was ground beef and didn’t have a lot of flavor. 

Photos from left to right are: cheese pupusa; two chicken tacos; spinach empanada; burritos amigos (1 beef and 1 chicken); fried plantains.

Casa Blanca Pupusas  Casa Blanca Chicken Tacos  Casa Blanca Spinach Empanada  Casa Blanca Burrito Amigos  Casa Blanca Fried Plantains

  • Service: They’re very nice and it’s clearly a family-ran joint. 
  • Atmosphere: What it lacks in character with their interior, their food more than makes up for it.  This is a bare-bones kind of establishment where you’ll see a variety of eaters from college students to business executives.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: This is a cash only establishment so make sure you hit the ATM before you go.  So far, I know a half a dozen people who have gone and no one has had given this place anything but fantastic reviews.  This is definitely one of my favorite places and I can’t wait to try everything on their menu!  Speaking of which, here’s their menu: Menu Page 1; Menu Page 2; Menu Page 3.   Oh, and they do say they have delivery, but their service is sporadic. 

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 AM-10 PM; closed Sundays
  • Address: 1014 Vermont Ave NW; Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: (202) 393-4430

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m starting to go to places that are a bit more “off-the-beaten-road” in DC.  Perhaps they aren’t too well-known.  I don’t think El Tamarindo falls into the unknown category, but I had never been.  And luckily, neither had one of my friends. 

  • Food: As soon as we sat down, we received a free order of chips and salsa.  The salsa was a bit runny for my taste, but it was spicy.  We ordered a half pitcher of mango margaritas which were pretty good — and almost tasted like summer.  I ordered the steak fajitas and they were really dry and overcooked.  But the chips were pretty good and the mango margaritas would make me go back.  For the fajitas though, I’d hit up Mixtec
  • Service:Nice and attentive servers.
  • Atmosphere: It’s actually much bigger than you would think and with 3-4 TVs throughout the two dining areas, you can even catch a game or two. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I would come here for free chips and salsa and margaritas, but for the main course, I’d rather spend my money at Mixtec

Happy Hour:  Monday-Friday 4-7 PM there’s 2 for 1 lime margaritas and beer. 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-3 AM; Fri 11 AM-5 AM; Sat & Sun 10 AM-5 AM 
  • Address: 1785 Florida Ave NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 328-3660

When I heard Mandu, a Korean restaurant was coming into Dupont, I was excited.   Mostly because I am on a Bibim Bap kick.  Yum.

  • Food:I went with a colleague for lunch and we were hungry.  So we ordered “mandu” pan-fried appetizers, two veggie, two shrimp, and two beef & pork.  The table favorite was shrimp.  Since it was lunch, we only received 4 banchan — including kimchi.  I remember one of the banchan was potato and green beans which really lacked any flavor.  Then I think it was Sigeumchi-namul and Oi sobak-i — both were good.  I ordered *surprise* Bibim Bap in the stone bowl, but I wasn’t happy that it was an extra $2 (why?).  Whatever, I was going to spend it.  When the bowl came, the egg was partially cooked on the top instead of being raw (again, why?).  Despite the partially cooked egg, the rice managed to be a bit crispy (yay!). 
  • Service: Nice server who left us alone to have a conversation while still refilling our tea and water glasses.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a small restaurant on the main floor.  Upstairs, where the bathrooms are, is a nice sized room that can seat a 20+ group.  For those who want to BBQ at the table, you can forget it here because it’s not an option.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:It’s a good place to go if you need a “quick fix” Korean and you can’t get out to Virginia.  When a friend asked where she could get Korean in the area, I said that this was the only place I knew.  She has a much more extensive Korean dining resume than I do and when she returned from her experience, she said, “It’s very American-ized flavors.  But it was fine.” 

Happy Hour:Daily from 4-7 PM offering $4.00 Sojutinis; $4.00 Rail drinks; $2.00 Beers and $3.00 Mandu.

Details:

  • Reservations accepted (and recommended if you’re going during “peak hours” — you know, weekends and weeknights between 6-9 PM).
  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 AM-10 PM; Fri & Sat 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sunday 11:30 AM-9 PM
  • Address: 1805 18th Street NW; Washington, DC
  • Ph: 202-588-1540

One of my friends at work felt like pizza.  I felt like walking a little (not a lot) so we thought we’d try Alberto’s Pizza.  I of course, forgot I had already been there.  Anyway, we couldn’t find the restaurant, but realized that Pizza Paradiso was across the street. 

So all was not lost!

  • Food:I ordered the Siciliana pizza with tomato, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, red onion, capers, garlic, oregano, mozzarella, and pecorino.  My friend ordered Atomica with tomato, salami, black olives, hot pepper flakes, and mozzarella.  There was a heaping amount and nice chunks of all the ingredients on the pie.  In addition, I didn’t think there was too much sauce (like some places). 

Pizza Paradiso Siciliana

 

  • Service: We ordered our pie to go, but they were nice. 
  • Atmosphere:Dupont is a small restaurant with only about 15 tables and about 5-7 chairs at their bar.  I can see how it’d get packed quickly!  My friend said that the Georgetown location is much bigger.  Georgetown has “Birreria Paradiso“in their basement which offers microbrews and handcrafted beers.  Their wine list is small, but all Italian (fun!). 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: It seems there’s a fight between 2Amys lovers and Pizza Paradiso on which place makes a better pie.  I think they’re both tasty.  I prefer thinner crust pizzas so I tilt towards 2Amys.  

Happy Hour: At their Dupont location, weeknights from 4:00 to 6:30 pm, they offer $4.25 of 1/2 of certain 8″ pizzas; three antipasto plates — $6.95 for small plates; $12.95 for large; $3.50 draft Rogue Dead Guy Ale; and $3 bottles of Flying Dog Tire Bite, Moretti Lager, Moretti La Rossa, and Amstel Light.  At their Georgetown location, Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, they offer the same food prices.  Georgetown has more draft beers available for $3.50. 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours:Dupont Circle and Georgetown: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 am to 11:00 pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30 am to midnight; Sun: noon to 10:00 pm
  • Address: 2029 P Street NW and Georgetown 3282 M Street NW
  • Ph: 202.223.1245; Georgetown 202.337.1245   

Thanks to my blogger friend VeggieLove for recommending Thai Chef because I finally went!  In addition to VeggieLove’s recommendation, I was excited about trying Thai Chef because I have walked by there a million times!  It’s usually pretty busy, which means popular, but not always good.  In this case, it’s good!  Also, here is their menu:

      

August 2008 Update: Thai Chef now offers free delivery from 5 PM-10 PM and a minimum $20 order. 

  • Food: I stopped by to pick up an order to go.  For lunch, I thought I’d get an order of fried tofu and tuna and salmon nigiri.  Then I ordered Pad Thai (last photo on the right) with tofu and medium spice for dinner.  The tofu was crispy fried goodness and was nicely complimented by the plum-peanut dipping sauce.  I wasn’t expecting too much from the nigiri, but I got to tell you — it was really good.  Finally, I took a couple of bites of the Pad Thai.  It wasn’t spicy at all, but there was a strong hint of peanuts (even though I didn’t want any — so a heads up to those of you who have peanut allergies!).  Am sure they used peanut oil in the cooking process.  The tofu was fried and there was a lot of it.  Oh — and in my to-go bag, they put a packet of soy sauce for the nigiri.  Nice!

Thai Chef Fried Tofu  Thai Chef Tuna & Salmon Nigiri  Thai Chef Pad Thai with Tofu

  • Service: Since I went for pick-up, my interaction with the servers was pretty minimal.  But it seemed like people were getting what they needed, when they needed it.
  • Atmosphere:With a little sushi station immediately in front of you when you walk in, there’s not as much room as you’d think in this 2-story restaurant.  At the sushi station, they have these cute backless wooden stools which are surprisingly comfortable.  In the summer, the floor-to-ceiling windows open.  It’s a comfortable, casual restaurant.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I’m planning on going back for the fried tofu and sushi.  It’s good, reasonably priced, and convenient to home!  The Pad Thai was OK, but nothing special.

Happy Hour:  Sun-Thurs 4-7 PM with $3 beer and wine.  They have their “Drinks that Make You Brave” mixed drinks menu for $3.50; wine by the glass is $3; Sake small is $2.95 and large is $5; beer is $2.  Sushi is half-priced (meaning about $3-$5). 

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-10:30 PM; Fri 11:30 AM-11 PM; Sat 12 PM-11 PM; Sun 12 PM-10:30 PM
  • Address: 1712 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 234-5698

You could easily walk past it and not even realize, but nestled in between a rib joint and a former Chinese restaurant, here’s another great find in the area.   

  • Food:  Their menu offers something for everyone.  While I’ve had their pizza, their 3.6.9 mini burgers and onion straws are my favorite.  Today though, I felt like expanding my horizons and instead, ordered their 3 mini tuna burger special.  As it was described, it was seared tuna on the toasted brioche bread.  While I know some restaurants claim their bread is toasted, Matchbox does a great job of actually doing it.  The bread was perfectly done, which means it was crunchy and soft.  Yum!  The mini-tuna burger offered a little bit of a kick and good seasonings.  They did go overboard with putting too much sauce (can’t remember what it was) on the mini-tuna burgers though.  The onion strings are my favorite, so thanks to my friend who ordered them — I was able to steal a few.  My other friend ordered the blackened chicken sandwich and said it was tasty.
  • Service: Our server was nice and gracious. 
  • Atmosphere: With 3 stories, there’s a good decent number of seats available.  However, I think there could be 6 stories and on the weekends, it’d still be packed.     
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:  They offer something that will appease everyone at a pretty good price.  They’ve also recently added brunch, beer, wine, and a late night menu.  I think it’s a fun place to go with good food.

Details:

  • Reservations not accepted.
  • Hours: Daily 11 AM-close; Fri & Sat serving late night menu until 1 AM
  • Address: 713 H Street NW; Washington, DC 20001
  • Ph: 202-289-4441

Primarily in international locations around the world, DC-metro area has the only Vapiano restaurants in the US (so far).  Their menu is here: Menu Page 1 and Menu Page 2.

  • Food:While their pasta is homemade and their salads look fresh, I always get the Crudo pizza with prosciutto di parma, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.  On top of the pizza are big hunks of parmesan cheese which gives it a bit of a strong, but perfect taste.  The crust is crunchy and thin.  There’s not a lot of tomato sauce which means the toppings are the star of the pizza — and appropriately so.  I think it’s a 12″ pie.

Vapiano Crudo Pizza  Vapiano Crudo Pizza

  • Service: There are no servers, only bussers.  Immediately after walking through the door, you get a Vapiano card.  Walk to the right and you’ll see the kitchen with huge chalkboards above with fun sayings.  The first section is salad, middle is pasta, and the end has pizza.  You walk up to whichever section (me, always pizza at the end), put your card against the register, and then order your food from the kitchen staff.  You then get this little buzzer and when your food is ready, the buzzer goes off (usually within 10-15 minutes).  When you’re ready to pay, give them your Vapiano card at the register at the front door. 
  • Atmosphere: With bright red accents and light wood interior, it’s a casual dining establishment.  During lunch, it can be tough to find a table!
  • Attire: Casual 
  • Price: $
  • Overall:I love their $9.25 crudo pizza and would be tough to change my mind.  I have tried their homemade pasta, but I didn’t enjoy it.  I prefer mine to be al dente.  Oh, they also have the little 8 oz Diet Coke bottles. 

Happy Hour: They offer house wines (Pinot Grigio and Merlot) for $3.50/glass from 5-8 PM Monday-Friday.  In addition, they have p.i.n.k. vodka for their ladies’ night martini happy hours on Wednesdays from 7-10 PM for $4.95.  In their ad, they say the Manolo Tonic is the new “it” drink and we’ll be seeing it in the Sex and the City movie.     

Details:

  • Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11:00 AM- 11.00PM; Fri. 11:00 AM-12:00 AM; Sat. 12:00 PM -11:00 PM; Sun. 12:00 PM-10:00 PM
  • Address: 1800 M Street N.W.; Washington DC
  • Ph: 202-640-1868

I love food (as evident by this blog).  But sometimes, I am craving sushi that’s quick, fast, and decent.   Hence Wasabi Sushi.

  • Food:I ran into Wasabi Sushi for lunch to-go (photo below).  They call it “take away” and offer a different menu than their normal restaurant menu.  You get 5 pieces (versus the usual 6) for the order, but it’s also cheaper.  From left to right, my order was shrimp tempura & asparagus ($3.75); salmon, avocado, & sesame seeds ($3.25); and spicy tuna & scallion roll ($3.50).  The middle roll was weak.  It had little flavor and almost soggy (what happened?).  The other two were fine rolls for the price.  The bummer was that they put no chopsticks, wasabi (umm, hello — the name of your restaurant is…), or ginger in my to-go bag. 

Wasabi Sushi

  • Service:The cashiers are polite.  When you actually sit down and order, the servers are friendly.  Their job is pretty easy — keep you hydrated and count the color plates.  They have a conveyor belt of food so you can pick and choose which plates you want.  Each color signifies the price. 
  • Atmosphere: It’s very casual and it can be fun to go with a few friends to actually sit down for lunch/dinner.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:It’s certainly not the best sushi in DC, but it’s fine.  I go when I’ve got only a few minutes but am craving sushi.  Considering it’s also super cheap, it sits well with my wallet.  But I’ll have to remember to ask for wasabi, chopsticks, and ginger next time.  

Happy Hour Specials:

  • Daily 5-7 PM, offer many drink specials
    • $2 Kirin, Kirin Light, and Sapporo
    • $2 White wine (Kenwood Chardonnay or Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc)
    • $4 Red wine (Buena Vista Pinot Noir or Penfold’s Bin 2 Shiraz/Mourvedre)
    • $5 Sake pitchers (Snow Beauty Nigori or Yamadanishiki)
    • $7 Sake pitchers (Kaguyahime or Taru)
  • Thursdays 5-9 PM, they offer a sake night so you can sample and become a connoisseur. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: 11:30 AM-2:30 PM Lunch M-F; 5-9 PM Dinner M-F; Take away M-F 11:30-9 PM
  • Address: 908 17th Street NW; Washington, DC 20006
  • Ph: 202-822-2005

A few weeks ago, I went to Las Canteras with a friend.  Not knowing what to expect, we went with low expectations.  I came away knowing that I really enjoyed my meal while my friend wasn’t too pleased with her order.

  • Food: I ordered Camarones a la Limena (sauteed shrimp in garlic, butter, and white wine with cilantro).  I thought it was good, but I realized I could have made it myself at home.  My friend ordered the mixed greens salad which was fine.  For dinner, I think my friend ordered Aji De Gallina, shredded chicken in a sauce of bread, peanuts, and yellow pepper.  But she hated it compared to my dish.  I have to admit, it was fantastic.  I ordered the Pescado Al Horno, which is fresh fish baked or broiled, served with mashed potatoes and quinoas cakes.  Those cakes were ridiculous. 
  • Service: Very courteous.
  • Atmosphere: It’s on the 2nd floor with beautiful red walls.  We were fortunate and were able to sit by the front window.  It’s definitely casual, but it’d be cute to go with friends or a date. 
  • Attire: Business casual/casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: The quinoas cakes are really good.  I’m looking forward to going back and getting those cakes!  I definitely wouldn’t order what my friend got, but I think it’d be good to go back and try some of their other offerings.

Happy Hour: Tuesdays 1/2 priced bottles of wine.  They offer only about 15 different varieties so the selection is limited.

Las Canteras

The building is actually a light purple, but you can’t tell from my photo. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: Closed Mondays; Lunch 11 AM – 3 PM; 5 PM – 11 PM; Sat & Sun 11 AM – 4 PM
  • Happy Hour: 6-8, Tuesday through Saturday. Specials Daily.
  • Address: 2307 18th St. NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-265-1780

I didn’t make this list and I don’t know who did (so I can’t give him/her credit).  However, it seems every summer, a list gets sent around of the happy hours in the area.

So for those who didn’t get the list this summer,  here it is: DC-metro Happy Hour List

Also, no promises that this is the most updated.  If it’s not, let me know what needs to be changed.

Cheers!

Oh, and don’t forget about Red Top or Yellow Cabs and metros to get home safely!  Finally, don’t forget about the new distance and time meters!  Yay Fenty!

Last week, I went to RedRocks Pizzeria with some friends in Columbia Heights.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since I’ve read and heard a bunch of mixed reviews.  I thought their menu looked decent and reasonable. I already knew all about the brick-oven pizza.  I also read Tom Sietsema’s review which gives more information on the owner. 

My verdict? It was decent.Was it like the pizza I had when I was in Italy?  Absolutely not. 

  • Food: Based on the reviews I had seen, the sausage and pepper pizza was the best of them all.  I thought it had a decent flavor which means there wasn’t too much sauce or cheese that masked the flavor of the sausage and peppers.  I also ordered a small mixed green salad, which was fine.  There was nothing remarkable or memorable about it.   We also ordered the “Burrata Buffalo” with olive oil and sea salt.  Now here was an appetizer that didn’t last long on our table.  The buffalo mozzarella, for those who may have a preference, had been soaked in water.  It was still very tasty!  
  • Service: I know others have criticized their service, but our waitress was very nice. She refilled our water glasses on a frequent rate and our food came out at the appropriate time.  

  • Atmosphere: We sat inside in the back.  It was definitely cozy though so make sure you like your dining companions!

  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: It was fine.  I won’t ever suggest going, but I’d go again if someone wanted to go.  I’ll definitely never crave their pizza though.

RedRocks Pizzeria  RedRocks Pizzeria

They have a separate take-out menu, but do not deliver.  Their wine list is not impressive, it’s definitely more of a beer place.  You can tell when you see their drink menu.  On tap, they have Chimay and Allagash White. Finally, they have alfresco seating.

Happy Hour: It’s daily from 5pm-7pm and 10pm-12am.  It’s 1/2 priced cheese pizza, $4 rails, and $3 glasses of house wine

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted and recommended during “peak” hours. 
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 5 pm-midnight, Fri 5 pm-1 pm, Sat 11 am-1 am, Sun 11 am-midnight
  • Address: 1036 Park Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20010
  • Ph: 202-506-140