dupont circle


I know how many feel about Lauriol Plaza.  And I am one of those who groans and rolls her eyes when the restaurant comes up as a dinner choice.  But when it was clear I wasn’t going to get out of going this time, I decided to suck it up and go.  Besides, maybe it would be better than the last time I went…

  • Food:  I can’t lie.  Lauriol Plaza is a good place to go when you have a large group of people.  Their chips are always hot, thin, and fresh out of the fryer.  Plus, when you add the fact they’re free — who doesn’t appreciate it?  They offer two sides of salsa — one pico de gallo and the other is a hotter mixture.  Their guacamole is decent with good flavors and chunks of avocado.  I ordered their steak fajitas, which when you think about it, you can’t really mess up.  good.  But make no mistake, they really serve Tex-Mex food.
  • Service: Once you get a table, they are good about getting your order, serving your food, and cleaning up quickly. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s actually three levels and outside seating.  It’s a huge restaurant and can be super loud when it’s packed.  The bar is usually jammed as well. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:  Is it worth the long lines at night and on the weekends?  I’m not a wait in line kind of person so I say no.  If you’ve never been to DC, I’d say to pass this place.  But after living here for five years, it makes sense that you’d try it at least once. 

Details:

  • Reservations are not accepted, but at night and on weekends, be prepared for a super long wait! 
  • Hours: Mon-Thu,Sun 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-12am
  • Address: 1835 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 387-0035

A few years ago (2-3), I went to Odeon Cafe and had a really great Italian dinner.  The food was delicious, service was good, and had an overall positive experience.  When a couple of friends wanted to go to brunch one Sunday, I didn’t hesitate to mention Odeon Cafe since a different friend had recommended the place.  Since I enjoyed my meal the last time I was there and so did she, I thought this would be a great brunch…

  • Food:I ordered the Cafe Odeon Benedict eggs.  The entire plate was cold and the poached eggs were terribly overcooked (the yolk was completely hard).  The potatoes had no flavor.  One friend ordered the salmon crepes which was the loser of the table.  The crepes were too thick, doughy, and chewy.  There was no salmon flavor whatsoever.   The winning plate was the salmon egg white omelet, but it was also cold.  However, the eggs were nicely cooked with a nice salmon flavor. 
  • Service: Despite an empty restaurant, the server rarely appeared.  When he did stop by the table, he was nice.
  • Atmosphere: There are two stories and in the summer, the windows in the front open.  On the left-hand side, there’s a bar (about 12-15 stools). 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:Did the restaurant change owners?  Did they get a new chef?  Who knows?  Stick to the egg white omelet with salmon for brunch and it’ll be OK.   I haven’t been in a long time for dinner but would love to hear from you about your experiences…

Details:

  • Hours: Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 9:00am – 4:00pm; Lunch: Daily: 11:30am – 4:00pm; Dinner: Nightly: 4:00pm – 12:00am
  • Address: 1714 Connecticut Ave N.W.; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 328-6228

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

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

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

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 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

If you have a guest, client, sibling, or someone who is tough to impress and loves vodka — this is the place.  The Russia House changes their selection of vodkas every so often, but everyone can find something to enjoy on their menu.  Their wine list, wine by the glass list, beer list, and martinis (seasonal infusions change) are plentiful and impressive. 

I’ve never eaten at Russia House (I have heard good things), but I LOVE going there for their mango martini.  But for $10 each, you know you’re not going to drink too many (or you’re going to have a HUGE bar bill). 

When you walk up their steps, you’re greeted by 3 doors.  Each door goes to a different location (so if you’re meeting people, make sure you know which door to take!). 

  • On the right, you go to a little bar with about 10 tables and a big sofa.  Downstairs you’ll find the bathroom and the dining area.   
  • The middle door takes you up the stairs to their main bar and two sizeable rooms — both with their own fireplace (and one has a piano).  There are about 40 tables total in these two rooms.
  • The left door seems to have a small bar as well, but I have to confess I’ve never been in.  My friends and I have always gone to the middle or right door.  If any of you have gone, let us know what’s in the left door! 

It’s a great place to go with a few friends to talk and enjoy some outstanding cocktails — all without having to shout over loud music.

Details:

  • Hours:  Monday-Thursday 5 PM-12 AM; Friday 5 PM-2 AM; Saturday 6 PM-2 AM
  • Address: 1800 Connecticut Ave; Washington, DC 20009 (next door to Veritas, across the street from Rite Aid, and on the corner of Connecticut and Florida Ave)
  • Ph: (202) 234-9433

I went with a friend to Straits of Malaya to celebrate her birthday.  We were originally going to go to Inti, but they’re closed on Mondays.  Neither one of us had ever been so we figured why not?

  • Food:When we sat down, we ordered curry puffs and fried tofu for appetizers.  The curry puffs were a little greasy, but they were good.  Fried tofu was decent.  I ordered the Udang Goreng Beremp which was pretty good.  My friend ordered Nasi Goreng.  I thought both were a little greasy, but good.  There was a lot of food and we both had doggy bags.  But since it was my friend’s birthday, we had to get dessert and ordered fried bananas with homemade cinnamon ice cream and a light mint sauce. 
  • Service: Our server was really nice and while it was a slow night, she seemed to be busy (there were only about 3 tables).  She kept running next door with various dishes. 
  • Atmosphere:It’s a bit of a bare location, but the food’s good.  Immediately when you walk through their doors, you hit their small bar.  Then on the right, you’ll see their dining room.  They have a second floor outside deck which I bet would be a fun place to go, instead of Lauriol Plaza across the street.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I thought it was good and my friend said it was pretty authentic (except they didn’t use prawns so the flavor wasn’t exact).  The menu can be found here Straits of Mayala Menu Page 1 and Straits of Mayala Menu Page 2.

Details:

  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30 PM-10:30 PM; Friday & Saturday 5:30 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 1836 18th Street NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-483-1483

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

While I wasn’t able to try out their free salad, I was looking forward to trying Chop’t

  • Food:I ordered the Kebab Cobb Salad (not on their take-out menu but on their menu board at the restaurant) with romaine, red onions, crispy flat bread, Goat Cheese (didn’t have Feta that day), and vinaigrette dressing.  You also get a whole wheat roll. 

Chop't Kebab Salad

 

  • Service: The way it works is that you pick whether you want a salad or sandwich.  Since I ordered a salad, I’ll talk about what happens next.  You order from the guy with the clipboard, not the people behind the counter.  They mix it together into a big bowl.  Then they pass it to the guy with the big chopping boards.  That guy is the one who pours out your salad ingredients and then uses his double-bladed mezzaluna knife to cut up all the ingredients.  It’s not finely chopped, more coarsely chopped.  Then they put it into your to-go container.   
  • Atmosphere: It’s very casual with high stools and counters. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I thought the salad was good — I think it’s exactly like High Noon, but with more topping options.  They say they deliver, but there’s no mention of it on their menu.  Their menu can be found here: Chop’t Menu Page 1; Chop’t Menu Page 2; Chop’t Menu Page 3; Chop’t Menu Page 4

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 AM-9 PM; Saturday 11-5 PM; Sundays closed
  • Address: 1300 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-875-2888

Feeling like taking a bit more of a hike for lunch than normal, I thought I’d try Aioli Mediterranean.  Thankfully, I was able to convince a friend of mine to join me. 

  • Food:We looked at their menu online and I decided to order the Roma (right sandwich), with dry cured Prosciutto Ham, lightly smoked Mortadella, Genoa Salami, and Provolone cheese.  My friend decided to order the Capri which had Prosciutto blended with Geonoa Salami, Spice Capacola Ham and Provolone cheese (left sandwich).  And, since both sandwiches sounded good, we agreed to split our orders.  We were asked whether we wanted them hot or cold and we both said yes.  While we were waiting for our sandwiches to be made, we also looked at their sides.  I got a side of lentils as an impulse purchase — and am I’m really glad I did.  I thought it had a really good flavor and I felt pretty healthy eating it (I did have to add a little salt though).    The sandwiches had a little lettuce and a unique vinegar sauce.  This meant the bread ended up being soggy.  😦 And while we both ordered hot sandwiches, they were cold and the cheese was not melted.  The highlight of the meal was definitely the lentils.  Oh, and they give you a small little container of salad with carrots, cardamon, celery, onions, olive oil, vinegar, and maybe a couple of other ingredients.  I don’t like cardamon seeds, but the salad was pretty good! 

Aioli Mediterranean Lentil Salad  Aioli Mediterranean Sandwich

  • Service: There was a really nice guy behind the counter and we got the sandwiches in under 15 minutes.
  • Atmosphere:With sparse artwork on the walls, it’s a bit of a sterile environment.  There are about 10 tables and chair inside and there’s also a small outside seating location.  There are also a few refrigerators with various sides, beverages, etc.  They have a small deli counter too.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I really liked the lentils and the little side salad they gave us.  Their Web site is really impressive and it seems like if you’re big on the sides, you’d love this place.  Their sides are pretty reasonablely priced.  I would skip the $8 sandwich though.

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm, Sun 11 am-6 pm
  • Address: 2153 P St. NW, Washington, DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-558-6188

When my best friend from college came into town, she mentioned there was a kosher deli in Dupont.  I, of course, was intrigued and was looking forward to trying it out.  Unfortunately, we had just eaten breakfast so I wasn’t ready to order anything else.  Instead, I went with a friend for lunch a few weeks later.

  • Food: I don’t know about you, but to me — pastrami or corned beef were the two sandwiches I was looking forward to trying.  I kept waffling and finally ordered the pastrami which was a great sandwich.  It came with chips and a pickle.  I think it might have been a homemade pickle because it had a distinct, yet salty and sweet yummy flavor.  While the sandwich wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be (like you get in NY), there was still enough for 4 sandwiches! 

Eli's Pastrami on Rye 

I’ve since gone back and gotten their Reuben.  Pretty good stuff and there was “cheese” (it’s a Kosher restaurant so it wasn’t real).  Still though, nothing like So’s Your Mom Reuben.  I think I’m no longer ordering Reubens unless I’m at SYM. 

Eli's Reuben

  • Service: We ordered to go, but they were nice. 
  • Atmosphere: The interior reminds me a bit of Cheers, but with more sunlight.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: I think it’s a great sandwich place and would absolutely go again.

Details:

  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 AM-9 PM; Friday 11 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1253 20th Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-785-4314

I’ve been to Sushi Taro a handful of times and have always had great food.  I’ve also always had a wait — no matter the date or time I go. 

  • Food:The most recent time, I ordered eel.  My friend and I split an order of adegashi tofu, Japanese fried sweet potato, shiso leaf, asparagus, Shiitake mushroom, and eggplant. The eel was perfect, but the standout from our dinner was the shiso leaf and the Japanese fried sweet potato.  Yum on both accounts.   On a previous visit, I had ordered their Wakasagi Nanban because I heard it was the best.  They very well may have, but I didn’t love the deep fried smelt.  Sorry, I couldn’t get over it.  But I was proud that I tried it!
  • Service:While their waitstaff can sometimes leave something to be desired as far as their waitressing skills, it’s fine.
  • Atmosphere:During your waiting time, you can read the tons of accolades this place has gotten.  I’ve seen signed photos from Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright to an endorsement by the DC-based Japanese news bureaus that Sushi Taro is the best in the city.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I think it’s good sushi for a good price.  While the wait can be a bit annoying, if you have the time, you should try the place. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted (and recommended), except not after 12:30 PM for lunch and after 7 PM for dinner.   
  • Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30-10 pm Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30 pm Closed Sundays
  • Address: 1503 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-462-8999

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   

Is it just me, or do you hate to cook on Fridays?  Well, I hate it.  So before I left my office, I thought I’d call in an order to City Lights of China for pick-up.  Although I’ve walked by it a million times before, I’d never ordered anything. 

  • Food: Don’t judge, but I ordered a lot of food from here because I wanted to try a little bit of everything (and I have a ridiculous amount of leftovers!).  Anyway, I ordered their steamed meat dumpling, vegetable curl (with lettuce), crispy fried Cornish hen, and BBQ spare ribs (photos in order of list).  The dumplings were really tasty — I think it was primarily a pork filling.  With the soy-type sauce they included, it was perfect.  The curl was a pretty big container full of vegetables and a good taste.  The Cornish hen — wow.  Even though I picked up my order, the Cornish hen was still crispy!  The ribs were also fantastic.  

Meat Dumpling  Vegetable Curl  Crispy Fried Cornish Hen  BBQ Ribs

  • Service: I ordered on the phone, but they were polite.  When you order for pick-up, you go straight to the back where the staff are located.  It seems weird, but true.  Also strange is that they didn’t include any silverware with the order.  Thankfully, I have an apartment that has furniture, but what about those folks who stay in one of the local hotels?  What are they supposed to do?
  • Atmosphere: The interior leaves something to be desired. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you need to impress someone with the atmosphere and ambiance, this is not the place.  But if you’re trying to impress someone with Chinese food, go here.  I thought all of the food I ordered was really good and there wasn’t a weak dish.  I’m looking forward to going back and trying other items!

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-close; Sat & Sun 12 noon-close
  • Address: 1731 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-265-6688/8688

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

There are few things in the world that are better than a sushi joint that delivers.  Tono Sushi is my favorite because they deliver pretty good sushi at a reasonable price.

  • Food:With a mix of Asian food, it’s all good.  I’ve ordered Pad Thai, sushi, sashimi, nigiri, spring rolls, etc.  All tasty.  They also have sushi happy hour daily from 5-7:30 PM (dine in only). 
  • Service: Courteous and efficient.
  • Atmosphere:On the rare occasions I don’t order in, I think their restaurant is comfortable and casual. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: Between $ and $$
  • Overall: Their menu is on my fridge and their number is programmed on my phone.  I think it’s good sushi at a reasonable price.  

Tono Sushi Mango Sticky Rice Tono Sushi

Details:

  • Reservations might be needed during peak hours.
  • Hours: Lunch – Mon-Fri 11:30 – 2:30 and Sat & Sun 12:00 – 3:00; Dinner – Mon – Thurs  5:00 – 10:30; Fri – Sat  5:00 – 11:00; Sun 5:00 – 10:00
  • Address: 2605 Connecticut Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20008
  • Ph: 202. 332.7300

I was meeting a friend at Mourayo for dinner to catch up and try a new place.  Both of us forgot the address (and I had left my cell phone at home), but I wish someone would have told me it was the restaurant with the big boat on their awning!  Then I would have remembered! 

Anyway, after it ended up as one of Tom Sietsema’s fall 2007 restaurants, we both figured we had to try it! 

  • Food: My friend ordered one of the whole fresh fish grilled (I think it was the Royal Dorade) which was simple and good.  I figured since she was getting the fish, I should get something different.  So I ordered the “Pythagoras ‘Theorema'” which is the pork loin, figs, manouri cheese, and honey sauce.   Wow, it was quite amazing!  While it was sweet, it wasn’t overly sweet.  The pork was cooked perfectly. 
  • Service: We sat at the bar since we didn’t make reservations — and it was packed on a Tuesday!  Regardless, it was very pleasant.  Plus, we were able to chat with an older gentleman (might be the manager/owner).  He was such a nice guy and we enjoyed engaging in a discussion with him.  We asked him what we should order, what wine to get, etc.   
  • Atmosphere: Very cozy and quaint.  There’s only a few tables and seats so that’s why reservations are suggested!  The attire is casual/business casual. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: I will definitely go back and I look forward to trying their many other tasty dishes!

Details:

  • Reservations recommended.
  • Hours: Daily 11:30am-3 pm Mon-Thu 5:30-10 pm Fri-Sun 5:30-12am
  • Address: 1732 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-667-2100

If you’re a wine fan, I think you’ll like Veritas Wine Bar.  I enjoyed it!  They only serve cheese and charcuterie so definitely not a place to go on an empty stomach! 

The interior is dark and comfortable.  It feels like you just stepped into a upscale cellar with a nice bar and stools.  There are also tables by the windows. 

Where the typical bar would have their liquor displayed, Veritas has their wall filled with wine refrigerators set at the perfect temperature so you can try one of their 64 different “wines by the glass.”  In addition, you have hundreds of different bottles of wine to choose from.

They also have 1/2 price wine on Mondays!  Now that’s a spectacular happy hour!

Details:

  • Reservations not accepted.  
  • Hours: Daily 5-close
  • Address: 2031 Florida Avenue NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202.265.6270

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