dupont circle


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

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