Restaurant Review


I know I took a break from talking about pho, but I left the best for last.  I love Pho Saigon and it’s closely tied with Pho Xe Lua for the best pho so far.   Here’s the menu:

phosaigon-menu

  • Food: What makes this one of the best pho places? The broth was incredibly aromatic and flavorful.  The beef was super lean and razor thin.  They gave me lots of Asian cilantro, basil, etc.  The only complaint was that there wasn’t as much beef as most restaurants provide, but there were enough noodles that it was still filling.

Pho Saigon Pho Tai To Go  Pho Saigon Pho Tai

  • Service: They’re very polite.  You pay up front and I *think* it’s cash-only.  I can’t remember!
  • Atmosphere:Like most pho restaurants, there’s not much.  The interior is small with only 10-12 tables.  Over the main door, you’ll see a flat screen airing, what I assume to be, Vietnamese TV shows. 

Pho Saigon Pho Saigon

  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:You won’t go wrong when you try this pho restaurant.  It’s just so darn delicious!

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Sunday 8AM–8 PM
  • Address: 6795-1B Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-677-0523

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

3 days with a car and at least 5 bowls of pho.  Obsessed I tell you!  Anyway, I continued to work my way through to the pho places throughout Eden Center in Falls Church.  Today’s pho bowl is from Viet Royale.

viet-royale-page-1  viet-royale-page-2

  • Food: Well, I think their broth is truly outstanding…and it might even be better than Pho Xe Lua.  But, you’ll see the beef is cooked…even though I asked and the waitress promised that the beef would be raw.  Despite the delicious broth, I thought their pho was OK.   The beef was a bit tough, onions were cut too thick, etc. 

Viet Royale - Falls Church VA  Viet Royale Pho Tai  Viet Royale Pho Tai

  • Service: I ordered to-go so it was fine.
  • Atmosphere:Interior has more character than a lot of pho places.  It’s one big room with probably 25-30 tables.  In the back, they have a small bar which is where you order your food-to-go.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price:  $
  • Overall:I’d skip the pho and order some of the other Vietnamese dishes they offer. 

Details:

  • Hours: 10 AM-11 PM Daily
  • Address: 6767 Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: (703) 533-8388

Next to So’s Your Mom is Astor Mediterrean, a neighborhood joint that prominently thrives on takeout orders.  Here’s their menu.

  • Food:I’ve ordered a lot of their chicken kebobs and lamb (or chicken) gyros in the five years I’ve lived here.   Despite their sometimes dry chicken, it’s still delicious.  The fries are super crispy and hot — a must in my book.   

Astor Mediterrean - Lamb Gyro and Fries

  • Service: When you walk in, they have a large display case with their various sides and above that, a huge menu of options.  When you’re ready to order, go to the cash register to order and pay.  Then you huddle around the counter (or run other errands) while you wait for your number to be called.
  • Atmosphere:In the summer, they have 3-4 tables and chairs, and if you like to people watch, it’s a perfect spot to go.  You’re on the sidewalk by the Bank of America ATM line.  They did a renovation to the restaurant a few years ago, which greatly improved the interior, but it’s still not that conducive to sit-down dining.  Instead, most pick-up their food orders and take it back to their respective homes. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:If you’re new to the Adams Morgan neighborhood, this is a must.  And if you’ve lived here for decades, chances are you’ve visited this nondescript restaurant because the food is good and reasonably priced.  At least that’s why I keep coming back. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11 AM-10:30 PM; Sun 11 AM-9:30 AM
  • Address: 1829 Columbia Road NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-745-7495

As with most of the recipes I try out, I like it when you can mix everything together in a bowl, pour into a pan, and bake.  Now that’s a recipe! 

This one for cranberry nut bread is exactly that kind of recipe.  It’s a heavy and hearty kind of bread which isn’t too sweet.  It’s great for breakfast!

Cranberry Nut Bread Dough  Cranberry Nut Bread

For the last five years, I had been dragging my feet in going to Rosa Mexicano.  To me, when you’re repeatedly told that there are only a few good things on the menu, it’s not exactly a great endorsement.  Well, after reading numerous reviews and since I wasn’t paying, I finally went.

  • Food: We ordered guacamole which came with thick chips which were good.  There were nice chunks of avocado, but I still think my recipe would win in a guac contest.  I ordered the short ribs since it was the only thing that received constant praise and I was not disappointed.  They were so tender and made a knife completely unnecessary.  There are three HUGE pieces of short ribs on the plate.  Next time, I’d split the ribs with a couple of friends since it’d be more than enough food.  They brought black beans to the table which I thought were under-seasoned while the rice was completely over-seasoned and had too much lime juice. 
  • Service: Our server was OK, but as the restaurant got busier, he became more and more absent.
  • Atmosphere: The interior has bright colors and a comfortable atmosphere.  The bar is packed after work for happy hours (I couldn’t find any information that they offered drink/food discounts). 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$/$$$
  • Overall:  Since I didn’t pay for dinner,  I didn’t care.  But I think if I ever go back, I’d definitely order the short ribs again to share with others…and yes, the guacamole.

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:30am-3pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11am-3pm; Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday: 4-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday: 4-11:30pm; Sunset: Daily 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • Address: 575 7th St NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 783-5522

Rotisserie chicken is the best.  I love it for the winter and heck, it works really nicely for the summer too.   It’s one of those meals that screams “home-y” and who wouldn’t love that?  Vegetarians…OK, good point.

Anyway, I threw together this recipe and baked it.  It was so delicious smelling when it was cooking and even better tasting.  There was a little heat — perfect!

  • 1 chicken, rinsed under water and patted dry
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP fresh Thyme (or 1  1/4 TBSP of dried Thyme)
  • 3 TBSP of dried Rosemary, crushed (just use your fingers to break-up and make it aromatic)
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or more if you like heat!)
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt

Mix the Thyme, Rosemary, Cayenne Pepper, and salt together in a bowl.  Now the chicken has been washed and dried, now put the lemon juice over the chicken — including underneath the skin!  Do the same with the spice mixture.   I had a lot of extra Thyme so I put the remaining in the big “cave” of the chicken.  I like to let my chicken marinate for at least an hour,  but it’s just fine if you don’t.

Cayenne Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary Rotissiere Chicken  Cayenne Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary Rotissiere Chicken

Now put the marinated chicken in your rotisserie according to your manufacturer’s directions. 

Once it’s cooked, let the chicken sit and cover with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes.  This will let the juices sit but also keep the chicken hot. 

Cayenne Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary Rotissiere Chicken  Cayenne Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary Rotissiere Chicken  Cayenne Pepper, Thyme and Rosemary Rotissiere Chicken

Serve.  Delicious! 

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