Applause, applause, applause.
How many ways can I laud Mussel Bar? Should I praise their ridiculously extensive beer list? Or their solid wine list? Should I extol the virtues of their succulent mussels? Or their intriguing other menu items? Should I begin by complimenting their tasteful, yet casual atmosphere, or the friendly and informed service? And what can I say about their reasonable prices?
The skinny is I had a $40 LivingSocial deal and spent an additional $18 excluding tip. I received crusty bread, two heaping, steaming trays of mussels, delectable garlicky fries, a delicious beer worth hunting down on my own, a delightful glass of wine, and several beer recommendations from the staff.
I brought my out-of-town mother here on a whim and we had a wonderful, reasonably priced evening out. Next time she's in town, we'll definitely return.
But I may need to come back before her next visit. It was just that good.
(For an eyebrow wax and a fairly simple cut/blowdry)
My hair has held the same style since I was 15. I have really easy hair to cut. It does what it is supposed to, and as long as a stylist takes the time to blow it out properly, it looks fantastic. Making me happy is really worth only 3 stars, because it doesn't require a whole lot of skill.
So. There's that.
I actually hate going to salons. I hate having others touch my hair, especially while washing it. I hate having my eyebrows done. I hate having my hair blow-dried. I hate sitting blind for an hour, making awkward small talk, and then dropping $100 for the "pleasure." Ick.
Carolyn gave me a fantastic eyebrow wax without straying too arched or thin. Thomas Shelton (he recently moved from Salon Charisma) gave me a beautiful cut and did not try to rush the blow-dry. The prices were reasonable, even without my Washington Post deal.
Plus, the salon is close to everything AND is really cutely decorated. I love their reception-area pillows.
Words I would never use to describe myself: handy. Do-it-yourself-er. Fixer-upper.
And yet, I love Ace Hardware.
I live in a crappy apartment designed for 20-somethings who don't know better, and even if they do, can't afford much else. So when my landlords will charge me for a simple fix I can do myself, I hit up Ace.
I don't know if it's my strand of pearls or bewildered look, but I attract assistance from the staff immediately upon entering. I've always found the staff knowledgeable, ready to assist, and full of great product recommendations. Pete, the darling man who assisted me last night, even went out of his way to have me NOT spend money.
From replacing an ancient showerhead, to eliminating giant cockroaches, to unclogging a stubborn toilet, Ace has always delivered solid service.
I've noticed their prices are slightly steeper than, say, Rodman's or Giant for cleaning and decorative products, but I chalk this up to convenience. Their selection rivals their website (impressive) and usually features a range of prices, accommodating a neighborhood of cheapskates, college students, and established families rehabbing their beautiful upper NW homes.
Also, thanks to their extensive fertilizer selection, the store always smells like spring. BONUS STAR.
Oh. My. Kush. This place was one very expensive delight (and I didn't even pay!).
The quick n' dirty: if you buy a LivingSocial deal, which is highly recommended unless you're richer than Warren Buffett, the $60 bucks will probably cover drinks for you and your companion. The rest of the food will be out-of-pocket, so budget accordingly.
Or don't. I threw caution/my budget into the wind and ordered plates like a champ. $130 (before LS) later, I was buzzed and sated. So.
--pork belly: This was my first time trying the dish, and I can now see what all the hype is about. This single skewer of love was the final dish in my realization that I don't hate pork, I just hate the dry, flavorless pork chops and store-bought hams force-fed to me as a child. (The skewer is only cut into three portions, but the portions are rather large and all you have is a set of chopsticks. Prepare for stuffing your face with a slab of meat until Kushi remedies this unfortunateness.)
--maki: I think it was tuna belly and scallion. The maki menu didn't read as all that exciting, which was a bit of a disappointment. This, however, was worth trying again. It was succulent and over all-too-soon.
--fried banana: I don't even like fruit. Give me more.
--tuna tataki: our first dish, and definitely a hit. Bursts of flavor in every bite.
--octopus: I didn't mind the texture, but I didn't feel the Kushi chefs added anything to this raw dish. It was a pass.
--Crispy duck thighs: Impossible to eat in a ladylike manner with chopsticks at a bar. I let my dining companion go to town on that.
--scallop and potato kushi katsu: All I could taste was grease. I was quite disappointed, as scallops, potatoes, and fried whatsit are some of my favorite flavors.
Service, as Mandana Y. noted, was nothing special, and the place was awful loud. But several gin-lemonade concoctions and a few special dishes later, I could care less.
I'd return in a heartbeat, but it's not the flawless experience you'd expect from the pricepoint.
I am adamantly Not A Fan of Neapolitan pizza and encouraged hipsteryness in general, so my expectations for RedRocks were low.
However, my pizza was good. Really good. As in, take home half and eat while watching The Tudors good. I now understand why people enjoy this style of pizza. Comet Ping Pong, I think you're even more of a fail.
Things that were not as good:
--Insufferably crowded. I mean, the place is not large.
--Prices were a little high at first, but when I realized this was one filling meal/two delightful snacks, I got over myself.
--Service slow, yet friendly. Our bartendress knew what she was doing. I just don't enjoy waiting 30 minutes or so for a pizza.
Boy and I are not classy people. We do not dress up. We drink Vinyl Lager at noon. We do not make reservations at nice restaurants.
In short, we came because:
1.) I had a Groupon
2.) We woke up from a nap at 7pm and were starving
3.) We were to meet friends in Adams Morgan at 9, but were told at 7 that we had to go to Clarendon instead, and didn't have any food in the house.
I had previously wandered into Kababji a couple of times to fulfill a Middle Eastern lunch craving. I found the food to be a little more expensive than I like for lunch (come on, $7 for hummus?) but alright. I knew from these forays it was a nicer place than the sign alludes, but not necessarily a place I would need advance reservations.
We decided to build our own mezze and ordered four appetizers: some kibbeh, baked jibneh, hummus, and grape leaves. Everything was quite tasty. The kibbeh comes with a delicious labneh that Boy and I found ourselves discretely scraping off the plate. The hummus was fine - nothing to write home about - but the other three dishes were perfect. After four appetizers, we were sated.
I found the wine selection by-the-glass somewhat limited, but interesting enough. I really enjoyed my glass of some Piedmont red, and the Yamhill Riesling (from Oregon, if I'm not mistaken) complemented the food really well.
Our service was prompt, quiet, and knowledgeable. When we asked about the Riesling, our server brought over the bottle for us to look at. It made us feel far classier than we are.
In short, it's a fun, good place for a nice-r night out. We wore jeans, as did most of the clientele, but enjoyed eating at a restaurant with ambiance. Our bill - four drinks and four appetizers - was $65 (before Groupon), and while that's not in the budget for every weekend, it certainly wasn't unreasonable.
3.5 stars, rounding up due to sunny disposition today.
Thai Tanic II (who needs a new name when you already have a winner?) is located in an unassuming strip north of Columbia Heights. This is the neighborhood where crowds are fewer and restaurants are less crowded, so it's almost a sure bet there'll be a table in a cozy nook no matter when you come.
It's also a much nicer restaurant than I expected. The decor is tasteful and sleek and the restaurant maximizes space with two dining rooms divided by a bar (they tend to only seat in one dining room on slow nights to make the atmosphere more lively). The waitresses are kind and quick. The menus look professional. They serve unique girly cocktails. Etc.
The food is, in my opinion, delightful. I'm a sucker for "Thai gravy," which I didn't know was a thing until Thai Tanic II told me so, and I'll enjoy almost any entree on which it is slathered. Spice lovers beware - if an entree lacks a chili pepper adjacent to the name, it is NOT SPICY. And non-chilied items comprise the majority of the menu. I, however, despise spicy foods, so this place is right up my alley.
PS The prices appear steep at first until you realize the entrees can field a small army, or at least you for two meals. I've only been here because of Groupons, which make the meal that much better of a deal.
Probably more like 3.5 stars, but I'm feeling generous.
Things you need to know about Panas:
1.) The empanadas aren't bad! I actually laughed when I read the one star review about saving money and flying to Latin America. While I'm sure they are undoubtedly better and cheaper there, I actually enjoyed these empanadas more than Julia's (not high praise, but worth a note). They were filling and well-priced - I couldn't easily make the same concoction for $2/pop, and I'm happy to pay it.
2.) Your order comes with dipping sauces. I was so busy wolfing down my empanadas I forgot to try them. So ignore me if you're a big sauce person.
2.5) For what it's worth, I would have remembered I had sauces if the empanadas were the least bit dry. But they were great on their own!
3.) I ordered the chipotle steak and the shrimp. They weren't spicy at all. This is excellent news to me, as the D family is notoriously anti-spice and I'm still training my palate against my Midwestern upbringing. This may be problematic for someone else, though.
4.) Full disclosure: I got my two empanadas for free from a Belly deal, but I wouldn't have minded paying full price for them. I also got a free side of ceviche, and that I wouldn't order again. Maybe I just hate ceviche, I don't know. All I could taste was LIME JUICE HELLO. Glad I ate the ceviche after the empanadas, or else I'd be feeling a lot less charitable. I felt guilty eating an entirely free lunch, so I ordered a side of guac. It was under $2, which was a fine price, but it suffered the lime juice issue also. Or maybe my tongue was still cooking ceviche-style from the earlier dish, I don't know. Neither will be a repeat order from me.
The service was amazing. I was in, I ordered, I was politely small-talked, and I received my empanadas all within a few minutes.
I came...because I wanted to try West African cuisine.
I ate...some deliciousness. That ox-tail stew was divine. It was delicious and spicy and perfect. I just wish I had more ox meat and less bone, but that's like faulting the sky for being blue that day, because I'm pretty sure that's just how ox tails are.
I drank...some local beer. It was lovely, medium-bodied, satisfying.
I paid...an ambiguous amount. With the HomeRun deal and the added gratuity, I didn't spend too much time concerning myself with the bill. It was about $85 for four people, and $12-$14 for entrees.
My only problems came with the service. We were seated and waiting for a fourth to join us, but could have used, I don't know, some beers? Some water? Some acknowledgment of existence before she arrived (five minutes after us)? The restaurant was not crowded, but our server seemed rushed and indifferent.
I also took issue with their policy of considering a large group 4 or more. No divided checks for 4+ (says so on the menu) and they added an 18% gratuity. Considering our large party ordered exactly 4 dishes and 3 beers TOTAL, I thought that was a little presumptuous. I mean, really? You can't handle ringing up one beer and one entree for four people? That's just too difficult? I felt like I didn't get the service I paid for.
This is another "I really want to love you" reviews. Sad face ensues.
Date and I went to blow a LivingSocial deal on a Tuesday. It was one of those freakishly gorgeous March days, so we chose to sit on the patio (with half of DC, apparently). We were squished in a corner table, practically on top of the couple at the adjacent table. It made for a charming and romantic first date setting.
Our server appeared promptly, described the Oysters O' The Day, and brought us a delectable selection of twelve. She also took the time to point out which oysters were which (so appreciated as I endeavor to become Cultured and Interesting), and brought our beers quickly...
And that was essentially the last time we saw her. We had to flag down the water guy to send her back over to order another round of beers and peel-and-eat shrimp (warning: terrible date food, no idea why he ordered that).
The beer list was...fine. The oysters were tasty, but a little grittier/tiny shell piecier than I prefer. The peel-and-eat-shrimp was a disaster, but only because I am a klutz.
In short, it's only a good value with a coupon, and I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend.
This is the kind of restaurant I note in the back of my mind, visit once, have a mediocre time, and come back every few months to have more unremarkable food and service.
There's nothing wrong with the place, actually, but there's nothing WOWOWOWOW about it, either. It is a predictably decored, predictably menued, predictably staffed Irish pub in Dupont.
Boy and I did come for the LivingSocial deal last night. It seemed like a pretty good deal: two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, and a bottle of wine for $40. Sweet. We made reservations and they noted we had the deal.
We were greeted with the prix-fixe menu and sat with others ordering off the same menu. Our server was forgettable - he took our orders, offered us "red" or "white" wine (come on, really? We don't even get varietals?), had others deliver our food, and explained the bill before we left. The food was fine - huge portions, decent taste - but nothing unexpected. Boy asked for ranch dressing for his fries (I'll make a Midwesterner out of him, yet) but it never showed.
Oh, and the wine? A Chardonnay that tasted a bit like a more-boring Riesling. Passable.
I was impressed the way management and employees handled the deal, as it could have gone horribly awry, but impressions of the restaurant remain the same overall.
This is probably the most awkward restaurant I've ever been to.
My date and I spent most of the evening playing "what beer will we get next?" We ordered 2 Kingfishers (out), then 2 Taj Mahals (out), settled on Stella, tried for Sam Adams, and received...a very tall Miller Lite and a mug of Miller Lite. So we then ordered Miler Lites, told they were out, and received two more mugs of...Miller Lite. Why? Who knows.
The food was meh, and of course, we ordered wrong. This was somewhat mitigated by the tongs I received to pluck my tandoori chicken from its grill plate to my dish of unseasoned, unsalted rice.
We had about 5 different servers at our table at one point of the evening or another. There was one, our main server, who loved leaning into my date's ear and whispering things, like what our appetizer platter contained, or if he wanted more naan. The entertainment factor of that was definitely worth a little extra tip.
After the $30 LivingSocial deal, we ended up spending ~$60 for three rounds of ambiguous beer, an appetizer, and two entrees. Is that pricey to you? Because it certainly felt like it to me.
I finally got Boy to agree to Ethiopian + we can share a sampler platter + extensive wine list + there's actually decor in this restaurant! - no beer list - no Meta beers - slowest service probably ever - teeny tiny portions + extra injera - the Groupon doesn't cover alcohol, only food = Lalibela is so much tastier, better located, and more satisfying.
Agonizing service with not-good-enough food.
Thank GOD I liked my dining companion, otherwise this would have been an excruciating meal.
Friend and I went for a Sunday dinner. The restaurant was about half full and we were greeted promptly. We formulated a food and wine plan (because we are nothing if not menu-maximizers).
Then we sat. Conversed. Ordered. Sat. Conversed. Conversed. Appetizers! Etc.
There is something to be said for a European style of dining, but it is quite another thing to ask twice for another glass of wine, or a water, or the bill, or for the bill to be taken...
I remember enjoying my mussels, and my date's hangar steak or something like that was tender and well-seasoned. But the fries that came on the side were reminiscent of frozen Ore-Idas, and the cheese plate was unremarkable, and really, why was my bill so high, especially after splitting the meal post-Groupon?
Too many flaws for a supposedly classy establishment.
Things I liked: my dirty martini. What can I say, I'm a cliche.
The service was meh, the barfood was meh, the LivingSocial deal was a hassle (a tip: if you won't accept it during Happy Hour, put that in the fine print)...
Honestly, all I wanted on my birthday was a martini with friends, and this place ended up being not worth the trouble.
Things that are awesome about Tackle Box:
1.) Beer on tap. Not a given in fast casual restaurants.
2.) Plenty of space. Also not a given in DC restaurants.
3.) Food prepared in a reasonable time frame.
4.) At 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon, the joint was dead. No screaming children, no Cleveland Park hipsters, no annoying crowds. Hallelujah.
Things that are not so awesome about Tackle Box:
1.) My grilled calamari tasted like charred rubber. I am a big fan of calamari, primarily because of the texture, and this was a big turn-off.
2.) I received a "salad" of lettuce and some sort of dressing under the calamari. By the time I got to the lettuce, the entire affair was a soggy, slimy mess. Ew.
3.) Lemon garlic aioli is actually code for garlic mayo. No lemon flavor. Just garlic.
4.) When you think about it, it's just fried food. It's not hard to make a platter of fried food taste delicious. And the grilled seafood isn't that great. I'm not opposed to the prices at all, I think they're reasonable - I just don't think the food is that good.
I'm not upset that I tried this place (the Groupon for $30 was perfect for a casual lunch-for-two), but I won't be hurrying back.
|Where to go/not to go for your checkups, cleanings, and all other grown-up annoyances in DC.||If you survive the escalator ride from the Metro, here's the good, the bad, and the meh around Dupont Circle.|
|The good/bad/meh of U Street/Columbia Heights||For some reason, the Yelp gods have decided these reviews are worthy of "Review of the Day" status.|
|Unorganized "places in Metro Detroit" list. Because nothing makes me want to Yelp more than my random trips to Michigan.||If you have ever driven up M53, taken a wrong turn, and found yourself in a land of dirt roads, peaches, and a too-cute-for-words Main Street, congrats! You are in Romeo, MI. Here's what to do, see, and buy.|
|Some days are just not worth pants.||Save yourself the pain: do not frequent these establishments. Alternately, frequent them, and enjoy the disaster unfolding before your eyes.|
|Beautiful, bold, brewed beers. And the bars that nurture them.||I'm sorry, did you not want to spend the day eating and/or drinking? Fine. Do these things in between.|
"So many beers, so little time"
Washington, DC, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
Dezember 2010Dinge, die ich mag
sushi, fine wines, homemade crab cakes, craft beers, crossword puzzles, The Express, historic buildings, antiquesHier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
a skirt and pearlsHeimatort
Detroit, MIWenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm eatingWarum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
My to-do list consists solely of beer, restaurants, and men.Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
Bill Bryson's At Home. I tell everybody I meet about this book.Mein erstes Konzerterlebnis
Aerosmith - with my dad.Mein Lieblingsfilm
Coyote UglyMeine Henkersmahlzeit
All the sushi.Meine neueste Entdeckung
Widmer's Marionberry. It'll make you think, "what 100 degree weather?"Ich schwärme gerade für
Iron Chef Michael Symon