mmm...delicious, delicious happy hour.
My coworkers and I very often find ourselves here for happy hour for a multitude of reasons. 1. It's classy. 2. It's inexpensive. 3. It's not loud. 4. You can actually sit at a table.
I'm 27 years old. Milling around a grungy bar with a million other people to get a subpar drink and crappy food is not my style (at least most of the time). When I go out for happy hour, I like to be comfortable and I like to be able to talk to my friends without shouting over music/TVs/other people. Chef Geoff's is the perfect atmosphere for that.
If you plan to order food for happy hour, they'll seat you at an actual table. And why not order food? During happy hour it comes at a great price and it is tasty! Delicious $6 burgers, creative appetizers, and a number of pizzas beckon to you. I always go for a burger (sans bun) with a side of champagne greens. High class, low price, and I don't feel guilty for eating it, either (seriously, why don't more happy hours offer semi-healthy options?).
You can wash your meal down with any number of adult beverages. I get the $6 glass of house red wine, but they also have homemade sangria for $6, and the "Supermugs" of beer for $8 (a favorite of my male dining companions).
This might not be the cheapest happy hour in town, but you get what you pay for. Compared to Chef Geoff's regular menu, these options are a steal. Compared to other happy hours, you're actually getting quality both in food and in service. I'm willing to drop a few extra dollars for that any day.
Kushi's the place to go if you want to sample lots of little things instead of committing to one main dish. And the menu offers a great enough diversity that you won't get bored halfway through your meal.
The BF and I went early on a Friday night and the place was pretty quiet. We started at the bar, which has a pretty lackluster happy hour...although the BF greatly enjoyed the pork hand roll.
For dinner, we sampled about 10 different dishes. The highlights were definitely the Black Cod (trust me, it is worth the high pricetag), the duck sausage (but really, can you ever go wrong with sausage?) and the crispy duck thigh. Really, if you only try three things here, choose those. The cod simply melted in our mouths, the duck sausage was mild yet unique, and the crispy duck thigh was apparently made with magic. Other outstanding dishes were the pork belly skewer and dayboat scallops.
Service was spectacular as well. My BF and I are very much the type who like to let the chef choose what we eat...the chef knows best. Since we couldn't ask the chef directly, our wonderful waitress was more than happy to navigate us through the menu and ensure that we sampled the most delicious and unique dishes that Kushi has to offer.
Price-wise, it's easy to drop a hefty penny here if you're not paying attention, but I think Kushi is the type of place you should go to without a tight budget in mind so you can truly experience the variety.
Room 11 is one of those places you want more people to know about because you really want to support the wonderful owners...but you don't want more people to know about it because it's a nice little gem that isn't bursting at the seams with too many people.
Room 11 doesn't sit many people, but on a Friday night, my boyfriend and I were able to be seated without a problem. Between the two of us we sampled four different glasses of red wine, some better than others. I actually found that the cheap $6 glass was much better than the advertised $14 special wine. For food, we sampled many of the small plates instead of filling up on a big course. We began with a sampling of their cured meats and cheeses All were tasty and our wonderful waitress was an expert in helping us pair everything expertly.
We also sampled the sea scallops a la plancha, lamb and chorizo kofta kebabs, whole maya prawns, and soy and sriracha glazed pork belly. I can't say a bad thing about a single dish. Every single one was perfectly executed. Apparently the menu changes quite frequently, so don't be surprised if these options aren't available on your next visit.
Our waitress was absolutely magnificent, friendly and attentive without being overwhelming. She gave us a history of the establishment and made us fall in love with the home-grown effort that brought Room 11 into being.
The price tag felt a bit steep, but for four glasses of wine, 9 meat/cheese selections, and 4 small plates, I think our bill was actually quite fair, especially for the quality of food. Unfortunately, I'm not made of money, so as much as I'd like to make Room 11 a regular establishment of mine, I'm afraid my paychecks won't be able to fund this habit. Still, I can't wait to come back for another night out!
I really, really wanted to love this place. And if the owners didn't intervene, they would have received a mere two-star review from me. However, at the end of our dinner, one of the co-owners checked in with us to see how our meal was, and when we expressed our dissatisfaction, he comped us for three of our drinks. The classiness of the owners gives me hope that Big Board has great potential.
I arrived with my dining partners slightly before 8pm on Saturday night. We were quoted a 45 minute wait time, so we walked down the street to enjoy drinks at a less-crowded venue. We returned exactly 45 minutes after we left and were told that we were still 5 parties down on the list. No big deal, we said, and off we went to wander around H Street. 20 minutes later, we returned again and were told there was one party still ahead of us. Fine, we said, we'll wait outside. Fifteen minutes later, we were finally seated.
Our waitress was quite friendly and we began our order with drinks. When she returned with those, we placed our food orders. We chose the Port d'Amsterdam, Straight Outta Dublin, and Memphis Blues, and each of us chose a different variation for our fries.
And then the time started ticking...and ticking...and ticking...
Three cocktails later, our waitress said "Hmm...your food should have been here by now...let me check on that...." Meanwhile, we watched people seated after us get served and leave before our food even arrived. A while later, the waitress returned and promised it would be only four more minutes. It was 10 before our burgers arrived. Our food did not arrive until over an hour after we seated.
This might be excusable if the food was spectacular, but it wasn't. The Port d'Amsterdam was unbelievably bland. I've made better burgers in my kitchen. My dining partners weren't in love with their burgers, either, but did express that they were at least flavorful. As another reviewer mentioned, the fries were a HUGE disappointment. The sweet potato fries tasted burnt, and they were served cold. The old bay fries were okay at best. The original fries were actually best.
We didn't receive our check until about 30 hours after we first arrived. I was ready to write Big Board off until the co-owner paid us a visit. He apologized profusely for the sub-par experience, comped us for three drinks, and promised that service would be refined. In return, I promised to give them another try in the future.
DO yourself a favor and wait a few months before you visit Big Board...give them time to work the kinks out.
I want to eat here every day for the rest of my life.
Fogo de Chao was my first Brazillian Steakhouse experience, and it was nearly as perfect as I had imagined. House rules dictate that you start your meal with a trip to the salad bar, but don't fret, the salad bar here is awesome. I (somewhat greedily) loaded my plate up with cured meats and cheeses galore. I sampled a few other things, but really, why waste precious stomach space on bread and salad?
For the next two hours, my dining companions and myself partook in a true meatfest. The sides were left mostly untouched as we were too busy scarfing down the precious, precious dead animals. Some meat offerings were better than others (the bacon-wrapped chicken? Thumbs down. The bacon-wrapped steak? I'll eat the entire skewer.). I recommend that you try one piece of each meat to determine your favorites. Once you have your top three, stalk the servers until the one carrying your favorites appears. A few times, a manager (at least I think he was a manager) approached our table to ask which meat we were waiting for, and then made sure to send that meat-wielding god our way.
We ended the meal with dessert, which while passable, wasn't anything terribly special. Eat more meat instead.
You may want to pass on the drinks here because they come with a steep price tag. $2 for soda, with no free refills. Cocktails cost about $15. Go with water. Less filling beverage = more room for meat.
Definitely worth the price tag if you come hungry and don't mind an evening of gluttony!
Niwano Hana is not at all convenient to where I live, but it is SO worth the drive.
On a trip out to Bethesda to run some errands, I turned to my trusty Yelp app. to point me in the right direction for lunch. Yelp didn't let me down.
My boyfriend and I showed up for lunch pretty late, close to 2:00 in the afternoon. Still, the staff were very attentive and very friendly. I ordered my usual sashimi platter, and my boyfriend orded his usual chirashi. While we waited for our main courses, we were given the usual miso soup and salad. Neither were anything to write home about, but they were your standard sushi bar quality. The sashimi, however, was outstanding.
I was won over immediately simply because the sashimi was actually served at the proper temperature. Instead of serving ice-cold fish like so many places tend to do, Niwano Hana serves it at room temperature. THis makes the flavors shine. The fish tasted amazingly fresh, and I kept ooh-ing and ahh-ing throughout the meal. Best sushi I've found in the DC area so far.
If you find yourself in Bethesda, Niwana Hana is definitely worth a visit. If you're more into sushi rolls than sashimi, it appeared that they had a great variety of options!
I'm completely floored that Sala Thai has a solid 3.5 star rating on Yelp. I was so excited to find a sushi restaurant in my neighborhood, I couldn't wait to give Sala a try. I was incredibly disappointed. Maybe it's my own fault. Maybe I should have known not to order sushi at a Thai restaurant. Maybe Sala has 3.5 stars for their Thai cuisine. All I know is the sushi here is sub par and ridiculously overpriced.
I ordered the sashimi regular, which has 15 pieces of assorted sashimi. I was given the "safe" sashimi options such as tuna, octopus, and salmon. This isn't surprising; many sushi restaurants give you the run-of-the-mill sashimi when you order the platter. No big deal. Here's the problem with Sala Thai. First, the sashimi was served ice cold. HUGE mistake. Sashimi is meant to be served at room temperature, maybe slightly colder. When it's served cold, the flavor doesn't shine. On second thought, maybe that's a good thing at Sala Thai, because the fish was obviously not fresh (indicated by the very dull colors) and it all had a sour tinge to it. Maybe if it was served at the proper temperature, it would have been completely inedible.
Another minor thing that irked me was that when I tried to order the house salad with the spicy lemon dressing, I was told they only have peanut and sweet & sour dressing, when the menu clearly listed multiple other salads being dressed with the lemon dressing.
The convenience of Sala Thai unfortunately doesn't make the restaurant a worthwhile establishment to visit.
Cedar has my favorite bar in DC. It's one of those places I don't want to Yelp about because I don't want everyone to come flood my go-to spot. Alas, it isn't nice to be selfish.
What lured me in were the duck-fat fries...what kept me in was the great cocktails made by my favorite bartender in DC, Matt. The BF and I go to Cedar very often and spend hours asking Matt to whip us up some delicious creations. And he never disappoints. Just tell him the type of drinks that suit your fancy, and he'll impress your pants off (seriously...those drinks are potent and might lead to nudity). Even better, he's a smart, funny guy and has some great stories to share, if you're interested.
I've only ever ordered the bar food, and it is always spot-on, but the dinner menu looks fan-freakin-tastic. A meat-lover's paradise. We keep wanting to go back and get a real table, but we just can't resist the allure of the great conversations that await us at the bar. Sitting at Cedar's chef's table in on my DC bucket list; I would love to see the magic that happens in the kitchen up-close.
I suppose the only downside is that it's a little bit too easy to spend a redonkulous amount of money here, but you do get what you pay for. You should definitely go to Cedar on a night you really want to blow up your credit card, otherwise you won't get the full experience.
As a former Clevelander, I am thoroughly shocked that a restaurant called "The Pig" wasn't already thought up my Michael Symon. Because, really, this is right up his alley. Luckily, the chefs behind this new DC establishment can give Mr. Symon a run for his money.
The BF and I went in on Tuesday evening around 6:30, and had no issue getting a table. Be forewarned, though, the place was packed by the time we left (8:30 or so) and they don't take reservations at this time.
Our waitress, whose name I wish I could remember, was fantastic. She took time to walk us through the drinks menu instead of leaving us to our own devices. Intrigued by the idea of "keg wine" we ordered a jug of Zinfandel. The jug holds about 1.3 bottles of wine, so it's a pretty good deal.
After we placed our drink order, she walked us through the food menu, explaining that dishes are meant to be shared )with the exception of the "supper" plates) and that she recommends allotting at least 2-3 dishes per person. Fine by us! Bring on the pork!
We ordered the following: porketta (with brainssssss!), boar merguez sausage, roasted rabbit roulade, carolina smoked bbq, roast cauliflower, pig ramen, and the burger.
The pulled pork that came with the "carolina smoked bbq" was my favorite of the night. Melt-in-your mouth tender with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I didn't try the mac, but the BF said it was just okay. The BF's favorite was the ramen, and as a ramen fanatic, that's saying something. I tried the broth and it was incredibly flavorful.
The porketta, rabbit, cauliflower, and boar sausage were all good, but paled in comparison to the pulled pork. Of the three, the rabbit was definitely least memorable.
The only major disappointment of the evening was the burger. And hey, maybe that's what you get when you get a burger at a pork place. But the BF took down all of the ramen solo, and half of each of the other dishes, so I was still hungry. I rodered the burger (sans bun) with a side of salad instead of the potatoes. The salad was perfect- light and refreshing. The burger, however, was a major turn off. I asked for it to be medium-rare, and it was unfortunately cooked more to medium/medium-wel. The bigger issue, though, was that it was charred on the outside. Charring a burger completely ruins it, IMO. The char flavor overpowers the meat flavor, leaving a gross taste behind. The pancetta on top was also overcooked. Major disappointment.
Overall, it was a great dining experience. I hope they change the menu regularly so we can come back and try new things!
I'm sorry. I just don't get it. I've eaten at many a burger joint in my time, and Ray's Hell Burger was sadly, sadly disappointing.
What is it that makes a burger good? For me, the two most important factors are the quality of the meat and whether or not it is cooked to order. At Ray's, the quality was just average. It doesn't appear tat they've gone out of their way to get the best of the best. However, I could be wrong because (And this brings me to criteria number 2) my burger was horribly overcooked. IMO, the best way to experience the true flavors and true quality of the meat is to taste it at its freshest...which means cooked no more than "medium". Personall, I'm in the medium-rare camp. Unfortunately for me, Ray's interpreted my "medium rare" to mean "well done" and I was less than impressed with my hockey puck burger.
I do give them bonus points for offering some really great toppings, but great toppings cannot disguise a subpar burger.
I highly, highly recommend brgr:shack, also in Arlington.
Holy fantastic service, Batman.
I seriously wish I found this service when I moved to DC over a year ago. I have always wanted to participate in a CSA, but I have too many allergies, so the lack of ability to control the contest of each box was a deterrent. With WGG, that's not a problem.
When you first sign up, you get to choose which type of box you prefer: organic-only, mixed, all-fruit, all-vegetable, or local-only. You also get to choose what size box and frequency of delivery (no need to get one every week if you don't want to!).
Once WGG confirms you as a customer, the customization get even better. You can create a "Never" list of items you don't want to receive (great for pick eaters or those with allergies). If one of your "Never" items is scheduled for that week's standard, you can swap it out for something else. You can also create an "Always" list of items you want to see each time.
In addition to the regular box, they have tons of supplemental items. Meats, dairy products, eggs, condiments, spices, recipe mixes, and the list goes on. it appears that most, if not all, of these specialty-item vendors are in the Northeast, so you can feel good about supporting local businesses.
For my first order, I opted for the organic-only. Even though I ordered a small box, it was simply overflowing with fantastically fresh produce. And good god, it all tastes SO good. I may switch to a local-only box because I did notice that my avocados, while organic, were from Mexico.
Oh, and the customer service? Fan-freakin-tastic. I had tons of questions and Zeke was very prompt to respond.
There's nothing else to day except: get this service now!
I have now been to KBC twice- once for dinner when they first open, and once again this past weekend for brunch. I'm really happy to say that both experiences were a pleasure, and the quality of this place has not diminished at all.
The BF and I are big carnivores. Personally, I try to live a 90% Paleo lifestyle, so it's important to me that restaurants don't focus their dishes around grains. My boyfriend just loves to eat animals. Naturally, our foods preferences immediately attracted us to KBC. Also, it's just over a mile from our apartment. Score.
On our visit, I opted for the Big Bad Wolf (read: meat pile) sans bun and the BF sampled the Pulled Pork with sides of mac & cheese and beans. I was in meat heaven after just one bit. Every single one of their meats is cooked perfectly so they remain full of flavor and aren't dired out. On a meat pile like the Big Bad Wolf, this is key so every layer can shine. The BF nearly broke up with me to run off into the sunset with his pulled pork. He didn't love the mac and cheese (the gorgonzola was too overpowering for him) but I snuck a bite and it was killer.
For brunch, I opted for a pile o' pastrami 'Morning PORC' with a side of fruit and bacon (they were really nice to let me sub bacon for one of the carby sides) and the BF ordered the Stuffed French Toast. Seing as I had a pile of meat, and this place specializes in meat, my dish was great. The portion was so huge I brought half home. And dear god, their mustard is so good, i could drink it. The BF immediately fell in love with his French toast, which is saying something as he's usually disappointed by the execution of such dishes. The fresh strawberries really won him over.
To top it all off, the service is fantastic; everyone here is really down-to-earth. The proces can't be beat either, especially considering the huge portions and high quality food.
Trust me, channel your inner carnivore and go!
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A true Italian white pizza, Lola fries, froyo