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Good Restaurants in Vienna, Virginia

Back today for lunch. Saeed was running a busy dining room with a few "parties" of elderly diners occupying a few large tables. Ocean, the chef, offered my companion and I a few menu options. We chose the mussels and the branzino. Wow!

The mussels came in a 'broth' of wine, butter, herbs and pepper. I'll be full for a few days because I sopped liberally with many pieces of bread.

The branzino was, very simply, the best seafood dish I have eaten in recent memory. It was Eric Ripert good. I joked with Ocean afterwards that it would be my death row meal. Cooked to perfection and served with a parsley reduction sauce, with sides of roasted beets/turnips and fingerling potatoes. This is a destination dish.

Mar 26, 2009
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where would you take Anthony Bourdain?

You must have seen hos DC show. He did Ben's Chili Bowl, El Pollo Rico, the Eden Center and the Washington waterfront, among others.

Jan 24, 2009
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where would you take Anthony Bourdain?

Make no mistake about it. I have been to all of them and I am certifiably Lebanese. Mediterranean Gourmet Market on Franconia Road in Alexandria is Bourdain material -- yes, I love Lebanese Butcher, and yes, I guarantee that George Azar's Mediterranean Gourmet Market is the hands-down Bourdain destination.

I own all of Anthony Bourdain's books, including his dark novels and his tribute to Typhoid Mary. The guy can write and he has a Hunter Thompson side to his literary talent. He would enjoy Lebanese Butcher. He would rave about Mediterranean Gourmet Market and he would return there every day he's in the DC area.

Jan 24, 2009
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Four Sisters in Merrifield

Yes, let's hear about Sea Pearl? What type of food, and how does it differ from Four Sisters?

I heard that with the permits and all, it will be late Sept. until the new FOur Sisters is open....

Sep 07, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Afghan Kebab on Old Keene Mill in Springfield, VA

Welcome to my neck of the woods, the underappreciated Springfield foodie scene. Afghan Kabob and Flame Kabob are both exceptional representations of this fine cuisine. There are many options in Springfield, however, and all over the culinary map.

The best Chinese around is Canton Cafe in the K-Mart plaza. Behind the K-Mart is Manila Cafe, which is the best Philippines food around. Heading up and down Backlick Road is Brookfield Plaza, where you can eat all over the world for about $20 -- my favorites include Sahm Oh Jang for Korean and La Hacienda for Central American. Across Backlick is Le Bledo Bakery, with a very good Vietnamese buffet for lunch and dinner. Slightly south is Delia's, an exceptional ma-and-pa Greek run restaurant with Mediterranean food and good pizza, plus they also bought Peruvian chicken place next door and offer Peruvian fare with Greek fare! Farther north on Backlick is Gamasot, which many believe is the best Korean restaurant around.

Keep coming to Springfield. There's good eats all around.

Sep 01, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Washington DC, the Current Best Restaurants

The Washingtonian Magazine is your friend....

http://www.washingtonian.com/packages...

Aug 28, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Lomo Saltados: Where to find tasty portions?

The Hispanic population of the Springfield, VA area tend to congregate at La Hacienda on Backlick in the Brookfield Plaza. Really good food....

Aug 26, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Uh....."lamb balls".....honest.....!

Was doing my normal poking about Springfield today when I happened into the Afghan Mini Market on Backlick across from the original Five Guys and JW's. In the meat case in the back of the store, wrapped in a package of six, was "lamb balls"....honest, that's what was on the package. Normally, I would buy something like this but couldn't bring myself to do so because I don't have a recipe in mind. So the next question is, who has some good recipes for "lamb balls"....?

Aug 25, 2008
BigEats in Home Cooking

Ben's Chili Bowl ... again and again ...

A few years ago, I believe the Post tried to come up with the quintessential Washington DC food, kind of like the Philly Cheese Steak is to Philly, or gumbo to New Orleans, or pizza to New York. They ran a contest and selected (if I recall correctly) the half smoke and Senate beans (or Senate Bean Soup). One of the few places that dishes them both up is Ben's.

Aug 25, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Looking for Good Chicken Wings in Northern VA

No mention of Kilroy's in Burke? I order the Cajun wings, drumettes only, and they are a full meal.

Aug 25, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

DC/No. Va Chinese food

You'll have to define what you mean by that distinct flavor, but you'll find that the Washington DC suburbs have the most authentic of the Chinese cuisines around here.

Aug 25, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Has Four Sisters opened in Merrifield yet?

Thanks for the responses. What is the new address?

Aug 24, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Has Four Sisters opened in Merrifield yet?

I've checked the usual Boards, and found nothing definitive about an ETA for door opening. Before I make the trek to Merrifield, I need someone with "eyes on" to confirm that the kitchen is open for business! Thanks!

Aug 24, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

sumac in dc/bethesda/nova

Wow, I've seen sumac everywhere in northern Virginia. Mediterranean Gourmet Market on Franconia Road, Mediterranean Bakery near Landmark, Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church, Lebanese Taverna Market on Lee Highway in Arlington....it's everywhere! Come and get it.

Aug 24, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Reston Town Center: Many New Restaurants Coming...

The problem with Reston is finding and supporting the good family-owned non-chains is becoming more and more difficult as the national chains move in and capture the discretionary dollars of the residents. Reston consumers have to be more discriminating. The glitz and upscale feel (and artificality) of the Reston Town Center has to be resisted so that the El Manantials of the world can survive and thrive, otherwise the chains will force the good family-owned businesses to go under. Reston has this problem in spades, as does Tysons.

Aug 24, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurants in the Landmark/Duke St area

Re Med. Bakery. The place you must be thinking about is Mediterranean Gourmet Market, on Franconia Road. Bar none, the best Middle Eastern food in northern Virginia. Not all that inconvenient to Landmark either -- take Van Dorn to Franconia, turn right and it's about a mile or less on the left.

Aug 23, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Reston Town Center: Many New Restaurants Coming...

Yuk. The short smoked salmon with the ubiquitous mashed potatoes is everywhere, and it shows up at Mike's too, makin we think that GAR has succumbed to national restaurant central kitchen style of boring food.

Aug 22, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Banh Mi???

Best is DC Sandwich (Banh Mi) on Rt. 50 in Falls Church. It sits next to Pho 75 which is a cash-only Vietnamese soup joint that is excellent and inexpensive. Next best is all over Eden Center, up the road a little bit.

Aug 22, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Mark's Duck House - Major Disappointment

Uh, if I'm not mistaken, the Peking Duck is not the specialty at Mark's. It's the softer and lighter duck from another region of China that is the specialty here. Mark's is not a Beijing place.

Aug 21, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Reston Town Center: Many New Restaurants Coming...

Yuk. More reasons to avoid the artificiality of Reston. Head to El Manatial for a good non-chain experience off Wiehle. I wouldn't go to the Town Center at gunpoint.

Aug 21, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good Restaurants in Vienna, Virginia

Just visited Cafe Renaissance again today for lunch. Had the mussels with pesto sauce -- incredibly good. About 4-5 slices of the warm bread basket also disappeared sopping up the wonderful juices. Saeed also brought out a surprise amuse of a crab dumpling in a cream sauce, and brought out a surprise finisher in an oyster dish with 3 oysters covered in a creamy champagne and crab sauce. Simply decadent.

Aug 21, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Crab restaurant in Baltimore....

http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...

According to this, Sidney Ponson of the Yankees has signed up 24 of his teammates for a crab feast in Baltimore on Saturday night, Aug. 23, after the game. The question I have for the Board is, which restaurant might this be? It has to be very good, have room for 25-30 famous young millionaires, and be open at least until midnight or later.

Aug 21, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good margaritas in Springfield, VA?

Outside seating is uncommon is Springfield for some reason. The Starbucks at Old Keene Mill and Rolling Road is about the only place around here that has outside seating. Maybe Chipotle farther down Old Keene Mill in the K-Mart plaza too.

One place that does have outside seating is closer to Kingstowne. Paradiso is down Franconia Road (Old Keene Mill becomes Franconia after I-395). I've never had the margaritas there, but it has a good Italian-ish menu and outdoor seating.

My favorite Middle Eastern place in all of northern Virginia is down that way, and it has outside seating too. But you won't find a margarita there. Mediterranean Gourmet Market is the name of the place.

Aug 21, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good margaritas in Springfield, VA?

Springfield foodie here. I hate the food at the Austin Grill, but they make a good margarita. Also, in Brookfield Plaza on Backlick Road, there is La Hacienda. Pretty good food and a very ethnic Hispanic crowd with loud Hispanic music at times, and a very good margarita.

Aug 20, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

in dc for a week - what restaurant gems do you recommend?

Be warned -- do not go to Matchbox if you're looking to carry on any sort of conversation with anyone. And wear earplugs too. The place is deafeningly loud.

Aug 20, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help! Lunch in Herndon?

You cannot beat El Manantial, but it's in Reston. Its name is "oasis" in Spanish, and it has to be because it's an oasis in the middle of nothing but Reston chains.

You mention the clocktower, and there's a darned fine Thai place there. Chao Phra Ya is the name, I think. There's also a very good Vietnamese place called Pho 99. But not far from Worldgate is my favorite Italian in the area, Zefferrelli's, and there is not a better veal chop on the planet.

Aug 18, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Food at or near Birchmere

My girlfriend and I go there often. We have tickets for Boz Scaggs in a few weeks, Delbert McClinton in October and BB King in November. Here's the trick.

Get there in good time and go to the bar. Have a few drinks and some chips and salsa, which is so-so. Get a good seat when the doors open and they call your number, which is called in the order in which you checked in at will-call. So it pays to be early. Grab a good seat and order a bottle of wine and a salad. Then go to Del Merei for dinner afterwards....

Aug 18, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

First visit to DC -

One suggestion is to score a ticket for a Nats game, which will be no problem in September, and cruise the food places. Ben's Chili Bowl and few other local holes in the wall are represented. It will also be a good "local" experience for a first-timer.

You might also consider a stroll through Eastern Market for some quality grazing. Not far from Capitol Hill.

You can grab an issue of Washingtonian Magazine's annual Cheap Eats listing, and it may also be on line. You'll find that a lot of good and inexpensive ethnic places are generally in the suburbs....

Aug 17, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good Restaurants in Vienna, Virginia

A little bit bigger at dinner, but I cultivated a relationship with Ocean Joseph, so he overfeeds me whenever I go there.

It's a great romantic atmosphere, and an experience almost out of the '70s with tableside cooking of the likes of steak diane, bananas foster, irish coffee....

Aug 14, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore

Good Restaurants in Vienna, Virginia

There are 16 posts so far in this thread and not one mention of Cafe Renaissance. Get to know Ocean, the chef, and Soraya and Saeed, the owners, and you'll never eat anywhere else in Vienna. Well, almost never....

www.caferenaissance.com

Aug 14, 2008
BigEats in Washington DC & Baltimore