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brianV's Profile

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Iskender kebab anywhere in DC metro area?

Cafe Divan is not bad, and they call it Iskender as I recall. Won't be as good as in Turkey but credible.
"Iskender" is not copyrighted in Turkey; it's from the name of the original restaurant in Bursa that invented the dish, or at least claimed to invent it. I ate there in the mid-60s; very small place, cooked the doner using charcoal, and had servers circling the table with pans of bubbling butter. Amazing

Cafe Divan
1834 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Non-Canned Sardines in DC?

Black Salt on MacArthur sometimes has them; again, call ahead

Txakolina Wines in DC??

Addy Bassin's on MacArthur has had them, and very good too.

Need help choosing 3 dinners in Dupont Circle area

save up your money and go to Obelisk. Exquisite Italian fresh ingredients. Lots of discussion here. Not open Sunday or I think Monday and you will need a made in advance reservation.

Banh cuon/"vietnamese ravioli"

Let me try again then. I was in Paris this weekend and had them; as wonderful as ever. I hope Banh Cuon Thang Long will compare.

Heritage India - given up

The one issue I have with Rasika is that it is deafening. I only went once and am unlikely to go back because of the noise level.

Grass-Fed Burgers in DC?

Martin's Tavern in Georgetown has buffalo burgers; I assume the buffalo munch on grass. They are quite tasty in any case (in general I'd say this is a place where the food has gotten significantly better in the last year or so)

Heritage India - given up

Second the recommendation. Food is better than Heritage, and substantially less expensive (I took my mother and a co worker there; had apps and main course, with beer, and it came to about $90 including tax and tip). Word is spreading though--seem to be crowded regularly now.

Best Restaurantants for Foodists in Dupont / Logan Circle / Thomas Circle

For some reason it seems generally overlooked, but the Greek place Mourayo, between R and S on CT, is very good in my experience. Very interesting greek wines, rather updated but still quite recognizably greek food--eg the platter of different dips. Not cheap though, although not in the Komi/Obelisk level.

Homey/Family Restaurant for After Funeral

I took my extended family to Bistro d'Oc after my father's Arlington funeral two years ago. Worked very well, we sat in the upstairs room, and all ordered from the regular menu. It was a diverse crowd (small town Texan to east coast urbanites) but the food was enjoyed by all.

suggestion for very nice-- but comfortable restaurant near embassy row -- for group of 12

bistro du coin is, in my experience, loud and mediocre; on Connecticut I'd suggest Mourayuo (very credible Greek with nice Greek unusual wine list). For French Bistro I prefer Bistro d'Oc on 9th or 10th (can never remember).

suggestion for very nice-- but comfortable restaurant near embassy row -- for group of 12

where are exactly are you going to be? many hotels claim to be on embassy row when they are not (the real embassy row has almost no hotels other than the hilton and the fairfax) and there are essentially no restaurants at all. The closest restaurant strip is P Street, with Obelisk etc (not suitable for 12)

Good asian in Paris tonight?

I hesitate to chime in, since I have never been anything but a tourist, but I think Le Palanquin, on the hard to find Rue de la Princesses in 6ieme, near the Rue Danton metro stop, and the marche st germain, is to my mind one of the very best vietnamese restaurants I have been to anywhere. In a very french, mediaeval cellar stone arched sort of bulding with very friendly staff. Have the raviolis vietnamiennes; other things are good too

Oct 02, 2009
brianV in France

Where can I buy Muscovy duck breasts?

Dean and Deluca has them sometimes; still expensive. I always used to buy mine at Sutton Place--since it's closed I am also curious about other suppliers. For some reason Whole Foods doesn't seem to carry them


I can't tell if you are in DC or Baltimore, but if in DC, Addy Bassin's/MacArthur Liquors has had it in the past (I bought a couple of cases there last year).

Washington DC for Thanksgiving

These are good suggestions; 1789 is, I think, especially strong, given both the quality of the food and the atmosphere. That said, Thanksgiving should be eaten at home, not in a restaurant. If you have any American friends, you are better off (and it would be more traditonal) to eat T'giving with them. When my family was overseas it was our custom to invite any "orphans' to join us, and we would often have 25 to 30 people. I suspect you would also be more than welcome at the home of any American friends.

Best Italian in DC/NoVA

I was there last week--prix fixe was $75. The wine list is excellent but there isn't much below $60. Our bill also came to about $300 for two. There is no website. The menu changes daily, although there are dishes that repeat. You are served a several small antipasti (always including a generous serving of burrata, often a small tomato or other salad, fish, stuffed squash or arancini, etc); a pasta or soup, a main course, cheese course and dessert.
You should be able to get a table now for around Labor Day. They are closed Sunday and Monday.

Best Italian in DC/NoVA

Hate to add to the chorus, but....Obelisk. Reserve in advance as the place is very small.

inexpensive and fun restaurant in Northwest DC - near 15th and F

What counts as inexpensive? Bistro d'Oc is good, on 10th, across from Ford's Theatre. Good solid French food, and they have a pre theatre special.
Perhaps a bit more expensive, but you can sit outside, is Cafe du Parc next to the Willard. If you order drinks and one dish, shouldn't be that bad. Outside area is lovely.

Restaurant with good seafood and outdoor dining?

I second the recommendation of Sea Catch. The open air tables next to the canal are the loveliest outdoor dining spot in the city. The food is not the best seafood in town (I prefer Black Salt) but it's perfectly decent.

Mayur Kebab House?

I too had often passed it, and finally tried it. Perfectly ordinary, and only worth it if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

I love artichokes

I've been buying the boxes of baby artichokes at Whole Foods (the Glover Park one in my case). Nice flavor, and easy to clean.

1st Anniversary - need knock out restaurant in DC

Komi is exceptional--I had my first meal there last night. 3 hours of small dishes, some truly exquisite (tiny pieces of raw seafood, accented with wasabi or a sliver of olive; Ferran Adria style deconstructed bites, and so forth). Ending in wonderful roast goat and suckling pig. Unusual and excellent wines from Greece and elsewhere.
And a way more food to think and talk about then to eat regularly. I do almost all my birthdays at Obelisk, and I still think on balance I would pick it over Komi; not molecular, not cutting edge, but superb ingredients perfectly cooked. More in the Chez Panisse spirt than El Bulli

Turkish Restaurants in DC or NOVA

All the ones listed are decent, but nothing like what you will have in Turkey. I'd add, by the way, Cafe Divan on Wisconsin Avenue, just north of Georgetown. All Turkish restaurants here focus on meat and kebab dishes, which in Turkey is actually a special category of restaurant. The best restaurants in Istanbul are fish restaurants, with copious mezes (appetizers) beforehand. There is no equivalent here, in part because we don't have access to the quality of fish they have in Istanbul (although fish is now scarce and expensive there, as here).
You will also find the kebabs and other meat dishes better there than here, but a little experimentation here won't hurt; the food will be recognizable.
My recollection is that a search of the Turkey/Greece page here will produce pretty good recommendations. I'd be happy to provide some as well if you are interested.

Nam Viet/Pho 79 on Connecticut Ave

I live nearby and eat there fairly often. The problem is that it's variable--I've had the soups somedays when they're great, and others when they are dishwater. The other dishes do tend to be more reliable--the spring rolls are quite good, the scallop appetizer usually good, the caramel chicken good.

Foodie daughter turning 21 and we're celebrating in Washington

Obelisk is very accomodating to dietary requests if you call ahead. I took one of my interns and his family there for his Georgetown graduation; the family is Jewish, of various degrees of religious-ness, and we tailored the menu (no pork or shellfish) to them and had no problem. Plus there are choices for each course in any case, so there is always some meat, and some non shell fish fish.
It is my favorite restaurant in Washington, superb food and a warm atmosphere. You'll feel like you're eating dinner in someone's home, who just happens to be a much better cook than anyone you know.

Banh cuon/"vietnamese ravioli"

no, I 've had the chinese ones often, and these are similar but different. The filling is much as commenter "bluepig1" describes, or in the recipe (which sounds yummy) cited by alkapal from an old chowhound thread (which also btw sounds like those described at the eden center, where you make the crepes and then fill and serve).
The french ones are steamed like the chinese dim sum shrimp dumplings, but the filling is more complex, and the wrapping is much thinner and more tender. So delicate in fact that when picked up with chopsticks they have a disttessing tendency to break apart.
All the versions are related I suspect, but not the same as the "raviolis vietnamiennes".

Banh cuon/"vietnamese ravioli"

Thanks for all the input; the examples (at least the ones on wikipedia) seem a bit different from the ones I've had in Paris, which are filled and then steamed and served in the steamer basket. I will try to get out to Eden Center to check out the ones there, although again those sound more like the filled rice crepes I've had here in the DC area (not that I have anything against those!)

Banh cuon/"vietnamese ravioli"

that's one of the ones I found, yes. Here is another, which looks a bit more like the ones I had in Paris:
here's the website from the place in Paris, and they do call them banh cuon:
other recipes just call for "ravioli leaves" (bought). the wrapping in Paris tasted like a very tender, very thin rice crepe

Banh cuon/"vietnamese ravioli"

These (at least at the place I go in Paris ,Le Palanquin, which is near the Blvd St Germain in the 6th, and I highly recommend) are very sheer tender rice crepes surrounding a filling, and then steamed, served with the usual dipping sauce we get here with spring rolls. They seem to be popular in France, since when I googled "raviolis vietnamiennes" I got lots of hits, with recipes and pics, all of which seemed the right thing.