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cuisnatrix's Profile

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Dim Sum

In Montgomery County I also prefer New Fortune, and it's a favorite in the ethnic Chinese community in the area. It's more typical Hong Kong style dim sum with a wide variety of steamed and fried dumplings and other small portions of dishes you might normally order at a meal(roast duck, pan fried noodles, clams in black bean sauce, pan fried green beans). It has the best variety of dumplings and dishes, is large enough that table turnover is pretty fast, and it's the only place I've seen beer carts. Warning, it can be hit and miss because of the size of the dining room and where you sit, some dishes may not be hot when you get them.

A&Js is also excellent, but it's a northern-style dim sum, so the dishes are different. For example, the potstickers are done Beijing-style so they are not crescent shaped small dumplings, but open at either end. There are more noodle dishes and bread-like things, like tsung you bing (aka scallion pancake). Also, you have to order off a menu, and get little help from the servers, so for those who are novices to that style of dim sum, it can be a little challenging. The advantage of New Fortune is that they come around on carts so you can see what you're getting.

Local 16?

Sorry, I should have been more accurate in my first post. The food wasn't my gripe with the restaurant. But since I'd just eaten there, and your post said you hadn't been, I figured I would mention something about the experience with the food, which I hadn't really discussed before. It's no 2 Amys, but the pizzas are not bad. The crusts are puffier/chewier than 2Amys or Sette (not a criticism, just an observation, some people like it that way), the toppings options are pretty standard modern italian fare. The arugula salad was well dressed, and exactly what you'd expect from an arugula salad. The kebab was a disappointment.

To your earlier point, the food was at a quality that (were it not for the management) it would make a totally serviceable neighborhood place, but not one worth going out of your way to try.

Service in DC?

Ok, I'm asking this question knowing that I'm probably opening a can of worms here, but I'm wondering if the service in DC restaurants and bars is deteriorating, or I'm just on a bad run?

I have noticed in a number of DC restaurants and bars it has been tough to get the attention of bartenders or waiters. For some reason, they don't have situational awareness and look around the room. I've noticed that they seem very focused on the task at hand, but it makes it difficult to engage with them if you want to order something, or draw their attention to something, or ask the whereabouts of something you've already ordered. They're always walking with a purpose, but check ins are rare.

It's been at a wide variety of places: Local 16, El Centro, Old Ebbitt, Hamilton, Urbana, Smoke & Barrel... This has not been the case at PS7s, Cashions, and Tabard Inn.

Is it me? Or is it happening to others?

Local 16?

I wouldn't go so far as to call it "serious stuff" the menu is quite limited. A few pizzas, a burger, a roast chicken, and a series of small plates. Hard to screw up a meat and cheese plate. The lamb kebabs were chewy, and mine had hair on it. The pizza was fine, about the same as you'd get at Sette. But even before the incident with the owner's wife, it was very hard to get service. The servers didn't make eye contact, and many tables were waving their arms in the air to get their attention.

Local 16?

Exactly. The issue of our dissatisfaction, and settling the bill was something that needed to be addressed with management, not in a dine and dash situation. At the end of the day, they didn't pay, but it was because we asked them to refund our money, not stiffing our servers. We did feel bad about the waitstaff, who clearly have to work in terrible conditions.

Best cookware for smoothtop electric stove?

I purchased the GE Cafe Series CS980SNSS, and am in love with it. The cooktop has been great, once I figured out the calibration. It tends to run a little hotter than I'm used to. The smooth cooktop has a variety of burner sizes, which has been really great for days when I've got stock simmering while doing other things (boiling water, stove top braising). But the real joy has been the double ovens. The upper oven has a built-in meat thermometer and you can set the oven to cook it until meat reaches the desired temperature, at which point it turns itself off. I made a standing rib roast for new years, roasted at low temperature (200F) and between the convection and the meat thermometer I had perfect medium rare meat from edge to edge in 3.5 hours. What in other ranges would only be a warming drawer is a second oven.

I would highly recommend this model (as consumers reports does), but sadly GE is discontinuing it, so it may be tough to find.

Jan 25, 2012
cuisnatrix in Cookware

Local 16?

Just had an absolutely horrible experience at Local 16, which I used to go to frequently, when they were under different management. I went there with some friends because the place was sponsoring a State of the Union watching party. We got there early so we could get a table and have dinner. We were seated in the dining room, and had a good view of the TV that they'd set up in that room so people could watch. Service was uneven, and the food was fine, but not remarkable. The meal I'd give a "B".

The real problem started when the speech started. A woman at the table across the room from us started talking loudly through the President's speech, making it very difficult for anyone in the dining room to be able to hear what he was saying. She was clearly drunk, and was not talking about the speech, but loudly to her companions, oblivious to the dirty looks that she was getting from all the other tables in the room. Finally, a friend of mine got up and walked over to the table and very politely asked her if she wouldn't mind keeping her voice down so others could enjoy the speech. The woman got very incensed and started complaining that my friend had no right to tell her to be quiet, and that she would get us thrown out of the restaurant. It turns out that she was the wife of the owner.

The owner came over to the table and said that he had heard that we were a bunch of Republican troublemakers, and that that we weren't appreciated. (We weren't Republicans, but what's up with the partisan discrimination?) He wandered away again, and one of the staff came over to ask what the problem was. I explained that we were trying to watch the speech, but the woman was disrupting the room, and we'd politely asked her to be quiet. It was then we were told that she was the owner's wife and there was nothing that they could do about it.

After the speech, they brought us the check, and then as we were getting ready to pay, they came over to my friend and told her that she would have to leave. We said that was unacceptable given what had happened, and that if they were going to throw us out, we were going to insist that they refund our money. Everyone around us was appalled at the way the staff handled the incident, since all were annoyed at how loud the owner's wife was.

If you are going to invite people to come watch State of the Union, and then organize around it, why make it impossible for people to hear. I've never encountered such an imperious reaction from the ownership of an establishment. I will never go back.

Talking to a few others outside the bar, we discovered that the bar had often mischarged customers, run other people's tabs on credit cards, and lost credit cards of patrons.

Very disappointed as Local 16 used to be a DC standby, but it's clearly gone down hill recently.

Local 16
1602 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

Best cookware for smoothtop electric stove?

Thanks for all the advice! I'll avoid the unfinished aluminum. The CI skillet has a small raised logo on the bottom, but otherwise is flat. Hopefully that won't cause a problem. Interesting about the reflective metals.

And also, now a little freaked out about falling condiments that might break the cooktop.

It's a GE Cafe Series, and arrives tomorrow! Hooray!

Nov 29, 2011
cuisnatrix in Cookware

Best cookware for smoothtop electric stove?

I just bought a smoothtop electric range (can't get gas at home, very sad, I know...) to replace my old coil range, but after doing alot of reading on the board, am trying to determine whether I need to replace my cookware as well.

I have a number of pots and pans, but primarily use a Lodge cast iron skillet (non-enameled), a calphalon non-stick small dutch oven, and a le Creuset enameled large dutch oven. I've always been pleased with the quality of the pans on both gas and electric coil, but this smoothtop will be new to me.

For folks who have experience with smoothtop electric ranges, which do they recommend both for quality of cooking, but also for preventing damage to the surface?

Do I need to switch to all enameled cookware, or should I use something else?


Nov 28, 2011
cuisnatrix in Cookware

best brand/model smooth top electric range and (double oven? convection?) oven

Just purchased a GE Cafe Series smoothtop electric range. (Gas wasn't an option :(.) It gets delivered later this week, so I can't give you a review, but it has both convection and a double oven. Also, last weekend it was 50% off the floor model. I've seen elsewhere online that GE has discontinued this model, and so you may be able to find one cheap, if you haven't already bought an oven.

Nov 28, 2011
cuisnatrix in Cookware

Bait and Switch at I Ricchi?

My friends and I just had a terrible experience at I Ricchi.

We came in for Restaurant week, and when we sat down, the waiter never gave us menus, but just started in saying that we were going to get certain courses. It was pitched to us as antipasti, appetizers, and choice of entrees. Given that it's restaurant week, we assumed that this was the restaurant week special. We were never given the option to look at a menu, order a la carte, or told that the restaurant week menu was more limited. The person who had organized the dinner had told the host on more than one occasion that we were coming for restaurant week, but that wasn't noted anywhere, and the staff plead ignorance to the request. In addition, there weren't wines on the menu at less than $100 a bottle. Sadly, the bill came to $240 per person.

The Waiter told us that it was the standard practice at the restauraunt. I have been a number of times before, and I have never not been offered a menu. Our friend who organized the meal said that when she called they asked if it was a special occasion, she said, "yes, it's restaurant week". When we sat down at the table our waiter asked who the hostess was, and when our organizer identified herself, he told her that they wanted to impress our group so that we would come back again.

While we would have been willing to pay more than restaurant week prices, the deceptiveness of the pricing was outrageous. We knew that we would pay more than the restaurant week prices for the wine, and for a party of ten spent more than $600 on wine. The first two courses alone were more than $35 per person, and the main courses turned out to be between $30 and $40 per person, though we didn't know that when we ordered. They brought us vin santo, which we were lead to believe was a gift from the restaurant, but in fact they charged us over $10 a glass for.

I have never spent so much on a meal -- not at Citronelle, not at Elizabeth Daniel or Fifth Floor in San Francisco. And there is no question that the food in no way worth the price. While an enjoyable meal, and competently executed, it wasn't innovative, nor was it amazing. I've had better meals at dozens of restaurants around Washington, and at a quarter of the price.

When we objected to the way the meal had been communicated to us, and complained to the management, they made no attempt at accommodation. Our server was informative, pleasant, and was the only person willing to make amends for the situation.

Is this kind of bait and switch standard at I Ricchi now?