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Kogiya in Annandale

My two cents, the place gets high reviews because it has low priced AYCE with decent service. I don't think their beef is as good as others and when you do AYCE, they try to stuff you lots of the cheap stuff before you get to eat too much of the good stuff. Their rib soup is nice but I think you have an opinion skewed by the twenty-something who are more into value than quality. When they mob websites, it tends to be difficult for the older more seasoned folks to figure out why this highly rated place tastes so so and still need 45 minutes of wait time.

Looking for some 'intereting' food in DC

Rouge 24 may be a nice option. Paul is a nice place for good French bakery. Lukes Lobster roll is nice not ethnic but def. harder to find in Detroit. No real good Chinese in Chinatown in my opinion. Between Noble Fish and Ajishin in Detroit, they have some nicer Japanese than most here in DC.

House of Fortune in McLean soup dumplings

Speaking of House of Fortune, there is one in Germantown MD (most likely no relations) with a secret dining room in the back. It's a Shanghai/Szechuan place popular with the Chinese locals. Tried a few dishes and pretty good. Another alternative to Shanghai Taste. Did not try the XLB but from the looks of things, I bet they are good.

I'm looking for good ramen in the Reston/Herndon area. Anyone have suggestions?

I would have to second Ramen Tanpopo. It's got decent soup base, great noodles, but the portion is deceivingly small. A&J next door is excellent if you like hand made beef noodles, Chinese flavor. Worth the drive IMHO.

Friendship Heights Whole Foods in slight decline?

I have to agree the Whole Foods in Rockville, and River Roard have been on a decline. Seafood in particular has been less and less fresh. We bought some scallops in River Road around the holidays only to have it cook up smelling like amonia that night. They reluctantly gave us a replacement the next day while arguing that they have it coming in every day. Yes, only I bet they won't throw away the ones not sold yesterday. When we got home, it turned out only to be the same and had my kitchen smelled up like ammonia. It felt so wrong throwing away perfectly good looking well cooked but rotten scallops. So I went to Rockville WFM and saw some nicer looking ones the next day, bought this bunch for 2.5 a piece and it was the same ammonia smell when you cut it open. Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating that normal scallops should taste like that, I went to TJs, thawed and cooked up some of their frozen ones and it tasted much better. Gave up on their seafood department. It was on a slow decline, but this is getting ridiculous. Them putting up an attitude and expecting their customer to know nothing (perhaps many are) is unbelievable. Somehow I feel their employees feel they can pull a wool over their customers. We have noticed being overcharged at the register at Rockville, them ringing up the organic stuff when we buy regular, or the expensive bread when we buy the regular stuff. Somehow, you are just supposed to put up for the privilege of going to Whole Paychecks.

Best Bourbon Selection - retail sales?

Unfortunately you are in a high demand area so unless you are one of those folks who got the pattern down, and do this for a living (calling liquor stores the day Buffalo Trace Antique Collection arrives, pretend they are holding the stuff for you, know a lot of people working in stores and go from store to store so you can sell on Craigslist for a markup)you are going to be like the rest of us frustrated about the process. The best thing to do is to ask around who works in a liquor store or owns one. Then buy all your liquors from them and ask them to do you a favor when the stuff comes in. I spent (5+)thousands a year at Montgomery County liquor stores, even bought 400 bucks of Yamazaki at White Flint store to try to get on the waiting list for Parkers which they supposedly had a dozen and no dice on ANYTHING. It's really sad. You don't want to shop at Corridor or chains like Montgomery cause they don't care about you from Joe....unless you know their managers personally and got an inside tip. It's not a transparent or fair process, lots of people from liquor stores sell it under the table for a lot more money. I don't mind paying the hyped up market price for this stuff, but don't know whether it's real or not when it's the craigslist. Yes, I have a bottle of George T Stagg in wrappers unopened bought for 81 dollars because a guy working in a liquor shop owes me a favor, but seriously those things are reserved for favors and never hit the shelf.

My conclusion, yes I like my bourbon but believe the hype has overpriced bourbons above most fine scotch. You can get a Macallan 25 for cheaper than Pappy 23 and much better buying experience. The problem with me is I actually like Pappy 23 better, so decided to pick the best of the 40 regular bottles I have opened, which is Jefferson, can't even find the 18....so sad...

Dim sum recently?

That's the one. I think forgotten by the internet. Always hesitated to try but it's pretty good.

Dim sum recently?

I've been on Chowhound and internet restaurant thing for a while and recently realized that there are a lot of good places that don't get the buzz. My job right now is to find those. One of the places an older colleague of mine pointed to me was Far East restaurant in Rockville. Yes, they are pretty busy and hay day may be a decade or two ago, but want to point out they have decent Cantonese dim sum. I enjoy fresh sweet tofu dessert which they also have. If you have places that are not on the internet buzz (Far East is not even on google when I searched Rockville restaurants), please bring them to light. Thanks.

Where can I find Saba in Northern VA?

I bought some balsalmic vinegar syrup stuff and found it to be mostly grape must. Nice and sweet and I like it. If you try the guy in Bethesda Olive Oil 4 life dot com he might recommend you a balsamic product that is mostly must like my bottle.

JDS Shanghai Famous Food

We went there when it opened up. Here is the problem. Other than the XLB being "okay" the rest was not worth eating. Yes, we left A LOT of food on the table. It's the same problem when we went to "Little Bee" across from Great Wall Rockville. Their bread is nice but the rest doesn't taste the same, even though they look the same. So I advised the quality difference to the Little Bee people and they said that's how it's done in China. I told them they should aspire to be like that in Hong Kong, or at least Chinatown NY...(so to be objective I am not from Hong Kong.) Same problem with Keno Spoon. It takes years and years of training under good chefs and good palate yourself to make a good place. If you are not there, try to improve. Maybe some folks believe they can learn how to cook for a few months, throw some money to open up a fancy thing and just put anything out there as long as it looks the same. Yes, it's somewhat successful cause there is a lot of diners (Chinese or not) that don't know soup from colored water or don't care. Obviously, Chowhounders are in for a disappointment but we are not the ones that are going to make or break their restaurant. If they get a lot of folks that don't care about taste, they will be around for a long time. Then there are a lot of people who know how to cook, or eat that are not ever going to kill themselves opening up one....then there are th few underground cooks in the community in between who you can order really good stuff for pickup at their house....

So far, I would personally put Shanghai taste XLB slightly ahead of Bob's XLB, but they are roughly on the same level. Both are still making mistakes on orders. Then everything else includes A&J for XLB go to the next category. If you find a new place that you think others haven't tried, please make your recommendations on the board. Thanks and that's my two cents.

Montreal Flavor in DC

I'd do anything to get my hands on smoked meats like Schwartz.

Sausage Casings

Whole foods meat department. Bought one for a song...not your typical whole paycheck price.

East Dumpling House Rockville - New Find

Update. It seemed that the ownership may have changed a while back. The food quality has slipped as the place became busier. The okay service got worse. What can I say.... I don't go there anymore. Still, an additional choice for food.

Taiwanese chicken is probably best at Jumbo Jumbo. For authentic taste, tell them to leave out the hot powder. But maybe the hot powder suits the American or Mexican palate.

Any recent experiences at Bob's Noodle 66 (Taiwanese)?

It's been a while since they have moved. We noticed the quality of food is slightly better, but I think subjectively, the sanitation factor definitely a lot better. I used to have *problems after eating at the old Bob's but not a problem in the new one. we go probably weekly. We also checked out Taipei Café and it was good when it opened, except the *problems went over there likely with the chef. Taipei Café have cleaned up a bit, but the food went downhill after about a month.

So overall, I would say that Bob's 66 is still our favorite. They have a whole bunch of new dishes, including lobsters and all which wasn't available. You need to go at busy times when the main chef is there. Dishes could be a bit spotty at off hours. Recently they did this Groupon thing while raising their prices by a lot on some dishes, hope it's only temporary for Groupon or we will be going there less.

Help! Looking for a Rockville restaurant with private room for party of 40

Looking for a restaurant in the Rockville/Bethesda/Gaithersburg area with private room for party of 40 for a business dinner. Would appreciate suggestions. Thanks.

$3000 minimum per couple at Minibar.

I believe the problem is that they never offered us the regular tables when we e-mailed them a request for two. $500 per person is fine if you can get another four to go along. But I think they know we are going to be $1500 per person. If you don't drink wine, you still will have to pay the $3000. Maybe their regular clients are in that private jet category.

$3000 minimum per couple at Minibar.

So, looking at it a different way, the cab ride costs $3000, the cab sits 6 people. If you want to go as a pair, it would be $1500 each, so the only way to lower it down to $500 is to find four others who will pony up $500 each, or you divide it by however many people willing to share the table. Interesting concept. I wish there are "regular tables" for two, but didn't see that on the email. Anyway, this option is out for me. As I recall, Gordon Ramsey in NYC (when it was Michellin 2 stars and ran by Ramsey) were offering chef's table for way more than 6 people (very large table with U shaped bench in the kitchen)for 1800 dollars. I guess things are just way cheaper in NYC.

$3000 minimum per couple at Minibar.

Having unsuccessfully tried to go to Minibar for the last few years (but not really trying too hard), I finally smelled the opportunity after the renovation and tried to book Minibar. We were surprised that it had multiple availabilities. So we took one and looked at the fine print. It's $3000 minimum for a dinner for two at Jose table. Yes, the food can set you back maybe a thousand for two, but there is the site fee which I never knew about. Then if you don't want the wine pairing, the site fee goes up to meet the $3000 minimum. While I understand that Jose is a very successful entrepreneur, and a great chef. Also, there are lots of rich people here thanks to the tax dollars and economy, I am trying to make sense of the minimum or perhaps I should get my eyes/brain checked for the mis-interpretation. I guess if I was starting out, I would make that an interesting challenge and pay the $3000. But having been "around the block" a couple of times and had my share of Michellin and other higher end (or maybe low end compared to this) places, I fail to see the value in that. Can someone familiar with Minibar explain how this works? Is this a new concept that I have somehow missed, having not checked my Chowhound discussions in a while? Thanks.

Izakaya Seki: The very good and the very bad

Stay with the grilled stuff and sushi at Yuzu.

Battle of the Potstickers

If you get to Flushing NY or Chinatown NY, there are potsticker stalls (one in each, Flushing is better), that are out of this world, even when eaten cold. Over here, not too inspiring. I find the frozen ones at supermarket more tasty than most of the restaurants here including China Bistro. GL.

Izakaya Seki: The very good and the very bad

The problem with Seki is that it's in the middle of "busy action" in DC with little competition. It can charge a lot, with slightly better than mediocre food and still be packed to the gills due to its size and popularity with young people. Unless they start going half empty on the weekends, I don't think there is any reason for them to improve. There are a number of other Japanese places in the metro DC area that are Japanese owned. We found Yuzu recently and are quite happy with it.


I think it's opened. (not the one across the pike). Have been there for the Cantonese soup desserts and I would have to say the sweets are pretty superficial and lack the soul it should have. Even the free desserts from Cantonese restaurants in Wheaton taste better. From the desserts, I wouldn't expect the ramen to be any better. Other than the bubble tea, some depth is required of the ramen and Cantonese sweet soups. They are skills that require years of training, and I think the place needs some work, or will remain a teenage hangout and not much more.

Sunday Brunch in Baltimore or between Baltimore and DC

Hope it's not too late. Elkridge Furnace Inn has decent Sunday brunch more like French style. A few places in Columbia are decent like Victoria gastropub..English/American style.

Tons of nice places in Baltimore, WIt and Wisdom for the decor and okay food. The coffee shop next door also in Four Seasons has decent food but Starbucks like setting. Blue Moon Cafe if you can wait the line. Too many to list in Baltimore so do some online research and good luck.

East Dumpling House Rockville - New Find

Having benefitted from the advice of those on Chowhound, I am posting a recommendation on East Dumpling House since no one has reviewed it yet. I got this recommendation from some very critical local foodies and they were proven right. With Bob's XLB not much in service and food, A&J food on a slow slide, Mama's work on the pike having service issues, MW in Travila having too much MSGs, going to Michaels/Joes/66 becomes a boring rotation, this is a refreshing new place aside from the great Shanghai XLB place next to 270. East Dumpling house is situated on Washington Blvd. Their dumpling is okay...per my taste (frozen ones from Wei Chuan are much better if you don't let it burst during cooking). But they have amazing kabobs (lamb and chicken leg comes to mind.) They make their own soy milk and soft tofu. While the sweet soft tofu doesn't compare to those silky ones you find in Cantonese places (I can't find ones making them in MD anymore...help!) the salty tofu is great. Mind you that it's not BIG spicy and salty like Grace Garden or Joes Noodles types, but the flavors are excellent and delicate. They have hand made noodles, again, flavors very delicate and noodles excellent in texture. The small dishes are excellent, the egg plants and the "large cellophane noodles" did it for me. Full of flavors. It's a tiny place and I may regret in posting this, but I figure return a favor and get some activities going on this board. Please let me know what you think.
Anxiously awaiting the new Taipei Café on the pike to open. Doubt it will be Taiwanese Taiwanese but well....

Jackets Required?

As someone who goes to restaurants for the food, not to be seen, I don't wear jackets unless 1. it's required AND 2. a Michellin 3 star. There are plenty of 3 stars I have been to without jacket and no one made a fuss. Went to both Volt chefs table and Prime Rib this week without jacket, enjoyed my meals and treated with respect. If there is a reason you would enjoy the meal more with it, I would wear it. But I generally think as long as you are a good person, not especially sloppy, you should be entitled to enjoy your meal as long as you are reasonably dressed. If you enjoy the formality, dress up. Some of the private clubs in DC should suit you.

Eating expensive tasting menus solo?

Nothing wrong with solo courses. Some of my best meals are solo. Makes you less distracted and enjoy the food for what it is.

East Pearl in Rockville - Report

The pig skin with turnips were the biggest disappointments. I got better ones at NYC roadside stands than East Pearl. Not sure what the hype is about anyway when it opened. The congee however is still decent. It doesn't matter as it's the monopoly Cantonese on the pike. I would drive an extra 10 minutes to Wheaton.

What should I order at Kushi?

Not the sushi, they are not good. Half of the grilled items cause they burn them (some catch on fire while grilling). They will defend their burned food to death as if you don't know anything about Japanese food. I agree on the eggplants, just wipe off half of the miso. Some of the cooked items are okay. Sorry you got the groupon. It might be worth what you paid for the groupon if you are lucky. Definitely don't dream that it will be anywhere close to anything in Japan. A roadside food stall would have them beat any day or night. I personally think Kushi is more for trendy DC kids who want to impress their mates than about food. Used to spend hundreds a week eating there when sushi taro wasn't an option. With their poor food and condescending attitude, not anymore.

Troubles at Woodbury

Who cares as long as it's on the "trendy" top restaurant of Baltimore list, and folks continue to follow the list and go there. Why change if business is still good? Follow the crowd. I find that with many of the "popular" places in Baltimore and am having better food with more established, less trendy choices.

Looking fo Taiwanese ice "Snow"

I am looking for any place in the greater Boston area that sells the Taiwanese ice "Snow." I guess it's called the "Mien Mien ice" with shaved ice made out of condensed milk, not the clear shaved ice with condensed milk drizzled on. I guess these are very popular in California. Any locations in the greater Boston area would be greatly appreciated.

Sep 13, 2012
cfoodie in Greater Boston Area