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$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.

Jan 14, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

$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.

Jan 12, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

$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.

Jan 12, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Izakaya Seki: The very good and the very bad

Stay with the grilled stuff and sushi at Yuzu.

Jan 12, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Jan 12, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

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.

Jan 05, 2014
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ramen

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.

Dec 23, 2013
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Oct 13, 2013
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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....

Aug 09, 2013
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Dec 17, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Dec 07, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Oct 02, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Oct 02, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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.

Oct 02, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

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

College Students Looking to Branch Out

I have to agree with you I have not been impressed with the Baltimore scene. Charleston is like Marcels. Nice decor but food okay. Across the street cinghiale did not measure up at all. Petit Louie is a waste of stomach. Woodberry kitchen is intersting for a couple of meals then the vinegar, weird spice and smoked taste tend to repeat itself but I would say it's the better one. I have been impressed by the heavy flavor at sotto sopra and it won't break your bank like Trat Alberto. But only been there once. Salt is intersting but I don't think it's there yet. One place I've been impressed is Pabu, which measures up foodwise early on but I like Japanese, and make sure you do bring your wallet. Don't waste time next door at Wit & Wisdom. Second, I think you hit right on the mark, the places people tend to recommend are the trendy places on the Baltimore mag hit list. I am starting to explore ones lower down on the list as they prob are as good, and still good enough to survive the competition from the new trendy places. Any suggestions from anyone on the non-list topper places...Thanks.

Sep 12, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cheap Lobster- Where?

I do agree on the lobsters at this time of the year. I had everything from 1 1/2 to 4 pounds and most I have tried are hollow... like 80% water. So I think this may be typical for this time of the year, I would probably order grade A+ lobsters via mail. Or else check the shell and make sure they are hard before you buy.

Sep 05, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

It's herring season! Any in Baltimore or DC?

You don't have to go to NYC. I called up "Russ and Daughtors" in NYC (just google) and they said they have them in stock year round and will ship overnight. A tray of 10 is 40 dollars. Unfortunately it's close to the weekend so I will be ordering a couple next week and updating the board. Too bad they don't have smoked eels... Anyone know where to get the Dutch style smoked eels?

Aug 24, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

It's herring season! Any in Baltimore or DC?

That's worth going to NYC for. If anyone can find them here around DC, I'd go there today and buy a dozen. The problem is the Grand Central oyster bar is not that good or clean. But for a taste of herring without going to Amsterdam, risking a few days worth of illness may be worth it.

Aug 23, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Where to buy alcholoic ginger beer?

LGood and lalajane, thank you for the information. I will check them out. I also found Hitachino ginger beer in Pabu restaurant at four seasons Baltimore, which is also sold in Japanese retail. Interesting to try out the regular vs. Japanese versions.

Jul 21, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

This is very simple. Chinese restaurants are afraid of losing money and getting bad rep/in trouble by righteous American customers complaining that the authentic "Chinese" dish is "Bad" because it doesn't taste like the usual American garbage they are used to. Then you put a menu with pig intestine, coagulated blood on it, and you get not only disgusted looks and comments, even people giving you problems about your restaurant being dirty and disgusting, inhumane and all. It's not everyone, but it takes only a dumb teenager to make your day hell. Growing up Asian, I am sick of seeing this attitude that "the white way is the right way" as people go around criticizing others without self examination. This accusation that the Chinese restaurants are somehow doing something wrong by hiding the menu is the same garbage I see. As a business, I don't want to serve customers who may want to try something, but then deny accountability by demanding the dish be returned and money back cause they ordered the wrong thing. I don't want people who don't know to criticize me because they don't understand the dishes. Simple as that. As a child I was made fun of by dumbazz non-Asians for chowing down seaweed snacks as disgusting and told to go back to my country. Even though I don't think those kids ever made it to where they can actually afford a good Japanese restaurant, there are plenty of adults out there like it. So don't blame the Chinese for hiding the menu. Until this country is fully accepting of other cultures...probably never... it will keep on happening. Point the finger to yourselves sometimes.

Jul 20, 2012
cfoodie in General Topics

Wegman's-Columbia

This is the only place to get Jamon Iberco Bellota around the neighborhood. However, after the buying the jamon during opening phase, the second trip found no one at the Deli counter willing to slice the Iberco. Today, I went and some guy took the Iberco and "chopped" me two thick slices that weighed 1/3 of pound even though I asked for paper thin. At least they were willing to slice it, but the thick slice ruined it for me. It tastes disgusting. The Columbia store I think has lots of work to do.

Jul 17, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tamago

I think most people do a decent job in tamago. I recall sushi Taro does the best. Just had them at Tachibana last week and it's standard. The rest of the sushi there was great. Kotobuki also has standard ones if you want cheap. I wouldn't go to Kushi for anything other than being entertained by the grill...and maybe watch them put out meat skewers that caught on fire for not paying attention. The manager will stand by their charred food and insist that the charcoaled stuff is done "right" until you threaten to post the picture on the web. Sushi at Kushi IMHO is for people who want to look cool, but don't know about sushi.

Jun 26, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Komi...a huge disappointment...just saying

I also feel that the food may be trendy/weird at Komi, giving the diners a avangard feel. But overall it was an okay meal regardless of pricel. Some of the stuff like forcing two peple to share one plate is plain arrogant or uncool. They tried to duplicate Asian stewed pork belly. For someone eating it all of my life, it's pretty bad. For someone who don't care about Asian foods unless they are in a posh place, it's wow, innovative. So really depends on your perspective.

Jun 20, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Lobster sale

If you are buying more than one, I suggest you go to Supergrand in Laurel or H mart in north Silver Spring. The prices are excellent. I am used to not paying more than single digit per pound for my weekly lobster.

Jun 02, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Smoked eels?

Thanks. I will give them a try.

May 10, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Smoked eels?

I had some fond memories eating smoked eels and raw herrings while traveling in Netherlands. Can anyone comment on where to get some of those smoked eels in the metro DC area? I have given up the possibility of raw (non-marinated) herrings but if you are getting it please share how. Thank you.

CFoodie

May 08, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Corridor Wine & Spirits or DC wine shop

They are right next to 295, a decent selection of wines/beer/liquor from low end to Chateau Lafite. Don't know how much cheaper alcohol is in DC due to taxes.

May 06, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dim Sum

It really depends on your palate. I enjoy lightly flavored food as they can't cover up the unfresh meats and others. Unfortunately I am very sensitive to unfresh foods, and most of the listed dim sum places are out for me. The heavy flavoring means hours of thirst (due to salt) and other problems for me. Silver Fountain was a good choice for me but the place is so full that I can't afford spending an hour or more waiting. Went to Asian Delight on Lockwood Dr in White Oak. It's a nicely decorated place, has decent dim sum, freshly steamed noodles and excellent soft tofu dessert. Excellent roasted meats. The service is excellent, none of the rudeness you usually encounter in a Dim Sum place. The price is very reasonable. The rest of the menu is extensive and excellent. Only drawback is the congee has no soup base. Otherwise it's the cheap Cantonese food joint with Americanized service and very little wait. I will be heading out there again now, third time in week and half.

Apr 22, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore

Turtles and Bullfrogs and Eels . . . oh, my

It's not about right or wrong. People have been eating what they can find, that's edible for as long as we are around. The laws don't have to be changed to "reflect the modern advances in aquaculture." The agents could have investigated and asked for receipts, and maybe go to the farms to check them out for themselves. I am glad to be among those who are open minded about their food, and live in Maryland.

Apr 22, 2012
cfoodie in Washington DC & Baltimore