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REVIEW: Mehran (aka "House of Kabob") (Foggy Bottom)

Location is on Pennsylvania AVE NW, on south side of the street, just east of Foggy bottom metro. It's across from the international bank.

New Kazakh Restaurant in Arlington

I went myself and the place has been open only four weeks. In response to the (two posts above) poster, basically I think your review is inaccurate. I am going to visit again before I give my review. But first of all, the menu they have isn't confusing, it's 100% normal. I didn't see any 'hot dog' item on the menu, and doubt they have it. It's mostly a slightly modified form of Russian cuisine. For dinner I saw a lot of red meat entrees, such as Stuffed Peppers. Pastries were fresh, there was no saran wrap on any cake or pie. The napoleon they have is not a regular french style one, but their own version. I'm holding off on judgement of the place but your review was too negative based on what I've seen so far.

Chicken Fight: Super Pollo (Ballston) vs. El Pollo Rico (VA Square)

Super Pollo, next to Ballston Commons, the mall. Peruvian style chicken, rottisserie over coals. Whatever they do, it is so good, and the spices and equipment, and technique used to cook the chicken and the Yucca on the side is beyond my home kitchen's fantasies. I wanted to post something positive on here: Super Pollo is simply the best chicken I've ever had, of all time.

The green salsa is also divine -- whatever it's name is -- and the fried Yucca sides are as good, the best Yucca i've ever had as well. The chickpeas were good but very spicy; the patrons here seem to be mostly hispanophones.

It's good folks, good. As good as it gets. You can't do it at home.

El Pollo Rico: The word on the street is that EPR has better chicken by far, but has terrible sides. As far as the chicken, they are similar, but Super Pollo seemed just as good, if not better. The sides here suck pretty bad -- french fries? GRINGOS! The restaurant building itself was almost empty, cramped, dark, the opposite of the fiesta - like Super pollo. Skip it.

Kostas's [Generic] Greek Deli (Dupont)

So I went to one of the famous "line" eateries, where there is always a line, and you are lucky just to be in it waiting. This one is the greek deli at Dupont. It's so popular Kostas doesn't even need to give it a specific name, or provide any seating.

How good was it? It's good -- but realistically I think some have overrated it. It's quality, and the bread is baked fresh on the premises each morning. While I love this place, i would warn others that this is more of a case of an very good eatery that is relatively affordable, as opposed to a *great* experience. It has a peasant style feel to the food, each order an abundant amount that is sort of slopped together in the same tray.

The Gyro platter was a regular gyro with the usual green beans and a pasta orzo like side. The green beans and pasta had a similar taste and were very olive-oily and probably buttery. The gyro's bread was freshly baked and therefore a cut above most, but the actual sandwitch wasn't THAT much better than others I've had.

Still, overall, based on the relatively low price ($9-10), and portions, this is a good lunch extravaganza. Just not the 'best ever' that some reviews have hyped it up to be.

REVIEW: Mehran (aka "House of Kabob") (Foggy Bottom)

Mehran Restaurant, Pakistani-style. Tried lunch buffet. It's a best buy-- only $8 total (tax included) for a decent buffet of Pakistani style food, this in DC proper. (I am told it differs from Indian by virtue of slightly less sweet sauces.) Naan is fresh and good, always hot, although they keep it in the tandoor a bit too long and the outside is a bit burnt. The best is their vegetable, which tye make well. One problem that keeps this from being too good: They kept the tandoori chicken under a plastic cover, so that the steam make the outside soggy when you finally take one out.

Good for the price

Yanni's (Cleveland Park) Review -- CENSORED?

I posted a review of Yanni's Greek taverna in Cleveland Park, but it seems to have been censored.

It's my belief that bad restaurant experiences need to be shared so that there is a reward and punishment system for good and bad places.

To give me my 'censored' take once more, and hope the owners aren't moderating this site: Tzatsiki sauce was incredibly good, thick and creamy, but the actual beef souvlaki was coronary-clogging greasy and seems to have been pan fried in its own fat. Room very small. Bread mediocre. Would not return.

Review: Afghan Kabob (Arlington Courthouse)

Just opened Afghan Kabob restaurant across the street from Courthouse metro station. Like a well balanced combination of Indian and Near Eastern cuisine, as you would have geographically expected. Lamb Kabob ($9.99 for combo) comes in both grilled and oven -baked choices. Green 'mint chutney' like sauce with it was Indian; but kabob was pure near eastern. Cooked fully but not burnt, as some other places. Four choices of rice including Spinach and raisin pilaf. Overall high quality, fresh, large portions. Only complaints are that the bread gets soggy due to putting it on the bottom of the meat, and the owner drowned the salad with good-but-not-so-good-i-would-drink-it-plain "fake caesar" italian dressing.

Return-worthy experience.

Review: Urbana (Dupont)

Took a trip down urbana way. Atmosphere is nice. The menu itself was surprisingly and (good) original. Trouble begins with the food. Bread looked good but had no distinctive flavor, nor anything but butter with it.

'French' Onion Soup had a puff pastry cover as its gimmick, but the pastry tasted brunt and hard, perhaps from being overcooked. It's the cheese, not the bread, that is supposed to be broiled. "Greens" organic Salad looked healthy but had no oil in its dressing, nor any vinegar; instead it was just salty. Inedible, I sent it back.

Pizza Fungi was ok -- fresh mozzarella, banana peppers, both great ideas as they are, nonetheless couldn't change the extremely bland pizza. The sauce itself was probably the weakness -- tasted 'ragu' like and unfresh.

Desserts were extremely sweet chocolate chip cookies. Coffee was 50's road cafe style, drip machined, strong, mediocre.

Overall, not sure why Urbana has such a gourmet reputation. The service, though, was quick and polite.

The Claim Jumper, are all chains like this???

Everytime I"ve went i was satisfied -- they know how to grill a steak and roast a rib rack. The other things, like anything besides meat, is not so good, although in excess portion. As far as I am concerned, their beef ribs are the best I've ever had. Expensive though, and you have to wait.

Feb 21, 2009
scrambledeggs in Chains

Scrambled Eggs goes to Fog-Bot (Foggy Bottom/GW Area)

Panda Cafe: It looks from a distance to be the usual Americanized fake-Chinese. It is relatively authentic compared to that though--everyone in there was actually chinese except for me. Good considering the price ($5.50-$6.50) for lunch specials. Also saw peking duck for $12.95. Fried rice served was littered with the bought-frozen tiny cubed carrots and peas. Tasted like a good chinese Deli -- not freshly made (obviously) but good for what it is. For the price and location, I declare it excellent. Not gourmet of course, but it seems the cheaper places are better in the DC & beltway area.

Scrambled Eggs goes to Fog-Bot (Foggy Bottom/GW Area)

"House of Kabob" for buffet: Good taste, actually indian and not near-eastern, but anyway sloppy styrophome plates that mixed up the various items -- cramped quarters, but overall cheap. Nan was burnt; they were almost out of the lamb kabob and we had to get the (much cheaper to purchase for the restaurant) chicken. Still good.

"Sangam" at Geo.Wash. University J-Street Cafeteria: Very good for the price, and no sloppy factor like the house of Kabob. Nan was a bit soggy due to being placed in closed box when ordered (?).

TGI Fridays: Normally I never go to chains, but what the hell, it was good mediocrity, and cheaper than I expected, since Friday's usually jacks up the price for their big city restaurants even more. Tried the 'sliders' (small sandwiches).

OK boys gimme some lunch recs for the area, especially near the GW campus.

Scrambledeggs takes it to da DC proper (Zed's Ethopian)

Ok -- having bashed Alexandria's overrated tourist traps of mediocrity, I've decided to move on and take the trip to the Federal District proper. Starting with Zed's Ethiopian in Georgetown. Am I happy compared to Alexandria? Partially, but I take some of the blame this time.

I never had Ethiopian before so I had nothing much to compare it to. I tried the Cheese appetizer, and the Beef in Berbere spiced sauce for entree.

I was not as happy as I thought i would be -- partly because of my mistakes. My first mistake was assuming that the lunch prices would apply because it was lunch time. Oops. No, the dinner menu was forced on me because it was the weekend. Same dish, but 50% more expensive. Hmmm.

Next, I ordered the appetizer -- the cheese was simply to me a sort of bad tasting egg salad thing, and it didn't go with the injera bread. I normally have a high tolerance for cheese and like it in general, but this was too much. Bland and bad tasting at the same time. I couldn't finish it despite my reluctance to waste the $8 starter. Later the waitress told me she thought I was an expert at this because beginners don't
order it normally.

The maincourse was good -- the beef spice was perfect, as I'd expect. The berbere spice mixture is the only thing Ethiopian I've made in the kitchen, and this was as good as ever. The beef was good, not the most tender as you might expect, but acceptable. The braising should have tenderized it more. But in any case, good enough. The only thing I didn't like was the traditional bread, injera, as I am so used to western style that it was a bit of a shock. I just don't like its texture or coldish taste. Nevertheless, the spiced maize side was good, and overall the portion of meat was gigantic, especially considering the restaurant isn't that expensive (relatively speaking).

Having too much culture shock for the day, I decided to call it quits and take dessert elsewhere.

Good, but not my style. I think I need more exposure to the cuisine to appreciate it. I will withhold any conclusions of the overall area until further reviews.

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

Pita House: (407 Cameron St) Beef Schwarma Entree for Lunch. Ok, finally Alexandria has approached edible level. However after the previous disasters, anything mediocre would be an improvement.

It was good -- but expensive for it. The beef was spiced very well, just as I would have liked, although it was a bit dry .Too dry for me. The bread was adequate, but had that "take out of the oven a few minutes too soon" white pasty look to it that cheap restaurants seem to like. Brown the bread, dude, it just needs five minutes more. If I wanted wonder bread I'd go to the bakery thrift store. Rice was white and barely seasoned, although it had this good texture to it by the addition of something else I couldn't identify.

This was the near eastern version of say, Daphne's Greek Cafe chain, only about 50% more expensive. Not sure if everything in NoVa is this expensive, but I'm not sure it was worth it.

Gave me the feeling of a midlevel place that office workers go to because they work nearby and want 'ethnic', not a true ethnic eatery.

Overall, it was ok . . . considering the price I probably might not return.

BUMBLEFISH Update: Went back to Bumblefish for the Tart Fro-Yo again, this time the machine was working, but again, out apparently every topping except granola. Not the best run place, but damn, i LOVE the tart!

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

OK, I have your new recs written down. No doubt they will be an improvement,but at this point, NOTHING could be worse. I've been to expensive and bad, the worst combination, so anything at this point is likely an improvement. Anyway at this point a lot of my gourmet budget is gone (wasted).

It also is a bad sign if half the restaurants are inedible. In fact, so bad, that I am double-thinking about living in Alexandria. I first saw old town and though "OMG this place is fantastic! Finally I have real restaurants!" And . . .ick . . .

Oh yeah-- update on Bumblefish. Went back the next day for more Tart Fro-Yo, machine was broken. Great.

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

I did get the recommendations from here:

"There's also Bastille at the north end of Royal. I had a very good dinner there recently and am looking forward to going back."

"For French, instead of Le Gaulois, I would recommend Bastille. The food's definitely French bistro-ish, it’s very good, and the atmosphere, to me, seems perfect for a first date."

"Went for the first time last night and had a very pleasant evening."

Although now that I search I found this older one

But still, I got the rec from here. Weak dudes, weak. My faith in chowhound is broken.

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

So far every place in NoVA i've been to sucks -- and I got the rec's from here, old thread or not. I checked the prices at Eve, it is astronomically high. Is it necessary to spend over $100 a person to have a gourmet experience? I might try one place more before I take the show to the Pentagon City mall's food court.

In fact NoVA is so bad thus far that I am going to do what I have never done before -- return the next meal that fails to meet my standard. And as a rule I hate returning things. But this is enough. Call the cops, whatever you want -- I'm not paying for any more white trash level food at a white tablecloth establishment. God damn I hate the south. Why is every restaurant in a former slave state subpar? Do these people not have taste?

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

Update: Went to "Bastille Restaurant", Alexandria 1201 N Royal St. Another disappointment. The atmosphere was great -- as was the presentation and plating of the food. Haute. Gourmet. But the actual food was another thing. My request for a lemon was acknowledged and then ignored. The Prix Fixe's salad, Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato, was ok. But the hangar steak was a disaster. Burnt on the outside, way too chewy and tough on the inside. The side was a giant mound of pomme frites, a sign of a much lower level bistro, and not the fine dining aura that Bastille was supposed to be. The "gourmet ketchup" like thin sauce for the fries was also bland. The entire mean was in fact bland; it all looked perfect but tasted weak. Not salt shaker in sight.

Dessert of Peach Tartin (a minature version) was the highlight of the dinner, although the bottom pastry tasted a bit tough. I wonder if their 'pastry chef' hand rolled that puff pastry . . . My puppy who accompanied me in the outside table ate most of the steak anyway. She loved it. I didn't. Another tourist trap hiding good cuisine? Or does Alexandria suck for dinner? Not happy. Stopped by trader joe's on the way home to supplement the overpriced 'bistro'.

This town's dining seems like touristy concentration on the dining room and the appearance, and almost nothing on actual cuisine.

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

Yes I meant Cretekou -- food was deli quality, like they made giant portions and just keep it under heatlamps. Not up to restaurant standard.

I'm not done with my tour, the first post was just the beginning.

Oh yeah, I did go to Lebanese Taverna in Tyson's a few months ago on vacation, and it was FANTASTIC. I think they overexpanded.

I did in fact get these recommendations from the board--by searching past messages of "where should I dine out in Alexandria Old Town", etc.

Scrambledeggs' Culinary Travails in Alexandria, VA & Environs

Well I use this board to find recommendations, so I thought that I would share my experiences from my current trip to the DC Beltway (starting specifically the Alexandria Area and up the line to the Pentagon). To my surprise, the recommendations I've gotten from here haven't quite met my expectations.

Lebanese Taverna (Pentagon Row) -- Horrible service, only time in my life the waitstaff didn't ask me if i wanted a drink or appetizer, or dessert. I had to initiate all such requests. While the food was good, it was not as good as the white tablecloth or prices would have made me think it would be. More like a good immigrant run foodstand. Waitress also brought me their bread without the dipping oil, which again I had to specifically request. No refills. Maitre D pointed me to a bad table squeezed between two loudmouth parties (I was alone), again I had to request a much better spot still within the same area. BAD.

Tavernak Greek (Old Town) -- Garden was nice. But my order of the "special", portions of their main four entrees ($16) was a shock in a bad way. Tasted like a good whole foods like deli, well made but sitting under heat lamps for awhile. They brought it all out within 10 minutes, and there is no way they could have made fresh spanikopita that quickly. I can taste the lack of freshness. Lazy, cheap cookery, hiding behind ethnically authentic owners and white tablecloths. Avoid.

Bumblefish (Old Town) -- Went for 'Tart Frozen Yogurt'. Never had it before. They couldn't speak English well, eventually the manager (who still had a thick accent) came to the rescue to answer my question that they were out of the fruit toppings. Oh well--but you have granola? Yippee. To my surprise, even the untopped Tart Fro-Yo was fantastic, finally something for dessert that isn't childishly sweet. Loved it.

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub (Old Town): Ordered Corn beef and cabbage, knowing by experience that simple places make simple things better. A bit unseasoned and bland; Carrots look like they were frozen and then steamed? Desperate for seasoning, I had to request the old salt & pepper shakers, a sign of lackadaisical kitchen work on their part. Despite this it still wasn't bad considering it was cheap. Ok.