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Gregory A's Profile

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Rehoboth report

My bride and I (along with our 4- and 1-year-old daughters) just returned from our twice-yearly three-day-weekend at Rehoboth Beach with another couple and their almost-4-year-old daughter. Here's our humble report on a couple of local places.

The Back Porch: A number of folks steered us here. The menu had us enthused, but the execution and the attitude left us cold. You're greeted with a sign on the door that tells you the rules, including which credit cards they don't accept (no American Express), and the menu warns that the chef does not allow substitutions. They take this to its extreme. A request for some plain pasta for the little girls? No, came the response -- despite the fact that pasta was offered in several dishes on the menu. But we could order a side order of a timbale of rice for five bucks. Some prosciutto? No again, despite its presence on several dishes on the menu. (I began to think that everything was pre-packaged in a boil-in bag. Their flexibility was about the same as you'd find on an airplane's food service.) The server was completely unapologetic about that inflexibility (or the fact that they had no highchairs -- obviously, they were doing their most to be child-inhospitable.

Service like this drives me nuts. But the execution of the food we were served matched the service. The duck confit and duck breast was grey, and the breast had no sear on it, leaving the "rare" breast almost impossible to cut even with a steak knife. Prosciutto-wrapped pork loin had no flavor but the salt from the ham, and the pork was overcooked and dry. The starters -- burrata with a cured meat and pickled grapes, and a prosciutto-and-greens salad -- were the most interesting, yet even they had a "thrown together" quality to them. Especially at the Back Porch's price point, I can't imagine spending my money or time there again.

Rehoboth was redeemed the next night by Salt Air. Not only were they incredibly kid-friendly (coloring, highchairs, even books to read to antsy youngsters), but they succeeded with humility where The Back Porch only aspired with arrogance. The local pork chop was amazing -- from a rare breed raised locally with incredible flavor and marbling, to the side dishes of creamy grits, sugar and salt-cured cucumbers, wild mushrooms, succotash, and beets with charred red onions. The only false note was a too-sweet Sangria with stonefruit. THIS is a place we'll gladly spend our time and money at, and praise to as many people as we can (even at risk of having difficulty getting a table when we're back).

Back Porch Cafe
59 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Sep 06, 2010
Gregory A in Mid-Atlantic

New Ray's the Steaks open for business

The old space has signs in the window today indicating that it's going to become a "Ray's the [something-or-another]," but clearly indicating that it's going to be a fish nd seafood joint. Good for them.

Indian City Grill -- from some of the old Connaught Place crew

My wife and I -- former Fairfax City residents and longtime patrons of the late, lamented Connaught Place -- visited the new Indian City Grill last Saturday. Like Rangoli in South Riding (also opened by "alumni" of Connaught Place), Indian City Grill is excellent and evocative of our long-ago favorite. My wife had the butter chicken; I had the vegetarian thali. Both were superb. With wine, we were out for under $50 with tip. Service was the usual superb effort that we came to expect from CP. We need more places like this, and we want ICG to survive and thrive, so 'Hounds, get out to an otherwise nondescript strip mall on Main Street in Fairfax City (just west of where China Star is). You'll be glad you did.

Indian City Grill Bar & Restaurant
9984 Main St, Fairfax, VA

Indian City Grill in Fairfax

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I got a flyer in the mail, and an e-mail, announcing the arrival of Indian City Grill in Fairfax, Virginia. I wouldn't have given it a second look, except that it proclaimed that the managers and chef have their roots at the late, lamented Connaught Place in Fairfax City (which we miss desperately). Has anyone tried it yet?

Indian City Grill Bar & Restaurant
9984 Main St, Fairfax, VA

Pulled Pork?

I was a fan of Red Hot & Blue -- still am -- but my affection for their pulled pork has been replaced. Now, I go to the Whole Foods Market in Fairfax to satisfy any BBQ jones that I have. Go to the smoker counter at the back of the store and ask for a pound (or 17) of pulled pork, and they pull a pork butt out and pull it in front of you. And for you beef lovers: Though I'm not usually a fan of pre-sauced BBQ, the chopped brisket in sauce is addictive.

Whole Foods Market
Fairfax, VA, Fairfax, VA

Recs for Indian food in NOVA/DC?

BIG second for Rangoli in South Riding. My bride and I were there last Friday, and besides the food being top-notch, the service was phenomenal. We drive 25 minutes from the middle of Fairfax County to go here rather than any of the other places much nearer to us.

Where to find Lillet in DC Metro area? (moved from Wine)

I've never had any trouble finding it at the Total Wine stores in Virginia. I've always got a bottle of the blanc and a bottle of the rouge in my refrigerator.

If you liked Connaught Place in Fairfax . . .

You'll really like Rangoli in South Riding. From our home in central Fairfax County, it was about a 20-minute drive out Route 50, just a couple of miles past the Dulles Toll Road. It's manned up front by Sam Santosh, who was the always-genial host in the front of the house at Connaught Place.

I had the vegetarian thali, which isn't listed on the online menu, but it was Palak Paneer, Baingan Bharta, and Aloo Ghobi (all of which I enjoyed at Connaught Place, and all of which was the same familiar flavor), along with Naan, Dal Makhani, Raita, and something else that I didn't quite catch on the menu, but was sort of like an Indian corn pudding -- sweet, savory, slightly spicy, and a nice contrast to the slow heat of the entrees.

My better half had Chicken Malai Khorma, which was new to both of us. She (who is not a big fan of the spicier side of the Indian menu) pronounced it "excellent," and I (who of course had to taste it) concurred.

With two glasses of wine for her, a beer for me, and a shared dessert of Gulab Jamun, the total bill was $47.00, before tip.

Having lost Connaught Place and, more recently, the Tyson's InFusion, we were missing the cuisine and service we had come to know and love. We'll be regulars out in South Riding from now on. It's easily worth the 20-minute drive, which in reality is not any longer than navigating the traffic disasters that are Tyson's Corner and Old Town Fairfax.


Schweppes Bitter Lemon

Does anyone know where I can buy this in the greater DC area?