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Western fairfax county for special occasion

L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls is lovely around the holidays. That's about as far west as you can go in Fairfax County without being in Loudoun.

Passion Fish in Reston Town Center is good too, but not quite as "special occasion"-ish.

Nov 14, 2013
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Staying in time square this weekend

Had a great meal at Esca last weekend.

By no means did it break the bank for a meal of that caliber.
We had two $30 crudo appetizers (one each for me and spouse) and two $25+ pasta dishes for dinner and one dessert to share = $150 tab before tip. (The house comped us a bottle of Prosecco as a graceful way to make up for an error in our seating, but even if we'd paid for it, the tab would have been $185 before tip).

We'll definitely go back, and heartily recommend it to anyone who is looking for an exceptional seafood meal in midtown Manhattan.

Nov 14, 2013
msr3017 in Manhattan

Upscale restaurants near 44th Street

Esca

Nov 11, 2013
msr3017 in Manhattan

Decent food, not stiff white table cloths

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Oct 18, 2013
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Decent food, not stiff white table cloths

Happy Hour at Proof is worth a try for great cocktails and $5 pours of nice house wine, accompanied by an excellent and generous charcuterie board ($33) and a nice selection of cheeses ($15 for three, if memory serves). The restaurant also has a robust wine list with the option for small pours at $2 each.

Oct 17, 2013
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Suggestions for restaurant in Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Mt. Vernon Triangle?

Add me to the not-a-fan-of-Sixth-Engine club. We dined there following the Caps season opener last night and won't be returning. Details: (1) shared a brussels sprout appetizer with a sweet glaze that overwhelmed everything else; (2) spouse had a fried shrimp sandwich which could have been good if it had more shrimp in it; (3) I had a burger which was mostly fixins, not much meat; and (4) with a glass of wine and a beer (nothin' special) the bill with tip was $65 which is a poor value for what we had. Top it off with a twenty-five-something pottymouth at the table next to us broadcasting her life story and you have a recipe for "do not repeat."

Oct 04, 2013
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Vegan-friendly in Memphis?

Another shout-out for McEwens on Monroe. We ate there Saturday night during a visit from the DC area and my wife had the "Trust Us Vegetarian Plate." It was a very generous assortment of fresh local vegetables, which she allowed me to sample. Each preparation was more tasty than the next (and I don't even like vegetables!)

For my part, I had a watermelon salad with arugula and feta, plus an amazing pork chop with andouille sausage stuffing -- so meat-atarians are well served there as well.

I'll be back in Memphis in a couple of weeks and look forward to a return visit.

Aug 05, 2013
msr3017 in Kentucky & Tennessee

Family coming to NYC in March - restaurant suggestions?

Good pizza to be had at Don Antonio mid-town.
We went Saturday night and it was so good we returned on Monday for lunch before we left town.

For a fun experience, there is also Stanton Social on the Lower East Side -- very hip crowd, small plates designed for sharing, and plenty of vegetarian / fish / poultry selections. Non-touristy. Cool cocktails for the grownups and a cool vibe for the teenagers.

Jan 22, 2013
msr3017 in Manhattan

Indian food?

Banjara in Ashburn is our favorite place, if you are looking out in that direction.

Jan 02, 2013
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Suggestions for specific style of restaurant

Corduroy is a winner in the District of Columbia. It's small, cozy, private, and comfortable. The meat dishes offer some real winners, from the char-grilled pork (among the best dishes I have had in years) to the antelope with chestnut puree (companions raved about this). No open fire, but otherwise it would fit the bill.

I have also recently enjoyed a meal at L'Auberge Chez Francois, which -- if the group is willing to venture a trek out to Great Falls -- provides a lovely drive up the Potomac, rewarded by some very good Alsatian cooking (for us, choucroute and amazing frites).

Dec 03, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

seeking *not* kid-friendly, with atmosphere!

Yes, Proof is so dark you need a flashlight to read the menu (which, IIRC, they will provide ...). Great food, great wine, not too loud, a lovely place ...

Dec 03, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

making a quick trip to DC and have a few questions ...

We recently had an awesome meal at the newly-reopened Lebanese Taverna in Woodley Park. I ordered the trio of condiments (lebneh, harissa, tahini) to go with my roast lamb dish. Nobody who has sampled the harissa would accuse LebTav of being tame. The new space is beautiful and we particularly enjoyed the fried artichoke appetizer and roast lamb entree.

Nov 19, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Trip Report: HK, Beijing, Shanghai

We liked Da Dong -- awesome duck and a very welcoming atmosphere. We also ate at Duck de Chine, which we liked less (and where we were charged $45 for two bottles of water and a pitcher od iced tea). Also highly recommend Chuan Ban for Sichuan food from heaven.

May 24, 2012
msr3017 in China & Southeast Asia

Dining near the Renaissance Downtown DC and a random question

If price is really no object then Corduroy is a good bet.

May 03, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Recommendations

> SundeVich is an awesome sandwich shop about six blocks from the Grand Hyatt, well worth the walk.

> Mayur Kabab is a very good Pakistani place with a nice lunch buffet (Friday is the best day IMO). Of course this may not be much of a diversion for Torontonians (sp?) such as yourselves.

> Franklin Square, near your hotel, is a mecca for food trucks during the week which can offer some of the best reasonably priced ethnic food around. The lines are pretty indicative of which ones are the best.

> Oyamel is a fun mexican small plates place by Jose Andres. Not cheap, but really fun!

Mar 23, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Moving to Herndon

For Chinese in that area, it is worth the drive to Chantilly to Sichuan Garden for carryout from their authentic Sichuan menu (not the nasty steam table fare they have out in the restaurant).

Mar 09, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Help Please! Visiting from Toronto

If you are a fan of creative cooking AND Thai food, you might enjoy Little Serow in Dupont Circle.

Feb 05, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Best places to take NYC visitors in DC

Ripple is a casual, comfortable farm-to-table restaurant in Cleveland Park, a nice neighborhood in Northwest DC. They feature an interesting selection of cheeses and house-made charcuterie (plus some local specials); a selection of appetizers, smaller plates, and larger plates focusing on local and seasonal ingredients. One feature that we particularly appreciate is the "Six-for-$6" wine list, with six wines priced at $6 per glass -- in our experience these have been nice wines, worth drinking!

Jan 28, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

tysons chain hell

Nostos (Boone Bvd). has had some decent reviews. We haven't been but plan to go.

My wife is partial to Cafe Deluxe, which is connected to a furniture store across the street from the Tysons mall. I like the food but it's too loud for me.

Woo Lae Oak is a nice Korean place on Rte 7 near Rte. 123. There are cheaper Korean places with food just as good, but not right at Tysons.

Jan 20, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

angelino inbound

"Local treats off the beaten path" in DC proper: 1) Cleveland Park - cool neighborhood on the metro, near the zoo, nice for walking around. Lots of places to stop and eat (Lavandou, Ardeo/Bardeo) but my favorite is Ripple. Fresh and creative cooking, unusual charcuterie with plenty of house-made treats, very friendly staff, really nice specials on wine by the glass. 2) If you are in the Convention Center area or downtown, grab a sandwich at Taylor Gourmet. Lots to choose from. In my travels on the West Coast, I have not encountered sandwiches like these. Faves include chicken cutlet with provolone and broccoli rabe, and the Landfill (ham, turkey, salami, provolone, etc). 3) Or - if you really want to go off the beaten path - head to Fast Gourmet on 14th Street and treat yourself to the Chivito. It is a monster sandwich with beef tenderloin, ham, bacon, melted mozzarella, olive spread, and hard boiled egg. They've got other great sandwiches too, including the single best tuna salad that I ever ate. BTW, it's in a gas station.

Jan 20, 2012
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Graffiato by Mike Isabella opening soon...

We were there a couple of weeks back. The best we had was pretty good (charcuterie, agnolotti). The worst was downright awful ("Jersey Shore" pizza with soggy fried calamari). It'll be awhile before we go back.

Oct 24, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dinner in Burlington

We just ate at the Green Room last week (8/10) so if it is closed, it was recent!
The food was excellent and the vibe is what OP is looking for - advanced beyond brewpub stage. Standouts from our table of four included the caprese salad and the smoked duck.

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Green Room
86 Saint Paul St Ste 2, Burlington, VT 05401

Aug 17, 2011
msr3017 in Northern New England

Looking for a DC restaurant with good Summer Menu

Ripple has the following soup on its summer menu:

chilled corn soup, charred octopus, gaeta olives, cilantro 9

Sounds pretty yummy to me!

Jul 08, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Solo dining near 14th Street N.W (between H and I streets)

Bibiana is the closest analog to Babbo that we have found in DC. It's a little more 'chic' and it doesn't have music from Mario's IPod, but the staff are real friendly and the food is out of this world. It is just a block or two away from 14th and I.

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Bibiana
1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

Jun 21, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Smashing crabs with a hammer between DC and New York

Obrycki's on Pratt Street in Baltimore - about 5 minutes from I-95.
This hallowed landmark of crab-dom is closing in November.
Get 'em while you can!

Jun 07, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Here's What We Like in Manhattan and in New Orleans. Please help us in DC

I am a huge fan of Cochon -- it's my favorite place in New Orleans and I go there whenever I visit. I've been about a dozen times and worked my way through just about the entire menu.

The one place that I have found in DC that comes close is Ripple, in Cleveland Park. They really know their way around a pig -- whether it is the down-home charcuterie, the bacon-scented pecans, or the use of cracklings in multiple dishes. They bring the country sensibility to the city. The same is true of their pickled vegetables, which evokes the cucumber salad at Cochon (a particular favorite of mine).

Ripple is in a charming space and the servers are enthusiastic and friendly. The beer and wine list impressive and favorably-priced. The pace is unhurried (some would say languid) you will not want to rush!

P

Apr 25, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

El Rey de Chivito - Fast Gourmet inside of a Gas Station, DC

Went today at noon. No wait, plenty of tables. Split the Chivito and Cubano with a friend. The Chivito is a magnificent sandwich -- the combination of the egg, olive, beef, and other ingredients was just perfect. I didn't think it was too big for one person to finish, but maybe I am a glutton. My friend pronounced it the best sandwich in DC, and I think it is right up there with the Pattison Avenue at Taylor Gourmet. Not as much love for the Cubano. The fries were thin, crispy, nicely seasoned - a nice bonus.

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Taylor Gourmet
Washington, DC, Washington, DC

Feb 10, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

LA CHer coming to DC, critique my list please

1) Highlight and put an asterisk next to Taylor Gourmet. It's right in the neighborhood and has some of the best sandwiches in town. Pattison Avenue (roast pork, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone) is a Board fave. I like the chicken cutlet subs and the Italian cold cut subs just as much.

2) I haven't seen mention of Ripple in Cleveland Park. Because they are fanatical about their sourcing, their repertoire varies from week to week or even day to day, but it centers around fresh, local, and interesting dishes.

3) Having moved to the DC area after living in California, I agree that our Chinese restaurants simply cannot compete with and do not compare to what is available there. For a Californian who loves Chinese food, anyplace in DC's Chinatown is bound to be a disappointment.

4) One more - Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle is a nice place to go for a cozy and romantic brunch, esp. on a cold weekend day.

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Tabard Inn
1739 N St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Taylor Gourmet
1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Jan 28, 2011
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dinner rec for Sat? - Farm/table-ish, near public trans

Try Ripple. Farm-to-table to the max, near Cleveland Park metro, stylish but not stuffy.

Oct 28, 2010
msr3017 in Washington DC & Baltimore

3 Days & 2 nights in NOLA...too many choices too little time

Having spent the better part of a month in NOLA over the past year, my two fine-dining dinner recommendations would be August and Commanders Palace. For lunches, try to include Herbsaint, and don't bother with Mothers.

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Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Oct 23, 2010
msr3017 in New Orleans