• 15Feb

    Karma Modern Indian opened it’s doors to the public at the beginning of February in Chinatown.  With it’s beautiful modern decor, ambiance and signature cocktails, it’s sure to be a hot spot for the DC professionals. It’s the place you want to be seen in and tell your friends about.

    My take on it? It’s just another fancy restaurant with a bar where you can hang out after work with your fellow colleagues and sip on slightly overpriced cocktails.  They have a nice selection of signature drinks and the bartenders are fabulous.  They’re tentative and focused on their bar tending skills making the price worth every sip.  You have to love a bar that carries an array of bitters, herbs and fancy blocks of ice.

    Food-wise. If you like spice, theirs will hit the spot. I’m not one to take much heat and if you have Butter Chicken on the menu, you better believe I’m going to order it. It had a little more kick to it than what I’m used to.  Not necessarily a bad thing but not my cup of tea.  The chicken was nice and tender and lots of butter chicken sauce goodness that you can use naan to sop up.  On a scale of 1-5, I would rate it a 3.  Great mixture of spices, tender meat and a great balanced portion of everything.

    I also got a taste of their Grilled Shakarandi (cubed sweet potato + mint + tamarind chutney) and Tandoori Cauliflower.  This was very spicy to my palette but the flavors were great for both dishes but I just don’t know if I would pay the prices for these dishes. The cauliflower dish is $14.

    Overall, would I go out of my way to come to DC to visit this restaurant? I would say no, at least not for the food. But I would definitely come around for a fun happy hour with friends and/or colleagues for some posh cocktails and ambiance.

    Karma Modern Indian
    611 I Street, NW
    Washington, DC  20001
    www.karmamodernindian.com

    -ADT (Angie)

  • 26Jan

    Until recently, I was not a burger person. At least not beef burgers. Turkey and lamb, sure, But that all changed when I had Bourbon Steak’s burger. Thick, juicy, and delicious, this burger is like nothing I’ve had before.

    Tucked into the Four Seasons in Georgetown, Bourbon Steak is better known for expense account dining. But their “Business At Bourbon Steak Over Burgers” special (weekdays, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., at the bar) provides a taste of their fantastic offerings. It’s not cheap, but for $22, you get a burger, fries, a non-alcoholic beverage, and a cookie. Not a bad deal at one of the city’s swankest eateries.

    You can choose from steak, lamb, turkey, veggie, and salmon burgers. I like to stick with the oak-fired prime steak, medium, with cheddar, lettuce, and tomato, and a side of fries. This burger is huge and super filling. The meat is of excellent quality. The truffle-Parmesan duck fat fries are crisp and I usually can’t finish them. Being that this is Bourbon Steak, upgrades are available, such as a foie gras add-on. I’ve not done that, but I did order the mac and cheese recently. It was good, but a bit too creamy for my taste. And way too filling. The cookies are always fresh, and it you go in the summer, it’s actually an ice cream sandwich, which I prefer. If you’re looking to stay within budget, you can get a dealers choice beer for $5. I’ve never been disappointed in that beer.

    Service is impeccable and friendly. The bar can get busy, especially on Fridays, but some days it’s quiet, and you can relax with your burger and beer. It’s not an every day lunch, but when you can, try it out and you’ll be happy you did.

    -LEM (Lia)

     

  • 25Jan

    On the outskirts of the city, along a busy stretch of New York Avenue, attached to a Days Inn and behind a Dunkin Donuts is where you’ll find Panda Gourmet. Not to be confused with Panda Express, this Sichuan restaurant delivers spicy deliciousness, albeit in somewhat dubious location. (Note: it’s not unsafe, just a bit rundown.)

    Friendly staff and a familiar Sichuan menu await you if you do venture there. My favorites include cumin lamb, both Chinese burgers (cumin beef and rouga mo, a pork version), the wontons in hot and spicy sauce, and the dan dan mein. Whether you choose a cumin beef burger or the cumin lamb, make sure you like cumin. Both are heavily, pungently seasoned with it, and I love it, so I love these. The pork burger is more traditionally and delicately sauced, but both burgers have a crisp wrapper that provides a nice textural contrast. The dan dan mein is super spicy and the noodles are perfectly cooked. The wontons are well-filled and make a great starter. I recently tried the egg roll on a whim (I love a good one) and it left much to be desired. In the past, I’ve had the garlic eggplant, which is soft, garlicky, and tasty.

    Takeout is available, and I’ve often done that as well, which if you’re heading 50 west from the Cheverly/Bladensburg area, it’s an easy in-and-out spot. Do note that I find the spiciness is kicked up if eating in the restaurant versus ordering take out. The D.C. area offers plenty of Sichuan options, and it can be hard to choose, but Panda Gourmet is a worthwhile addition to your usual suspects.

    -LEM (Lia)

    Editor’s Note: Yes, when she pitched the story, I did ask LEM is she was talking about the place in the mall food court. My bad.

    -JAY

  • 24Jan

    Arlington’s Columbia Pike doesn’t have the numerous options of other areas in the county, but it does have a diversity of choices, Boru Ramen being one of them. I love ramen, and this is my favorite ramen in all of Arlington, and others seem to agree with me. While not the most amazing ramen, it’s good and I enjoy it.

    I find the the gyoza lacking, which is a bit sad, given that I love dumplings. It’s fairly bland, and it hasn’t led me to try anything else on the appetizer menu, so I recommend not coming when you are completely starving. As for ramen, hakata tonkotsu, which is pork bone broth, chashu, bamboo, sesame, seaweed, and scallion. I usually add bok choy as well. It’s not too rich, but still very flavorful, and the noodles are perfectly chewy and never overcooked. I prefer this to the chicken broth options (shoyu and shio versions), which I’ve found to be less flavorful. You can add on a fried chile oil, and I usually do. It’s super spicy, which I appreciate, and since I usually have leftovers, I can take it home with me. The drink menu is fun, and I had a champagne-based cocktail recently that I loved.

    Service is friendly and Boru does fill up quickly. I’m thrilled Boru is in the neighborhood, and I find myself visiting more and more frequently.

    -LEM

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  • 03Jan

     

    Sichuan Pavilion has long been a favorite of mine for spicy, delicious Chinese cuisine. It had been about a year since I’d been, until recently, when I went twice in one week. I forgot how much I loved it!

    Located on K Street in Farragut, it’s easily accessible. The menu offers a variety of dishes, so you can take your friends who still consider General Tso’s to be good Chinese cuisine. The service is always professional, and while the dining area tends to be a bit crowded, the decor is quite nice.

    Wonton Soup

    I tried the Wonton Soup for the first time, and found both the broth and dumplings flavorful. The Dumplings in Sichuan sauce are well-filled with pork and the sauce is not mouth-numbing hot, but has a nice kick. The Ma Po Tofu has a rich, spicy sauce and the tofu is soft and pillowy. The portion is huge, too.

    However, my all-time favorite Sichuan Pavilion dish is the Tea-smoked Duck. The duck is beautiful, with a nice layer of fat and crispy skin, and a truly smoky flavor. I could just eat the duck, but I usually give in and add the duck, vegetables, and plum sauce to the bao wrappers. But even alone, the duck is amazing. It also works well for takeout or as leftovers.

    I’ve also had the Polynesian drinks here, most recently the Suffering Bastard. The drinks are potent and reasonably priced, though there was no discernible difference between my drink and a friend’s Mai Tai.

    I’m always happy to see that Sichuan Pavilion is still popular and that the food is still as good as I remember it.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 24Dec

    Sesame Balls

    We recently had a wonderful meal at the first restaurant Chef Liu Chaosheng ever opened, Hong Kong Palace in Seven Corners. It was definitely time to try Hong Kong Palace, since we had featured his newest restaurant, Asian Origin (in Tysons). Chef Liu is known for making everything from scratch in his five restaurants, including the tofu he uses in the Ma Po Tofu.

    While many of our favorites (Ma Po Tofu, Scallion Pancakes, Sesame Balls, etc.) are available at both Hong Kong Palace and Asian Origin, the Tea Smoked Duck and Cumin Lamb are only available at Hong Kong Palace. The Cumin Lamb is a must order for lovers of both lamb and spicy food. The noodles and wontons are good appetizer choices, and are available at both restaurants.

    We were informed prior to this meal by a popular poster on Chowhound.com that the specials written in Chinese on the wall include a “preserved pork” version of the Cumin Lamb that is also quite good. The same poster also recommends the Chicken with Crunchy Peppers from the same menu on the wall.

    -JAY

  • 24Dec

    Michel Richard’s Central has continued to hold a annual benefit for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, even a year and a half after his death. A few weeks ago, we were thrilled to sample Central Michel Richard‘s delicious French desserts and donate toys to St Jude. Above are some images of of the highlights from this benefit.

    Our Previous coverage of Michel and his events can be found here. You can easily see how he was a beloved fixture in the DC restaurant scene.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    -JAY

     

  • 16Dec

    We attended Liberty BBQ‘s packed soft opening yesterday evening. The restaurant is owned by the group behind Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, and Northside Social, and is located in the old Famous Dave’s space on West Broad Street. A second Northside Social will open down the street from Liberty BBQ soon.

    Our favorite items were the ribs, followed by the brisket and pulled chicken. We also enjoyed the pickles they serve on the side. The collards and Brussels sprouts were alright, but we did not enjoy the baked beans, which were made with navy beans and included an odd flavor (mustard?) for that particular dish. We will definitely return for the smoked meats, especially the ribs. The chocolate sheet cake was decent, but I probably would not order it again.

    We do want to return to try out the pickle-brined fried chicken.

    The food was a good value with three smoked meats and three sides costing $19.

    -JAY

  • 15Dec

    Chocolate Chunk Cookie Pizza

    Oath Pizza (out of Boston) recently opened their first DC area location. This Mosaic District Pizzeria is definitely worth checking out. On our first visit, we created our own combinations, but returned the next week as a group to try some of Oath’s creations.

    Oath Pizza is a farm-to-pizza concept. Their pizzas are designed using sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, making Oath the first pizza chain to be granted Certified Humane approval.

    We sampled most of the pizzas on their menu including the following:

    The Luau

    Luau

    • Mozzarella
    • BBQ Pulled Pork
    • Fresh Pineapple
    • Crushed Red Pepper
    • BBQ Drizzle
    • Scallions

    Walley

    • Basil Pesto
    • Mozzarella
    • Baby Spinach
    • Diced Tomatoes
    • Feta
    • Roasted Garlic

    Shrimpwrecked

    • house-made black bean spread
    • Mozzarella
    • chili-spiced shrimp
    • roasted corn
    • guacamole drizzle
    • fresh cilantro
    • scallions

    Spicy Mother Clucker

    • Mozzarella
    • Pickled Red Onions
    • spiced Chicken
    • Sriracha
    • spicy aioli
    • Scallions

    Bella

    • Mozzarella
    • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
    • Roasted Garlic
    • Ricotta
    • Balsamic Drizzle
    • Grana Padano cheese
    • Fresh Basil

    Dougie

    • Mozzarella
    • Roasted Potato
    • Smoked Bacon
    • Ranch Drizzle
    • Scallions

    Chocolate Chunk Cookie Pizza

    • Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough
    • Ricotta
    • Powdered Sugar

    The Cookie Pizza is an overwhelming group favorite. The Dougie’s potato and bacon combination was another crowd pleaser. I was the one who seemed to most enjoy the Luau, but I added crushed red pepper to offset the BBQ sauce’s sweetness. The Spicy Mother Clucker seemed like it would be improved by the addition of the shrimp from the Shrimpwrecked. We had them design for us an off menu meat lover’s pizza, which was quite good. The vegetarian in the group loved the Bella and Walley.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Note:

    Other local Oath Pizza locations are planned, including one near the Verizon Center.

  • 30Nov

    Dupont Circle’s Agora might be one of my favorite places in DC and a bit underrated. Though on a popular strip of 17th Street, this Turkish restaurant seems to be a bit of a hidden gem.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to happy hour here, and until recently, the same was true of their brunch. However, I’ve now done brunch at Agora twice within a few months, and remember how much I love it.

    Agora’s brunch is a two-hour bottomless food and drink feast. Make reservations; you definitely need those. The menu is meze heavy, with some breakfast classics thrown in. It’s vegetarian friendly, as well. Service has always been good.

    Drinks are your choice of mimosa, Bloody Mary, Champagne, or rail liquor for mixed drinks, which is unusual for brunch, but appreciated. I stick with the Champagne because I don’t see a point in adding juice.

    Your server will start you with fresh, warm pita, but try not to fill up on it, no matter how hungry you are. That would be a rookie mistake. You’ll want to save room for some of my favorites, which, in no particular order, are:

    • Smoked salmon (lox)
    • Hummus
    • Baba ghanouj
    • Goat cheese
    • Feta
    • Grape leaves
    • Kasik (similar to a horiatiki salad)
    • Pide (flatbreads)
    • Baklava French toast

    The hummus and baba ghanouj are creamy and delicious. The cheeses are great, and I appreciate the fresh salad as a respite to the somewhat heavy options. If you love carbs and cheese, Turkish pide is for you, and it ties with the baklava French toast as my favorite offering here. I tend to order the mozzarella and tomato, but the Turkish sausage (sujuk) is also good, as the sausage has a kick of heat. The baklava French toast is sweet, but  not overly so, and super fluffy from the challah.

    The price is very reasonable, and it’s one of the best brunch deals you’ll find in the city. Many of my favorite bottomless brunches have now changed so much that I no longer care for them; I’m glad that Agora has not. Change isn’t always good, and Agora’s brunch offering is fantastic as is, so I hope it doesn’t change too much in the future.

    -LEM

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