• 15Feb

    The Masala Art location in SW DC (Waterfront Metro) is featuring 3 courses meals different cuisine of India every month (on Mondays). The meat option costs $27, while the vegetarian option is only $24. You select one entree, and are served an appetizer platter (of 3 items). We tried some of January’s Punjabi offerings (see the above images).

    We ordered both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and were impressed with the Punjabi menu, including the accompaniments, Maa ki Dal, Jeera Mattar Pulao and Butter Nan, dal makhani  and cumin and peas pulao. We practically fought over the dal (it was so good).

    Service was good. They dealt very well with us having a short amount of available time that evening.

    February’s menu is Indo-Chinese. The non-vegetarian menu will begin with an appetizer platter that includes hot mango chicken; chicken lollipop; and Sriracha honey fish, while the vegetarian menu will begin with an appetizer platter of spring rolls, honey chili potatoes and crispy friend vegetables. Entrees include a choice of Chili Chicken, Lamb Manchurian, or Hot Garlic Fish for non vegetarians, and Chili Paneer, Vegetable Manchurian, or Garlic Broccoli Tofu for vegetarians.

    Note: I’ll comment on this article when I know what region they are featuring Mondays in March.

    -JAY

     

  • 09Feb

    Delicious Chicken & Waffles made with tenders!

    Bread Basket with butter and house-made jelly!

    We sampled City Perch’s updated menu in the fall, and it was delicious, so we were thrilled to recently revisit the restaurant to check out their brunch menu. City Perch is definitely worth the trip to Maryland, praise I usually reserve for recommending (to DC-focused friends) a certain Bethesda BBQ truck, Hardy’s.

    City Perch’s Brunch Box is $19.99 and includes one entree and one drink (coffee, tea, juice,
    soda, house punch, sangria, mimosa, bellini, Moscow mule, or bloody Mary). Add $10 for bottomless drinks.

    We tried Chicken & Waffles, Slow Poached Egg with Short Rib, and the off menu Bread Basket, all three of which were excellent choices.We did not need to order dessert, since the bread basket is more of a pastry basket.

    The Chicken & Waffles is much better than the versions we generally see on brunch menus, included delicious and well-coated fried chicken tenders, and is alone worth the trip to City Perch for brunch. It is listed as a sandwich on their menu, which is incorrect. We preferred the vanilla maple syrup to the spicy bacon maple syrup, but you can certainly request for both syrups and decide for yourself.

    The Slow Poached Egg with Short Rib includes tender and flavorful slow cooked short rib, creamy mascarpone polenta, and wonderfully-executed bacon braised kale. You see, we aren’t anti bacon!

    The Bread Basket is a signature item from the previous menu that is presently an off menu option. As mentioned, it’s more of a pastry basket than a bread basket. It can function as a nice selection whether at the beginning or end of a meal for a group, and contains a butter croissant, chocolate croissant, cornbread soaked in honey butter, orange sage drop biscuit, and seasonal muffin, which in this case was orange cranberry. The pastries are made in house with the exception of the two croissants.

    We also tried the Crispy Latke Fries, which we’d personally prefer as a non French fry version of potato pancakes.

    Maryland (MoCo) diners should be happy to have access to such a wonderful dinner and brunch restaurant. Even DC diners should consider a trip to City Perch, and those are strong words! You may want to plan to see a movie after brunch; the iPic Theater on the same floor is owned by the same company as the restaurant.

    -JAY

  • 08Feb

    About six months ago, restaurateur and James Beard Foundation Award winner, Michael Richard passed away. His loss will be felt in the DC restaurant world.

    I was lucky to attend Sweet Hope, an annual charity event to benefit St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital a couple of months ago, and am happy to report that Central is producing desserts of the same quality and deliciousness of previous years. Above are some of the image highlights. Here, here (featuring an image of Michel), and here are three of our previous articles that featured this great French chef and his food.

    -JAY

  • 23Nov

    We recently sampled the bar menu specials at Wildfire’s Martini Lounge at Tysons Galleria. This menu is available at the bar (and bar tables) Monday through Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

    Wildfire did a good job with the bar menu. My favorite items were the Crispy Fish Tacos and Crispy Chicken Sliders. I’ll probably also order the Macaroni & Cheese Bites and Pepperoni Pizza sometime soon. There are also two other pizza options: Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil, and Classic Mushroom.

    Prices:

    • $4.95 for Wood Oven Baked Mozzarella, Macaroni & Cheese Bites, or Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Pizza.
    • $5.95 for Crispy Fish Tacos, Loaded Cottage Fries, Classic Mushroom Pizza, or Pepperoni Pizza.
    • Sliders (Crab Cake, Bison Cheeseburger, or Crispy Chicken) are $3.95 for one, $6.95 for six, or $9.95 for three.

    For IPA fans, Wildfire has Lagunitas IPA (one of my favorites) on draught, and Flying Dog Bloodline (Blood Orange) IPA in bottles. Either of those are wonderful paired with either fried or hot cheese-based bar bites!

    -JAY

    Wildfire Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 17Nov

    Aperto Restaurant serves contemporary Italian Fare featuring homemade food by an authentic Italian chef, Luigi Diotaiuti. At a recent event, he offered up passed antipasti including tiny focaccia sandwiches, sun-dried tomato and ricotta on a cracker, steak tartare with salsa, lamb curry risotto balls, lamb chop lollipops, mussels, and the ever elusive tortellini on a silver spoon.

    As the food was great, the atmosphere was really engaging and conversation flowed. The bar area was decorated with all the homemade sauces, and limoncello touches a patron would expect of this downtown bar near George Washington University and the Foggy Bottom crowd.  The waiters passed around the plates and ever-hungry patrons swarmed the trays.

    The drink of the night was the “Riding the Vespa” (Earl Grey-infused Tito’s vodka/Cocchi Americano/ ginger/lime/soda water).  The non-alcoholic version was delicious as well.

    The bartender who sported the ever popular handlebar mustache was in a very excited state when dipping the punch from the silver punch bowl; he served the drink with a traditional “Salute”!  Peroni Beer paired well with the Blue Cheese Polenta, served on a cracker with sun-dried tomato and ricotta.

    Chef Luigi Diotaiuti was decked out in a bowtie pasta inspired chef Jacket that was made especially for him in Naples, Italy.  Chef Luigi was happy to speak to each of the patrons about his excited adventures though Italy.

    Happy Eating,

    Crystal (CLF)

  • 09Nov

    A new restaurant that can possibly break the curse of the doomed location? It always baffled me how businesses can’t strive in what seems to be prime location. VinPearl – Viet Taste Lounge took over the spot off Little River Turnpike between Pep Boys and Ara on October 15th. For the last 5 years that I’ve been in Annandale, this location has been 3 different restaurants.

    I was very skeptical when I first walked in, they have poor signage and nobody in their dining room. It’s a semi-fast food setup and feel. You walk up to the counter, order and pay first and then sit down and the food is served to you. Honestly, I like this style. It gives the customer a little more control as to when you’re ready to order without the hassle of a server irritating you because you need to tip them for doing a good job, but perhaps they really didn’t give you good service.

    This restaurant offers you pretty much anything you’d like in the realm of Vietnamese food: banh mi, phở, Vietnamese entrees and bubble tea. They don’t have appetizers on their menu for some reason, but they do serve rolls. We had their chả giò and it was delightfully crispy and not that oily.

    o-1o

    We had the Shaking Beef (bò lúc lắc) and it was absolutely delicious. It came out on a sizzling plate, the beef was well flavored and portioned nicely. The Beef Noodle Soup (Bún bò Huế) was a little lacking though. They give you a nice portion and a lot of beef and pigs blood but only one small slice of pigs feet. The soup was pretty oily and spicy, but it wasn’t inedible. I just probably wouldn’t order it again.

    I know that the restaurant has only been open for a couple of weeks now, but I would suggest getting some better signage. The restaurant is setup like a sit down restaurant so people walk in expecting to be seated, and then not realize they’re supposed to order first.  An “Order Here” sign would be great. They keep one door locked and one door open, but there’s no signage that says “Please Use Other Door.” We almost turned around and walked away thinking the restaurant was actually not open because there’s such aa lack of signage. And for a new restaurant, they weren’t really on it with customer service or sales” It’s a figure it out for yourself kind of situation. If it wasn’t for the phenomenal bò lúc lắc and chả giò, I probably wouldn’t bother returning, but I think this place could stand a chance.

    -ADT

  • 07Nov

    It’s fall time and we’re weeks out from Thanksgiving!  And that means the pumpkin spice is wafting in the air.  Earls Kitchen + Bar in Tyson’s Corner is rolling out their new Canadian inspired Fall dishes and it’s a menu that hits a home run and it’s not your average fall menu.

    sam_0979I am not a fan of kale salad.  I know it’s a superfood and quite the trendy green, but it’s just not my cup of tea.  When the plate of Warm Kale Salad was set in front of me, I’ll admit, I turned my nose.  But being the type to try anything at least once that’s set in front of me, I dug my fork in and gave myself a hearty helping.  Let’s let’s start with this first…this salad was warm.  Not a straight out of the icebox salad, toss some toppings and dressing on top kind of salad.  The kale was warmed up which made it more tolerable for a non-kale lover to endure.  But the best part of this salad was tossing in of the roasted Brussels sprouts.  I love a salad that crunches and the Brussels sprout’s crunchy saltiness really brought this dish to life.  This salad was everything that I’ve ever wanted in a salad: salty, sweet and crunch.  The baby potatoes were roasted until the skin was crispy; the brown butter vinaigrette gave them a light sweetness.  I won’t go as far to say that this salad changed my opinion of kale but I will go as far to say that I will not hesitate to order this salad from this particular restaurant again.

    sam_0982A new twist on surf n’ turf.  Earls’ version of surf n’ turf is sushi and steak which is fine by me!  I love sushi and I love steak so it’s an incredible combination.  The steak comes out on a sizzling pan with great sushi flavors.  I felt that the marinated steak was a tad salty but had a great citrus flavor.  Two rolls are available: a California roll with pacific crab and a classic dynamite roll.  Most sushi connoisseurs turn their noses at a California Roll as not being “true sushi” but this is made with real lump crab with a tempura crunch.  The Dynamite Roll is probably not best judged by me since I am not very tolerant of spicy foods, but there was a nice chunk of pineapple in the roll that helped cool down the heat.

    sam_0990The next 3 dishes are not new to their menu but a reminder of some of their classic menu items.
    To me Kung Pao is pretty much the same everywhere.  It’s not very imaginative and it’s just Americanized Chinese food.  Earls serves their Hunan Kung Pao with shrimp and Farkay noodles.  I enjoyed the noodles with the dish but am more accustomed to eating this dish with white rice.  Your mouth begins to water from just the smell alone of their Chimichurri Skirt Steak that comes out on a sizzling plate.  The meat was so tender and the chimichurri sauce was perfection.  It was slightly saltier than I like but I’d still eat a plate of it in a heartbeat.  I would’ve also loved to have the potatoes crispier like from the Warm Kale Salad.

    sam_0992Have I expressed that I enjoy crispiness? The Earls Bigger, Better Burger was crispy!  How they got that onion ring on the burger to be so crispy is beyond my understanding. This burger had no need for extra condiments such as ketchup because what seemed to be some kind of pico de gallo concoction of sweet tomatoes and onions gave the burger a powerful flavor.

    And of course I had to save the best for last – dessert!  I tried their freshly baked Pumpkin Pie, Smores Skillet Cookie and Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  My favorite of the three was the Smores Cookie.  It tasted just like you made yourself a smore over a camp fire, but without the messiness.  I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie but theirs was actually really great.  It was light and fluffy kind of like biting into a cloud.  My least fave, which is actually an Earls Classic, was the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  If you’re a chocolate lover, I feel that you’ll be disappointed in this dessert.  It doesn’t have the richness of a chocolate dessert but if you like chocolate, but can’t eat it because sometimes chocolate desserts and too rich for your consumption, this might be just the right dessert for you.

    Go check out their new Fall Menu at Tyson’s Corner.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

    -ADT

  • 14Oct

    Adams Morgan Neighborhood Immersion concept is kind of like a bar crawl but without all of the unlimited boozing. Brooklyn Brewery hosted this immersion, so you know some good brews were present!

    You pay $20 and you’re guaranteed a free lunch at a participating restaurant and two beer tickets.  Upon getting your tickets you are given a number of coupons that include your free lunch at Mellow Mushroom and another restaurant of your choice (Amsterdam Falafel, Pop’s SeaBar or Songbyrd) and coupons for discounts, raffles, etc.

    First stop Mellow Mushroom for a free lunch.  Lunch at the Mellow Mushroom was awesome.  However, you’re not told what your “free lunch” entails until you arrive at the restaurant.  It was a free small pizza with one topping of your choice.  And who doesn’t like free pizza?

    Mellow Mushroom is always a favorite and you can’t go to a place called “mellow mushroom” and not get mushrooms as your topping.  Next stop was BicycleSPACE where they were raffling off a free bike.  Very cool bicycle shop.  I need a bike basket for my dog!  =)  We then headed over to Rise Bakery for some gluten free baked goods.  So I’m not a big fan of gluten free pastries but I have to say it’s much better than some of the gluten free foods I’ve had before.  So I’d say if you have a gluten allergy, this is a great spot to get your bread, cupcake and pastry fix.  Of the three other free lunches to choose from I went with Pop’s Seabar because I’ve never been there before.

    Options were free calamari or their boardwalk chicken…so I went for them both and then threw in an order of oysters on the half shell.  Wonderfully fresh oysters and who doesn’t like fried foods.  It’s definitely a spot I’d hit up again; however, I wouldn’t have considered that a “lunch.”

    I didn’t hit up all of the spots that they had in their envelope of coupon goodies because they didn’t really entice me.  Overall, I thought that this event was a little lacking and not at all interesting.  The free lunch at Mellow Mushroom was great, free beer is always good and that paid for the tickets themselves.  But I would’ve hoped for more restaurants to want to draw in the crowd by offering more than just some discounts and having to choose from their already small selection of restaurants (3).

    -ADT


    Editor’s Note(s): During this Mash Tour, I attended the Beer Mansion event and part of the dinner at the Royal. I do wish I’d had more available time on both days because Chef Andrew Gerson is amazing! His duck dish (Seared Duck Breast, Confit Leg, Celery, Orange, Grilled Shishito Peppers, and Duck Demi Glace) was wonderful and who else will serve you poke directly into your hand?

    My favorite brews of the dinner at the Royal were Yokai (which includes sake leaves) and Local 1, while my dining partner favored Galahad and Framboisie (raspberries!). Ok, Sorachi Ace and K is for Kriek (cherries!) were great too, as always

    Some highlights:

    -JAY

  • 28Sep

    brooklyn-mashThe Brooklyn Brewery Mash Tour Returns to DC October 6th through 9th. This year’s events include:

    · Dinner With Friends at The Royal – Thursday, October 6th

    · FREE SHOW! – Timberland presents Black Lips – Thursday, October 6th

    · Beer Mansion at Blind Whino – Saturday, October 8th

    · Adams Morgan Neighborhood Immersion – Sunday October 9th

    You can check our our coverage of last year’s DC events. We are covering this year’s events as well.

    -JAY

     

  • 18Sep

    In the theme of “dress for the job you want to have,” Ashok Bajaj’s 701 Restaurant on Tuesday evening, September 13, ran with the idea of “create a menu for the season you want it to be.” Fall’s a-coming, even if we can’t quite tell yet. Talented chef Benjamin Lambert (who once worked at Restaurant Nora) is changing over his seasonal menu with sips and plates that have whiffs of sultry summer and gusts of hearty fall.

    “I took inspiration from dishes that I love to cook and eat,” he said. “And, of course, the upcoming fall season. I have a really wide range to create dishes that I’m passionate about.”

    At the bar, a seasoned mixologist poured not only red, white and rose wine (now popular in any season), but also two craft cocktails. The first is geographical in name: the 7th & Penn, with rye, aged rum, PX sherry, orange and angostura bitters. The second connects summer (gin) and fall (port), called the Douro Spritz, with saffron-infused gin, white port, housemade tonic, and soda.

    Small plates circulated the room, beginning with a Chilled Corn Soup in a shot glass, topped with bacon crumbles, cornbread streusel, and chili-lime sorbet. In the frozen theme, a Bluefin Tuna Tartare came topped with sushi rice ice cream, along with ponzu and wasabi oil. Our favorites: the delightful and hearty cauliflower shawarma, served over a tiny dollop of hummus, with golden raisins, tomatoes, and lavash; and the Smoked Duck Breast, served over a trio of sauces: black bean puree, salsa verde, and baby corn aioli.

    The evening finished with a sweet corn pudding and deconstructed s’mores: a fitting end to a warm evening.

    -ESC (Evan)

     

    Editor’s Note: Yes, one photo is upside down.

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