Reren

Reren, web site, 817 7th Street NW, Washington, DC, 202-290-3577 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

Chinese, mix of Shanghai and Sichuan, plus some Japanese too. Small, cheap. I would not make a special trip to eat here, but the place has perfect location right next to the Verizon Center. Upstairs is remarkably quiet. Several times I have had no trouble getting in without a reservation. It is pleasant. And the food is “good enough to enjoy,” I do look forward to eating here when I do. The Shanghai and non-spicy Chinese dishes are better than the Sichuan, though the latter are certainly acceptable. This place is worth knowing about, if you understand its proper place in the universe.

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Lotus Garden

Lotus Garden, web site (another web site), 224 Maple Ave. West, Vienna, VA, 703-255-9888 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | FCNP | TripAdvisor | NoVA Mag | Ylp]

I’ve been many times, and I sway between “this is a really good Cantonese restaurant, with wonderful pulled noodles” and “this is a pretty good Cantonese restaurant for this region, with wonderful pulled noodles.” Ultimately I think I have settled on the latter. You can watch them do the noodles in the window, and these dishes do not disappoint. That said, I find it a little boring over time. I’ve had “just right” Cantonese meals here, but too many of the dishes tend toward the gloppy and heavy. But it’s still much better than most of the other Cantonese places around, though I would put it behind X.O. Taste. If you’re into Chinese food you should try it, noting that your mileage may vary.

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Posted in Cantonese, Chinese, Vienna/Tysons, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopia bleg

I’ll be there, in a bit of time, and I’ll have the chance to get outside Addis Adaba. What do you all recommend to me? And where and what should I eat? I thank you all in advance for your counsel and wisdom.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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The decline of German food in America

German food’s decline “reflects the cultural mix of this country toward more Latin American, Asian and African American culture, and less of the mainstay Germanic culture that influenced this country for many decades,” said Arnim von Friedeburg, an importer of German foods and the founder of Germanfoods.org. “The cultural shift is going on, and German culture has to fight or compete to keep its relevance.”

Here is more from Maura Judkis at WaPo.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Posted in German | Tagged | 1 Comment

Isabella Eatery

Isabella Eatery, web site, Tysons II, 2001 International Drive, McLean, VA, 571-489-8505, top floor food court (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | WTOP | City Paper | NoVA Mag | NYT | Ylp]

They have branches of Arroz, Requin, Graffiato, Yona, and Pepina Cantina, among other places, but in general don’t compare those to the original home bases, the menus have few similarities. Overall, I’ve been surprised how fun this set-up is. Tysons II just isn’t so crowded, so at most hours you have the area’s best food court almost entirely to yourself. Go to two or three places, ordering small dishes along the way, and finish with chocolate ice cream. It offers nice spaces to sit and chat, and somehow vaguely reminds me of Singapore, albeit with much Asian food.

I enjoyed everything I sampled (five visits, multiple plates each time), maybe the pastas in Graffiato have been my favorite but this is more about the experience than the single killer dish. The catch? It’s just not that cheap. Still, this will remain an impressive achievement until either the crowds pour in, it goes out of business, or maybe a bit of both.

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Bistro Aracosia

Bistro Aracosia, web site, 5100 MacArthur Blvd. NW, Washington, DC, 202-363-0400 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

One of the best ethnic restaurants in DC, and indeed one of the best restaurants in DC period. This is from the Afghan Bistro people, except turned into a normal restaurant with nice décor, rather than a mom and pop. And yet the prices are still reasonable. Most of all, get the complex stews and the vegetable dishes. The kadu is from butternut squash, and is the best in the area. The eggplant and aushak are also first-rate, this place is a winner all-around. Reservations typically are required, even for off-hours, as the place does fill up.

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Chiko

Chiko, web site, 423 8th SE, Washington, DC, 202-558-9934 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | City Paper | Ylp]

Chinese and Korean and fusion, this place is all the rage with DC food critics. Everything here is quite good, and the dish with rice, brisket, and egg is one of the better dishes in town. Nothing is outrageously priced. The space is small, it fills up early, and there are only limited reservations. Unlike most lower-priced places in DC, it genuinely seems to be well run. So I am quite enthusiastic, and if I simply stumbled upon this place I would give it a rave review. As it stands, I can’t help but feel it is a wee bit overrated. Most of the dishes are on the “quite good by suburban standards for Asian” level, which is a) on its own quite good, and b) a miracle of sorts for SE Washington, DC. But for those of us from said suburbs, we might be just a little bit less impressed.

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Toosso

Toosso, web site, 20921 Davenport Dr., Sterling, VA, 703-433-1233. There is also a branch in Rockville, at 1596A Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-768-4645. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | TripAdvisor | zabihah | City Paper | NoVA Mag | Ylp]

An excellent Pakistani place, fresh-tasting and closely tied to Pakistani street food. I like most of all the potato dish, the channa, the samosas, and nihari, a kind of beef stew. Chicken tikka is usually a boring dish but here it shines. The biryani is OK but I did not find it above average. Definitely recommended, and a fun scene too.

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Posted in Herndon/Reston/Ashburn/Chantilly / Dulles Airport, Maryland, Pakistani, Rockville/Gaithersburg, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Toosso

Maydan

Maydan, web site, 1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC, 202-370-3696, dinner only. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | City Paper | Ylp]

Food from the Caucasus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moroccan, and the Middle East. Excellent all around! This is a place to get many of the options, with a group, rather than to see the single stand-out course. It also has the most fun décor of any place I know in DC. Usually I hate places that try to look cool, but this restaurant really does look cool! This is a very nice addition to the local dining scene. It’s in the “I definitely can go back many times” category rather than the “I’ve tried their best dishes and can move on” slot. Not cheap and not a mom and pop, but hey you wanted DC gentrification, didn’t you?

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Posted in Azerbaijan, Caucasus, Current Favorites, DC, Fine Dining, Georgian, Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Turkish, U Street / Shaw | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Maydan

Bresca

Bresca, web site, 1906 14th St NW, Washington, DC, 202-518-7926 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Zagat | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | Ylp]

Not Italian but rather more of a nouvelle blend, expensive, has some very fine dishes (by Chef Ryan Ratino, a Medina, Ohio native). I recommend the linguini with uni, the foie gras, and the cabbage side dish along with the side of root vegetables. Those I all liked very much. The ribs were dull, the char a bit fishy/smoky, and the desserts only so-so.

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