May 12, 2010
Welcome to Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide in blog format. The Guide includes more than 700 restaurants in the Washington, DC area.
The Guide is also available in its original one-long-page format, and can be found via Tyler’s web page at GMU. The current Guide is the June 2019 edition (127-page PDF).
For an overview, scope note, and general advice before using the Guide, please see “General remarks.”
To look around, use the finding features located in the right hand column: Search, Current Favorites, and Categories.
Readers are encouraged to leave comments (moderated to keep out spam) and send us reader comments and photos. Please do let us know what places you recommend, and if a place listed here has closed, changed its name, or moved. tcowen [at] gmu.edu
If you’re looking for Tyler’s other blog, it is Marginal Revolution.
Comments and trackbacks are moderated to avoid junking them up with spam. Please use the comments to update information, share your opinion, etc.
Here are some articles by or about Tyler Cowen and his Ethnic Dining Guide:
- See the many links on this blog to interviews and stories about Tyler’s book, “An Economist Gets Lunch”
- “Tyler Cowen, a blogger, professor and organizer of rules on how the world works,” by Michael S. Rosenwald, The Washington Post, May 12, 2010
- “Dismal science? Not by a hoot,” by David Ivanovich, DC Examiner, December 14, 2008
- “An Economist’s Palate, Applied to Dining Around D.C.” by Jane Black, The Washington Post, August 8, 2007
- “Ethnic Goes Exurban: Washington’s Sprawl, As Told Through Its Migrating Restaurants,” by Tyler Cowen, The Washington Post, September 3, 2006
- “Off the Clock: For Mason Economics Professor, Good Ethnic Meals Make the Grade,” by Tara Laskowski, The Mason Gazette, December 21, 2004
- “Chasing the Perfect Meal,” by David Harrison, The Fairfax Connection, May 13, 2004
- “The Lone Critic: Tyler Cowen Writes Restaurant Reviews for Fun and Doesn’t Care If Anyone Reads Them,” by Douglas Hanks III, The Washington Post, June 20, 2001
Also see a paper presented in April 2004 to the International Association of Culinary Professionals: “Is Globalization Changing the Way the World Eats?”
And don’t forget, all food is ethnic food.
Tyler’s talk at the Arlington Public Library, April 3, 2013:
Since your blog entry on Saba yemeni restaurant appears to have disabled further viewer comment (at least, I could find no place to add to the existing 2 comments), I’ll post them here.
First, you were correct. The portions here are HUMONGOUS and way more than any one person can eat. Recommendation to other viewers: BRING AN ARMY with you if you plan on sampling various dishes.
Second, while several of the dishes were quite good and/or unique, for me, there really wasn’t much that was so delicious it would bring me back for return visits.
Third, I ate there twice, and I must say that the two of us were the ONLY non-middle eastern/non-Muslim people in the restaurant. And we DID get looks from the other diners (and the staff, too) that clearly left us with the impression they were thinking “Why are they even in here? We’d rather they weren’t here.” I hate to say it but I got the distinct impression we really weren’t all that welcome. The staff was polite and courteous and attentive. But the looks on their faces as they looked at each other, told the real story.
The dishes we tried over the 2 visits:
Chicken Mandi: Very much like an Indian/Pakistani Biryani or Pullao rice with a quarter of a chicken on top.
Shafout (the “yogurt soup” you referred to): Pretty much like yogurt, or Indian Raita or a thin Greek Tzatziki, over lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Frankly I could have made this at home.
Shakshouka: Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onion and seasonings. Again, something I could have made at home.
Hilbeh (Fenugreek) sauce: Quite bitter. Well made, but I’m not into bitter foods. I feel the same way about bitter melon in Indian, Chinese, and other South/East asian cuisines. If other reviewers like bitter flavor, go for it.
Masoob dessert: This is the bread and banana and honey with nigella seeds sprinkled on top you referred to. Tasty, but a very little bit would have gone a long way. It was way too much.
ALL of the dishes we ordered were HUGE. The place is a value if you want a lot of food to take home. Unless you’re a professional eating champion, I doubt the average person could finish ONE of their ordered dishes, let alone several. Again, be sure to bring an army with you if you dine at Saba. You’ll have enough people to eat everything AND you’re not likely to feel quite as uncomfortable or unwelcome as we did. “Safety in numbers” so to speak.