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Herndon/Chantilly suggestions please!

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I am a Dupont Circle resident in exile in Herndon (near Fox Mill shopping center) for several months. Please help! Looking for Chowhound spots true to the definition of the word...not necessarily upscale, elegant, special-occasion restaurants...rather authentic great-eats, especially sushi, indian, mid-eastern or asian. Any input is much appreciated...Red Lobster and TGI Fridays are just not going to cut it for me. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Sophie: just scroll down the list of messages on this board. You should find what you're looking for. There are posts focusing on Herndon, Chantilly, Reston, Centreville, etc. Lots of good stuff out here in the hinterlands!

    1. I am also an exile in that vicinity (my dogs get groomed at the Fox Mill Pet shop) and you're right, Red Lobster et al are about all that there is out there. But fear not! There are a few bright spots. If you like sushi, I was very pleasantly surprised by Yoko II in Herndon on (I think) Elden Street. Also, in Centreville, there is Blue Iguana (I'm not crazy about it, but it gets good reviews) in the Fair Lakes area, and Sweetwater Tavern, though a chain, does good food and excellent home-brewed beer. There is also good Afghan food in Herndon (can't remember the name, maybe Pansheer?), passable Indian, etc., all along Elden Street. If you find anything else, please let me know!

      1. Try the Milwaukee Frozen Custard on Route 50 for dessert.

        Link: http://www.milwaukeefrozencustard.com/

        1. Zeferelli's in Herndon is good Italian. The Tortilla Factory was good 15yrs. ago, I don't know what it's like now. In the Reston Town Center there's a number of relitively good shopping center restaurants. Among them I think Big Bowl is probably my favorite just because it's the least over done. Over by Fair Oaks there's Baja Fresh (kinda like Burrito Bros.), Moby Dick Kabobs, and Chuzpah Deli. A little futher away, over by Fair Lakes is Agriato (sp?) sushi.

          7 Replies
          1. re: James

            Oh, how could I have omitted Chutzpah!?!? As a native New Yorker, I am a dedicated fan of this place, easily the best source for a fix of pastrami, bialys, etc. The only caveat is that they have horrible table service (not rude--that at least would be authentic--but quite slow).

            1. re: James G

              I would give Chutzpah a good solid OK. On the lunch front, we've enjoyed the pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. I thought the chopped liver was lacking that certain something, but of course, I was Aunt Pearl's designated chopper, so my chopped liver standards may be higher than most. Chutzpah's won't kill ya. And where are the pickled tomatoes??

              Turning to breakfast, I liked the salami and eggs, although next time I would ask that the salami be fried more before the eggs are added. As for the lox, eggs, and onions, the portion is quite generous, but the dish seems too "wet" to me. Too many sauteed onions, I think.

              The babka looked real good, but we haven't tried one yet.

              As for the table service, I concur with James. Addlebrained is the word I would use.

              All in all, a good addition to the neighborhood. Bagel Buddies is still the place in these parts for good bagels, though, and black-and-white cookies for you New Yorkers.

              1. re: Bob W.

                Bagel Buddies? Where are they?? Lack of decent bagels in the DC area is another of my betes noires.

                1. re: James G

                  James: Bagel Buddies is on the far right wing of the Fair Lakes shopping behemoth, in the little standalone plaza with Red Pepper chinese restaurant (decent) and yet another Tony's NY Pizza (Mrs. W. says it's not good).

                  Anyway, Bagel Buddies is owned by an ex-New Yorker named Ed Schiffman. He is very very proud of his bagels, with good reason. They are good sized (not as big as Ess-a-Bagel, fortunately) and nicely chewy.

                  They have a wide range of flavors -- the egg supreme is excellent -- plus surprisingly good bialys. Also, good, fresh cream cheese. Ignore the bizarre flavors of both bagels and cream cheese.

                  They also have good whitefish salad, decent rugelach and knishes, plus some other stuff.

                  In short, this is a very valuable resource.

                  1. re: Bob W.

                    Great, I shall have to give them a try!

                    1. re: James G

                      I went to Bagel Buddies yesterday for a bialy breakfast and to pick up some bagels for home. Sure enough, the bialy was excellent, and the bagels seem promising. I got kudos from the guy at the cash register for pronouncing "bialy" correctly--I guess a lot of their clientele are not New Yorkers and are flummoxed by the word. (Having said that, the guy ahead of me in line had such a thick SW Virginia accent that the cashier needed him to repeat what he said several times before any of us could make out what he was saying.) A good find!

                      1. re: James G

                        Glad you liked it!

                        Same thing happened to me at Bagel Buddies the first time I asked for rug-a-la and not roog-loch, rug-lock, rug-e-latch, or any other reasonable attempted pronounciation of rugelach.

          2. There are 2 restaurants at the Sully shopping center (intersection of Centreville Road and Lee Jackson Highway/Rt. 50). the Indian one is called Oasis and the Vietnamese one is called Pho something (can't remember). Have been to each one a couple of times. They may not be the absolute best but the food is good. Don't order bagels at Chutzpa - they're awful (taste like not very good bread). I haven't found real bagels in Fairfax county yet. Their iced tea is sorta authentic NYS in that it's just like the worst iced tea you can get up there (burns your throat). I'm wondering if anyone here has tried that German restaurant in Herndon that's located in a small shopping center? I think it's supposed to have schnitzel among other things. Nizam's in Vienna has good Turkish food (they're always pushing their donor kebob for some reason; I prefer their moussaka). Yoko in Oakton (Hunter Mill shopping center) has good food (and green tea ice cream which we love!). And the French restaurant in Great Falls (it's late, can't think of the name...just rebuilt after a fire last year..featured in a recent issue of Bon Appetit).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Anova

              The restaurant you're thinking of in Herndon is Euro Bistro. The food is actually Austrian, but they also have pizza and some asian dishes too..something for everyone! We have enjoyed our food there very much. Save room for dessert!

              N.B. the tables are very close together.

              The French place in Great Falls is L'Auberge Chez Francois. It's one of the most beloved restaurants around here. The food is Alsatian, with wines to match.
              Reservations a must, often weeks in advance for certain nights.

              Yoko has a new location in Herndon, on Elden St. of course. We love it.

              The bagels at Bagel Buddies in Fair Oaks are the best around here. The owner is from New York. The bagels at Tysons Bagel Market on Leesburg Pike next to Kip Killmon's Ford are also good, as are those at Main St. Bagel Deli in Fairfax, although the kids who work the counter there can be spacey at times. All three are far preferable to Chesapeake Bagels, Manhattan Bagels, Einstein Bagels, or any of the other lousy bagel chains hereabouts.

              If you like Turkish food, Nizam's is good, as is Temel in Fairfax.

              For Indian, I would skip Oasis and drive a few miles to Bombay Bistro in Fairfax.

              The Vietnamese place at Sully Plaza is Pho 90. Try the baby clams appetizer. Another Vietnamese place has opened in the part of the Plaza facing Rte. 50; I can' think of the name right now but I'm pretty sure "pho" is in the name.

              In short, don't be fooled by the preponderance of strip malls into thinking there isn't good, interesting food around here.

            2. Thai Basil - in a strip mall on the south side of Rt 50 just west of Rt. 28. Not as good as Thai Square mentioned in the tip sheet, but above average, especially this close to the hinterland.

              Glory Days Grill - Reston and some other locations. Best Cheese Steak I have had in NoVa.

              1. Thank you all for digging deep on this one, and for the helpful commentary.

                It's funny the thread led to Chutzpah (which I very much look forward to trying). I was just up in NY for a funeral and hit Epstein's Deli on the way home for some essentials...corned beef and pastrami (sliced hot), potato knishes and yes, Bob, the elusive pickled tomatoes! And that spicy deli mustard that shoots thru your sinus cavities like wasabi!

                The experience of ORDERING was enough to keep us laughing for hours! "Can I please have some mustard on the side?" "Sure, sweetheart, how 'bout the left side?"...."No sweetheart, a pound is not enough meat for two sandwiches!"

                But my father, an old Bronx native, was able to order his favorite--a hot dog with mustard and potato salad without having to explain "yes, the poato salad goes ON the hotdog!" Ah, great fun!

                Thanks again...I look forward to exploring my new neighborhood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sophie

                  Has anyone tried the sushi restaurant at Worldgate (I think the name is Matsutake) or the new one at Centreville Rd/Mclearen Rd (maybe Kittaku?)

                  I'd like to know if we can skip our next visit to Yoko II in Herndon or Sushi Yama in Vienna, or if we'd just be wasting a meal.

                2. I live in Reston and agree with many of the posts below. But there are a couple of important ones which have been left out. In McNair Farms Village Center you'll find the Sorrento Grill. Their chicken kabobs are more juicy and succulent than Moby's and overall I prefer this restaurant. It is one of the best kabob houses in the entire metro area. Another wonderful kabob house (and top 100 award winner in Washingtonian from 2000) is the Simply Grill near Reston Town Center. While their chicken kabobs are actually a weakness their rice with berries, vegetable kabob, jalapeno yogurt, among others, are really good.
                  Back in McNair Farms is a hamburger place on the side of the shopping center that is as good as Five Guys on Leesburg Pike in Bailey's Cross Roads. In front of the shopping center is Baja Fresh out of Marina Del Rey which is one of Southern California's most popular fast food chains. There's a real good noodle house near the Hard Times Cafe off of Elden Street (but not the Hard Times). Don't forget Mom's Apple Pie, a serious commercial bakery in a warehouse area off of the Herndon Parkway near the Fairfax County Parkway.
                  Big Bowl and Rio Grande in Town Center are both excellent for what they are (the Thai garlic chicken with peanuts over rice at Big Bowl is my nominee for the addictive dish of the year for 2002 in the D. C. area) and the deli in Fairfax Towne Center mentioned by everyone may be the best in the entire metro area.
                  Le Relais (heritage from the old Maison Blanche near the White House) and L'Auberge Chez Francois are standards, especially the latter while in the summer time the Italian restaurant on Lake Anne is truly European in feeling with good (but not great) food to match.
                  Last, Milwaukee Frozen Custard which is mentioned below is a faithful recreation of Milwaukee's Culver's frozen custard. It also has concretes to match St. Louis' Ted Drewes and an owner who is obsessed with serving us the best. Not only is this the best in western Fairfax County it IS the best ice cream/frozen custard in the Washington area. Only Carl's in Fredericksburg might challenge it. Like the deli, L'Auberge and Big Bowl it would be worth the drive from Dupont Circle. (Hope that Cherry Garcia is the flavor of the day when you go.)
                  You won't find the ambience of D. C.-which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world-but you will find good food where you've moved. And, if you're willing to includ Tyson's then you have to include Maestro and Colvin Run which are currently challenging D. C.'s best.