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Adventures in Chowhounding, Chapter 2

  • b

Today's adventure takes us to Cafe Rose, on Broad St. in Falls Church, in the Stratford Motor Lodge. The ambiance in the restaurant is quite pleasant.

Cafe Rose is an Iranian restaurant. The menu features the usual kebobs, plus some stews, soups, and other stuff.

I started with a soup called Ashe Reshleh, translated as Lentil Soup. $3.50/bowl. The soup actually has lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and string beans, plus some greens and thin noodles, in a complex, smoky, rich broth.

This stuff is a real find! Delicious. I could have eaten a pot.

Next I had Eggplant Stew (the takeout menu I took doesn't have the Farsi name of this dish, but it's on the regular menu). $7.95. It was ok. You get a big plate of very good rice, and a plate of very thin reddish stew (in which the solids consist of a few pieces of well cooked eggplant, a few cubes of beef, two slices of mediocre tomato, and what appeared to be a pickled baby eggplant that was quite bitter). I just dumped the stew on the rice. Tastewise it was fine, and it was certainly filling, but I would have preferred a more substantial stew and less rice.

Worth another trip? Definitely. Next time I will try one of the kebab dishes and one of the yogurt appetizers.

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  1. Iranian restaurants serve mounds of rice you probably noticed that.

    If you would have looked little bit like an iranian they would have given you a raw egg with your meal. In Iran a raw egg is spread over rice and mixed with it. They do not offer that to americans unless one asks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pablo naruda

      I forgot to mention one nice touch: The mound of rice came garnished with a piece of crispy rice from the bottom of the pot. Give me a plate of that any day!

      One thing I might as well expect around here at these ethnic joints is lots of rice. Fortunately I like rice a lot, especially the different varieties other cultures prefer.

      My ethnicity has been the subject of a number of guesses over the years, but not iranian. :<(

    2. Bob,

      I like your idea of trying random restaurants around the Northern Virginia region. My girlfriend and I tried a Japanese restaurant in Oakton and were pleasantly surprised (the place always looked closed/empty). Next on our list might be Tippy's Taco Shack on Route 29 between Merrifield and Fairfax Circle. It's in a rather odd location and likewise looks empty/closed.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Jeffrey

        Jeffrey: was that Japanese place in Oakton Yoko? They have another location in Herndon that's very good.

        There's a Tippy's Taco out in Centreville, between the Giant and the really good Good Fortune/New Full Kell. I tried it years ago when I was living in C'ville; I seem to recall it being decent.

        I like your approach of trying places that look empty/closed. Now that is real chowhounding!

        1. re: Jeffrey

          i'll be curious to hear about your adventures at tippy's -- i can only assume they're related to the (now-defunct) tippy's tacos in college park. our nickname for tippy's used to be 'heartburn hut'! i do remember tippy's fondly, but not for the quality of the food.

          1. re: trix

            Re: Tippy's--who else remembers when they were just about the only game in town for inexpensive mexican? (the late 60's, early 70s.)

            There really was little to compare with, so Tippy's did just fine. There was fine Mex at Enriqueta's, but not much downscale close in.

            I think there's still one on 355 in Gaithersburg...the one in Rockville and the one somewhere near Woodley are long gone. At least I think it was Woodley---I remember carrying the styrofoam boxes over to the zoo night picnic, so it had to be somewhere around there.

            1. re: joanek

              Tippy's was upstairs on Connecticut one half block north of Calvert Street across from Arbaugh's. The first Tippy's opened on Flower Avenue in Silver Spring in the early 1960's. At the time there was a good fast food taco stand in College Park to the right of where the old 7-11 is/was and also a really good (by early '60's standards) place in, I believe, the Old Ebbitt Hotel downtown near Woodie's. I mention all this because I remember being really excited when Tippy's was under construction in Takoma Park. After it opened I remember riding my bike out to College Park two or three days later with a friend for good Tex Mex-not up the street to Flower Avenue.
              Tippy's wasn't very good in the '60's. It hasn't changed since.
              My real Tex Mex awakening occurred when the first Taco Bell opened in the early '70's on Route 28 in Manassas.
              As for Enriqueta's I believe there is some type of relationship (familial or ownership) between they and Tia Queta's in Bethesda.

              1. re: Joe

                Enriqueta's nephew started up Tia Queta's. Really.

                1. re: joanek

                  Mixtec in Adams Morgan is owned by Enriqueta's owner, I believe.

            2. re: trix

              Last fall I tried the Tippy's in Centreville and was disappointed...did not live up to my memories of decent Tex-Mex food at Tippy's in Raleigh back in the late 70's (my favorite was called the Tampico Special: a tostado with half guacamole and half cheese sauce). The Tippy's manager in Centreville had no idea what I was talking about when I described the Tampico Special. I'll be interested to hear about the Tippy's on Lee Highway in the Merriefield area.

              1. re: trix

                There used to be a Tippy's on Hillwood Ave. in Falls
                Church in the sixties and seventies. We thought it was
                real exotic at the time, even though the meat filling had a sort of Alpo-like quality. They had a nice
                tomato-chili base gravy for the enchiladas that I liked. It changed names a few times, becoming Taco-Tico
                at one point and then something else. The food always
                stayed the same; not bad, not great...but always there.