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Phillips Flagship and Arlington Restaurants

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Any advice on the Phillips Flagship on Water Street ?
Good or bad experiences are welcome.
Also my family and I are going to be in Arlington for 5 days early July close to Rosslyn Metro Station, but will not have a car, any advice as to good places to eat within walking distance of Residence Inn Rosslyn ?

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  1. To be honest, don't bother with the eateries in Rosslyn. You can easily take the Orange Line from Rosslyn to any number of downtown restaurants. Better yet, walk over the bridge into Georgetown. There are dozens of truly superb restaurants there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jeffrey

      Phillips Flagship is definitely not worth your time or calories. In fact, none of the restaurants at the Maine waterfront are really worthwhile. Years ago (20?) Phillips Flagship was different, and always used to be a special occasion restaurant for my family. It's a buffet style nightmare now. If you must go to the waterfront, get a sandwich from one of the vendors at the open air fishmarket.

      Rosslyn -- unfortunately Rosslyn is a roll up the sidewalks at 6 kind of area to some extent, and isn't where the highest concentration of restaurants is in North Arlington. Some good choices have been mentioned however, in the same little strip mall Guajillos, Ray's and Village Bistro offer good choices -- none too expensive (V.B. is the highest probably) for family dining. Cafe Asia is also a respectable choice -- good pan-Asian food -- lots of noodle dishes -- at reasonable choices.

      On Clarendon in Rosslyn is Il Radicchio -- a small Italian place for pasta with different sauces, I haven't been in a while but it's not too bad.

      If you're looking for places to eat during the day, there's a Chipolte in Rosslyn for quick Mexican that's tasty and inexpensive.

      Otherwise, eat in D.C. if you're coming to sightsee and/or hop on the Orange line metro in Rosslyn and go two stops to Clarendon in Arlington, or 4 stops to Ballston -- no more than 10 minutes -- for a much wider selection of restaurants.

      Around Clarendon's metro stop you have:

      Faccia Luna -- good pizzas and Italian food
      Mexicali Blues -- Mexican and Salvadoran, and next door the Lazy Sundae for a yummy cone
      Several good Vietnamese choices -- Queen Bee and Little Viet Garden

      Near the Ballston metro are a lot of other choices from chains to smaller restaurants in moderate price ranges.

    2. My advice is to skip the one near the Waterfront & Arena Stage. It is a HUGE place that caters to the bus crowds with huge buffets & it can get quite noisy. I feel you can do much better elsewhere at the same high prices...

      1. Definitely skip Phillips. You will be so grateful you did.

        I disagree with the previous poster re: Rosslyn. While it is true that you can get anywhere in the city given the proximity of the Metro, there are some good places in Arlington:

        Minh's for Vietnamese
        Guajillo for Mexican
        Red, Hot and Blue for decent BBQ

        Try looking at Tom Sietsema's reviews on the Washington Post's website, and take a look at EGullet.com as well.

        1. I live in Rosslyn. I must first say, don't bother. Walk across key bridge or cab and eat in Georgetown. That said there are some better choices.

          Rays the Steaks
          1725 Wilson Blvd
          I have only been here once and I enjoyed it. Outdoor seating and good steaks. Sandwiches are better they will serve them at dinner if you ask.

          Village Bistro
          Next door to Rays
          French. Nice setting, great daily specials.

          Next door to Rays
          Mexican. Good ceviche and chips/salsa. Not a bad choice.

          Cafe Asia
          1550 Wilson Blvd
          I know for a fact the Residence Inn always recommends this place because I always help the lost tourist find it. Decent asian style food, broad menu.

          1700 North Moore Street
          Don't go. Love Boat atmosphere, blue hair clientele and overpriced garbage. You will have better time across the street at Burger King for 1/100 of the cost.

          Tom Sarans (Prime Rib)
          1213 Wilson Blvd.
          Showboat Salad Bar says it all. New Orleans Theme Park decor. I have paid more for worse Prime Rib and I have had much better. It is okay for what it is.

          Santa Fe Cafe
          1500 Wilson
          New Mexican Best thing about this place is that the owners are always around and care. Decent.

          Mezza 9
          1325 Wilson
          In the Hyatt. I find the bar much better than the overpriced hotel food. The worse thing is the cold atmosphere. Last time we were there we were the only two in the whole dining room. Food stretches the kitchens talent. The food sounds good on the menu but doesn't work on the plate.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Mr. Freeze

            Two more choices in Rosslyn that no one else has mentioned - (1) Pho 75 for pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) - in the same strip mall as Village Bistro. If you like this, or haven't had it and are interested in trying it, this is one of the best pho restaurants in the DC area. (2) Appetizer Plus, 1117 19th Street North #B - AYCE sushi/Japanese food. Not the best sushi I've ever had, but not bad.

            The best thing about Rosslyn, however, is that you have easy access to many other places. However, I would suggest a Metro or cab ride to Adams Morgan/Dupont Circle before walking to Georgetown.

            1. re: Lori D

              I live 1/2 block from Appetizers Plus (if you turn around in the doorway and look towards 11 o'clock you will see my building) and I need to issue a general warning. Both times I have been there I have found bugs on the table. The first time I gave them a break the last time I swore to never return. Sushi and bugs don't mix to me. Also, I think the building is being razed for a new structure.

              1. re: Mr. Freeze

                Thanks for the warning. I've never seen bugs in there myself, but, if someone else sees that twice in a row, it's clearly something I would want to be aware of.

                One other option that I think we all left out, though, is the Quarterdeck for crabs (although I think that was dicussed in another thread fairly recently).

                1. re: Mr. Freeze

                  I work a half block from Appetizers Plus :) I got some takeout from there a month or two ago and it wasn't bad, but if I want decent sushi I'm more likely to go Cafe Asia or, to be honest, Harris Teeter if I want cheap an take-home. Haven't seen any bugs. Most of the block is getting razed (our building in December-ish) for redevelopment so AP might have a while left to go.

            2. In Rosslyn, I really like China Garden for its dim sum; in fact I had it New Year's Day with friends from Seattle and they like it as well. However, one other Chowhound tried it for lunch the other day and did not like it, though he did not have dim sum.

              If you do a search on Rosslyn, you'll get some prior posts.

              Finally, I hate to say this because I'm a real "local owned business guy," but I'd avoid Phillips. Their crabs are from SE Asia (as is their crab meat; etc.) and taste very fishy.

              1. Thanks for the reactions so far, it does not make the choices any easier but it helps me weed out the bad ones.
                Feel free to keep them coming.
                Is there any one out there who had a good experience at Phillips Flagship, and are there any other seafood places that offer a buffet like Phillips does ?
                What is the best steak place in Rosslyn ?
                Or in Georgetown ?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pete

                  Hi again -- steak in Rosslyn or Gtown is kind of iffy -- not sure if you've been to Rosslyn before but it's kind of a concrete jungle -- not a destination unto itself -- although convenient as a launching point for seeing the area and a place to sleep at night.

                  If you're interested in one of DC's many (many!) upscale steak joints, they're not in Rosslyn or Gtown. Certainly there are places in Georgetown where you can get a steak -- J. Pauls comes to mind, but these are not steakhouses per se. In Rosslyn, Rays the Steaks is pretty much it and that's a fun new joint but not an upscale steak place.

                  If you want to go to one of the great steakhouses take the metro to downtown D.C. and go to Mortons, the Palm, Sam & Harry's, Caucus Room -- all easily metro accessible

                2. I've been here over thirty years and have NEVER heard ANYONE say ANYTHING positive about Philips. I went for a going away party and regretted it: crowded, noisy, frozen tasteless seafood, and the lingering smell of the deep fat fryer. Even the dinner rolls were oily. Worst possible tourist trap. You'd be better off just going to the Maine Avenue fishmarkets, getting a couple of steamed crabs or oysters, and eating al fresco.

                  Rosslyn's a 10 minute walk across the Key Bridge from Georgetown. Plenty of interesting dining along M Street. If you want steaks, there's a Mortons off Prospect Street. Good cheap french food at Pied de Cochon on Wisconsin Ave. If you want to stay in Rosslyn and price is an object, Sarris's Orleans House has decent prime rib and a ridiculously huge salad bar. It's right next to the Metro stop.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: WG

                    For good seafood in Georgetown, try Sea Catch (not a buffet, and not cheap). Rather than Pied du Cochon for French food, though, I'd go to Bistro Francais on M Street. For quick, reasonably priced good food in G'town, within walking distance of Key Bridge, there's Moby Dick (kabobs), Clyde's or Chadwick's for good burgers, and Amma (Indian vegetarian).

                  2. Philips Flagship? Are you serious? Please don't come to D. C. and judge this city's seafood restaurants by that homogonized, freezer laden chain outpost.

                    1. I thought I heard rumblings of an informal boycott of Phillips due to them being a Maryland based restaurant yet have opened their own crab farm in Asia?
                      I know alot of Balmoreans who are not happy with one of their own going overseas.
                      In fact if you look at their packages in grocery stores they're listed as "Maryland-style" crabcakes etc.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: John

                        I'd boycott Phillip's on the quality of the food alone. Imported crab meat can't explain the mediocrity of almost everything coming from the kitchen. It is a mass-produced, chain mentality operation these days, relying on their primo locations in tourist destinations and a 40-year-old reputation (or, should I say reputation from 40 years ago?).

                        One other note - seafood just can't be served from a buffet. We all know that even one minute in additional cooking turns shrimp, scallops, and calamari into rubber, and fish and crabmeat into mush. There is no food on the planet less suited to a hot buffet, IMO.

                        If it's an all-you-can-eat situation that you crave, go to a good crab house that serves you all you can eat, but brings the crabs out a dozen at a time and the shrimp out a pound at a time.

                        1. re: John

                          Phillips was sued by a group called "Made in the USA Foundation" to stop them from saying that the crab meat is "Maryland-like." I think the suit was filed in April. No word of what's happening to it.

                          I've added the link to the actual complaint for those who are interested.