Hector's Place - Del Ray
My husband and I have one of those Entertainment Books for the DC/NOVA area and flipped through last night to find a new place to try out. We ended up at a little Italian joint called Hector's Place (used to be called Il Porto or something like that) on Mt. Vernon Ave. in the Calvert Shopping Center in Del Ray. This is the same shopping center as where the Del Merie Grille is located.
So, now that you've got the background, wanted to let everyone know this was a really good meal. The prices were incredibly inexpensive for the food quality and portion size. I had the spinach and cheese manicotti. It was clearly handmade manicotti, stuffed very full of a spinach and cheese mixture and topped with a very nice tomato sauce that had chunks of fresh tomato in it. My husband had meat ravioli topped with a cream sauce. Both entrees came with a very nice house salad that was served first with fresh (WARM) bread. The atmosphere was so-so, service was excellent.
Our check (after our coupon) was $17.80! Of course, that was a free entree because of the coupon! However, the entrees were less than $12 pp and included the salad. We will definitely return.
Anyone in that area should try them out. Also saw they have a weeknight special (Monday through Wednesday I think) of dinner for two with wine for $26 per couple. Another very good deal.
hector worked at the Il porto in Alexandria as a chef and as a server and then a manager. Went into partnership with Il porto to open the Village Il Porto. When that did not bring in the the bucks the Il porto guys expected thre was a split and they sold their share to hector.
The bar does well as all the crowd from the defunct Calvert Grille moved to him but the restaurant does not do too well. Patrons suggested that he change the name to Hectors becasue thats what they thought of when heading for Village Il Porto, hence the name change.
He now offers everingthing, Iltalian, sanwiches, mexican, pizzas, steaks you want it, you can have it.
As the Web site states, it opened as the sister restaurant to Il Porto in Old Town. Now the name has changed to Hector's; I don't know if that implies an ownership change, or if they just decided they were confusing Il Porto's long-time customer base.
In any event, the menu and wine list are almost identical to Il Porto's. At least the new place should have somewhat better parking.
I gotta say -- I live 5 minutes from Hector's. I am glad I saw this post because I never would have gone otherwise. We had a good meal with very pleasant service. I had the eggplant parm, and it was good and cheesy. Just what I needed after a long day. I have no idea what my companion ordered (my short-term memory is shot right now), but he loved it.
I am such a fan of Del Ray and all the good (and affordable!) options we have for dinner when I am too lazy to cook.
I don't know if they have a kid's menu (we don't have kids), but there definitely were kids there and kids would be fine there. They do have the basic spaghetti and meatballs on the menu as well as pizzas, so they do have kid-friendly fare available.
The only negative I have thought of since posting this initial report is this - they also have a bar attached to the restaurant that has a separate entrance. My only complaint about our experience was that depsite the fact that they have a good soundproof swinging door that connects to the bar from the restaurant for the servers to get drinks, the smoke from the bar area does seem to filter into the restaurant. I'll confess to being hyper-sensitive to seocnd hand smoke, so some of you may not even notice it. But, if you also are senstive to this, request a table far from the bar area.
Otherwise, it's a great place in my opinion.