spicy chinese or other suggestions near 11th and E?
Going to Washington tomorrow and staying at the Hotel Harrington which is at 11th and E. I think that's not that far from Chinatown.
Looking for a meal for one person -- decor is unimportant, fanciness is not desired. Just a good, quick meal (and hopefully one in a bright enough place that I can do some work reading during dinner). I'm on time constraints around work so would rather not lose time travelling (i.e., no taxi).
I think it's not far from Chinatown and love spicy Chinese. Any suggestions there? Or any other suggestions in the area?
The heart of Chinatown is 7th and H. Overall, most folks including myself will tell you that there's plenty of mediocre Chinese food in Chinatown. Full Kee in the 500 block of H St, is a very good one serving Cantonese. If you go, try the duck stuffed with shrimp paste, if they have it. Sorry this doesn't fill your request for spicy.
Best overall choice is Jaleo at 7th and E for Spanish tapas. Tortilla espanol, patatas bravas, spinach with raisins are heavenly and cheap. The free olives alone make it a worthwhile Chowhound destination.
Well, that's my neighborhood you'll be in - and I would ignore the recs you will definitely get for Full Kee. Steve is right, it can be pretty good, but I would probably not go there if I were you, for two reasons. 1- As he mentioned, they do Cantonese & Hong Kong, but not so much the spicy stuff. And 2- the place is dingy-feeling and completely unadorned, and a pretty depressing place to eat alone. You go with a couple people, you get some noodles or, as Steve said, something stuffed with shrimp paste (I personally like the tofu) - but it's not a good place to eat alone, IMO.
So, these are the places I would pick.
1- For Chinese: Jackey's Cafe on H betw. 6th and 7th. It's the newest place on the block and it's quite good; they have a lot to offer and it seems to be run by a huge extended family - I see Chinese aunts and uncles playing with their nephews on the steps at like 1 AM in the morning in front of that place. Plus, the food is good - my current fave of the Chinese places, bar none. The only one I wouldn't feel squeamish going into and ordering a Peking Duck at 2 AM (and I did. And it was good.) They are open REALLY late and are very accomodating.
And since you probably won't want Chinese all the time... and may want to eat again:
2- For just good eatin' - Matchbox. 9th and H. They do their own, homemade, wood-fired brick oven pizzas that are incredible - and the pizzas are the worst thing on the menu. Great sliced steak salad, lots of good sandwiches, good specials, great beer / drink selection - my FAVE thing there is the "mozarella portabello stack" - layered sliced of grilled chicken breast, mozarella, and portabello mushroom, served over a great green salad. Really good, and if you ask for some bread (also fresh and homemade in the pizza oven), you can make a l'il sandwich with part of it.
Oh, and if you like sliders - everyone loves the sliders at this place. They come with homemade fried onions in orders of 3, 6, or 9 - the servers sometimes wear t-shirts that just say "3.6.9". It really is a big thing there. I don't pick beef that often, so I've never had them - but my Mom loves 'em.
3- Hear hear for Jaleo! 7th and... D? Or e? I forget which. But it's a great place in the neighborhood to eat well, and eat alone, and get work done while eating. I went there when I had jury duty... made my day MUCH better. I've never had the spinach with raisins - gonna have to try that one, since I def. agree with Steve on the patatas bravas.... generally whenever I go there they seem to have some new special that includes mushrooms. And I get it.
For dumplings only (both Shanghai style soup dumplings and regular steamed or fried dumplings) I recommend Chinatown Express, at 6th and H. It's the one with the man making noodles in the window. I've found the rest of the food pretty ordinary, but the dumplings are excellent. Make sure you have some of the green sauce (ginger and scallions I think).
I just had a fantastic meal at Jackey's. Extremely moist and flavorful steamed chicken (Jiang Nun Gui Fei Chicken), as well as duck's feet and mushroom casserole and "dia pang style chow mai fun" which consisted of rice noodles with very fresh seafood, eggs, and pickled vegetables to add a perfect acid balance to the oil in the noodles.
Everything was absolutely first rate. I didn't try the more americanized stuff, but I can't imagine it would be done poorly.
Excellent service, also - the waiter insisted on putting my girlfriend's coat on for her, wouldn't let us order half a duck because he insisted the chicken was much better, etc. I ate extensively in Hong Kong a few months ago and this place would be about 70th percentile there, which obviously puts it head and shoulders over the rest of DC Chinatown. Full Kee had been my standby, but the romance is definitely over there now.