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Flattop Grill in Ballston gone -- Lebanese place -- Aladdin's Eatery has opened in its place

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BRL Jan 31, 2007 12:13 PM

Not that it was anything of real value, but the Flattop Grill in Ballston has closed. A Lebanese place -- Aladdin's Eatery has opened in its place. Has anyone been yet and have anything to report?

It appears that Aladdin's eatery is a chain that has places in only a handful of states -- in VA there is one in Shirlington and Burke. Any reports on those locations so we can see what we have to look forward to here in Ballston?

BL

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  1. c
    cabster RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 12:32 PM

    I've been to the Aladdin's in Burke and would describe it as OK, pretty average. When I lived in Springfield there were so few choices for good eating that Aladdin's seemed almost gourmet. Now that I've moved to Arlington, there are many good-eating choices so Aladdin's wouldn't be as appealing. But.... you should try it and make up your own mind and report back.

    Where was the Flattop Grill in Ballston?

    1. m
      mattm RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 12:50 PM

      Flattop was on the north side of Fairfax Drive, just west of the Ballston metro. I think Taylor is the cross street.

      I can't say I'm disappointed to see Flattop go.

      1. c
        cabster RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 01:10 PM

        Oh right, I know where that is. I never ate at Flattop but it never called to me either.

        1. w
          westofrome RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 01:20 PM

          This is a bummer. Speaking as a vegetarian, Flattop had a huge, ever-changing variety of veggies and both tofu and seitan. It's the only place I can think of that served seitan in the entire (#&@ metro area. I love setain.

          1. m
            mattm RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 01:54 PM

            I'm surprised a vegetarian would miss Flattop. The one time I went, I was completely underwhelmed by the vegetables - the meat defintely seemed like the selling point. And the meat wasn't very good either.

            I don't frequent vegetarian restaurants, but have heard some nice things about Sunflower in Vienna, VA.
            http://crystalsunflower.com/
            Their menu appears to include dishes with seitan, which I don't believe I've ever had.

            1. Lowbar RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 01:56 PM

              Wasn't that one of those places where you grill your own steaks? I don't think I've ever seen one of those places succeed long term. Most people seem to go out when they don't want to cook for themselves.

              1. m
                mattm RE: BRL Jan 31, 2007 04:33 PM

                Flattop was a "Mongolian BBQ" place. You select your raw ingredients (thinly sliced meat, vegetables, and meat substitures) and sauces from a buffet and hand them to a cook in bowls. The cook stir fries your food and hands it back on a plate. I've never understood where the term "Mongolian BBQ" comes from.

                So enough about Flattop. Someone tell us how the Lebanese place is.

                1. j
                  jridou RE: BRL Feb 2, 2007 09:33 AM

                  We live right next to the Burke location and eat there fairly often. Actually now we take out from there because they have been *SO* nasty to my kids (and my kids are really well behaved in restaurants) Once they told my kids they couldn't color (with the crayons and books we brought) because they might ruin the tables. Once they wouldn't let us buy a side order of fruit, so when we tried to buy a whole kids meal (planning to bring home the chicken and just eat the fruit) they actually wouldn't sell it to us.

                  Once you get past the insanely bad service, the food is good. I like the schwarma a lot, and I do like that the kids meals are grilled chicken with fruit on the side. Also it's inexpensive, my family of 5 can get out of there for under $40 easily.

                  There isn't much competition in Burke, so I think that's why they do well. I'll be interested how they can stand in Arlington which has so many other wonderful choices.

                  1. chowser RE: BRL Feb 2, 2007 10:15 AM

                    I like Aladdin's. Inexpensive, healthy food. The hummus is really good. I haven't had the same problems w/ service that jridou has had, either. The one in Shirlington is good, too. I was surprised to find out it was a chain since they seem really homey. I don't get anything fancy there, just usually salads w/ tuna or chicken or one of their wraps. But, my husband likes the kebab type foods. And, it's good w/ a group. Desserts look great but don't taste as good as they look.

                    1. r
                      rHairing RE: BRL Feb 2, 2007 11:01 AM

                      It's a welcome addition to the neighborhood as I don't drive to work and need options within walking distance of the Ballston Metro. I went this week. The food is good, healthy, and inexpensive. They have a marvelous hotsauce I would love to buy by the bottle. My only complaint was that I had the Aladdin's salad dressing and they need to use a better quality olive oil. They can have carryout ready in minutes. The service was fine and friendly. We had no problems with substitutions and separating checks. Not a dessert person but boy, did they have a selection.

                      1. c
                        calover123 RE: BRL Apr 16, 2007 01:07 PM

                        Aladdins Eatery is a great Lebanese chain. I eat at one in Hudson, OH, well out of Northern Virginia, but it's all the same. The food is excellent, especially for takeout, as the atmosphere is not the best. There are great vegetarian options available. I think those of you in Arlington will enjoy it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: calover123
                          j
                          Jeserf RE: calover123 Apr 17, 2007 11:48 AM

                          yes! They have one in Pittsburgh and I really, really like it. Very good and reasonable prices.

                        2. c
                          Callisto RE: BRL Apr 16, 2007 01:20 PM

                          I ate at the Aladin's in Ballston. The smoothies were terrible, not really much flavor. The falafel was good, but not amazing. Also, the night that I went, the service was pretty lousy.

                          1. Mulan RE: BRL Apr 16, 2007 07:24 PM

                            I went for takeout a few weeks after they opened. I ordered a spinach pita pie. It wasn't very good and it tasted old. The salad that came with it was okay. I certainly don't need to go back there any time soon.

                            1. tmentzer RE: BRL Apr 17, 2007 11:32 AM

                              Agree with posts that it's fair for takeout. Their beef shawarma sandwich is above-average and cheap. Another sandwich, shishtawook, has a decent garlic sauce. If you buy a sandwich, you can get a small side salad for something like $1.50 or $1.95, a reasonable addition.

                              Their entree salads are overpriced at $8 or $9. (And who shreds feta?) The hummus is good if you prefer the very smooth, creamy kind. They don't usually offer enough pita with it, but they have big bags of pita you can pick up for about $2, which is a nice deal.

                              Recently tried their falafel pitza, which was interesting. Tahini sauce with tomatoes, chunks of falafel and a big handful of banana peppers.

                              They have more expensive entrees, but I think the best meal (and best deal) for two is a coupld sandwiches (they call them rolled pitas), a couple side salads and an order of hummus.

                              A longer review here:

                              http://www.dcdishes.com/node/67

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