Best "Value for the money"
We often comment on what resaurants are the best for a particular dish, cuisine or genre, and we sometimes comment on the best "cheap eats" or "money's no object" recommendations, but I don't recall too many threads on the "best value" - which could go across all price ranges, from "cheap, but tasty and filling" frugality all the way up to "You may have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it, but it's *worth it*!" extravagance.
What's your best "bite for the buck", in whatever area of this board's territory it may be found?
Lunch at Blacksalt - Provencal Seafood Stew with a 4 oz. glass of wine (have to go back to work, after all) and you are out the door for $25 including tip. The stew includes healthy portions of the market catch, shrimp, mussels, and clams. I seem to recall some scallops being thrown in as well. If you enjoy seafood you will enjoy this. I know $25 is not cheap, but it seems a bargain for what you get.
This one does happen to fall in the "cheap" category: Lamb Rib Kabob - Three large, succulent lamb chops (w/ rice, veg, and salad) for $12.99 at Food Factory College Park. Not the cheapest thing on the menu (in fact, the most expensive), but the certainly the best value. Also in the running with the more expensive restaurants for best value in general. Could feed two or possibly three people.
With my lunch budget capped at $35/week, this is a subject close to my heart. Best bang for my limited buck are the good AYCE Indian buffets...which gives me the opportunity to sample many things in varying amounts, eat until I'm stuffed, and linger as long as I see fit. Most also allow me to stay under $10. Minerva (fairfax/chantilly), Saravana Palace (fairfax / lee highway), and Taj Palace (chantilly) are my most frequented spots.
I've got two:
I think Del Merie Grill in Alexandria is a wonderful value for the money. Their approach is that with your grilled meat choice, you also get to choose a homemade sauce and two homemade side dishes. I think the most expensive entree is the filet at $27 (which includes the side dishes) and the cheapest is a flank steak for $17. The portions are generous and the quality exceptional.
I also like Pasta Mia for their portions and quality. Of course, you have to account for the hassle of waiting in line and dealing with the grouchy owners. But, you're more than rewarded with that steaming bowl of pasta that is more than enough for dinner and lunch the next day for less than $20. And, the bread! YUM!