Germantown and Gaithersburg Dinners
I will be staying in Germantown on business next week and will need to have dinner with a colleague 3 nights. He lives in Ohio and craves MD-style seafood but likes a lot of cuisines. I favor independently operated places that use fresh local ingredients and offer good value. $50/head including a couple glasses of wine is the optimal ceiling. Here are the Zagat-rated joints with 20+ food scores:
Germantown: India Palace, Moby Dick, Agrodolce, French Quarter Cafe, and Mi Rancho
Gaithersburg: Hakuba, Minerva, Tandoori Nights, Moby Dick (again), New Fortune, and Tara Thai
Thoughts? Opinions? Additional suggestions? One thing missing so far is local seafood. Thanks in advance from a Durham, NC Chowhound.
Moby Dick is a kebab place, not really a restaurant. You order at a counter, etc. It's a local chain, very good. LOVE the hummus. I enjoy Yuraku in Germantown for sushi. The only seafood I can think of in that area (other than chains) is O'Donnell's in the Kentlands (Gaithersburg). Kind of old fashioned. Had lunch there on a Saturday and it seemed like everyone had brought their elderly mom, but it was good for what it was, traditional seafood in a nice setting.
La Flor de la Canela is a really nice little Peruvian place you might consider. I like French Quarter Cafe. I like Mi Rancho because it's easy to take my small children there, and the food is fine, but it's nothing to really write home about. Amazingly, last week we ordered our boys hamburgers there (at Mi Rancho!), which are not on the menu, and they were the BEST burgers I have had in this area. Weird! I might just go there for burgers next time and skip the Mexican food! New Fortune is strictly for Dim Sum on Saturday afternoons. Tara Thai is a chain. There is other good Thai in the area. I like Thai Tanium. I haven't been to Tandoori Nights in a while, but it's been good in the past. There's a nice French place in the Kentlands called Le Palais, but it will put you over your price point. I like Moby Dick, but it's very casual as the other poster said. If you consider that, also consider Crepes-a-go-go in the Kentlands.
Sorry I must have clicked on the link to the wrong Le Palais, and now I don't know how to fix it. There's a restaurant called Le Palais on Main Street in the Kentlands.
Le Palais Du Chocolat
6925 Willow St NW, Washington, DC
La Flor De La Canela - CLOSED
117 N Frederick Ave Ste 3, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Thai Tanium Restaurant
657 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Crepes A Go Go
514 Main St, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Actually, you shouldn't limit yourself to that area. Grab the METRO at Shady Grove (Gaithersburg) and take it to DC, it is an easy trip and very safe. At the Cleveland Park stop you can go to Dino for good Italian and a fantastic wine list with lots of wine by the glass (and some good whole fish), Palena Cafe for a great meal (the back room is out of your price point) or several other good restaurants.
If you are willing to travel to Rockville, you could try Bombay Bistro (they make a great Tandoori Rockfish), or go out Shady Grove Road to Cava for small plates and lots of wines by the glass.
Personally, I find Germantown and Gaithersburg to be somewhat lacking for places to eat unless you are looking for Chinese or Mexican/Salvadorian food. If you are in Germantown for business, I'd presume you are on the Tech Corridor and the pickings there are slim.
There's also Peking Palace for good Chinese, just make sure to ask for the Chinese menu and not the American one. In the same shopping center, which I beleive was renamed the Lotte Shopping Center, is Lotte. Its a grocery store, but it does have Bon Chon chicken. The most addictive, fried chicken I've ever had - its Korean and its not a heavily breaded chicken, but more of a glazed yet crispy one. You just have to try it, but search for Bon Chon chicken, and you'll hear people raving about it. There are also many other chinese, japanese, and korean places in the super market to eat at.
I'm a big fan of the French Quarter Cafe. I hear their brunch is good (I've never been), but I will say I've had a couple great meals there. Awesome fried oysters and its a small restaurant that does offer a good value.
Agrodulce is probably the "fanciest" of all your choices, but notice I didn't say the best. Its ok Italian, but for Germantown, its one of your nicer options. I'd say its just average. The better choice is Rustic Oven in Germantown. Family owned and operated (Mom's in the kitchen and dad does the sauce), they serve good Italian food and excellent pizzas. Also definitely cheaper than Agrodulce.
18301 Leaman Farm Rd, Germantown, MD 20874
21030 Frederick Rd Ste J, Germantown, MD 20876
Thurmont plz Thurmont MD, Thurmont plz Thurmont, MD
French Quarter Cafe
19849 Century Blvd, Germantown, MD
Lotte Video(Rockville Lotte Plaza%uB0B4)
11790 Parklawn Dr, Rockville, MD
Well, if he really likes MD style seafood (which means to me - overcooked and drenched in heavy sauces) there's O'Donnell's in Kentlands. When it was in Bethesda, we never ate there. The average age of the clientele seemed to be north of 85, and that told us it was the old-fashioned style seafood restaurant. However, a few years ago, shortly after they moved, we happened to be in Kentlands at dinner time and stopped in. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice list of fresh fish, which they were happy to prepare simply (e.g., broiled w/out sauce). They still have the gloppy Norfolks and such, but it really is a broader and more modern menu now, and we thought the meal was quite nice. Nothing we'd drive back up there for, but it would certainly make your friend happy.
I love Flor de Canela. It is a little bit difficult to find, because it is at the far end of a tiny little shopping center that sits perpendicular to the road (355) and I can't recall the name of the strip or the name of the businesses that are more visible from the road. But it is worth searching it out. Great food. Don't let the shabby appearance of the strip put you off. Flor de Canela is really very nice inside.