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Oct 5, 2007 12:54 PM

Dinner Recs in Silver Spring

Whoops! Waited too long to try for a reservation at Ray's the Classics with the predictable result that there are are no available tables for Saturday night until 9:30 p.m.

Other than Ray's the Silver Spring restaurant scene is totally unfamiliar. Where else should we consider? If it helps you with your recs, we're at the AARP end of the Chowhound crowd. We'll also be casually dressed after attending a movie at the Silver Theater.

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  1. Jackie's, at the corner of Georgia and Sligo Ave., is a good choice, as is Taste of Jerusalem, just north of Sligo on Georgia. Both take reservations.

    1. What kind of food are you looking for? I was assuming steaks but then realized that if Ray's the Classics is the only place you know in SS, that's not a safe assumption. Mandalay - is very good. Just be sure you mean spicey if you say spicey.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dacwdc

        Our tastes are wide-ranging, but we don't handle incendiary food too well.

        You're right about not knowing Silver Spring well, with a qualifier. I grew up in Silver Spring. I can tell you about restaurants that haven't existed for decades, but I haven't got a clue about the current crop.

      2. Jackie's is very good and a first choice for a chowhound recommendation. I second Mandalay if you are looking for good food, with little ambiance. We eat their ginger salad and sour mustard chicken on a regular basis. Cubano's for a bit more atmosphere and tasty cuban food. I have had mixed experiences with Ceviche, but I would recommend giving it a try.

        2 Replies
        1. re: spider

          I noticed that on one of the pages of the Mandalay menu on their website, it says "A minimum order of one main dish or a combination of appetizer, salad & soup per person". Do they really enforce that? I was planning to eat there Sunday night but my daughter is a really picky eater and I figured we'd order for 3 and hope she eats some stuff (and we'll be traveling so it's not like I can bring leftovers home). I guess I could call and ask...or find someplace else to eat that night. We're staying in Silver Spring that night so it seemed like a good choice.

          1. re: MisterBill2

            "I noticed that on one of the pages of the Mandalay menu on their website, it says "A minimum order of one main dish or a combination of appetizer, salad & soup per person". Do they really enforce that? "

            It depends. We've been going to Mandalay ever since it was in College Park. Sometimes my husband and I want to eat light, and they accomodate us.

            By the way, when the waiter takes your order for your food, they will ask you if you want it mild, medium, or spicy. When they were in College Park, you really had to mean spicy, but they have toned it down in Silver Spring unless you tell them to do it College Park.

        2. Mandalay, Samantha (great Salvadoran, homey atmosphere, though not downtown), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian). Have heard good things about Ceviche, but haven't been and it might be a little trendy for your taste. If you guys have a sense of humor and don't mind slow service, there's always Piratz Tavern.

          1. Indy , do you remember a Silver Spring resto called "The Greenhouse" and were the crab cakes and soft shells as abfab as memory serves? What were your other favorites back in the day?

            9 Replies
            1. re: annabana

              Sorry, I don't remember The Greenhouse. What "day" are you talking about? I'm talking about the 50s and early 60s.

              Frankly, I don't really remember too much good eating in Silver Spring. We'd eat at the original Crisfied's (near the train station). The Gifford's on Georgia Ave was the happy scene of many Swiss sundaes. I think there was a soft serve place on a street parallel to Colesville Road across from the commercial block. I have a distinct visual memory of a white stucco structure with chunks of mirror embedded in the stucco.

              Incidentally, we ended up having dinner at Ray's the Classics the night we went to the Silver Theater. I'm not ready to be counted as a fan. Four of us ordered the Spiced French onion soup. We were uniformly put off by the sweetness of the broth. We think the added spice was cinnamon and the result tasted quite weird to us. My husband ordered the steak with the sauteed mushrooms, sauce and blue cheese. He really enjoyed his meal. I ordered the strip steak with the port wine sauce. The steak itself was superb, but I didn't care for the sweetness of the sauce. The heavy cream and the sweet port combined to produce a sauce whose sweetness masked the inherent quality of the meat. (Enough time has passed that I don't remember what the other three people in our group ordered or their reaction, other than the soup course.)

              Since we live in Virginia, if I'm going to give any Ray's a second chance, it will be the Ray's the Steaks. If I order an unadorned steak and a salad, I'm likely to have a better opinion of the restaurant.

              1. re: Indy 67

                The Greenhouse was 1970's.

                The frozen custard joint was on Colesville where the Metro bus area is now. I think it was the Polar Bear, but I might be confusing it with a similar place (The Reindeer?) on Georgia Ave. south of Walter Reed.

                Do you remember the Wachapreague Seafood on Thayer? How about Capt. White's?

                1. re: Mister Big

                  Whoops! Both the Polar Bear and The Reindeer sound familiar so I can't narrow down the possibilities. I'm definitely not talking about the place on Georgia.

                  Our family used to eat at Captain White's, but I don't remember Wachapreague Seafood.

                  Since your memory is better than mine, what was the name of the Italian restaurant that was just at the northern edge of the retail area of Silver Spring? (I don't remember the street name.) Hecht's was on the corner of this unknown street and Colesville Road. I recall the Italian restaurant as being perpendicular to this unknown street but within sight of the retail downtown Silver Spring.

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    I'm guessing the Italian place was Villa Rosa. They also had a nightclub with a different name, which escapes me. The street you were trying to remember was Fenton St.

                    Do you remember Kushner's (seafood) on Piney Branch Rd. or China Royal next to Packett's Pharmacy?

                    1. re: Mister Big

                      I'm seriously impressed with your memory. Yes! Villa Rosa! I remember meals there with great fondness, although I can't say whether the food was good or I simply enjoyed eating out in what passed for a somewhat fancy restaurant at that time.

                      I do remember Kushner's, but China Royal doesn't ring a bell. We used to eat Chinese at a small place on University Blvd, in Wheaton in the Moo Goo Gai Pan era. The Yenching Palace was a step up in sophistication and authenticity in the Kennedy era. Other than remembering the change that took place in the Chinese food scene after Nixon went to China, I can't name the Chinese restaurants we frequented then. Perhaps we went to the same places, but their menus changed.

                      I have a strong memory of Sunday meals at Peter Pan in Urbana, MD. Between the drive, the walk on the grounds, and the meal, this was an all-day event. I think I ordered fried chicken; I know I loved the never-ending supply of cottage cheese and apple butter. I also remember trying to get the peacocks to open their tails during our walks around the property. I don't ever remember the peacocks shrieking, a sound that is too distinctive and frightening to forget.

                      1. re: Indy 67

                        Since you are probably my age or a speck older, I'm trying to remember the exact name of a great family restaurant in Four Corners. It was either Stone House Inn or Old Stone House. It was hidden behind a used car dealer where the 7-11 now sits.

                        1. re: Mister Big

                          The Quarry House. It was around the corner from Fred & Harry's. Great Pizza! In the early 70's, I remember a frozen custard store at Fenton and Thayer called Custard's Last Stand. It either became or was next to a cleaner that is still there.

                          1. re: Fryboy

                            I have been corrected. not the Qurry house it's The Corner Pub in Four Corners

                  2. re: Mister Big

                    Yes I clearly remember the Wachapreague and Capt. White's. The Wachapreague had the most amazing seafood and I met my husband at Capt. White's!