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Dec 9, 2007 07:31 AM

Time limits in Arlington!

Greetings! We'll be in Arlington, at Hilton Garden on Courthouse, for a family event. Nothing is worse than being in DC area with time limitations. I'm hoping to grab a few hours to explore and munch at Eden Center. IF I can't steal away that long, where else would you recommend
in Arlington area for unique "District" ethnic chow? By the way, I don't eat red meat or poultry.

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  1. Thai Square in Arlington has some of the best thai around. There is a new lebanese restaurant in courthouse supposed to be very good called Me jana, or lebanese taverna or lebanese butcher (more falls church). Ravi Kabob which has a recent thread is good great chickpeas. I like Guajillo for mexican. There is a great place for pupusas I forget the name. You might check out tyler cowen's ethnic dining guide it might be helpful.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Ravi Kabob and Guajillo are good suggestions. Eden Center has a lot of choices in this arena so I think you are certainly on to something. My favorite Vietnamese in the neighborhood is Nam Viet on N. Hudson. You may get more time there since it is a closer drive from Court House than Eden Center is.

      In Courthouse, my favorite Thai place is Sawatdee- I find the food to be consistently good. I have never tried Thai Square so I can't compare the two but it does consistently get praise on this site.

      I have been to Me Jana and I wouldn't recc. it unfortunately- the food was OK and just as expensive as Zaytinya. I wouldn't say it was worth a special trip. I feel the same way about Lebanese Taverna.

      1. re: JAC13

        I agree with you on Me Jana and Lebanese Taverna. Recent lunch at the former disappointed. We had fatoosh (OK), fried kibbe (tasty but not crispy), makanek (sausages not very spicy and sauce tasted like it was made from A-1 steak sauce, mustard, and ketchup), and thyme fries (the best of the lot--thin and crispy and did not get soggy during meal). Layalina further down Wilson is better. Of course, Lebanese Butcher blows them all away. But it is further away.

        On Sawatdee, didn't that place recently change names, or am I thinking of another new Thai place in the same neighborhood? Thai Square would be worth the extra travel, anyway. Some excellent fish and shellfish choices available there.

        Taqueria El Charrito Caminante is pretty close to the hotel, and that would probably be my second choice after Thai Square, even though it may be necessary to take the food back to the hotel. They have great cheese & herb-filled pupusas and fried yucca.

    2. Last night I had a perfect meal at Pyramids, a complete dive. Kadijah, the proprietress, was cooking on all cylinders. Carrot salad, spinach, eggplant, felafel, baba ganoush. She also makes a fish tagine and, if available, a seafood b'stilla. I ignore the menu since I am primarily interested in the veggies, and they are not listed on the menu, I just go up to the counter and ask for them. 202-232-6776. Call in advance if you would like her to prepare a small seafood b'stilla for you. Located at 6th and Florida, NW. Finally, they have put a sign on the front door.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        This rec sounds like a winner. I missed the earlier threads on Pyramids. I'm in that part of town quite a bit and have never been armed with enough information to try any of the holes in the wall there.

        Is there variety in the vegetarian off-menu or do you just ask for "veggies" or "veggie platter?"

        1. re: Minger

          There is no veggie plattter, I just ask for my favorites individually, as listed above. But if you want her to make a platter with just a little bit of everything, then that's not a bad idea. If I were alone, I guess I wouldn't order so much, or just be prepared to take some home. Prices are low, so it's not like you'll break the bank. One of the few places it's hard to go wrong. Other non-vegetarian orders are the lamb or kufta tagine, chicken b'stilla, chicken couscous. Plus she can prerpare the lamb tagine either sweet (with prunes) or savory (with olives).

          1. re: Steve

            Funny -- I drive by the place often and have always wonder what's served there. Tonight I found out. We ordered the carrot salad, fish couscous, and seafood b'stilla.

            I expected the carrot salad to be slawed, cold and acidic. Instead, it was warm, cumin flavored and soft but firm like beet root. Very tasty. The seafood b'stilla -- we called like you suggested, and said she wasn't making it today but when we got there, she offered to make it for us, as she was also making it for another customer who came earlier. There only seafood I could identify in the pie was small shrimp. The filler was vermicelli. It was very light and tasty. I thought the fish cous cous was a bit neutral. I could have used stronger flavors. The menu is small and what we sampled was well-made. We'll try more of the veggie off-menu next time.

            1. re: Minger

              Beet root! Sounds British!

              Yep, seafod b'stilla often has vermicelli - as part of the crust, actually.

              I've never tried any of the fish before.

              Glad you made it in. Sounds like your curiosity is piqued. Definitely go for the spinach, eggplant, felafel, and baba ganoush. Kufta tagine and lamb tagine are both gorgeous.

      2. Last night, we had our best dinner ever at Huong Que (Four Sisters). We've always eaten well at this Eden Center favorite, but last night was markedly better. I don't think this success was the result of our menu choices. Instead, I think the fact that the restaurant wasn't particularly crowded resulted in food arriving at our table the instant it was prepared.

        For our group of four, we ordered: 2 orders of crispy spring rolls, lotus root salad, crispy fish with black bean sauce, pork short ribs with onions, and chicken with cashews.

        Incidentally, Huong Que will be moving to a new location in the Spring. Little signs on every table had a photograph of a building and the information that the restaurant would be moving to Merrifield. Although no address was included on the sign, I think I recognize the photograph of the building. I believe it is one of the pair mixed-use buildings nearing completion on Gallows Road. (The buildings flank the side road that leads to the movie theater.)

        1. If you want Vietnamese and can't make it to Eden Center, Minh's is very good, and very close to where you're staying.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lori D

            Minh's is good. So is Nam Viet up the road in Clarendon. I actually prefer the latter.