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I may be in the minority, but...

Warthog Mar 6, 2008 09:32 AM

Time to start another oddball thread. I'm sure most of us have at least on place that we disagree with the prevailing view on this board. Maybe it's a place that's all the rage that we just don't get. But perhaps more interesting are the cases where we find something to love at a place most despise. In cases like these, the trick is soimetimes to find the hidden gem on an otherwise unexceptional menu, or perhaps that little extra hint that one needs to know - "Tell them to make the crust extra crisp - it makes all the difference" at a pizza place, for example.

So how about it hounds - what's the place you love that we hate, or vice versa? And please explain WHY - it might open up some possibilities the rest of us haven't considered.

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  1. ktmoomau RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 09:39 AM

    Great thread.

    I like Thai Terrace- there might be better thai in my area, but I love this place especially their noodles from heaven made as spicy as they will make it.

    I also like Lauriol Plaza- I like their steak dishes and their cuban pork dishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau
      ktmoomau RE: ktmoomau Mar 7, 2008 05:55 AM

      I forgot to say I also like Clyde's for what it is. I don't go a lot, but if I have people looking for a lower price point or who aren't big foodies or have kids it is good. I am a big fan of their "afternoon delight" and half price raw bar at happy hour, because their bar food I think is their strong suit and is really cheap for the huge servings.

      I also like Chef Geoff's occasionally for a burger and brunch (I mean really it is hard to screw up brunch, it's eggs). Now I will really get slack for that.

    2. e
      Elyssa RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 10:19 AM

      I'm not really that thrilled with Zaytinya and everyone else seems to really like it. Perhaps I need to try it one more time, but the few times I went I thought it was so-so.

      The other way around---I actually like Kramerbooks and Afterwards. It's not Citronelle....it's not even 1/2 way to Citronelle. But there are items on there that are pretty good, their desserts are delicious and decadant, and I like the atmosphere. I eat there by myself quite often, the staff has always been friendly (and rather naughty when they manage to talk me into a slice of their apple pie or chocolate cake), and it's a good place (obviously) to read a book and eat a meal. My favorite light meal has become their salad with a big piece of pounded herb grilled chicken (or hanger steak) and gorgonzola cheese. Their "best piece of bass (or salmon) in town" is pretty good as well. They usually have large portions, which is always nice. It is what it is, but I like it :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa
        KWynn RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 10:22 AM

        Agreed 100% on Zaytinya. It's in my neighborhood and I've tried to like it--in fact I've been there 5 or 6 times. I just don't get all the hype!

        1. re: KWynn
          ktmoomau RE: KWynn Mar 6, 2008 10:23 AM

          And while all you people hate it, I love it which puts me on the why in the world do you like that place side.

          1. re: ktmoomau
            epicuriousgal RE: ktmoomau Mar 12, 2008 07:45 AM

            I really like Zaytinya as well although I can't really explain why... I have had some very mediocre dishes there, and I really don't like their wine selection - but I always have a good time, and keep wanting to go back! I've also had some great dishes there -- one that is amazing and is only on the menu on Sundays and Mondays is the Manti... picture from an unrelated website below:


          2. re: KWynn
            Elyssa RE: KWynn Mar 6, 2008 10:25 AM

            I should also mention that the first "disagrement" my bf and I had happened to take place during a meal at Zaytinya so that might put a bad taste in my mouth about the restaurant---but I just didn't "get it." I think the crowd is a tad annoying, the food is only so-so and our service sucked. I would rather go to the 10 other excellent restaurants in that area then hang out at Zaytinya.

          3. re: Elyssa
            mordacity RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 12:42 PM

            I like Kramerbooks too. I love the atmosphere, and that it seems to be one of the few breakfast/brunch places around that knows how to poach an egg for that perfect ooze in an eggs benedict.

            1. re: Elyssa
              food.fiend RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 01:12 PM

              I also dislike Zaytinya! I have been a few times, and have never had a great meal. And I tried different things each time. Plus, they seem to put pomegranates on everything, and I am violently allergic. Sooooo the combo just doesn't do it for me. Plus, it seems too "sceney" if that is a word.

              1. re: Elyssa
                Goldielocks1225 RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 05:32 PM

                I'm with the side that loves Zaytinya...their shrimp with shallots rocks my world...

                I also love Kramerbooks and Afterwards. I've taken alot of visitors to brunch there when we can sit outside...I always get a piece of cake too!

              2. d
                dcandohio RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 10:38 AM

                Almost every time I've been to Bistrot du Coin, I have had a raucous good time. So I love it, even though the food can be average and the service can be brusque...I just associate it with a great time and so perhaps I go in with a positive attitude.

                On the other hand, though I love Ethiopian food, we had a very off-putting experience at Etete, and I can't drag S.O. back, ever again. But everyone else loves it...

                1 Reply
                1. re: dcandohio
                  Mulan RE: dcandohio Mar 7, 2008 02:43 PM

                  I agree about Etete. I was there a year ago and it was quite average. The food also didn't some freshly made. I don't need to go back there again.

                2. gatorfoodie RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 11:26 AM

                  I'm sure I'll get some flak for this one...but I have to say Central.

                  Atmosphere: Excellent
                  Service: Top-Notch
                  Food: Haute Cafeteria

                  I was so excited to try this place. My SO took me their for my birthday and we sat right by the kitchen. I can't tell you how discouraged I was to see that each station in their MASSIVE open kitchen had a microwave (which was being used frequently). Between that and the salamander at the end of each row of stations, there was very little "cooking" going on...and I could taste it. The food didn't have soul. I guess preparing everything more or less from scratch in a restaurant that big would be difficult to say the least, but I don't think anything we ate had been "fired" or "sautéed" or anything. Just pulled from a refrigerator or shelf and "heated".

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gatorfoodie
                    DCDOLL RE: gatorfoodie Mar 6, 2008 01:46 PM

                    TOTALLY AGREE except i thought the atmosphere was a zoo, too loud & crazy. I think it's total overrated and i won't go back!

                    1. re: DCDOLL
                      elegantelliot RE: DCDOLL Mar 6, 2008 01:56 PM

                      The food at Central is great, you guys are nuts!

                      1. re: elegantelliot
                        DCDOLL RE: elegantelliot Mar 6, 2008 04:16 PM

                        no, we are not nuts we just had a different experience from you. I for one don't like to walk out of a restaurant with a migraine from the noise, no matter how good the food is (and it wasn't BTW).
                        But this is why there are so many different choices to please all!

                    2. re: gatorfoodie
                      Ellen RE: gatorfoodie Mar 6, 2008 03:39 PM

                      I had two totally different experiences at Central. The first time was at an all expense paid reception. Everything served was top shelf and everything we tried was outstanding: lobster rolls, miniature burgers, fried oysters, and other fish finger food. Everything was great. I couldn't wait to go back. So i went back for lunch a couple weeks ago. I had the onion soup, which was pretty good but not the best I'd ever had, and a caesar salad with blue cheese, which was mediocre and the dressing was just poured on. We also felt a bit rushed. So on par it was just OK for lunch. I guess I can go back another time but they definitely didn't live up to the promise of the impression I got from the reception. And yes it was crowded and loud. And that was a Monday!

                      Another place was PS7. I went with several others and we tried the tasting menu with accompanying wine flight for dinner. At this point I don't remember the details but overall it was merely OK for a $500 dinner for four. On the other hand, I went back for lunch and had a great meal, including their tuna sliders for a very reasonable price. I think I'd go back for lunch and skip dinner.

                    3. Chowtimore RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 11:41 AM

                      Thai Arroy

                      As far as my experiences go, it is average Thai food served by nice people on a pretty plate. It's acceptable for local takeout, but not the type of place I would go out of my way for or recommend to others unless they were specifically looking for Thai in Federal Hill. Even when I lived a couple of blocks away, I would rarely go there or take out.

                      When I order Nam Tok or Nam Prik Pao, I shouldn't have to indicate that I want it spicy. I am sure they heard complaints about the spiciness and decided to tone it down, but it is Thai food and indicated as "extra spicy" on the menu. I don't know how this could be interpreted other than "If you don't like your food very spicy, don't order this dish." Of course spiciness is relative, but I have eaten enough Thai in enough places to know that this doesn't qualify. Obviously it can be remedied by asking for the food to actually be spicy, but when the menu says "extra spicy", it would be nice if they served what I ordered. It would be one thing if the food was flavorful and the lack of heat could be interpreted as allowing the full flavor to come through, but the dishes weren't anything special to begin with.

                      The curry was the most disappointing. Green curry is one of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, the curry at Thai Arroy was very watered down - like they didn't use any coconut cream. The flavor enhancement usually offered by the fat was absent, the texture was off and it was very one-dimensional, which is quite an accomplishment for a Thai curry.

                      I think they're having an identity crisis between trying to make authentic Thai and trying to create a more 'upscale' experience for the Federal Hill clientele (which involves lowering the heat and going easy with the fish sauce). And untill they fall to either side of the fence, I hesitate to frequent or recommend the place.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chowtimore
                        baltimorejim RE: Chowtimore Mar 6, 2008 07:03 PM

                        Try the whole fish dishes. I followed up some tasty $1 oysters at Ryleigh's happy hour with a bowl of Thai Arroy's subgum shrimp soup and a crispy whole fish with snow peas, carrots and stems of green peppercorns. It was delicious. I've never figured out what to order out of the assortment of conventional Thai dishes. I'm stuck in the rut of the subgum soup, fresh spring rolls and fish dishes. I'm waiting for a thai food afficianado to recommend other dishes on the menu.

                      2. d
                        dckw RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 12:39 PM

                        Great idea for a thread!

                        I just don't get Palena. Service was alright. Definitely dug the atmosphere. And the food was okay. That was the problem. The food was okay, not great. Nothing we ate was bad, it just didn't wow me. And for the price you pay at Palena, you should at least have tried a few things that stand out.

                        Maybe we didn't choose the "right" things. I don't know. But plenty of my friends, and posters here, enjoy Palena so they have to be doing some dishes right.

                        Oh, and put me in the box that likes Lauriol Plaza too. Hate the crowds, but I love the chile rellenos.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: dckw
                          Elyssa RE: dckw Mar 6, 2008 01:04 PM

                          Did you sit in the cafe part of Palena or the back room? Not that I think it matters much in terms of high quality of food. But I have had bad service in the front before. I didn't care though---I was too busy drooling over my burger. (Did you try the burger???? :) )

                          1. re: Elyssa
                            dckw RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 04:10 PM

                            We were in the back room. But, no, I haven't tried the burger. I hear *great* things about it on the board, though!

                        2. e
                          epicuriousgal RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 01:07 PM

                          Don't hate me but... Five Guys fries. I think they are disgusting. What is supposedly so good about them??? Burgers are pretty good - esp. for the price.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: epicuriousgal
                            Elyssa RE: epicuriousgal Mar 6, 2008 01:15 PM

                            I use to think the same thing and then someone on her (monkeyerotica?) told me to immediatly dump the fries into the brown bag when you get them and they stay fresh and crunchy and good. Seems to work...although not my most favorite fries. Which is ok, because the burger alone is enough to send me way over my alloted daily calories. :)

                            1. re: epicuriousgal
                              malveaux RE: epicuriousgal Mar 6, 2008 01:18 PM

                              Sigh! The secret to Five Guys fries is to eat them right away. If you leave them in the bag for more than a few minutes then they get all soggy and disgusting from the steam, although still not awful in the taste department. If you let your fries get disgusting, you have no one to blame for it but yourself.

                              1. re: malveaux
                                epicuriousgal RE: malveaux Mar 6, 2008 01:22 PM

                                haha! I didn't realize they were so high maintenance... I will try to eat them pronto next time and see if I am more impressed. I usually take them home, so that's a good 5 minute walk in the bag. Thanks for the advice!

                                Also... as somewhat of a foodie, I feel like I'm supposed to love pork belly when it's offered at good restaurants... sometimes I even pretend to! But now the secret is out and I have to say, the texture triggers my gag reflex. Sad.

                            2. hill food RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 02:45 PM

                              great thread.

                              I don't "get" 5 Guys - good flavor, but they're too dang huge, it turns my lunch into a chore, not a treat. and that goes for any place that thinks honking big portions are appealing. don't get me wrong, I want good value for my money, but I'd rather have 2 small meals than 1 chew-a-thon.

                              and in that vein, I don't "get" tapas places that insist you order everything at once and then whisk away the menus and act confused if you ask for them back. it just feels silly to set up a venue based on a style of eating that is completely opposite of your business model. the whole point of tapas is to wade (waddle?) your way through a leisurely graze. not gobble and dash.


                              but that's what is cool about this thread - snarky venting at nothing in particular.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: hill food
                                MikeR RE: hill food Mar 6, 2008 03:13 PM

                                I always order the small (single) burger at 5 Guys. I usually break down and get a small order of fries, too, and eat most of them, but THAT'S a huge order. I've been using the "dump 'em into the paper bag" trick for a long time, I might have even invented it. Not only do they not steam in the styrofoam cup, but some of the oil drains off and gets absorbed by the paper, so they crisp up nicely.

                                I used to eat about half the order of fries, then take the remains home and touch them up in the wok to make them crisp again, but I got tired of my car smelling like fast food for a few days after just a 15 minute drive home. I've tried asking for a couple of sheets of foil and a fresh bag, and even double-wrapping them, the smell seeps out.

                                1. re: MikeR
                                  Elyssa RE: MikeR Mar 6, 2008 07:20 PM

                                  Same...I get the smaller burger. The first time I went there I wasn't "in the know" and ordered just the regular burger. I was quite shocked when I saw the ginormous burger that I was served.

                                  1. re: Elyssa
                                    MsDiPesto RE: Elyssa Mar 7, 2008 09:27 AM

                                    I never get the fries at 5 Guys anymore, I am much more partial to shoestring (yeah, fast food) fries, those big things just taste like starch after I eat a few, even the spicy ones. Wish they would do the old Ollie's Trolley style of fries. If they served onion rings, I'd probably weigh a few pounds more.

                                2. re: hill food
                                  food.fiend RE: hill food Mar 7, 2008 06:41 AM

                                  Also a pet peeve of mine. The rushing of pace through tapas or small-plates restaurants! Or places that assure you that they will bring it all out slowly, and not at once, but then they LIE. Oh, the horrors.

                                  1. re: hill food
                                    SouthShore RE: hill food Mar 10, 2008 01:27 PM

                                    Totally agree on Five Guys! I used to be crazy about it, but now it just grosses me out. It's too much, especially at lunch --- I'll feel sick for the remainder of the afternoon at work.

                                    I tried In N Out Burger in Cali last year, and thought it completely whooped Five Guys' ass.

                                    1. re: SouthShore
                                      epicuriousgal RE: SouthShore Mar 10, 2008 01:35 PM

                                      In N Out Burger is definitely better... and so are their fries! You have to ask for it "animal style" if I remember correctly...

                                    2. re: hill food
                                      WestIndianArchie RE: hill food Mar 14, 2008 07:32 AM

                                      >but they're too dang huge

                                      Doesn't compute.

                                      What I can't understand is why the Fuddruckers in NoVa/DC/MD aren't nearly as good as the ones in Texas. *sigh*

                                      1. re: WestIndianArchie
                                        hill food RE: WestIndianArchie Mar 14, 2008 01:45 PM


                                        I admittedly get kinda snotty about needless consumption. If a honkin' big burger is what you want - go for it, but even a tiny McD's single cheese leaves me feeling stuffed and nauseous (and no it's not due to the quality - ha)

                                    3. Cookingthebooks RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 03:10 PM

                                      Wonderful idea for a thread.

                                      I'm really sick and tired of Taro Sushi. Every time I go there the wait is an hour or longer. Of course my husband's never willing to wait and then we are stuck because what is the back up plan in that neighborhood? I think their sushi is fine but not worth walking over there discovering there is a long queue, and then getting stuck. I have vowed never to go there again.

                                      Pork belly -- I agree. The appearance revolts me.

                                      As for the reverse, I know Chinatown (or should I say China-block) is passe, but I really like the chow fun at Full Kee.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Cookingthebooks
                                        hill food RE: Cookingthebooks Mar 6, 2008 03:47 PM

                                        you mean Franchise-town. but Full Kee does indeed rock inverse to how it looks.

                                        you might check out the basement place across the circle on P (Sakana?) avoid the tempura, but the rest is good. usu a wait too, but turnover is fairly quick. but anyplace in that 'hood is going to be packed.

                                        1. re: hill food
                                          hill food RE: hill food Mar 6, 2008 06:05 PM

                                          sorry - to clarify; sushi across the circle from Taro.

                                          1. re: hill food
                                            Elyssa RE: hill food Mar 6, 2008 07:26 PM

                                            Sakana is indeed on P St. and is indeed delicious. I've never had anything besides the sushi there so I can't speak to the tempura. But I can highly recommend the Sakana Sushi (it's on the special menu I believe). It's incredible!

                                            1. re: Elyssa
                                              hill food RE: Elyssa Mar 6, 2008 11:56 PM

                                              we seem to have similar tastes Elyssa - I based my judgement on going for maki and nigiri with friends (good) and once while I worked around there treated myself to a big lunch, something I never do. maybe it was just an off day. tempura was clumpy.

                                              their sashimi has never failed.

                                          2. re: Cookingthebooks
                                            dckw RE: Cookingthebooks Mar 6, 2008 04:12 PM

                                            OMG! I *love* pork belly. Yum, yum, yum! But, yeah, not the prettiest thing to eat, huh?

                                            1. re: Cookingthebooks
                                              epicuriousgal RE: Cookingthebooks Mar 7, 2008 09:55 AM

                                              I agree with all of this! Full Kee is my regular place... that, and Chinatown Express - but just for their noodle soup. Both are consistantly good, and affordable.

                                            2. r
                                              rappel75 RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 06:17 PM

                                              Am I going straight to hades if i admit I like Cici's pizza? Sure the toppings are miniscule, but I can't deny the taste makes me warm and cozy.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: rappel75
                                                hill food RE: rappel75 Mar 6, 2008 06:19 PM

                                                Cici's sauce is fine, it's the crust I can't stand.

                                                1. re: rappel75
                                                  wookyluvr RE: rappel75 Mar 7, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                  You should adopt my son. We go a couple times a month. He would eat there every night. I load my plate with every piece of pizza that looks passable, hoping I might get a couple of edible bites so I don't leave hungry. I hate everything there except the cinnamon rolls!

                                                2. mobtown hound RE: Warthog Mar 6, 2008 07:38 PM

                                                  There are two places that get a lot of love here and I don't understand why.

                                                  1. Yellow Dog Tavern. I think people are into the place because of the decor and ambiance. I've never been impressed with the food. I hope it gets better, because I live in the neighborhood, but as of now they have good ideas but lack in execution.

                                                  2. Mamas On the Halfshell. Its ok, certaintly better than the average meal had on the square, but not worth the heaps of praise it gets on this board. I would never make a special trip to go there.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: mobtown hound
                                                    matt8313 RE: mobtown hound Mar 7, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                    I'm with you on Mama's for everything besides the raw bar and the soups.

                                                    1. re: mobtown hound
                                                      hammocc RE: mobtown hound Mar 7, 2008 03:06 PM

                                                      That is so funny because I agree on Mamas...hate it...mostly the atmosphere drives my irritation- always so busy that when seated upstairs you inevitably get run into by servers delivering food.Elbows banged up, drinks sloshed around IF you get your drink order taken that is...and this has happened more than once. I get suckered into going with friends who love it ugh.

                                                      Odd on YDT- I love their food and have always had great service - I don't think their atmosphere is anything special.

                                                      1. re: mobtown hound
                                                        BmoreHound RE: mobtown hound Mar 14, 2008 10:50 AM

                                                        Definitely agree on Mamas, although I think it's way worse than average. I would also include Helen's Garden on this list, though I've noticed that people have thankfully stopped recommending it.

                                                      2. h
                                                        HilkaryIC RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 04:16 AM

                                                        I've amazing meals at Rosa Mexicano. I don't understand why people don't like this place. My steak kabob was cooked perfectly- unlike other places in the neighborhood (cough cough Oya). On the subject of Oya, I was really not impressed with that place. Yes SOME of the sushi I had was good (tempura roll was revolting) and the cocktails are top notch, the main courses were not worth the buzz or money. If this were a lounge i would get it, but as a restaurant is stands for everything I hate about Washington restaurants (trying to be as hip as New York, but completely missing the mark).

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: HilkaryIC
                                                          dckw RE: HilkaryIC Mar 7, 2008 05:34 AM

                                                          I like Rosa Mexicano too. The guacamole is very good as is the goat. And I love this cocktail they do with Mexican grapefruit soda. So refreshing!

                                                          1. re: HilkaryIC
                                                            food.fiend RE: HilkaryIC Mar 7, 2008 06:42 AM

                                                            Completley agreed on Oya.

                                                            1. re: food.fiend
                                                              elegantelliot RE: food.fiend Mar 7, 2008 06:59 AM

                                                              i really liked Oya the first time I went but have been less impressed each time i have gone back. I dont plan on going back again anytime soon.

                                                          2. little audrey RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 06:17 AM

                                                            This is a good place to ask: WHAT in the heck is so great about Hunan Manor in Columbia? Everything I've tried there has been very average. Is there some amazing dish I'm missing out on?

                                                            1. m
                                                              maddogg280 RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 06:30 AM

                                                              I love Pei Wei. My husband hates noodles, hence Pei Wei is not his cup of tea and I rarely get to have any food from there. I love the Dan-Dan bowl- spicy and filled with different textures. Husband just doesn't get it. So, on the rare nights he's out, I treat myself to a Dan-dan bowl sitting in front of any horror movie (which he refuses to watch).
                                                              Clearly, I'm not the only one who finds Pei Wei's food delicious- there is a line for carry out every single time I've gone!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: maddogg280
                                                                lvanleer RE: maddogg280 Mar 8, 2008 05:32 PM

                                                                I love Pei Wei also especially the chicken lettuce wraps....of course, I also enjoy them at PF Changs.

                                                                1. re: maddogg280
                                                                  mordacity RE: maddogg280 Mar 10, 2008 08:16 PM

                                                                  The soba-miso noodles are especially good cold the next day.

                                                                2. j
                                                                  Jamie D RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 07:29 AM

                                                                  I love the double-sided garlic bread and house salad dressing at Sabatino's in Balto's Little Italy. Will endure a mediocre entree to get at those 2 items

                                                                  1. 4
                                                                    4X4 RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 08:00 AM

                                                                    I like Au Bon Pain. There are two close to work, and they make good, affordable sandwiches and salads.

                                                                    I don't like Cheez Whiz on anything (it's good for chili con queso, but that's about it), so I would rather have a local version of a cheese steak than the traditional Philly style.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: 4X4
                                                                      Jeserf RE: 4X4 Mar 7, 2008 09:05 AM

                                                                      As far as chains go, and as far as DC lunch goes, I think Au Bon is one of the best chain options out there. Great soups, good coffee, etc.

                                                                      But, I also like Potbelly :)

                                                                      1. re: Jeserf
                                                                        Elyssa RE: Jeserf Mar 7, 2008 09:23 AM

                                                                        I 2nd this!

                                                                        1. re: Elyssa
                                                                          dckw RE: Elyssa Mar 7, 2008 09:24 AM

                                                                          Oh, yes! Potbelly is good! Love the vegetable sandwich with the hot peppers! Cheap, fast, and tasty food!

                                                                    2. monavano RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 09:54 AM

                                                                      I may be in the minority, but....I think that $25 for a burger and fries is obscene. I realize the beef is very good and all, but really, it would have to be a transcendent burger for me to enjoy it knowing how much I was paying for a hamburger.
                                                                      I can enjoy a burger and fries for less than half of that at a couple of my favorite places, such as Old Ebbitt Grill. I know, it's not hip or sexy but I've never had a bad meal or service there. I adore the atmosphere.

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: monavano
                                                                        elegantelliot RE: monavano Mar 7, 2008 10:32 AM

                                                                        where is this $25 burger??

                                                                        1. re: elegantelliot
                                                                          monavano RE: elegantelliot Mar 7, 2008 11:03 AM

                                                                          I was referring to Central. I mean, the burger sounds good and I haven't read anyone saying that they didn't like it. It's just......$$. I can enjoy a burger and fries for under $10 at many places.
                                                                          It's just is a bit much for me to swallow (pun intended! ;-)

                                                                          1. re: monavano
                                                                            elegantelliot RE: monavano Mar 7, 2008 11:07 AM

                                                                            the burger is $16, where did you come up with $25? was that just a guess? thats a pretty big difference.

                                                                            1. re: elegantelliot
                                                                              cleveland park RE: elegantelliot Mar 7, 2008 11:40 AM

                                                                              I think what monavano is trying to say is that 16 is an outrage for a burger. I remember not too long ago that 10 dollars was ridiculous for a burger and now we are setting the standard even higher. Whether its good or not is not the issue, it gets to the point that even though the burger may be one of the cheaper items on the menu, how do you justify to yourself spending that much on a burger?

                                                                              1. re: elegantelliot
                                                                                cleveland park RE: elegantelliot Mar 7, 2008 11:41 AM

                                                                                ok maybe not what monavano is trying to say, but what I interpret monavano is trying to say based on other burger threads we´ve been involved in

                                                                                1. re: cleveland park
                                                                                  elegantelliot RE: cleveland park Mar 7, 2008 11:55 AM

                                                                                  i agree, $25 is a lot for a burger, but $16 really isnt that much at a higher end establishment. If you arent looking for that, then you shouldnt go to Central.

                                                                                  1. re: elegantelliot
                                                                                    monavano RE: elegantelliot Mar 7, 2008 12:08 PM

                                                                                    Well, that's pretty much my point. I don't pay that ergo, I don't go. To clarify, what I said was "for a burger and fries", $25 is a lot of money. See my initial post. For a bacon cheeseburger with fries, it's around $25 at Central. Old Ebbitt= $9.25 and I've never had a bad one there. In fact, they've always made them exactly as ordered.
                                                                                    After all, this thread is called "I may be in the minority but.." Just my two pennies. Nothing more.

                                                                                    1. re: monavano
                                                                                      elegantelliot RE: monavano Mar 7, 2008 12:11 PM

                                                                                      $18 is around $25? ok

                                                                                      1. re: elegantelliot
                                                                                        monavano RE: elegantelliot Mar 7, 2008 12:16 PM

                                                                                        Just to clarify and then I'm done because this is becoming argumentative and I by no means wanted to launch a polemic remark. From Central's website, what I see is;
                                                                                        Burger $16
                                                                                        cheese $1
                                                                                        bacon $1
                                                                                        fries $7
                                                                                        Bacon cheeseburger with fries $25 at Central.

                                                                                        Now please, move on.

                                                                                        1. re: monavano
                                                                                          mselectra RE: monavano Mar 7, 2008 12:24 PM

                                                                                          I think maybe fries come with the burger at Central, seems like I remember that being a difference with Palena, but I'm not sure. (Your point makes sense either way, I'm just throwing it out there fyi.)

                                                                                          One thing that's fun about seeing the kitchen at Central is watching them shoveling fries onto plates, seems like there was one guy in there whose whole job was just doing that.

                                                                                          1. re: monavano
                                                                                            elegantelliot RE: monavano Mar 7, 2008 12:37 PM

                                                                                            it comes with fries - $7 = $18

                                                                          2. j
                                                                            Just Visiting RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                                            Il PIzzico in Rockville. I have tried it numerous times. Never had a bad meal, but I don't get the oohs and ahs. Everything has always been just slightly better than OK. The bread has been boring - no crumb, no yeastiness, no texture, no flavor. Maybe it is just that my expectations have been raised too high and I am expecting something that matches the superlatives, but I just don't get it.

                                                                            1. w
                                                                              wookyluvr RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                                              When I read about Chinese restaurants on Chowhound, I am always left completely perplexed about why you need to apparently be Chinese and fluently speak various Chinese dialects in order to even be given the menu from which you could order the good food. Like most ethnic restaurants, I'm expecting I could at least take a shot at pointing to #32 and maybe it will be a winner. That makes it fun, at least. But I find myself reading about Chinese restaurants here and thinking geez, we were really served greasy slop at that place, I wish we could have ordered off the "real" menu. But we don't speak mandarin, so I guess we're doomed. I don't understand that! I would never have even known about it if I didn't read chowhound.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: wookyluvr
                                                                                bylinemjf RE: wookyluvr Mar 10, 2008 01:03 PM

                                                                                Ha, great point, wookyluvr.

                                                                                1. re: bylinemjf
                                                                                  DanielK RE: bylinemjf Mar 10, 2008 01:57 PM

                                                                                  >> Ha, great point, wookyluvr.

                                                                                  Let's qualify that - while many places in the DC area are guilty of not giving the authentic menu to Westerners unless it is requested, most DO translate the menu. And I've not been to one where, when it wasn't translated, there wasn't someone around to walk me through it once they recognized my interest.

                                                                                  I spoke with the owner of one place (which will remain nameless, but it is a well regarded place in Montgomery County) about this phenomenon (his menu is translated, but is only delivered on request). He said that when he first opened, he had all of the authentic dishes in the back of the regular menu. And he would have several patrons EACH NIGHT walk out after seeing the descriptions of offal, or other unusual ingredients, when they would have been happy with their beef and broccoli. Not to even mention the number of people who would order something, but then freak out because it did have offal or something in it, at which time he'd have to comp the dish to keep the patron happy.

                                                                                  He sees this solution as the best of both worlds. Chinese patrons know by word of mouth that the authentic menu is there. Western patrons who appreciate the good stuff hear about it too, and the rest of his patrons enjoy their beef with broccoli in ignorant bliss.

                                                                              2. a
                                                                                AnneBird RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 02:23 PM


                                                                                I've been there multiple times because I really really wanted to like them... to no avail. Their food is yucky and their service is alternatively pretentious or disinterested!

                                                                                1. PJ4 RE: Warthog Mar 7, 2008 04:18 PM

                                                                                  I know I am going to get slammed for this one, but Faidley's crabcakes... I don't get it. The day that we went, the crabcake(ball actually) was gooey and pasty inside and if mom hadn't been paying there would have been no way I would have paid $15 for 1 stinking crabcake. I know, I know, lump crab meat is expensive... blah, blah,blah. While walking around, we found premade (uncooked) crab balls at a vendor nearby. I got the regular crab meat ball (not lump), took it home, flattened it and cooked it in a hot pan that gave it a nice crunchy crust. It was delicious, way better than Faidley's, and it only cost me $4ish. Skip Faidley's. Walk to the vendor by the opposite door and take it home and cook it yourself.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: PJ4
                                                                                    elgringoviejo RE: PJ4 Mar 7, 2008 06:34 PM

                                                                                    I almost never order cakes at a restaurant, since they are so simple to make, and lump is better for crab imperial, it doesn't necessarily make a better cake. A quality cake requires good quality and clean (to avoid time-consuming shell re-picking) "regular backfin" meat.

                                                                                  2. ktmoomau RE: Warthog Mar 10, 2008 12:36 PM

                                                                                    Thought of a new one from another thread: I don't really like Teaism, except I had a decent rice pudding, but I won't go to a place just for rice pudding... Everyone seems to like it, but I don't. I even ordered an iced tea that I wasn't crazy about it didn't taste like its description maybe I got a wrong one... just overall haven't had a good experience.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                                      Elyssa RE: ktmoomau Mar 10, 2008 05:21 PM

                                                                                      I don't like Teaism at all either. All my meals there have been disappointing.

                                                                                      1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                        Jacey RE: Elyssa Mar 10, 2008 06:36 PM

                                                                                        I agree with both of you. It's a very overrated. It's one of those places you really like because I like the concept, but the usually medicore food can't make up for it. Plus, the tea is quite pricey. I do like that ginger-cucumber salad, though. The salmon in the bento box needs some reworking--and flavor.

                                                                                        1. re: Jacey
                                                                                          Rosco1 RE: Jacey Mar 12, 2008 05:22 AM

                                                                                          Totally agree about Teaism. Fresh ingredients handled with a tentative, tepid touch. Spices matter. One example: a curry dish with NO heat? Why bother? It's a pleasant atmosphere though.

                                                                                          1. re: Rosco1
                                                                                            Jeserf RE: Rosco1 Mar 12, 2008 05:32 AM

                                                                                            I've never had any issues there, but then again, I've only ever gotten the lentil soup and the papadum. always been decent for the price.

                                                                                            Also, I like the one in Dupont to meet up with friends in that it's a little off the beaten path and easier to have a conversation in compared to the other dupont spots...

                                                                                      2. re: ktmoomau
                                                                                        mselectra RE: ktmoomau Mar 12, 2008 06:53 AM

                                                                                        I don't think you'll see people on CH suggesting Teaism for meals, for the most part, except breakfast. I like to suggest it for visitors to town, to know about a nice, relaxing place just off the Mall, but I usually say for an afternoon tea respite or breakfast. It's a place to go for tea and scones or the salty oat cookie. I've never liked the bento boxes (I haven' t had them all or anything) and I don't remember anybody suggesting them here. But sitting in the front yard of the DuPont Teaism with a mug of chai after the farmers market is a lovely way to pass part of a Sunday.

                                                                                        Oh -- I have noticed some service issues at the Penn Quarter one recently, just some inefficiency getting the stuff onto the trays, btw.

                                                                                        1. re: mselectra
                                                                                          Elyssa RE: mselectra Mar 14, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                                                          Breakfast was my major problem with Teaism though. I had some sort of salmon dish that was not at all what I expected and just not good. I didn't finish it.

                                                                                        2. re: ktmoomau
                                                                                          takajin RE: ktmoomau Mar 12, 2008 09:41 AM

                                                                                          And I totally like Teaism. Agreed, teas are overpriced (but I love drinking from proper cups for a change) and I've learned I don't like some of their items (palak paneer, Ochazuke, and the weird sauce they serve with their otherwise fine summer rolls).

                                                                                          BUT -- I love the fish pond in the basement of the Penn Quarter establishment. Am addicted to the sweet Japanese Green Tea on a hot summer day. Love the salty oak cookies. And I think the bento boxes are a good deal (esp. like the fried chicken box and. seared tuna boxes). Also, I love if I can get to a Teaism before brunch ends so that I can have the tea-cured salmon with naan and raita. Wish they would serve that at lunchtime.

                                                                                        3. b
                                                                                          bylinemjf RE: Warthog Mar 10, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                                                          Oh, also had a mediocre to bad experience at Montmarte for brunch. Is it better for dinner?

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: bylinemjf
                                                                                            hill food RE: bylinemjf Mar 10, 2008 03:59 PM

                                                                                            I've had dinner there a few times, with no complaints.

                                                                                            1. re: bylinemjf
                                                                                              Rosco1 RE: bylinemjf Mar 12, 2008 05:24 AM

                                                                                              Yes, my dinners have always been excellent. Very consistant.

                                                                                            2. f
                                                                                              foodcheck RE: Warthog Mar 11, 2008 01:49 PM

                                                                                              Jaleo, at least the one in Bethesda - overpriced, not very good.
                                                                                              Kinkaids - snotty service, OK though overpriced food
                                                                                              Lebanese Taverna - went downhill when it became a chain (the one in Annapolis is good)
                                                                                              Any place charging more than $10 for a burger - you gotta be kidding.
                                                                                              Some French restaurants (e.g., La Ferme, L'Oustalet)
                                                                                              Many cheap Indian restaurants
                                                                                              Lavante in Bethesda (at least some of the dishes)
                                                                                              M&S-Stick to their fresh fish

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: foodcheck
                                                                                                ktmoomau RE: foodcheck Mar 11, 2008 01:55 PM

                                                                                                Ok so I am just asking for it now but $10 for just the burger or the burger and the fries?

                                                                                                1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                                                  foodcheck RE: ktmoomau Mar 11, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                                                                  Well let's say burger and fries for, oh, $12.50.
                                                                                                  My principal is if I can do it at home why pay a lot for it? After all, it's just grilled ground beef and grinding up very expensive beef is a waste. (Really good fries, on the other hand, may be harder to do than a really good burger.)

                                                                                                  1. re: foodcheck
                                                                                                    hill food RE: foodcheck Mar 11, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                                                    I largely agree - my only comment is that wholesalers save the best for the restaurants and it usu. (if handled right) is of much better quality than us mortals can find in stores and markets

                                                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                                                      ktmoomau RE: hill food Mar 11, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                                                                      I def can't make good burgers at home, especially since my upstairs neighbors didn't appreciate the illegal mini-weber on my patio against homeowner rules... my grill pan just isn't as good. But my $10 Palena burger would make the list which is good, it is sinfully good to go there and get a burger and dessert and wine.

                                                                                                      But I like Eat bar burger and fires which pretax make it too. I have never had the central burger I guess it could change my mind, but generally I can find really good burgers for that amount of money.
                                                                                                      Man I wish Cheeburger Cheeburger was closer.

                                                                                                      Joe's Burger is right on your line, I haven't had it yet but keep debating. I kind of want to do it, but then again I can't really get wine there or dessert, but I could get onion rings (I do like my onion rings and Eat Bar doesn't do them well their onions sweat too much the coating doesn't stick)

                                                                                                      1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                                                        hill food RE: ktmoomau Mar 12, 2008 02:06 AM

                                                                                                        are the rings flour or cornmeal battered? - gotta be cornmeal in my book and nobody does 'em like White Castle... first stop from the airport on the trip home and then I'm done.

                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                          ktmoomau RE: hill food Mar 12, 2008 08:22 AM

                                                                                                          I am not sure. My favorite are Cheeburger Cheeburger, they don't have really thick onion, but it isn't so small you can't eat them easily (like Matchbox) and they hand cut and batter them there. Maybe someone knows what they use. Eat's has a good batter it just doesn't stay on to me that says too fresh of onions sweating to much. I have never been to a White Castle or I would compare them to that.

                                                                                                2. re: foodcheck
                                                                                                  FoodieGrrl RE: foodcheck Mar 12, 2008 07:55 AM

                                                                                                  Totally agree about Kinkead's. I absolutely abhor the service, particularly from the hostess who, in my experience can be downright rude. The food is really tired and not worth the money. I do love the grilled calamari with polenta, but not even that can get me back there after all the incredibly negative experiences I've had.

                                                                                                  I also don't get Joe's Noodle. The food has been fine every time I've been there, but certainly not deserving of the heaping praise that it seems to get, IMHO.

                                                                                                3. v
                                                                                                  violette o RE: Warthog Mar 12, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                                                                  2 Amys Pizza. I've heard people rave about it but I find it mediocre at best. I'm mystified. What am I missing?

                                                                                                  1. r
                                                                                                    rawdog RE: Warthog Mar 12, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                                                                    Without question, Blue Moon Cafe. Below is a post of mine on a similar topic about two years ago; since then I've been convinced to go for the fourth time, and it managed to be somehow even worse on all accounts:

                                                                                                    "my main one is Blue Moon Cafe. I went with friends, did the wait, sat down for an less than IHOPish meal that had me nauseous for hours. I'm all about second chances, so we waited a year or so and went again with my girl. Again with the wait, only to get very mediocre food and a side of terrible service (and I'm not even picky about service in the first place.)

                                                                                                    So, a few weeks ago, I thought the third time would hopefully be a charm and....well, you see where this is headed. My conclusion - this place sucks and there are about a dozen places I'd rather go for breakfast/brunch which I rarely hear mentioned. At the same time, Blue Moon gets the accolades. Agree to disagree, I guess (I know I love one or two places that get crushed on this board), but I don't get the praise or the crowds."

                                                                                                    Speaking of those places that I love that get slammed, Tapas Teatro is at the top. Everyone here seems to maybe enjoy the sangria and find the tapas to be, at best, second/third rate. I just love the place - great for dates, groups of friends, etc... - from the drinks to the outdoor seating to the tapas, which I think is easily on par with Jaleo and the other favorably reviewed joints I've been to.

                                                                                                    I guess that's what makes this board fun, though.....

                                                                                                    1. e
                                                                                                      epicuriousgal RE: Warthog Mar 12, 2008 08:40 AM

                                                                                                      I may be in the minority but...

                                                                                                      Cupcakes. I mean sure - who doesn't like one every once in a while, but I can't believe the traffic that cupcake posts have been getting! Good or bad - it's just a cupcake IMO. I never realized they were so popular and could inspire a craze. I don't get it. I'd rather set aside those calories for a delicious dinner/meal. But that's just me, and I guess I'm in the minority!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: epicuriousgal
                                                                                                        Jacey RE: epicuriousgal Mar 12, 2008 09:25 AM

                                                                                                        Har Har! I totally agree with you. I'd much rather have a fudgy brownie or even a piece of cake, which tends to be more flavorful if there are different layers.

                                                                                                        I think cupcakes are so popular because they are "cute," and the Sex and the City girls were obsessed with them. This was back in 1999/2000, so the fad should be over. It is in NYC...they have ventured to other dessert obsessions.

                                                                                                      2. t
                                                                                                        takajin RE: Warthog Mar 12, 2008 09:36 AM

                                                                                                        Places I don't get: Zaytinya, Jaleo popped to mind immediately. Five Guys after skimming this thread.

                                                                                                        I'll give Zaytinya a slight edge over Jaleo because I think the food is slightly better, but I generally find it to be overpriced for what it is. Jaleo: I absolutely do not understand how this place consistently makes it on the Washingtonian's and Sietsma's "top" lists. I've been a handful of times and the food has been so hit-or-miss; service has been abysmal. But my biggest peeve for both must be the complete lack of alcohol when I order their sangria. I'm not paying cocktail prices for fruit juice.

                                                                                                        On the other hand: I'm a fan of their sister restaurant Oyamel, and have had consistently good food, good service, and Tequila in my margaritas there. So what gives?

                                                                                                        Five Guys: Sloppy burgers. I like sloppy burgers, but theirs are too much for me. Fries are good though.

                                                                                                        Also Full Kee: Maybe I've not ordered the "right things" -- I've done their soups a couple of times -- and I'll take a bowl of Pho over it anytime. And we're still humorously "miffed" over the time we didn't get orange slices at the end of our meal, unlike all of the other customers in the place.

                                                                                                        Places I like: I'd have to agree that I like Clyde's for what it is. If I'm craving that kind of fix, it hits the spot in a very satisfying way. And their late night oyster happy hour is a really good deal.

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