Moving to Herndon, VA.. Any recs for authentic cuisine?
Husband and I are moving to Herndon, VA soon.. Very excited about it as there seems to be a very diverse community and AWESOME Asian supermarkets, restaurants, etc, which I sorely miss!! (I am from South East Asia and love all Asian cuisines.. actually, all kinds of food is good, lol..)
Do you guys have any recs for authentic cuisines in the area? My preference is to stay away from Americanized stuff as it's b-o-r-i-n-g and does not satisfy my cravings very well.. But *good* Americanized stuff can also be awesome, like P.F. Changs.
In particular I'd like to get your recs for:
- Chinese + dim sum!!!!
- Thai (spicier the better)
- Indian (ditto)
- Korean including Korean BBQ
- Japanese (I don't crave sushi but a great bento would be awesome.. curry rice, udon/ramen/etc.. )
- If anyone knows where I can get Singaporean/Malaysian cuisine like laksa, chicken rice, and char kuay teow, I will sing praises in your name forever
chinese - go to mama wok in reston. very well-prepared chinese. also there is an indian-chinese place in herndon, forgot the name.
thai- thai luang is the place to go. its on elden, near the kmart. they made my vietnamese coworker sweat
indian - minerva (in herndon's clocktower shopping center) and mayuri in hunters woods (reston)
japanese - obi in reston town center is pretty great
plenty of great things to eat around here.
Indian-chinese - actually there are two places last I heard. Masala Wok for sure, to which I've been. It's a small chain with outposts in TX (!), and I thought it was decent; an Indian coworker liked it a lot. The other one I'm told is in the adjacent building to the clocktower, and is owned by the Minerva folks.
Thai - also Tarin Thai. Any other thai than these two places while in Herndon/Reston is not good. Polly G has a post of a place up on Rt 7 in Sterling - she knows what she's talking about so I'll leave it there (I haven't gone yet).
Indian - also Mayuri in the Hunter's Woods center - to the left of the Safeway.
The only Korean we had is gone, and I don't know about good Chinese in this area. I haven't had Mama Wok, but I can say that the Vietnamese place nearby is very good (Pho Reston 75), as is the Mediterranean place on the other side of the new market - El Manantial.
Japanese - Ariake in Reston is apparently good. I'm not the best resource on Japanese, but I've only heard good things.
You'll love Yoko on Elden St. It's probably Korean owned, but its' the best sushi in Herndon. Lots of daily specials and a varied menu in addition to sushi and sashimi.
I happen to love the Italian place, Zefferelli, in the middle of Herndon. Unquestionably the best veal chop around. Across the street is a Russian restaurant, if you like vodka.
The best Malaysian I know is downtown on 20th and P or M. There are a few of them clustered on the corner there, one of which is the well-reviewed Malaysia Kopitam.
It goes to show you--to each his own. We tried Mikaku and were very disappointed. It was more expensive than Hama Sushi and our waiter barely spoke English. For example, my husband asked him if they had beer and he said "no". Then we saw him bring beer to other tables. That said, the food was good so that didn't put us off the place--it was the service that did it.
hmm I can believe that. English isn't their strong point but they do have drink menus now :) The list all of the beers, sakes and fru fru drinks so no worries there. It is (a bit) more expensive for pure sushi, but they have a ton of offerings not available at hama. Don't get me wrong though, I love hama as well, but japanese "tapas" are also really good.
Depending upon your tolerance for driving, you will find plenty of SE Asian cuisine within dining distance of Herndon. Herndon was unable to sustain a genuine Korean place, so you need to go to Annandale or Centreville for the real deal; this is about 30 minutes during light traffic times.
While we have a ton of Vietnamese restaurants out here in the Western burbs, they all tend to be moderately Americanized. Our favorite local is in Sterling off Route 7 near Shoppers Food Warehouse. Their Vietnamese Shaky Beef is really excellent; everything else is okay but you'll find much better in Eden Center, which is a 35 minute trip in light traffic.
There is Burmese both near Dulles Town Center at the aforementioned Taste of Burma, and also in Merrifield (25 minutes?) at the delicious and downscale Myanmar.
We do have 3 good Thai restaurants in the area: Thai Luong, Tarin Thai, and Thai by Thai. The last has a translated Thai menu if you know to ask for it and seems to focus more on street food.
Our ethnic grocery situation is excellent. We have a GrandMart on Route 7 in Sterling, which is in the same plaza as Thai by Thai and across Rt. 7 from the Vietnamese place I mentioned. We also have a newly opened large international mart in Reston's Tall Oaks plaza. Their wall of seafood tanks is super-duper impressive, and I think their selection on Korean and Japanese ingredients is superior to GrandMart's. Both of these stores have things like head-on shrimp, extensive produce sections at excellent prices, and dry goods supporting the SE Asian and Latino communities.
There is also a Bestway on Elden Street in Herndon, focusing more on Latino food, but I found it grungy and smelly, so I haven't been there since Grand Mart opened.
I think our Chinese situation is pretty dismal. The best I've found is actually at a buffet at Rt.7 and Dranesville Road (Golden Dragon?), but you have to get stuff as it comes out of the kitchen. They do a small dim sum selection on weekends. If you show up on the early side of dinner, you may conclude that what is out on the tables has been there since lunch. :( .
Japanese-Mikaku in Herndon only real Japanese in NOVA other than Tachibana in Mclean.
Vietnamese-Little Saigon in Arlington off Wilson Blvd is very authentic right outside Eden shopping center and you can also shop for beautiful Asian jewelry while there.
Indian-tons in the Clocktower shopping center that are vegetarian like Chutneys which is spicy. Minerva is good for vegetarian buffet but the meat and chicken are kinda greasy.
Korean-Annandale K-town is best but most Korean places in Herndon are authentic. Soon Won Galbi in Centreville is great.
Thai-almost all Thai places are authentic and if you ask for Thai hot they will give you Thai hot but if you look American you need to let them know you can handle the spice or they will make it mild. Thai Basil is excellent.
DimSum-China Garden in Arlington is the best in NOVA. Get there half hour before the place opens on Saturday or Sunday or you will wait for hours.
What Korean food have you found in Herndon, other than Korean-owned Japanese restaurants? I'm curious, because we haven't seen anything since the restaurant on Elden Street which is now Angeethi (Indian) closed.
Spouse has a nasty cold, and has been craving Korean spicy soups like crazy and we've been driving into Centreville/Chantilly and Annandale to get his fix.
I agree with your assessment of Soo Won Galbi and Mikaku, both gems in our neck of the woods. The Korean place a few doors down from the new Lotte is also pretty decent, more homestyle cooking. My Korean colleagues tell me that the name translates to picnic.