please help me find some fantastic food... cheap
I Am looking for a great place or places to eat some fantastic food in the dc area. I live in NH and when ever I come down I am always on the hunt for unique food. I personally love Korean, Japanese, Thai really anything with some spice to it. The catch is it has to be dairy free which limits my middle eastern selections. If any one could direct me to something unique, delicious and not to expensive I would be very excited.
Ethiopian near 9th & U St., NW. (near U St. Metro, exit on the east side, i.e. exit closest to rear of train if coming from downtown) Two consistently excellent places are Etete & Queen Makeda.
Thai in Wheaton (Metro accessible - Red line). Specifically Ruan Thai & Nava Thai, just 2 blocks apart. Both are outstanding Thai places, though their dishes are quite different.
Traditionally the board lists Ruan as one of the three best Thai places in the whole area. The other two are also metro accessible via metro to Pentagon City and a bus up Columbia Pike to reach Bangkok 54 and Thai Square. The bus ride is short - I used to live in that stretch.
I *think* metro accessible is Joe's Noodle House in Rockville. Search here for many many posts.
It's a small trek from East Falls Church station, but you can walk to Eden Center which is a Vietnamese mall (yep, the whole mall). Not terribly further from that is Hong Kong Palace which is an outstanding Szechuan place. Both have many posts on them.
Also for Vietnamese, take the Orange line to Clarendon and head straight North from the middle of the square. A few feet up on Hudson street will get you Nam Viet. Again, many posts.
Joe's Noodle House in Rockville,MD specializes in Sichuan xiao chi (or small plates), very cheap. I especially like the shredded radish, the wontons in red hot sauce, the peanuts with fried baby smelt, and the rice cakes.
Ginger Salad and a side of rice at Myanmar in Falls Church, VA . A whole meal for about 5 bucks.
Polori at Rita's, a Trini place on Georgia Ave. These are fritters doused with pickled tamarind sauce. This will set you back about three bucks. Get the sorrell to drink if you're feeling flush.
Goat or Chorizo tacos at Taqueria El Charito Caminante in Arlington. Two bucks each.
Saltenas and humintas at El Pike, a Bolivian place in the Willston Shopping Center at Rte 50 and Patrick Henry Drive in Falls Curch.
It depends on what you order. I find food at Sushi Taro quite reasonable and quality. You can order skewers for a dollar or two each and have a field day, or the same with Tempura. If you stay away from the set menu, and order small dishes for 5-8 a piece, they are decent in quantity. With a bowl of rice and cup of miso, it's a great experience. They excel at their Izakaya type of food, which is rare to find in DC...and sushi.
For cheap sushi, go to Kotobuki. Stay within the dollar menu (check out the website) and enjoy. The quality of food is better than your average "sushi" joints out there, but it's not Sushi Taro.
For Chinese, I go to A&Js in Rockville (But I think the virginia one is better). You won't be able to order chicken with brocoli or general Tso's chicken as I think of them more as American than anything else. They have a menu with small plates from I guess northern China, and noodles that are good. If you get a bowl of noodle only, that should set you back less than 10 dollars. Small plates are usually 2-5 dollars, which you can order a few and have great fun with your rice.
If you like Pho, there are many good Pho places around and that's certainly cheap.
I think if you stay Asian, things should be fairly reasonable perhaps except Japanese.
To add to the list, you might want to check out Adams Express in Mount Pleasant, Korean hole-in-the-wall. And I haven't actually been to Thai X-ing, but also seems like a place that fits your request. Both would probably be easier to get to for a car-less visitor who is staying in DC proper (if that describes you), but I don't know whether or not they would rank as high, purely in food terms, as some of the other suggestions.
Hong Kong Palace is maybe my favorite DC area restaurant, but I never thought of it as Metro-accessible (never had to, since I can drive there).
Do you like Indian food?