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Jan 15, 2009 12:49 PM

Lunch near Fairfax Hospital/Merrifield area

While waiting for a friend who is having a couple hour procedure tomorrow at Fairfax Hospital, my mother and I would like to grab a bite for lunch. I generally go to Sweetwater when I'm over that way but I'd like to think of something a little different. The other chains in that area don't particularly appeal to me. Any suggestions? We're pretty open to an ethnic place and would like to go somewhere not too, too expensive. Thanks.

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  1. Highly recommend both Three Sisters (Vietnamese - in the new shops at the corner of 29 and Gallows), or Myanmar (Burmese - on Rt. 29, from the hosptial turn right on 20 off Gallows and it's in a strip mall about a 1/2 mile down). You'll find lots of posts about both if you search the board. Neither are expensive. Three Sisters just moved from Eden Center.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Meg

      You're missing a sister there. I believe there are four.

      Peking Village (2962 Gallows Rd, Fairfax) offers excellent Chinese (great dumplings and Sichuan dishes). They also have a lunch buffet which is decent but I don't really advise it.

      Next to Peking Village is Great Wall supermarket. Inside the market is a Chinese restaurant which does a cafeteria style lunch. All the food there are authentic. 3 items and rice is about $6. They have pigs knuckles if you like that sort of thing.

      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        H Mart also has an informal place (Korean) for lunch.

        I think the Pho place and the Chinese restaurant in the shopping center with the Giant (at the intersection of 50 and Gallows) have also gotten positive mentions here; haven't tried them myself.

        I really liked Peking Village when I went there. However, my dining companions were Chinese. If you are not Chinese, you need to be very persistent to get the good stuff.

    2. I have two suggestions nearby that are both on Rt. 29: 1) Bubba's BBQ: awesome ribs (both dry rub and memphis-style wet rub) and pulled/minced pork. 2) Jaipur: Indian restaurant w/ great tandoori chicken/lamb chops and a well-rounded lunch buffet for 8 bucks i believe.

      1. Around the corner from Four Sisters -- in the same building but facing the Merrifield movie theater -- is a bakery that serves light lunches. It got a wonderful write up in the WASHINGTON POST. (below)

        Pastry Xpo 8190 Strawberry Lane (in the Merrifield Town Center), Merrifield, 571-282-4970, Hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The owners plan to extend their hours to Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the fall.

        With the addition of this pleasant pastry shop and espresso bar, things are looking up in a part of Northern Virginia known more for its concentration of Asian grocery stores than for its fine foods.

        Owner and pastry chef Toni Srour has been the creative force behind Maurice Pastries, a 15-year-old wholesale operation whose desserts are served at the Omni Shoreham and other major hotels in the Washington area. He and his wife, Samar, decided the time was right in January to open their own storefront.

        "We got so many requests from clients and friends," Toni says. "It was hard for them to buy our stuff."

        Come in looking for breakfast and the phrase "embarrassment of riches" comes to mind. It's a long walk back to order the Illy coffees, Mighty Leaf teas, and "shakeratos" and "blendinos" ($3 to $4.50), which are the Srours' versions of crushed-ice-and-flavored-coffee drinks.

        The route takes you past pristine cases filled with house-made chocolates, marzipan confections and exquisite and reasonably priced cakes, bars and cookies. The next time I'm invited to dinner in the Virginia 'burbs, I'll stop here first to pick up a treat for the table.

        The selection of scones, turnovers and croissants ($1.95 to $2.45) looks delicate and fresh. For something different, though, it's hard to beat the thyme herb croissants ($2.25), a house specialty.

        "I took the recipe from my dad, who was a baker in Lebanon," Toni says. The croissants are lightly filled with a mixture of sesame seeds, ground sumac and ground thyme. "Some customers find the flavor strong," he says. "It's not a breakfast item for them. Yet."

        The display of lunch offerings might seem modest in comparison, but the same fine baker's hand and careful composition are evident. We liked the salami pizza, which is closer in size and character to a danish and can be heated upon request; its flaky pastry and combination of bechamel sauce and Swiss cheese hold a slice of tomato and one of three salami choices on top (calabrese, capicola or pepper; $3.25). The petite mushroom fontina tart ($4.99) has a tender, savory egg filling. Small-baguette sandwiches ($4.25-$4.99) change daily.

        The sleeper hit on the menu is Samar's ultra-smooth lentil soup (12 ounces, $2.99). It tastes creamy and rich, yet it is made with no dairy: only caramelized onions, red lentils, olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin.

        "I'm a good cook, too," Samar says. "People taste it once and come back for it every day."

        For her, it's icing on the cake.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Indy 67

          I went there a few times. It's okay, at best. The sandwiches are premade, sparse on filling, refrigerated so the bread is a little on the hard side. The pastries are pretty but not particularly wonderful. If it were the only place around, I'd go but given there's so much more in that area, I haven't been since last summer. In Vienna, you can go to Cenan's for the same type of food, sandwiches made to order and excellent. But it's more of a drive, maybe 10 minutes.

          In this weather I'd head towards Mui Kee and get a bowl of the dumplings or won ton soup w/ Hong Kong Style noodles. I haven't been to 4 Sisters which I've heard good things about so might choose that first for cold weather food.

        2. Myanmar in Merrifield is one of the great restaurants in the DC area. The Ginger Salad is easily in the top five dishes of the Washignton area. In fact, that and a bowl of rice is a meal. But if you want to explore more, then the pork with fresh mango, mutton curry, and tomato tofu are all solid dishes. Other interesting salads are the shrimp and bean sprout and the unusual gram fritter salad (it comes with a chickpea gravy). Ngapi Gyaw is a homemade dried shrimp and garlic condiment that you can order. Powerful flavor which you might not like, but a basic component of Burmese cuisine. I'm not a fan of the soups, which are kind of boring to me (unless you add the condiments). This is aplace meant for sharing because of all the wonderful flavors.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            Some great suggestions and I very much appreciate it. Unfortunately, because of my mom, I bet we end up at Sweetwater. But I will present the options to her. Thanks again!

            1. re: cabster

              My mother and I ended up having a warm and yummy light lunch at Four Sisters. We had spring rolls and pho, nothing very exciting, but it was all great. I hadn't been to the place before and was pleasantly surprised by the attractive interior and the same good food. Thanks again for all the suggestions.

              Oh, is Sea Pearl the restaurant run by one of the Four Sisters?

              1. re: cabster

                Yes. The oldest and her husband, the chef.