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Oct 8, 2009 07:28 AM

Where Is Your Food Find This Week in DC? Do Tell ...

While there are lots of threads for heavily reviewed restaurants on Chow, tell your fellow Chowhounds in a brief your review of new/unexpected (pleasant and unpleasant) out of the way places you may have visited this week in the Washington, DC area.

For example, this week my girlfriend took me to Ren's Ramen on Arlington Blvd in Bethesda. Ren's is attached to Daruma Japanese Grocery, which has a nice, but limited selection of canned, frozen and a few fresh Japanese specialties. Ren's only has a few selections (supplemented by Japanese take away in the refrigerated case at Daruma), however as a neophite to Japanese noodle houses, I particularly enjoyed the large bowl of rich, miso infused broth with fresh, tasty ramen noodles. You could taste in each bite the granular bits of beef and the presence of pork in each spoonful. The atmosphere was very casual, however the smiles on the other (mostly Japanese) patrons confirmed my impression that for $10 my bowl of ramen was a good choice.

So what is your food find/review this week?

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  1. Nice idea! We'd like to suggest that posters also click "This is a review of a specific restaurant", which will prompt you to add the restaurant name. This will add a marker to a map which will appear on the top right of this page, in addition to adding the specific review to the restaurant's page in the "Restaurants" section at

    1. Just went with my S.O. on Sunday. Service was ehh, but the pizza was good.

      Red Rock Pizzaria
      1036 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010

      2 Replies
        1. re: katecm

          Red Rocks, didn't show up in the post.

      1. Went to another interesting place, Bucks, last night. It's located next to (co owned?) Comet Ping Pong on Conneticut Avenue near Nebraska. Tom Setstima from the Post gave it three stars a couple years find, or at least my opinion is that it's gone quite a bit downhill since then and I wasn't that impressed at all.

        My girlfriend and I went around 9:30 pm and the place was about 40% full. The place is quite dark, sort of romantic dark. Actually so dark it was hard to get a good look at the food. We could, however see the kitch all over the place...not really a camp/outdorsy scene, but more campy, garage sale theme. Odd paper placemats, used on tables with paint peeling off them... though the long "chefs table" in the center of the room was interesting and might have been a better choice.

        The menu is a bit odd and small... hard to follow in some respects ( for example the hamburger is listed under the appetisers). We got sorrel soup and smoke fish for apps, trout and a hamburger for the mains.

        The sorrell soup was probably the best dish: full of flavor, an attractive green color, sharp but cut by the dab of sour cream. I'm sorry to say it was downhill from there. The bread, which arrived late, seems to have been sitting out and around since the morning, or perhaps the day before. It was an odd mix of breads that didn't really go with the food, and there was no butter or oil to go with them. Not stale, but cold, tough and clearly not fresh on the first or second attempt to get some fresh bread from the kitchen.

        The fish platter consisted of about three 1 ounce portions of three different smoked fish. Two tasted very salty, reminencent of smoked blue fish out of a cryo-vac. It was accompanied by some kind of over-salted slaw. The trout was a nice portion, well presented (to the degree one could see anything), though it tasted a bit "fishy" to me, as opposed to a clean taste one expects from an unadorned trout. It was accompanied by a potato cake that was reminicent of McDonald's hash brown. That is not a bad thing, but it didn't really go with the trout and for $25 and from a restaurant with three stars I expected more.

        The hamburger was fine- properly prepared on a nice bun. But it was small- maybe a 1/4 pound (post-cooked weight) with some tempura onion rings. Again, not bad, but for the price of two Ray's Hellburgers ($14) nothing to write home about.

        All and all, it looks like the place has gone downhill since Tom's review, or perhaps it was an off night (or maybe Tom was particularly infatuated with the chef's attempt to try a new theme). But it was not untypical of many of the midranged non-ethnic places that DC has, unfortunately too many of: overpriced, lackluster, and not worth the time nor energy to visit again soon.

        Buck's Fishing & Camping
        5031 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

        2 Replies
        1. re: ClevelandDave

          Thanks for your report, ClevelandDave. I can't say that I'm surprised by your experience. After a few disappointing meals, I wrote Buck's off years ago and felt that Tom Sietsema's review was a big miss in my book even then. I believe that it used to have the same owner as Comet Ping Pong, which isn't much better, IMHO, than Buck's. Its pizzas used to be pretty good, but not anymore, and service has always been an issue there as well.

          1. re: ClevelandDave

            You should know that several months ago, the co-owner and chef left, so it is a very different restaurant now.

          2. Of all the things I ate this week while eating out, perhaps the one I enjoyed the most was a juicy, flavorful "chicken shawarma slider" from Neyla at the Taste of Georgetown yesterday. A close second was a slice of cherry pie from Baked & Wired at the same event. It's been some time since I've dined at Neyla, so it was a good reminder that the food is delicious and well prepared.

            On the other end of the spectrum, the worst thing I've eaten this weekend was a "chocolate-covered bacon lollipop" from Agraria. After just two bites, I had to trash it. It tasted like pure fat, so I'd say that it wasn't prepared with good quality bacon.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Gigi007

              I too tried a dark chocolate dipped bacon bit on a stick from Founding Farmers. I "get it" and have a sense of what they're trying to do- combine the rich, deep bitterweet flavor of chocolate with the meaty, salty taste of bacon. But it dosen't work really well because the bacon is chewy and sinewy, while the chocolate just melts. It is a composition that they may have seen or tasted at a place like El Buli by Adria but they can't pull it off on the cheap and without the right prep.

              1. re: ClevelandDave

                A lot of places around the country are making chocolate-dipped bacon. A friend of mine who lives in Pittsburgh told me that she tried some that was really excellent. However, the version I tried from Agraria was truly awful IMHO b/c the quality of bacon was so poor. Like I said, it tasted like pure fat. What a waste.

                1. re: Gigi007

                  True. It started off with the Vosgue bacon chocolate bar and others copied. It was also a popular item at the MN State Fair last year--on a stick!

                  1. re: Gigi007

                    I had choc covered bacon at Coco Sala-it came w/ the mac & cheese.
                    I thought it was good.

                    1. re: chicken kabob

                      I just saw this concoction. When will it end? Deep fried twinkies, et al.

              2. Had a nice experience this week at Cedar restaurant. We live in Chinatown and had walked by it before, but were unimpressed with the menu. However, we wanted to go to dinner and the waits at Cafe Atlantico and Poste were on the long side (we had no reservations) so we decided to try Cedar before walking up 7th to find something. Real glad we stopped by- it ws on the slow side, so service was prompt. The food was much better than I had been expecting- ended up with the butter poached lobster atop a mixture of potatoes, corn, and lima beans. BF got the mushrooms with lentils and was real happy with his dish as well. We'll be going back for sure- it's a litlle pricey (it is in Penn Quarter after all) but better than the other expense account restaurants in the area that serve roast chick,en steak, and grilled salmon with no personality. Worth a try if you are in the area.

                Cedar Restaurant
                822 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                1 Reply
                1. re: sallibee

                  Can you really have a bad meal with good lobster on top of nicely prepared fresh veggies? Yum!