DC and neighbouring areas - Researched!!
I am looking to finalize a few places for 4 hungry hounds over the new year weekend and would appreciate help in finalizing my list. We will have a car so accessibility should not be an issue. The selection criteria in the order of preference is as follows,
1. Deliciousnessssss...... (Off course ;-))
2. Big bold flavors that I have often found in Indian, Mexican, Southwestern n Cajun cuisine.
3. Adventurous - Open to offal, creepy, crawly creatures.
4. Cuisines that are not readily available everywhere, so I guess american, italian, french are out.
Based on what I have discovered so far, here is what I have,
1. Korean - Honey Pig or Gom Ba Woo
2. South American - Llajtaymanta, Luzmila's Cuisine or La Caraquena
3. Vietnamese - Minhs, Present, Four Sisters or Bay Lo
4. Because it sounds so unique - The Latin Dim Sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico
5. West African - Chez Aunty Libe
I purposely left out Ethiopian as I have been to Etete but if nothing else, I'll include it. Same with Thai (Nava Thai), Afghan (Faryab), Spanish (Jaleo) and Middle Eastern (Zaytinya). I have not tried the much talked about Chinese Places like China Star & China Jade but have had a lot of regular chinese fare like PF Changs (If that can be classified as chinese).
I am looking to finalize the places that I mentioned and get about 3-4 more places. If there are some "Make you jump out of your chair", desert places, that'll be great. Two such places for me were Georgetown Cupcakes (This has been greatly debated but I like it) and Dolcezza. For bars, I have been to The PX, PS7, Bar Pilar, The Gibson. I am thinking about trying a more fun, less formal place, maybe with live music or something. Any suggestions - ? Dubliner, 4Ps??
Hong Kong Palace in 7 corners - getting the cumin lamb and the "mouth mouth" chicken dish with peppers. Also get Chengdu noodles and cold spicy beef to start, and some fried corn to sop up your plate at the end. Then you can throw in a veggie dish as well. Do this especially b/c of your comment - there is great sichuan around here, but HKP, imo, is the one that matches your description best.
I'd add Nam Viet as an option for Vietnamese - the curried squid and the salmon soup being my go-to dishes there that never fail.
For bars, how about Tune Inn? Also, maybe a stop by Johnny's for drinks and a couple of apps, including their wood fired wings. One evening could be Johnny's for the apps, walk to Tune Inn, then metro to dinner somewhere.
I actually think some of the other places are more adventurous - both in food and ambiance than HKP - I really think the food at HKP is the best - but that's just my opinion, of course. Joe's is a close second and has more ambiance and more intriguing things on the menu.
If you wanted to trek up to Odenton and hit Grace Garden, that probably hits best in the adventurous vein, especially the sketchy strip mall it's in. And I need to get back to it (thinking of pulling a chow lunch together) but Sichuan Village in Chantilly, IIRC, has a more adventurous menu.
Oh - and for your South American bent - maybe Victor's in Falls Church? Not the one in the strip mall, the one that sits in its own building on 29, just south of Broad by a bit. The Argentinean style steak is great, but search out the menu and check out the $35 meat plate on page 4, I believe. F'n A.
I'd recommend Burma Road in Gaitherburg - it fits the deliciousness, adventurous and not readily available criteria but I wouldn't call all of the flavors big and bold. Like Vietnamese, Burmese food can be very subtle (but no less delicious).
Thanks for the replies. The fact that Vietnamese cusine is more subtle than some of the others was something on my mind but now that it has been mentioned, I am thinking if I should substitute it with HKP or a similar chinese place. BTW, are there any good Canolli places in DC? Ever since I had it at Termini Bros in Philly, I am craving for it.
Had the Latina Dim Sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico today, and it was terrific. Very inventive little dishes made with very fresh ingredients. They also have vegetarian and non-vegetarian tasiting menus.
I fear that Chez Aunty Libe is no more. I saw a mention on another website that it might have folded, and the phone number I have is not working. Another loss for the DC area.
Here are my suggestions:
In Falls Church, VA
Jerusalem, Palestinian. get the makluba and the makhusan for sure. Felafel, salads, kabobs, everything is darn good here except for the lentil soup.
Luzmilla's, Bolivian. You MUST order saltenas. Go for the steak, tongue, soups, humintas, and the ham/pork roll (I forget the exact name. there are two versions, one with just ham and pork and one with head cheese for the more adventurous). Mocochincho (spiced peach juice) to drink. Enormous portions, very cheap, exciting. Closes at 5pm.
Myanmar, Burmese. The balauchung is a dried shrimp and garlic condiment to sprinkle over your food. Order this. Go for the ginger salad, shrimp and bean sprout salad, gram fritter salad, pork with fresh mango, tomato tofu, goat curry, chicken with lemongrass.
The most adventurous Vietnamese restaurant is also one of the best: Bay Lo in Eden Center. Get the fried goat roll, the miscellaneous salad, and the Bay Lo 7 special (shrimp, pork, and meatball in a potent sauce). Many exotic choices here like bullfrog, etc. Though you shouldn't arrive too late, some of the tiny places in Eden Center close at 8pm. Eden Center is a Vietnamese shopping center with over 23 restaurants.....
Joe's Noodle House, Sichuan. Many small plates. 4 People can really go crazy here. My favorite orders are the wontons in red hot sauce, shredded radish, peanuts and fried baby smelt, rice cakes w/ shredded pork, taro and date cake, beef jerky, spicy and sour pickled vegetables, home made bacon and leek, spicy pressed bean curd,.cucumber salad.
Pimento Grill, Jamaican. Very tiny place in a nice area of Anacostia. Everybody gets carry-out, but there is a table and counter with stools. Oxtail Brown Stew, Curry, Jerk Kingfish. Homemade juices to drink include carrot/lime, cucumber/ginger, and grapefruit lemonade. all of them are killer.
Oohhs and Aahhs, Soul Food. Four stools in front of a tiny kitchen plus a room upstairs to eat. Grilled shrimp, broiled crabcake, lemon pepper wings, meatloaf. A great place to share food. Collared greens and rice with gravy for sides.
All of these qualify as real HITWs (hole-in-the-walls) and serve amazing food.