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Food Feuds

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I'm looking for food feuds in the Baltimore/DC area. An item of food (say crab cakes) where there are two restaurants/markets that are generally considered among the best at making an item and lots of strong opinions about who does it best. Let me know if you have any suggestions. No actual fighting needed, just strong supporters.

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  1. Crab Cakes are certainly a hot topic. Fadley's vs....

    Burgers in DC the big debate would be between more than two places although Ray's Hell Burger vs. BGR might be the big contenders, but many other places might weigh in.

    Smith Island Cake might be a big debate, but I couldn't tell you the companies other than the Sweet Shop in Crisfield.

    Then there is the current cupcake war in DC....

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    Ray's Hell Burger
    1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

    3 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Where I lived the debate on crabcakes was always Gunnings versus Timbuktu (and you could throw in G & M).

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      G & M
      804 N Hammonds Ferry Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

      1. re: melpy

        Cakes are so easy to make at home. Why go out for cakes? Just use the McCormick's crabcake mix a voila.

        1. re: elgringoviejo

          That sounds complicated. How about a pound of crab, some Hellmans, and a dash of Old Bay. Now that's a crab cake. ;-)

    2. You work for the food network? Looks like most your posts are searching for fueds or DDD type places.

      35 Replies
      1. re: sekelmaan

        One of her posts says that it will be featured on a national cable show, so I'm guessing yes.

        That said, you can do a lot worse than ask Chowhound for advice on these things.

        I really can't think of any DC food feuds.

        1. re: reiflame

          Is there any place other than Ben's Chili Bowl that is known for their half-smokes?

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          Ben's Chili Bowl
          1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          1. re: Bob W

            My boyfriend and I tried but couldn't come up with anything.

            What about pollo a la brasa or pho? Do we have any "competitions" there?

            1. re: reiflame

              Crisp & Juicy vs. Pollo Rico vs. Super Pollo? My vote goes to C&J.
              Pho 75, the old champ, vs. Pho Hot, the contender, vs. Pho 50, the sleeper?
              Bangkok 54, the Rachel Ray of Thai, vs. Thai Square, cooking like your Mom would do it, if she was Thai?
              Pike Pizza saltenas, homemade goodness, vs. La Caraquena's saltenas, refined South American street food? Is the latter making sense, at all?
              The Quarterdeck crabs, all you can eat and you get to beat the heck out of it with a mallet, vs... Hey, where did all the Chesapeake Bay seafood places disappear to over the past 10-20 years?
              Liberty Tavern vs. Tallula vs. Eat Bar vs. Spider Kelly's, kind of like putting saran wrap on the copier over and over, and wondering why there is not much there to see?

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              Pho Hot Restaurant
              7442 Little River Tpke, Annandale, VA 22003

              Thai Square
              3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

              The Liberty Tavern
              3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

              Pho 50
              7263 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042

              Pike Pizza
              4111 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

              Pollo Rico
              7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

              Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
              2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

              1. re: Ziv

                Mario's vs. The Broiler for the best steak and cheese sub? I dunno what else. Who has the cheapest 15-dollar martini, perhaps? I don't see much of a show there.

                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  How about a 3 way throwdown between Mario's, The Broiler, and Al's in Del Ray?

                  1. re: Ziv

                    Is Al's the cheesesteak place? I finally tried it about a year ago. Good stuff but it took FOREVER to get a cheesesteak. That stuff is supposed to be mellowing on the grill top for some time...

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      Al's does it their way, and apparently that means you will wait for it. I think their Roman is pretty good, as is the mushroom steak. The owner has been there for 40 years if memory serves, getting your sandwich to you a few minutes late may not seem so bad if you have been doing sandwiches since Nixon was in office.

                2. re: Ziv

                  Ziv is on to a few things here. The B54 vs Thai Square is a real contender. 2 of the 3 normally top rated Thai places here one block from each other?

                  The best all around Pollo place? You either get the best pollo or the better sides. Caribbean Grill gets my vote.

                  But sorry - Pho 75 needs to lose their title. I haven't tried those other two, but there is so much better in the area.

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                  Thai Square
                  3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                  The Caribbean Grill
                  5183 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207

                  1. re: Dennis S

                    Regarding pollo, Guapo's in Manassas has yuca that is off the charts good. Their chicken is decent. You are right, there is no perfect pollo place.

                    1. re: Bob W

                      I agree about the quality of Guapo's yuca. I'm familiar with the one in Herndon. But I hate the quantity they give. I feel they charge a little for everything driving up the price.

                      Finally made it to Pollos Inka again in Herndon last week. Great place. While they have Peruvian chicken and yuca, they have a full menu. My wife's steak was great.

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                      Guapo's Restaurant
                      4515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

                      1. re: Bob W

                        I also agree - went to Guapo's today and *loved* the yuca. I thought the chicken was good, but I'm not a frequent Peruvian chicken eater.

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                        Guapo's Restaurant
                        4515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

                      2. re: Dennis S

                        Oh yes! What about head to head on a standard like pad thai or tom ka gai or a curry? There's so much good Thai food in this area, there is great potential for competition.

                        1. re: perries

                          i volunteer to do testing for a pad kee mao feud!

                          1. re: perries

                            A Nava vs. Ruan would be an outrageous battle of very good Thai -- separated by two blocks -- but both within the region's top 5..

                            1. re: repete

                              I love the Nava vs. Ruan idea. I love both places and since they are so close together, I'm usually torn about which to choose.

                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                But that's the same about B54 and Thai Square.

                                I used to live down the street before the B54 resto. When it opened it was impressive immediately, but still easily lost out to TS. Now, even to me, it's a toss up or an edge to B54 (though I obviously get to both with far less frequency).

                                -----
                                Thai Square
                                3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                          2. re: Dennis S

                            B54 vs. Thai Square for third place, maybe. Ruan vs. Nava is a better battle.

                            -----
                            Thai Square
                            3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                            1. re: Dennis S

                              Of course. There is better. It's Pho Xe Lua at Eden, hands down.

                              Used to be Pho Tay Ho at Culmore but they changed ownership several years ago and an immediate decline (they also had the only pho ga long that I know of - pho with chicken livers and gizzards).

                              -----
                              Pho Xe Lua
                              6755-A Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                              Pho Tay Ho Restaurant
                              6015 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                        2. re: Bob W

                          Weenie Beenie

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                          Weenie Beenie
                          2680 S Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206

                          1. re: ktmoomau

                            I didn't see the Weenie Beenie comment til now, I really like that joint. The last of the tribe. A decent chilie dog, fairly good pulled pork, but the ambiance, or lack thereof, is the best part. Though when you bite into a chili dog and the casing pops, spraying scads of juicy flavor onto your taste buds, that is what Hebrew National and the current dogs of choice sadly lack.

                            -----
                            Weenie Beenie
                            2680 S Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206

                        3. re: reiflame

                          In fact, I think this may be the first place I look if I where Bryna.

                          DT

                        4. re: sekelmaan

                          Yes, this is for a Food Network show, a new one that hasn't aired yet.......thanks for the suggestions.

                            1. re: Bryna

                              In Baltimore, there is a deli war in Pikesville......Suburban House , Millers and Lennys being the contenders

                              1. re: MDicecreamguy

                                Lenny's vs. Attman's. They're almost across the street from each other.

                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                  I was going to say that! YEAH CORNED BEEF ROW!

                                  1. re: MDicecreamguy

                                    Baltimore: Pit Beef. Pioneer vs. Chaps.

                                    1. re: Dennis S

                                      ...and The Canopy in Ellicot City. Does it have to be a two-way match, or could it be a full-on rumble?

                                      1. re: Dennis S

                                        Second the pit beef. Search these boards and you'll find heated discussions about pit beef. I've only had Chaps, so I can't really comment.

                                        1. re: Dennis S

                                          Ellicott City Canopy rulez with respect to pit beef.

                                          1. re: elgringoviejo

                                            Really? Ellicott City Canopy up there with Pioneer? I always find myself driving to Pioneer when I'm craving. Your opinion might have me try the close one.

                                      2. re: Bryna

                                        G&M (Linthicum) crab cakes vs. Faidley's (Lexington Market, Baltimore) crab cakes vs. Prime Rib (Baltimore) crab cakes. I think that pretty much runs the gamut, and I won't comment on which way the gamut runs.

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                                        Prime Rib
                                        1101 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

                                    2. What about competing banh mi joints from Eden Center? You could even throw in the new food cart "Rebel Heroes", I think they started out with banh mis.

                                      I also like the hamburger idea- what about Rays vs. one of the "big guys" downtown (the Palm, Cap Grille, etc.)

                                      -----
                                      Eden Center
                                      Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mjhals

                                        I think Bahn Mi is a great idea. It would have to be DC Sandwich and someone else. Obviously in this same vein is pho. We have tons of pho places around here.

                                        Oh. I have a great one. Pollo a la brasa. Super Pollo vs. El Pollo Rico. There is a ton of arguing about the best pollo-ria.

                                        1. re: sekelmaan

                                          G street food does a good bahn mi. put em on the list

                                      2. What about Ethiopian restaurants on the U Street corridor? Dukem vs. Etete?

                                        Or maybe Etete vs. Queen Makeda?

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                                        Etete
                                        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                        Queen Makeda
                                        1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                        U Street Cafe
                                        1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: yfunk3

                                          Add in the new Ethiopic on H Street in that case. Great!

                                          1. re: yfunk3

                                            Ethiopian is definitely a good match-up. And so is bahn mi and pho.

                                            For banh mi - Song Que vs. Nhu Lan
                                            For pho - Pho 75 vs. Pho Cong Ly

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                                            Pho Cong Ly Restaurant
                                            6671B Backlick Rd, Springfield, VA 22150

                                            1. re: henmonster

                                              Sadly, I found out yesterday that Pho Cong Ly is closing tomorrow is it's last day...
                                              I saw all of their equipment for sale on Craig's List and a pic of the restaurant..sad!!
                                              I emailed the owner and apparently the landlord won't renew their lease and the other establishments in that plaza. Get it while you can people!!
                                              The best pho and Vietnamese spring rolls in NOVA or DC...it blows all the other places out of the water. Pho 75 cannot hold a candle to Pho Cong Ly.

                                              -----
                                              Pho Cong Ly Restaurant
                                              6671B Backlick Rd, Springfield, VA 22150

                                          2. How about crab cake wars between Essex joints vs the tourist traps in Baltimore. Mr. Bills vs Obryckis for example....