About to move to D.C. from Austin. Will need TexMex, Fajitas, and BBQ
what do you have for me? I have heard that despite the terrible reputation of D.C. restaurants, that in the past few years the practice has blow up. In this regard, where can I find the best of the following:
Brisket (sans sauce)
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I think you will be happier with the food in DC if you don't focus on looking for those things that you loved in Austin.
Of course I don't know you personally and don't know what makes you happy, I am just saying that there is not much Austin-like Tex-Mex, or Texas BBQ, in DC that will satisfy somebody who is homesick for Austin's best of those categories.
DC has other great things, though. It is very different from Austin in so many ways, including the food. There are many people who come here and say that they don't like it because it doesn't have the things they loved about where they came from (NY, Texas, California, etc.) That's fine, but it is not the path to enjoying life in DC.
Really. Get into Ethiopian, kebabs, and bulgogi. I moved up from Dallas several years ago and I still miss my Dallas faves but there's a lot here to discover.
Also, if you get a smoker and learn to cook your own brisket you'll find that home-cooked is even better than Black's and them. So, win-win.
Don't give away your frequent flyer miles. There's a lot of wishing here, but you won't find your food from home here, at least not the way you're used to it. Develop a taste for $10 hamburgers, $3 cupcakes, cheap Ethiopian and Vietnamese food and get oriented to what we eat here. It's the same for people who come to the DC area from LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or just about anywhere. Good food is regional and doesn't transplant well, so it's best to adapt than to seek the familiar and be frustrated.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of consistency in what people consider "good" with those types of food, so it's really hard to find a place you'll like until you try them yourself. The "Mexican" food here tends to come from Central America rather than the great Southewest. The better BBQ places are usually better because of their ribs than their brisket.
I echo what's been said so far, but mostly with sheldman - just let Austin go and enjoy what is here. Try some Sichuan at Hong Kong Palace or Joes Noodle House. Try some Ethiopian. Get some Vietnamese and Thai or for "BBQ" get Korean.
However, to throw you a bone, for brisket and burnt ends, try Williards near 28 and 50 in Virginia (Chantilly area). Sichuan Village is around the corner from it for more Sichuan.
Dixie Bones is decent and is in Woodbridge.
The notion of BBQ here is heavily influenced by North Carolina's vinegar sauce. Oddly the mustard sauce barely makes an impression here.
If you head up to Baltimore there's a totally different take on BBQ which is Pit Beef. TONS of stands all over the place (a few threads currently are turning up quite a few side-of-the-road stands - one which I plan to sample today to report back on).
And, just for flame roasting, you should check out Peruvian Rotisserie places. Again there are just tons of them. The grandaddy is El Pollo Rico in Arlington or Wheaton. I'd start there, but then branch out (I consider them as having some of the best chicken, but they're definitely poor on the sides - yuca being the best side).
Hong Kong Palace
6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044
7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912