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New to DC area - Restaurant suggestions for Arlington and area

s
StrongIsland Aug 8, 2010 01:29 PM

I am taking a new job in Arlington in a few weeks and wanted to get the low-down on what restaurants i should hit up. I am hopelessly unaware of my dining options. I will be staying in the Ballston Metro stop area but obviously have some mobility. So I am kindly asking for input on the following:

Must-eat joints - i assume mini-bar and jaleo are in this category. What else?
Asian - is there any decent vietnamese, for example? I am pretty much open to anything. I am currently in New York so some of the obvious ones we can forego.
Any other interesting ethnic restaurants?
BBQ - I am hoping my BBQ options will improve as i move south. true?
Anything else that i should be looking for

All help is appreciated.

  1. j
    JohnH Dec 18, 2010 06:28 AM

    StrongIsland,
    The numerous responders to your original query have identified many good restaurant options (great minds think a like!). However, I am shocked(!) by their failure to provide you with a link to Tyler Cowen's webpage. http://tylercowensethnicdiningguide.com
    You may not agree with all of Cowen's comments or his sense of humor (which I enjoy), but if you are adventurous, the info he provides will vastly expand your ethnic dining horizon in the DC metro area by leading you to places you'd never consider looking. (Note that he also writes very interesting pieces for the NYTimes--look for them in the business section.).

    1 Reply
    1. re: JohnH
      s
      StrongIsland Dec 22, 2010 04:46 PM

      Thanks. Just bookmarked it.

      By the way, I constantly refer to these posts for ideas. Me Jana, rustico, eventide, and several others have been my latest places. So thank you, thank you to everyone who gave me great dining options.

      -----
      Me Jana
      2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 140, Arlington, VA 22201

    2. alkapal Oct 20, 2010 08:00 AM

      mr. alka and i enjoyed sichuan wok in the ballston condo canyon last night. the egg drop and hot & sour soups were excellent. you can taste the home-made depth of flavor in the stock. (next time i'm feelin' puny, i'm getting these soups!)

      my sichuan beef dish had outstandingly tender beef of high quality. mr. alka's gunpowder shrimp was good enough -- but would be better with less breading. nice sauce, and fresh.

      the specially-imported green tea (harvested this summer) is cause for a special visit, while it lasts

      1. m
        misskale Oct 19, 2010 02:06 PM

        If you can walk to it, or you can get parking Thai Noy, in Westover on Washington Blvd. is definitely worth going to.

        It's the only place my very picky Malaysian co-worker feels is even close to what she regards as authentic.

        -----
        Thai Noy Restaurant
        5880 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

        2 Replies
        1. re: misskale
          s
          Steve Oct 19, 2010 06:08 PM

          What do you find authentic about Thai Noy? I live near there, and it seems like your average americanized Thai joint to me. A little on the sweet side.

          The food is nothing like what is available at the Songkran festival in Silver Spring. The menu is a bit dull: nothing textural like the lacy catfish or shredded tile fish at Thai Square, or the fried watercress at Ruan Thai, no noodle soups on the menu, no dried beef or pork, they don't regularly serve whole fish!

          1. re: Steve
            m
            misskale Oct 20, 2010 03:06 AM

            I said my coworker did, not that I did. And I should specify she felt that way about the green curry.

            I agree that I have had better Thai food in my life, but I've also had a lot worse in terms of sweetness and blandness. I miss a lot of what you mentioned which I used to get in Toronto.

            Since neither my husband nor I can really drive it has limited things a little, and it's a place that we can get to by walking if we don't want to order in. Thai Square though should be easy enough to get to if we plan the bus trip long enough in advance.

            I'm trying to not be defensive about this, I just thought it was worth mentioning considering she will turn up her nose at nearly anything.

        2. t
          TSBITES Oct 19, 2010 01:40 PM

          Check out Thai Square for awesome Thai food. El Ranchero for great home made Mexican, and tues and thurs is $1 tacos and $5 pitchers of beer!

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

          El Ranchero
          5732 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21704

          1. s
            shachi Oct 18, 2010 02:13 PM

            Welcome to Ballston! I am a newcomer as well and have found these to be my favorite non-chain spots in the area thus far.

            -Ravi Kabob (Pakistani)
            -Pupatella (pizza)
            -Song Que (Banh Mi in Eden Center)
            -El Pollo Rico (Peruvian chicken)
            -Big Buns (good for a quick dinner; by the Ballston metro)

            -----
            Ravi Kabob House
            305 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203

            1. s
              StrongIsland Oct 17, 2010 04:14 AM

              Checked out EvenTide last week as well. Someone on here recommeded I beleive or I just decided to try it. Since i was eating solo i am not sure this is a great representation of them. Ihad the hangar steak which was cooked just right and it came with a steak sauce which they make. This sauce was interesting but probably mostly because i was sure there was chinese five spice powder in it and i could not get that out of my head (was thinking about how i could do the same at home). There were some fries and a small salad with it but, like I said, i didn't eat anything else so probably need a return to check some other things out. Which I will definitely be doing because clearly there was alot of cocktail knowledge at the bar. The bartender there seemed extremely knowledgeable on the liqour and the cocktails - clearly a serious mixologist. So it will be worth it just to go back and try those.

              As far as atmosphere it was kind of quiet but it was early in the week and it seems like it was more of a couple place. Esp. when you compare it to the much livelier Liberty Tavern town the street. But they are going for a different vibe so I don't see anything wrong with that.

              -----
              The Liberty Tavern
              3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

              1. ktmoomau Sep 23, 2010 01:37 PM

                FYI Clarendon Day is Saturday and is a lot of fun and has good food.

                1. alkapal Sep 9, 2010 05:34 AM

                  anyone been to tarbouch lately? they are absolutely ROCKING busy at nights, with tons of people dining outdoors.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: alkapal
                    s
                    sekelmaan Sep 9, 2010 05:58 AM

                    Maybe it is the Ramadan all you can eat buffet for 18.95.

                    1. re: sekelmaan
                      alkapal Sep 9, 2010 06:24 AM

                      that's gotta be it! because it was later -- around 9 that we passed by. but it seems liike it was also happening before ramadan began. hmmm, it was the day of some big bike race up military rd earlier this summer, and late that night we saw toms of people there. we thought it might be the racers and friends....

                      ~~~
                      has anyone been to that buffet? i think i might like it! (maybe too much).

                    2. re: alkapal
                      ktmoomau Sep 14, 2010 12:45 PM

                      I think it is a big Hooka location. We haven't been in some time, now as the food for a bit declined, but will have to try it again.

                    3. w
                      whorfin Sep 8, 2010 12:11 PM

                      Here is my two cents:

                      Ray's for burgers or steaks (locations listed in other posts).

                      Rocklands for Q (the sides are better at RHB, but meat is better at Rocklands)

                      Cafe Asia (Rosslyn) for decent pan Asian (and to watch the yuppies and young Asian hipsters co-mingle).

                      Agree on Italian Store (avoid Saturday), Eden Center, and Eaamons.

                      How about Crystal Thai on Rt. 50 for softshell crab and I will leave you with a late night run to Kabob Palace in Crystal City (open 24/7) for getting some food in you after a hard night of drinking. Any NOVA cab driver can find it without directions and there is always someone to take you the rest of the way home.

                      Cheers,

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

                      Kabob Palace
                      2315 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202

                      Italian Store
                      3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                      Crystal Thai Restaurant
                      4819 1st St N, Arlington, VA 22203

                      1. m
                        matsksm Aug 12, 2010 10:16 PM

                        Pizza - 2 Amy's in DC
                        Thai - Sawatdee / Arlington - claremont ave
                        Chinese - 4 Sisters / Falls Church
                        Burger - Ray's Hell Burgers
                        Muffaletta - The Italian Store / Arlington
                        Steak - Ray's the Steaks
                        Bar & Grill - Liberty Tavern

                        -----
                        Italian Store
                        3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

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

                        The Liberty Tavern
                        3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                        Sawatdee
                        2250 Clarendon Blvd Ste H, Arlington, VA 22201

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: matsksm
                          alkapal Aug 13, 2010 04:04 AM

                          sawatdee is near courthouse metro -- on clarendon boulevard (not "claremont").
                          http://vyut.com/sawatdee/main.htm

                          1. re: matsksm
                            Dennis S Aug 15, 2010 02:18 PM

                            Did 4 Sisters expand their menu? They were Vietnamese.

                            For Sichuan, either Joe's in Rockville or Hong Kong Palace at Rt. 7. Both are great, but different. Both are best done by going with a group, but Joe's is a tad easier to manage alone or +1.

                            I do need to try Italian Store's Muffaletta - thanks for the reminder. For Italian sandwiches anymore (and since I live and work in Reston) The Deli in Herndon surpasses Italian Store, imo. Not to be confused by the other utterly uncreative "A Deli" - also in Herndon.

                            -----
                            Hong Kong Palace
                            6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

                            Italian Store
                            3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                          2. h
                            henmonster Aug 12, 2010 12:27 PM

                            You're in a hot-bed of must-eats.

                            Decent Vietnamese? Are you kidding me? This is Viet central (part of the trinity with Houston, TX and Santa Ana, CA). You've got Eden Center with Huong Viet, Viet Bistro and Saigon Cafe for yummy dishes. Song Que and Nhu Lan for banh mi. Scattered about is Pho Cong Ly and Pho 75. In Clarendon, you have Minh's for something slightly more formal. Along the same lines is Present and Four Sisters. Really authentic, fresh, delicious food. For Chinese, you can't beat the roasted meats and Cantonese dim sum at Mark's Duck House in Falls Church. Fortune is great if you want the full-on dim sum experience. If you want Thai, Bangkok 54 next to Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (another DC area treasure) is terrific date night.

                            Must eats in DC: Kinkead's has been around forever and deserves to be. Blue Duck Tavern is amazing for locavore foodies. Hook has fantastic seafood. Famous Luigi's on 19th street is fabulous Italian on checkerboard tablecloths and candles in chianti bottles. Ben's Chili Bowl will gift you with chili smokes that will knock your socks off. Cafe Citron has delicious Cuban drinks and cuisine in a great loungey atmosphere. Full Kee for some authentic Chinese eats that used to only be offered off-menu at other establishments. Taylor Gourmet on H Street for amazing sandwiches outside of Philly. Brickskeller's has terrible food, but amazing selection of beers (800) and you can't beat the ambience.

                            Must eats in VA: In Clarendon, you have to make a stop at Whitlow's - it's an institution and serves up great pub grub. Up a notch is Liberty Tavern -- fresh, delicious pub grub made by someone who's actually trying to do something. Pollo Rico serves up the tastiest, juiciest Peruvian chicken around. Mario's is a great late-night dive for pizza (warning: nothing like NYC slice). 11th Street Lounge and Eat Bar have great small plate menus to go with their stellar mixed drinks. And there's Ray the Steaks and Ray's Hell Burger -- both great value (stellar actually considering the top-notch quality of ingredients). Further into VA, you can find crabhouses such as Captain Pell's -- the best in Northern VA for steamed, hardshell crab. Willow's is in the Ballston area and is one of those places where someone in the kitchen is really trying to do something. It's impressive. So's Majestic, Restaurant Eve, Eamonn's and Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria.

                            The other thing you should find/appreciate is the wealth of Central American cuisine that is in DC and surrounding burbs. Head over to Adam's Morgan and find a pupusa. Delicious street food. Same can be said for the Ethiopian population. Meskerem is the old head on the block, but not far away is Etete. if you've never experienced it, this is the way to get it the first time. Oh and there's a wealth of Korean bbq and hot pot places in Annandale.

                            As for BBQ, you're out of luck. Everything is serviceable. But nothing I would strongly recommend. Red White and Blue is the local chain and Famous Dave's is the not-so-local chain. Haven't tried it, but there's Capitol Q in Penn Quarter, DC -- for Texas style BBQ.

                            Welcome to the DC area!

                            -----
                            Etete
                            1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

                            Restaurant Eve
                            110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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

                            Mark's Duck House
                            6184 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                            Full Kee Restaurant
                            5830 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                            Minh's
                            2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                            Kinkead's Restaurant
                            2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                            Brickskeller
                            1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20037

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

                            Taylor Gourmet
                            1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                            The Liberty Tavern
                            3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                            Ballston Cafe
                            4601 Fairfax Dr Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22203

                            Blue Duck Tavern
                            1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                            Eamonns
                            728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

                            Huong Viet Restaurant
                            6785 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                            Viet Bistro
                            6799 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                            Four Sisters Restaurant
                            8190 Strawberry Ln Ste 1, Falls Church, VA 22042

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

                            Famous Dave's
                            10500 Owings Mills Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117

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

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: henmonster
                              s
                              Steve Aug 12, 2010 02:23 PM

                              Thanks for your enthusiastic post. The only thing I have to suggest is getting your own half smokes at Canales Meats in Eastern Market and grilling them yourself. Far surpasses Ben's. Extra props for their ground chuck which is both cheap and delicious for hamburger making.

                              1. re: Steve
                                h
                                henmonster Aug 16, 2010 01:47 PM

                                I love Canales Deli and frequent Eastern Market since I work on the Hill. But I don't get the sass or Stevie Wonder blasting from the speakers that I get waiting in line at Ben's.

                                1. re: henmonster
                                  s
                                  Steve Aug 16, 2010 05:10 PM

                                  It's historic, no doubt. I love to poke my head in there.... and then eat something really great at Ooohhs and Aahhs down the street.

                            2. Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 12:03 PM

                              Sorry, I know that was too long already, but I left out one of the most fascinating places to eat in northern Virginia -- the Build America strip mall at 3821 S George Mason in Falls Church. This place is packed with Ethiopian, Somalian, Eritrean, and Yemeni restaurants. I honestly can't keep them all straight, but it's a great place to wander into restaurants at random. Our last visit there was to the Somali place -- I had no idea the Somalis serve a whole banana with every meal. Along with Eden Center, the Build America mall is one of the two most interesting places to browse in northern Virginia.

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

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                h
                                hamster Aug 12, 2010 06:05 PM

                                Can you say more about the Somalian and Yemenite food, ie restaurant names, dishes ordered? I'm very excited to read your post and learn about some new places! Thank you!

                                1. re: hamster
                                  Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 06:34 PM

                                  The Yemeni restaurant is called Al-Jazeera, which this guy believes is proof that it's the home of a secret terrorist network.

                                  http://www.sperryfiles.com/corridor.s...

                                  My wife is very taken with this guy's suggested name of "Wahhabi Corridor," which she thinks is more exciting than "Route 7."

                                  Unfortunately, Al-Jazeera the only restaurant in the shopping center that I can't really recommend. When we ate there, they were out of basically everything except grilled chicken, which was nothing to write home about. If you want great Yemeni food, I can recommend a place in Dearborn, Michigan, however.

                                  The Somalian restaurant, whose name I can't recall (if I ever knew it), was really very different than other northeastern Africa cuisines. It was mostly simply grilled foods, with spaghetti (!) as a side dish. Very savory, but not at all what we expected. The really interesting thing was the whole, unpeeled banana that is served with every meal. The waitress told us that if they ran out of bananas, they'd have to close until they could run over to the 7-11 to buy some more.

                                  I found it because a cab driver told me there was a Sudanese restaurant in that strip mall. So we wandered by every restaurant in the whole mall and nothing looked even possibly Sudanese except this one unmarked restaurant on the front side. I went into that restaurant and asked if they were Sudanese and if there was a Sudanese restaurant in the shopping center. They said, no, but they were Somali and would we like to eat there.

                                  1. re: hamster
                                    s
                                    Steve Aug 12, 2010 09:17 PM

                                    This is my report form a Chowhound group meal at Al Jazera, the Yemeni restaurant:

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6840...

                                    1. re: Steve
                                      Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 09:30 PM

                                      Thanks, that's an informative review. My one meal at al-Jazeera left me unimpressed with Yemeni cuisine, so it was a very pleasant surprise when the Arabian Village, a Yemeni restaurant in Dearborn, Michigan, turned out to have really superb and distinctive food.

                                      You can't tell it from al-Jazeera, but Yemeni food prominently features "helba," a froth made from whipping up fenugreek dissolved in water. It's very good and not like anything else I've ever had:

                                      Here's a photo (that doesn't really do it justice):

                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/mississi...

                                      1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                        s
                                        Steve Aug 12, 2010 09:36 PM

                                        That photo looks amazing. That is clearly a more serious restaurant than Al Jazera.

                                2. Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 11:55 AM

                                  There are a lot of good suggestions here (especially Steve's list, as usual). I can strongly second the recommendations for Minh's, El Charrito Caminante, Meaza, Ray's Hell Burger, Lebanese Butcher, Honey Pig, Liberty Tavern, and Pollo Rico. Not nearly as much of a fan of Cafe Assorti or Thai Square, though.

                                  Let me do a couple of things -- first, add some more ethnic options and second, address the claim that we in the DC area are SOL where barbecue is concerned.

                                  (1) Here are some other restaurants in the near-in Nova suburbs I'd strongly recommend:

                                  - Ravi's Kabob (Arlington, intersection of Glebe Road and Pershing Drive) - A perennial Chowhound and food critic fave, this is outstanding Pakistani food. Also within a 15 minute walk of Ballston.

                                  - Sangam (Arlington, intersection of Glebe & Washington Blvd, I think) - Excellent Indian, with all the standards (masala, jalafreze, tandoor) and some regional specialties from places like Malabar and Patiala that I hadn't seen before. It's an easy walk from Ballston.

                                  - Hai Duong (Eden Center) - As others have said, Eden Center -- a huge all-Vietnamese mall -- is worth exploring in detail. My favorite of the excellent restaurants there is Hai Duong and my favorite dish there is Chao Long (#64) - Rice soup with various pig organs, pig blood, and a great pork sausage. Unbelievably good (and I think it costs about $7 or $8)

                                  - Las Delicias (Arlington, intersection of Glebe Road and Walter Reed) - This area is very strong in Salvadoran cooking, but this place has long been our favorite. You also want to stop at one of the many pupuseria carts around. There are usually a couple set up in the Buckingham neighborhood, which is about a 20 minute walk from Ballston (people will tell you this is a dangerous neighborhood, but it's not).

                                  - Llajaymanta (Route 50 at Graham Road) - There are a lot of Bolivian restaurants in this area (the DC area has more Bolivians than anywhere else outside of Bolivia -- for some reason most of our local Bolivians came from Cochabamba), but this is the most hard-core authentic place. I've seen Indian women wearing the traditional bowler hats and native attire eating there and the menu features duck, rabbit, tongue, tripe, and the more standard piquo lo macho (chopped beef, hot dogs, and french fries mixed together and topped with ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard).

                                  Hong Kong Palace (Seven Corners shopping center, I guess that's in Falls Church) - superb, blazing hot Sichuan. My only complaint is that they would never let native-born Americans have any of the cow penis dishes on the menu (and have now taken them off the menu altogether).

                                  Weenie Beenie (South Four Mile Run & S. Shirlington Rd., Arlington) - Takeout only, wonderful half smokes and North Carolina style "barbecue" (I put that in quotes because it's cooked with gas, but it's real good). In the same location since the 1950's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weenie_B...

                                  Kampo (Leesburg Pike, near the intersection with Columbia Pike) - Peruvian-Chinese. I won't claim this is outstanding food, but it is interesting. Packed with Peruvians, who like the somewhat heavy "chifa" version of Chinese food much more than the American version.

                                  DC Banh Mi (Route 50 at Graham Road, Falls Church) - If you're coming from New York, you're probably used to lots of banh mi places. We don't have a lot, but this one is very good.

                                  Uncle Liu's (Gallows Road, near Route 50, Merrifield) - Tremendous Chinese hot pots, with authentic ingredients like cow's stomach. Blazing hot, Sichuan style (same owners as Hong Kong Palace

                                  )

                                  Elephant Jumps (Gallows Road and Route 50, Merrifield) - New Thai place just blew me away. Tries to replicate Thai street food.

                                  DaMoim (Columbia Pike, Annandale) - Korean-Mexican fusion, much better than it sounds. Fun place.

                                  (2) I love barbecue. I cook it (have cooked a whole pig and a whole goat) and I devour it. My wife and I just got back from a ten day vacation in the North Carolina Piedmont and southwest Virginia in which we ate at nine barbecue places in ten days (including famous places like Lexington Barbecue No. 1, Wink's, and Short Sugars), we're flying out to KC over the Labor Day weekend to eat barbecue, we've driven from Arlington to Owensboro, Kentucky to try out their famous mutton barbecue places. We've eaten in barbecue places from Ty Ty, Georgia (actually the Ty Ty suburbs) to Luling, Texas to Memphis to Little Rock to Birmingham to Chicago to Cambridge, Massachusetts and even to London, England (a horrible misjudgment on our part).

                                  I say this not to brag (although I'm not above that at all where barbecue is concerned), but because I know from experience that what I'm about to write will get me flamed as a Nova suburbanite with a Naugahyde palate who knows nothing about the "real thing" down South.

                                  Rocklands is really GOOD barbecue, especially the brisket sandwich. It doesn't have to take a back seat to the famous barbecue places and we are very lucky to have it here in Arlington. It amazes me every time I see the food critics in the Washington Post and the Washingtonian (who are generally very good) trash the place. There are some other more than decent barbecue options in the area - Urban BBQ in Rockville, Backyard Barbecue in Arlington), but Rocklands is the best by far.

                                  As far as going further south to get good barbecue, Richmond does pretty well. Buzz & Ned's (where my daughter used to work - we're a barbecue family) is excellent and my daughter says Alamo Barbecue is even better. Allman's in Fredricksburg and Pierce's in Williamsburg both have national reputations, but I think Allman's is actually bad and Pierce's is just okay.

                                  -----
                                  Hong Kong Palace
                                  6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                  Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
                                  109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046

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

                                  Minh's
                                  2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  Thai Square
                                  3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                                  El Charrito Caminante
                                  2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  Urban BBQ
                                  10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

                                  Weenie Beenie
                                  2680 S Shirlington Rd, Arlington, VA 22206

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

                                  Meaza Restaurant
                                  5700 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                                  The Liberty Tavern
                                  3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  Ballston Cafe
                                  4601 Fairfax Dr Lbby 2, Arlington, VA 22203

                                  Kampo Restaurant
                                  5884 Leesburg Pike Ste D, Falls Church, VA 22041

                                  Las Delicias
                                  626 Admiral Dr, Annapolis, MD 21401

                                  Sangam Restaurant
                                  1211 N Glebe Rd Ste 2, Arlington, VA 22201

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

                                  Cafe Assorti
                                  1800 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                    s
                                    Steve Aug 12, 2010 02:20 PM

                                    Rocklands has had such ups and downs over the years. Right now, I believe anyone getting their chopped pork sandwich in Arlington will be very happy with it. The ribs, unfortunately, have become so tough that at times I think I'm using a rubber knife to cut them apart. This as a longtime Rocklands fan. Grilled catfish, lamb, and sliced pork loin sandwiches are excellent. I have never tried the beef. Urban in Rockville is a good place for ribs, though it's been a while for me.

                                    Weenie Beenie flat out not as good as the Eastern Carolina bbq pork available at Harris Teeter, which is really smoked. This is do-it-yourself sandwich making at home. Thanks to Alkapal, I snagged an extra bucket on sale last week to stow in the freezer.

                                    1. re: Steve
                                      Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 03:06 PM

                                      I agree on Rocklands ups and downs, but the brisket has been very consistent. One interesting thing about Rocklands' ribs is that the owner said on an Arlington cable access show a few years ago that the pork ribs have NO salt added, which might be of interest to those watching their sodium levels. That's not true for the baby backs, though.

                                      Thanks for the tip on Harris Teeter. I'll definitely look for that. Weenie Beenie is really more of a minced pork sandwich than actual barbecue, but I do love it.

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

                                      1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                        s
                                        sweth Aug 12, 2010 04:47 PM

                                        My original comment, for reference, was that people from places like TX/TN/NC are the ones who would tell you that you're SOL in DC. If you didn't grow up w/ a particular 'cue as your Platonic ideal, I think a lot of the stuff in this area can be quite good. I used to swear by Rockland's pork on a potato roll, in fact, but my last few visits there were not very good at all, and I've never met a "native" BBQ fan who was satisfied by it. I'll have to try their brisket, though, as the pork was what always brought me back and eventually made me stop going.

                                        1. re: sweth
                                          Mississippi Snopes Aug 12, 2010 05:33 PM

                                          That's a very good point. Some people have the idea that the whole South was traditionally barbecue country. But I grew up in little towns all over Mississippi and the first barbecue I ever ate was in college (Mississippi State). Even in the real barbecue states, barbecue tended to be concentrated in specific towns like Memphis and Lexington.

                                          If you grew up in one of the real barbecue centers with a distinctive style of barbecue (the Hill country of Texas, east North Carolina) that defines barbecue for you at a primal level, nothing locally is ever going to satisfy you. But I really had in mind mostly the food critics like Sietsema and Kliman (both of whom I really like) who are mostly contemptuous of local barbecue places. Oddly, Tim Carman, who's from Texas, is probably the most open-minded on the subject.

                                          And don't get me wrong. I don't claim all the local barbecue places are good -- I don't see how Capital Q stays in business and Old Glory in Georgetown is the only barbecue I've ever had that I couldn't finish even half of.

                                          Do give the brisket a try. I'd be interested in what you think.

                                          -----
                                          Capital Q
                                          707 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                          Old Glory
                                          3139 M St. N.W., Washington, DC 20007

                                          1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                            s
                                            sweth Aug 13, 2010 05:42 AM

                                            Capital Q was one of the only places in downtown DC to get brisket of any sort for a while, and now it's got the advantage of a tourist-filled gentrified location where it's mostly competing with Fuddrucker's and Hooters rather than the array of cheap good Chinese places that were once in Chinatown.

                                            Old Glory likewise was one of the only games in town for a long time, and while I haven't been there in over a decade, the "we give you all the different types of regional sauces" shtick seemed pretty cool to a 'cue novice many years ago.

                                            -----
                                            Capital Q
                                            707 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                            Old Glory
                                            3139 M St. N.W., Washington, DC 20007

                                            1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                              s
                                              sweth Aug 15, 2010 07:19 AM

                                              Coincidentally, Tim Carman was on Metro Connection this past Friday discussing local BBQ, and his recommendations were: Urban BBQ for Texas-style brisket, Rocklands' for KC-style ribs & brisket, Blue Ribbon BBQ for Carolina-style pork, and KBQ (I don't remember what dishes/styles he liked there). (He specified the Glover Park location of Rocklands, which means all of his BBQ picks are in MD or NW DC. I'd be interested to see what he thinks of NoVA 'cue.)

                                              -----
                                              KBQ
                                              12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                              Urban BBQ
                                              10163 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903

                                              1. re: sweth
                                                m
                                                MikeR Aug 15, 2010 07:48 AM

                                                Seems like after a bang-up first year or so, recent reports of KBQ were that everything was pretty far off the mark. I have a friend who lives out that way and we usually go to lunch there when I'm over at his place, but that's only once or twice a year. I haven't been there since the "off" reports came in. Wonder if that was just a phase, or if there's been a real change. Last time I was there, the folks running ti were really enthusiastic and proud of what they were doing (and the food was great).

                                                1. re: MikeR
                                                  DanielK Aug 15, 2010 02:29 PM

                                                  I've gone twice to KBQ in the last 4 months or so, and I didn't find anything was "off" compared to other visits.

                                                  I've actually only seen one report *here* of someone who had been before and remarked on a quality drop-off - the other negative reports were first-time visitors. Even great Q doesn't seem to appeal to all tastes.

                                                  1. re: DanielK
                                                    s
                                                    sweth Aug 17, 2010 11:39 AM

                                                    I asked a BBQ-snob (from the South, smokes his own meats, always complains about 'cue in this area, etc.) who lives near KBQ about it. His response:

                                                    "The barbecue itself isn't bad at all, but the side dishes, while tasty, are completely non-traditional. It's like space aliens came down to start a barbecue shack."

                                                    Space alien barbecue actually sounds intriguing...

                                                    -----
                                                    KBQ
                                                    12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                      2. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                        s
                                        sekelmaan Aug 12, 2010 03:10 PM

                                        I am really glad to see someone else likes Damoim. That place is great.

                                        Also I would recommend Gamasot in Annandale. It is a Korean soup place. Wonderful bowls of broth there especially the "chicken" soup which comes with a whole cornish hen in the bowl.

                                        -----
                                        Gamasot
                                        6963 Hechinger Dr, Springfield, VA 22151

                                        1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                          s
                                          sweth Aug 12, 2010 04:49 PM

                                          What would you recommend at DaMoim?

                                          1. re: sweth
                                            Mississippi Snopes Aug 13, 2010 08:45 AM

                                            We had a big group (11) and the biggest hits were the galbi ssam (short ribs wrapped in lettuce leaves), the bulgogi tacos, the kimchee chili, and the kimchee quesadillas. The quesadillas were probably the top, but I can't personally vouch for them due to lactose intolerance.

                                          2. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                            f
                                            flavrmeistr Aug 16, 2010 09:13 PM

                                            I ate brisket at Black's in Lockhart, TX today. That is barbeque. They sell decent brisket at Rocklands, but it ain't barbecue. It's like saying Boone's Farm is really good wine. It might hit the spot poured over a big plastic cup of ice on a hot day, but it's not really good wine. Arlington, Virginia is not famous for barbecue.

                                            It is famous for Mario's steak and cheese sub, a sandwich unlike any other. That will be my first stop when I get back to town.

                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                              Mississippi Snopes Aug 17, 2010 04:57 PM

                                              I've eaten the brisket at Black's in Lockhart, at Kreuz in Lockhart, and at City Market in Luling.

                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/mississippi_snopes/4614126900/

                                              Rocklands is a little different from those -- but it's nonsensical to say it's not barbecue. I'd rank Rocklands a good notch behind Black's and City Market, but ahead of Kreuz, which was disappointing.

                                              You were probably distracted into overstatement by the incredibly cool atmosphere at Black's, which Rocklands can't touch.

                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/mississippi_snopes/4613508115/

                                              I hope you tried the ribs at Black's, because they're pretty darn good too.

                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/mississi...

                                              1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                                alkapal Aug 18, 2010 06:19 AM

                                                re black's: i saw the jackalope under glass. ;-).

                                                was that *rice* served with the biscuit? is that a texas thing?

                                                and are they really that chintzy with the cole slaw?

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  Mississippi Snopes Sep 7, 2010 12:16 PM

                                                  I think Black's gives you a wide choice of sides and one of my dining companions chose the rice. I think the coleslaw was just what you get if you don't pick coleslaw as a side. If you get a side of coleslaw, it's huge. Skimping on portions sizes isn't a problem at Black's, to say the least.

                                                  1. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                                    f
                                                    flavrmeistr Sep 8, 2010 10:10 AM

                                                    Mostly, you help yourself to the cold sides at Black's on your way to ordering the meat. They have a nice variety of stuff that reminded me of a church potluck dinner. I particularly like the sweet pickled onions. My Tennessee-raised companion was enamored with the 'nilla wafer pudding. They dish out the hot stuff in bowls (beans, mac n' cheese, okra and tomatoes, etc.). The sides are decent, but the meat simply melts in your mouth. It's so good you can hurt yourself if you're not careful. I'm glad I live 1200 miles from Black's, because I'm pretty sure I'd be dead within months.

                                            2. re: Mississippi Snopes
                                              a
                                              ankle Sep 24, 2010 09:12 AM

                                              PHO-75 (Arlington up the hill by Rosyln metro)
                                              Eden Center
                                              1. Banh Cuon Saigon Restaurant - Banh Cuon
                                              2. Thang Tong - bun bo hue
                                              3. Huong Viet - crab soup with noodle
                                              4. Thanh Son Tofu - desert tofu, orange sweet rice
                                              5. Saigon cafe on the other side of the Wilson street - Banh beo
                                              6. the resturant with the outside deck - good crawlfish

                                              -----
                                              Thanh Son Tofu
                                              6793A Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA

                                              Eden Center
                                              6763 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                              Huong Viet Restaurant
                                              6785 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                              Banh Cuon Saigon
                                              6795 Wilson Blvd Ste 54, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                              1. re: ankle
                                                f
                                                flavrmeistr Sep 24, 2010 09:17 AM

                                                #6. Would that be the Quarterdeck, or some place at Eden Center?

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

                                            3. s
                                              SandyCat Sep 14, 2010 02:30 PM

                                              I second Me Jana. Been there and the service was great, food was excellent, and it was recommended to me by several of my Lebanese friends.

                                              BTW, if you get the chicken livers (which are pretty tasty), you will get a tiny mountain of them, so be prepared to consume a lot of those if you order them!

                                              -----
                                              Me Jana
                                              2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 140, Arlington, VA 22201

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SandyCat
                                                s
                                                Steve Sep 14, 2010 05:33 PM

                                                Third for Me Jana. By far my favorite hummus in the area as it avoids the cloying paste flavor present at most places. Also, they fry very delicately there.

                                                -----
                                                Me Jana
                                                2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 140, Arlington, VA 22201

                                              2. alkapal Aug 10, 2010 03:53 PM

                                                you don't have to go to eden center for vietnamese, there are two -- minh's and nam viet -- in arlington, near metro.

                                                tex-mex, i like uncle julio's rio grande cafe in ballston.

                                                here is a thread on a nearby arlington neighborhood -- cherrydale -- with some suggestions that will fit your bill, too. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/521522

                                                fabulous pastries and lovely croissants at "pastries by randolph."

                                                1. k
                                                  kelewis Aug 9, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                  Must agree on El Charrito Caminante. Made my first stop in this weekend for a chorizo taco and one of their pupusas. Fresh and delicious. Total cost of the meal -- $3.50. I'd make this a permanent stop if I were hanging out in Arlington. And nearby Lyon Park has a few shady spots to eat it.

                                                  Not sure if it's still up to chowhound standards, but Lebanese Taverna Market (just a bit north of Ballston) used to have good lebanese takeout, with a few spots to eat inside as well. We particularly like anything slathered in their garlic sauce.

                                                  -----
                                                  El Charrito Caminante
                                                  2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                  Lebanese Taverna Market
                                                  4400 Old Dominion Dr, Arlington, VA 22207

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kelewis
                                                    alkapal Aug 10, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                    their garlic sauce is out of this world!

                                                  2. j
                                                    jaydreb Aug 9, 2010 08:20 AM

                                                    In addition to the other suggestions, I would also note El Pollo Rico or Super Pollo for Peruvian style rotisserie chicken. Pretty much a "must" and cheap!

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

                                                    1. s
                                                      Steve Aug 8, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                      Some of the best Arlington has to offer:
                                                      Taqueria El Charrito Caminante: Goat tacos
                                                      Chez Manelle, Tunisian, get the brika and the carrot salad
                                                      BBQ: Chopped pork sandwich at Rockland's. They also do a few other things great like a grilled catish sandwich.
                                                      Jaleo, like you mentioned, I recently had a great meal especially the spinach with raisins and apples and the baby wrinkled potatoes.
                                                      Lyon Hall, Alsatian. Dinner only. Get the suasage skillet platter.
                                                      Pupatella, Napolitan Pizza
                                                      Thai Square, the tile fish appetizer and the lacey catfish appetizer, the pork knuckle stew, beef jerky with chinese broccoli, and from the thai-languag emenu the sour curry and the duck noodle soup.
                                                      Eden Center, Vietnamese - almost Arlington. My favorite meal is at Nha Trang, the noodle soup dish labbeled as having "shrimp paste in the shape of worms."
                                                      The manti (large dumplings) and any of the stuffed breads at Cafe Assorti (Eastern European), the slads, and soups are good too.

                                                      www.edencenter.com

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

                                                      Thai Square
                                                      3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                                                      El Charrito Caminante
                                                      2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                      Nha Trang
                                                      6757 Wilson Blvd Ste 7, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                                      Cafe Assorti
                                                      1800 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                      Pupatella
                                                      5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Steve
                                                        s
                                                        StrongIsland Aug 9, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                        Wow, thanks for all the great recommendations.

                                                        NY BBQ is pretty lacking but I do have my own smoker and make my own rub and sauce so it sounds like I may not find much of interest. Oh well. Ethiopian I have had years ago but will give another shot at. And, thanks for the burger joint. Here in NYC all the rage is the shake shack burgers, as well as any Pat Lafrieda burgers. I will gladly try this place out.

                                                        Thai and Vietnamese never get old. Vietnamese is not that great here in NYC but I have heard that I should find some good places down there. Glad to get the suggestions.

                                                        And, not sure I mentioned this, but I am a huge fan of street carts so i am happy to see that I will be able to indulge this as needed.

                                                        Goat tacos? Where do I sign up, Steve? This will be fun.

                                                        Anyways, thanks for all the recommendations, I will be starting in a few weeks and will be living in a hotel 3 nights a week so these will all come to good use. I hope to come back and let you know my experiences.

                                                        1. re: StrongIsland
                                                          Dennis S Aug 9, 2010 07:22 AM

                                                          Don't cut yourself short at TECC, either - get the chorizo as well. Best I've ever had.

                                                      2. ktmoomau Aug 8, 2010 04:04 PM

                                                        In Arlington itself:
                                                        For lunch there is also a Crepe cart now in Ballston

                                                        Pupatella down Wilson Blvd is good, especially if you get the specials they have pizza, sandwiches, etc.
                                                        I also really like the flatbreads at American Flatbread in Clarendon
                                                        Earl's in Clarendon is really good for sandwiches

                                                        I think the must eats in Arlington are Liberty Tavern and Eventide.

                                                        Willow can be hit or miss for me, but they have good happy hour specials.

                                                        In Ballston Big Buns is good, and Iike their fish sandwiches as much as the burgers.

                                                        If you have a car and can wander I think La Carenquena is worth checking out get the shredded beef dishes and saltenas, the Italian Store for a sub, Lebanese Butcher and definitely the Eden Center.

                                                        For Korean both Honey Pig and Han Gang are really good for Korean BBQ and not a far drive away.

                                                        Also Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church has great Neapolitan pizza and their clam appetizer is really good too.

                                                        If you want steak go to Ray's the Steaks their key lime pie and crab bisque is really good too.

                                                        In DC there is a world of options.

                                                        -----
                                                        Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
                                                        109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046

                                                        Italian Store
                                                        3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                        Eden Center
                                                        6763 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                                        The Liberty Tavern
                                                        3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                        Pupatella
                                                        5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: ktmoomau
                                                          m
                                                          mjhals Aug 8, 2010 04:50 PM

                                                          Second Liberty Tavern. I just recently went there for lunch and had an amazing gnocchi dish with brown butter and fresh squash. Husband had the lobster roll which was good, but the fries were really, really good.

                                                          I'm also a fan of the new Rebel Heroes sandwich truck, which moves up and down the Orange Line corridor in Arlington. I think it's in Ballston on Mondays. My favorite so far is the pork meatball banh mi, but I also like the pressed cubano.

                                                          Rays is a favorite, if only for the crab bisque (incredible IMHO), but I'm a fan of their steaks as well. Oh, and the chocolate mousse.

                                                          -----
                                                          The Liberty Tavern
                                                          3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                          1. re: mjhals
                                                            alkapal Aug 10, 2010 03:49 PM

                                                            mjhals, the gnocchi had summer squash?

                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                              m
                                                              mjhals Aug 11, 2010 06:21 AM

                                                              Not in the gnocchi itself, but in the dish, yes. It was like a vegetable saute mixed with the gnocchi in a light brown butter sauce. I believe the saute also had heirloom carrots (there were chunks of deep purple carrot-tasting items along with the squash). I believe it also had fresh sage. It was just a very, very good dish. Inspired me to make gnocchi that weekend.

                                                              1. re: mjhals
                                                                alkapal Aug 12, 2010 05:15 AM

                                                                that is an interesting combo for gnocchi. i usually associate gnocchi with cooler days. were they potato or semolina? did they use ricotta? <see sara moulton's really easy ricotta gnocchi recipe here: Ricotta Gnocchi with Sauteed Cherry Tomato Sauce http://www.saramoulton.com/weeknightm... >.

                                                                i adore gnocchi with sage-brown butter sauce. it speaks "autumn" to me!

                                                                ~~~~
                                                                ps, the vegetable side at mister days there in clarendon this season is always a nice melange of fresh green beans, squash, red bell pepper and onion in a lightly seasoned sauté preparation. i always sub the veg for the fries. ps, they have a super lunch deal on a prime rib sandwich on mondays and wednesdays.

                                                            2. re: mjhals
                                                              s
                                                              StrongIsland Oct 10, 2010 02:34 PM

                                                              Hit up a bunch of the recommendations this weekend when Mrs. StrongIsland was visiting.

                                                              Liberty Tavern – really enjoyed this place. I had the trout and the Mrs. had the arctic char. The rest of them menu looked great, esp. the pork chop, but due to a bbq lunch could not summon the power to go for it. The trout came with Moroccan lamb sausage which was really good, fingerling potatoes and a chanterelle sauce. I could have used with more chanterelle sauce, but not a big deal. I will be returning to this place.

                                                              Pho 75 – classic Vietnamese place – situated in a strip mall, cafeteria style, low (or non existent) décor, food that arrives about 1 min after you order it, etc. The Pho was pretty good. I had Pho Tai and the Mrs. had Pho Ga. Broth was just about right although mine was a little weak on the anise which was fine with me. Slurped the whole thing down and I was a happy puppy.

                                                              Zaytinya – a recommendation of a friend. I didn’t realize this was Mike Isabella’s place (my friend he was no longer there so maybe I am wrong on this). I didn’t care for him on Top Chef but this restaurant was great. We had lunch and had series of mezze – all kinds of things, cod, sweetbreads, kebbe, sausages, and some veggie dishes and spreads. Everything was really great. Would recommend this as well.

                                                              Willow – hit this up because we were staying in Ballston and needed something nearby. I think this place has its detractors (at least in my office) but we thought it was fine. I had the fish stew and I couldn’t even finish it. Now, I probably would not be using pumpkin with fish stew but it kind of worked. I will need to hit this up again for another sampling to really

                                                              NoSo – in clarendon. We had lunch there today. Pork Belly sandwich – this should have been better but it was salty and had broccoli rabe on it. The thing with pork belly (and pork) is that it is easy to get it too salty. I have done the same many a time. So the key is to accompany it with something that stands up to it and hits a different taste bud. Think of the pork buns at Momofuku in NYC – pork belly with the pickled cucumber. Great combo. But I digress this sandwich didn’t do it for me. But I really liked the place and will return, especially when the weather is still nice.
                                                              Again, thanks for everyone who recommended places to me. I will continue to post here as I eat through Arlington and the surrounding area. Thanks again.

                                                              -----
                                                              Zaytinya
                                                              701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                              The Liberty Tavern
                                                              3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                              1. re: StrongIsland
                                                                r
                                                                rogs Oct 11, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                                hey SI-I'm a fellow long islander who just left manhattan after 6yrs for arlington. it has only been a week so i can't offer much yet but i do appreciate your posts. sawatdee for casual, yummy, well priced thai food is really good. it is in courthouse plaza. also the italian store off lee highway is a good spot for an italian hero.

                                                                1. re: rogs
                                                                  s
                                                                  StrongIsland Oct 11, 2010 10:48 AM

                                                                  LOL. Welcome! I am commuting down here most weeks so these recommendations are invaluable. Let us know how you find some of these places.

                                                                2. re: StrongIsland
                                                                  ktmoomau Oct 12, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                  I agree on that pork sandwich it needs a really good grainy mustard or something, as you suggested, to cut the richness and bring out the flavor. I felt the same way about the sandwich. I wish they would tweak it a bit, I think it has potential.

                                                                  Speaking of a great sandwich, if you go to Eventide for brunch get the roast beef sandwich, the bread is good, the meat is good, the accompaniments make it pop.

                                                                  Steve, if you read this post, seriously if you haven't tried the brunch roast beef sandwich at Eventide you need to, I think you will appreciate the bread quality and combo of ingredients.

                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                    s
                                                                    StrongIsland Oct 12, 2010 01:52 PM

                                                                    eventide is on the list for a dinner. maybe tonight as i need to go check out some soccer at summers.

                                                                    1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                      s
                                                                      Steve Oct 12, 2010 02:07 PM

                                                                      I didn't realized Eventide had a brunch! I hope to check it out some time. Thanks for the recommendation.

                                                              2. s
                                                                sweth Aug 8, 2010 02:16 PM

                                                                Anyone from anywhere that has BBQ as a native cuisine will tell you that you're SOL on that front; for someone coming from NYC, though, what's here might satisfy you. The closest place to you will be Red Hot & Blue, a chain that started in this area that specializes in (a version of) Memphis-style 'cue. If you're not a purist, it's perfectly acceptable, as is the brisket at Famous Dave's (another chain but one that I don't think extends to NY).

                                                                Re: Asian, there's tons of good Thai & Korean in the area, although Korean (mostly located in Annandale, just south of Arlington) will be harder to reach if you don't have a car. Search to board and you'll find lots of rec. There's also pretty good Vietnamese, mostly clustered around Eden Center (in Falls Church, just west of Arlington--searching for Eden Center will find you lots of info); there are also a handful of Vietnamese places along the Orange line in Arlington like Minh's that you can try. (Dennis S will almost definitely chime in now with a recommendation for the sweet & spicy salmon soup at Nam Viet near you. ;) Many others like it, so it's probably a good rec, but it's just never done anything for me.)

                                                                One area where DC shines for ethnic food in comparison to even most other big cities is Ethiopian; most good places are in DC proper, but are metro accessible. In Arlington proper there's Meaza and Lalibela and a few other pretty good places.

                                                                Re: "must-eat" places, if you're into moleclular gastronomy and tasting menus and have a big budget, then try for MiniBar (though be warned that seats are very hard to get). There are many other top-notch places in DC proper, but in Arlington, I can't think of any must-eat locations; the closest might be 2941 in Falls Church, and I haven't been there since it opened and it's gone through a lot of changes since then so I don't know if it's as stellar as it originally was.

                                                                Jaleo, like all of Jose Andres' non-MiniBar restaurants, is very hit-or-miss; when it's good, it can be quite good, but it's nowhere near "can't miss".

                                                                Oh, one last rec: Ray's Hell Burger. Mentioning it will probably start yet another flame war among the adherents who think it's the best burger ever and the doubters who say it's nothing special. If you aren't adept at making your own burger from quality meat, though, then it's a fairly affordable option that, when the kitchen is firing on all cylinders, is very good, and worth a try. (It's also often swamped by tourist crowds after visits from Obamas, though...)

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

                                                                Minh's
                                                                2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                Nam Viet Restaurant
                                                                3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

                                                                Meaza Restaurant
                                                                5700 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

                                                                Lalibela Restaurant and Bar
                                                                3111 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                                                                Famous Dave's
                                                                10500 Owings Mills Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117

                                                                12 Replies
                                                                1. re: sweth
                                                                  Dennis S Aug 8, 2010 02:58 PM

                                                                  Ha! Thanks Sweth. And to the OP I have no affiliation - I just love the place and that soup (and the curried squid). (and I will add his post is very accurate on what is covered).

                                                                  Look for posts about Arlington and the different metro stops.

                                                                  Halal Cart is right at Ballston and is damn good. You've close to El Charrito Caminante which may be the best taco in the area. Also the kabob place at Pershing and Glebe.

                                                                  Thai - like Sweth said - you're closest to the best in the whole area - just get down to Columbia Pike.

                                                                  Ask more specifics.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  El Charrito Caminante
                                                                  2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                  1. re: Dennis S
                                                                    m
                                                                    mselin Aug 16, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                                    Also in Ballston area - on Saturdays and Sundays there is a pupusa truck (Pupuseria Diana) on Henderson at the corner of 4th Road North. In addition to Pupusas it has carne asada, tacos, and something else (limited menu, but for what they have it is Highly recommended -- beats out El Charrito Caminante.)

                                                                    -----
                                                                    El Charrito Caminante
                                                                    2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                    Pupuseria Diana
                                                                    N Henderson Rd 4th Rd N, Arlington, VA 22203

                                                                    1. re: Dennis S
                                                                      s
                                                                      StrongIsland Sep 6, 2010 04:36 PM

                                                                      Sorry it took me awhile to get to any of these places. Apparently when you are staying in a hotel for a week everyone in the office feels it is their duty to take you out for drinks. Finally slowed down after a week! So....

                                                                      Got over to Minh's last week. I was very excited to finally get some vietnamese and although it scratched an itch, I need to go back and try out some of the other dishes. I had the shredded pork rolls, a cup of pho tai, and grilled pork/shrimp with thin noodles. The pork roll was fine. The pho was a bit lacking in my opinion - didn't get the usual accoutrements and the meat was not that great. I am chalking this up to getting just a cup instead of a whole bowl. Also thought the broth could have used some work. My main dish was mostly fine but kind of basic. And i mean that in the sense that it is a basic dish and i knew that when i ordered. I intend to get a little more adventerous in my next visit. I will also get to this other place and try this salmon soup you are talking about.

                                                                      So a decent start. but need to get out more. Does anyone know anything about this food truck that serves bahn mi sandwiches? Apparently they are in ballston once a week.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Minh's
                                                                      2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                      1. re: StrongIsland
                                                                        Dennis S Sep 6, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                                        If Minh's is anything like Nam Viet (which I believe they are similar), then the pho will lack. For some reason, if a place is good at pho and has a more full menu, the rest of the menu won't be very good and vice versa. So if and when you make it to Nam Viet, don't get the pho.

                                                                        I think Sauca might be the truck you're talking about?
                                                                        http://www.eatsauca.com/menu-saucas

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Minh's
                                                                        2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                        Nam Viet Restaurant
                                                                        3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

                                                                        1. re: Dennis S
                                                                          h
                                                                          hamster Sep 7, 2010 04:37 AM

                                                                          No, it's Rebel Heroes. They only stay in the Arlington area so I haven't tried them yet. Look at their twitter for info on current location:
                                                                          http://twitter.com/rebelheroes

                                                                          There's also a taco truck that's only in Arlington, District Taco.
                                                                          http://www.districttaco.com/

                                                                          1. re: hamster
                                                                            Dennis S Sep 7, 2010 09:05 AM

                                                                            I think that's the truck that was intended, though Sauca does a bahn mi (I can't vouch for either - haven't yet been).

                                                                            1. re: Dennis S
                                                                              h
                                                                              hamster Sep 7, 2010 10:48 AM

                                                                              Yeah. My fish taco experience at Sauca was not good, though the flat bread they serve everything on is amazing. I will give them another shot, but probably won't be trying the "banh mi" after woodleyparkhound's report. Perhaps they have improved their sauces by now.

                                                                              1. re: hamster
                                                                                woodleyparkhound Sep 9, 2010 06:52 AM

                                                                                I would strongly advise avoiding the "banh mi" at Sauca. It is neither a banh mi, nor is it tasty.

                                                                          2. re: Dennis S
                                                                            s
                                                                            StrongIsland Sep 22, 2010 02:46 PM

                                                                            Tried Rebel heroes. 10 minute line wait, then 25 mins for sandwich. Sandwich was light and not a bahn mi. So back to the drawing board. Will check out the taco truck soon.

                                                                            1. re: StrongIsland
                                                                              s
                                                                              Steve Sep 22, 2010 03:37 PM

                                                                              In addition to District Taco, there is another taco truck which parks at about 14th and N. Queen in the Rosslyn area - though the residential part. I see it in the afternoons/ early evening. Truly Mexican. YMMV

                                                                              DId you say you've been to Taqueria El Charrito Caminante? The goat taco there would be the priority.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              El Charrito Caminante
                                                                              2710 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                                                                          3. re: StrongIsland
                                                                            ktmoomau Sep 7, 2010 08:09 AM

                                                                            Pho 75 in Rosslyn is where you want to go in that area for Pho. Generally Pho is not as good in restaurants that serve other things I agree with Dennis S on that.

                                                                            1. re: ktmoomau
                                                                              s
                                                                              StrongIsland Sep 7, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                                              its rebel heroes. I will try it next week. And i am hoping to hit up Rays hell burgers and one other place recommended on here.

                                                                              I agree on the pho comments. But that doesn't mean i won't persevere and eat through all the vietnamese places I can. And Rossly is not too far away on metro so I will deffo make it there.

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