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Jan 11, 2011 05:00 AM

New Restaurants You Tried in 2010

With the thread about wishlists for 2011, let's recap 2010 restaurants you tried this year, ones you re-discovered, ones you've crossed off your list.

1) Have you tried a restaurant this past year that knocked your socks off?

2) Has an old standby bit the dust?

3) Any disappointing tries that didn't live up to expectations?


1) My biggest find this year was in Gettysburg, PA. Roman Inn pizza for far better pizza than I've had here in the DC area.

2) Our old stand by had been Ceder Cafe in Burke. Owner had been with Lebanese Taverna. I can't say what it is but I'm not liking it was much. I will still go because it's convenient and its specials are decent but overall, it's just not as good as it used to be.

3) My biggest disappointment this past year is the proliferation of cupcake stores, none of which have lived up to expectations.

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  1. 1) We just had an incredible meal at Domaine Hudson in Wilmington, DE. Best of the year so far.

    2) I can't think of an old standby hitting the dust, but a new standby that I have been frequenting regularly is La Union Salvadoran.

    3) My biggest disappointment is the onslaught of mediocre Neapolitan pizzerias, none of which I have had the inclination to return to a second time including Rustico, Fireworks, Pupatella, Pizzaria Orzo, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sekelmaan

      Regarding your listing of "mediocre Neopolitan pizzerias", I don't think I would consider Rustico or Fireworks as Neopolitan pizzerias. Pupatella, however, IS a Neopolitan pizzeria, but there is absolutely nothing mediocre about their food. They are fantastic.

      827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

      5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

      1. re: mt7187

        If one defines fantastic as soggy, runny and under-seasoned, then I agree completely.

    2. 1) Grace Garden, and I'm fond of Windy City Redhots (though it's not knock-my-socks-off). Oh, and Myanmar - especially the salads.

      2) The great Thai shuffle in Reston/Herndon, though Three Thai Sushi and Thai By Thai have filled the void well enough.

      3) Nothing blazingly outlandish.

      Grace Garden
      1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

      4 Replies
      1. re: Dennis S

        I like Windy City Redhots, too. Not knock your socks off but reliable and hits the spot. I wouldn't drive all the way out to Leesburg or Ashburn for one but if I'm there, I'll make a point to stop by and get something.

        1. re: Dennis S

          Oh, I remembered a disappointment: The General Store.

          It wasn't awful, and I wanted to like the place but it seemed incredibly overpriced for re-warmed chicken.

          1. re: Dennis S

            Speaking of fried chicken, one of my best meals recently as the fried chicken at Ray's the Steaks East River.

            1. re: sekelmaan

              Yes, it is a revelation. Smoked, then fried. Seems grease-free.

        2. Important, new in 2010:

          Againn, Lyon Hall, Chez Manelle, Mazadar, Eyo, Lao menu at Bangkok Golden, SIchuan Pavillion, Me Jana

          Downhill: Blue Ocean, Lebanese Taverna, Nam Viet

          10 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            Nam Viet went way downhill after the original owner passed. Last couple of times I went it seemed to have had at least a slight rebound.

            But to the mention above about Ray's smoked then fried chicken, that's SO on my list for this year.

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

            1. re: Dennis S

              I took some folks to Nam Viet last month and it was still pretty darned good. The one on Hudson St. in Clarendon, that is.

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

              1. re: flavrmeistr

                I do think that one is better than the one in Cleveland Park. Good to hear.

            2. re: Steve

              Just wondering on one of your downhills. Any particular Lebanese Taverna or just the chain in general?

              1. re: misskale

                Man, I went to the Lebanese Taverna out at Tyson's for the first time yesterday and I expected to be unimpressed since I'm from Michigan and used to way better Middle Eastern food that I can get out here, but I thought it was great. I had hummus, lentil soup, and kibbeh. Same story for the other four members of my party, although they all ordered sandwiches - shawarma or falafel.

                1. re: Raids

                  Me Jana in Arlington is more impressive.

                  I don't know if the Lebanese Butcher is back on its feet in their new (temporary?) location after the fire. Chicken shawarma sandwich there is killer.

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

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

                  1. re: Steve

                    They are open but I haven't been. Thought I posted this a few weeks ago. Pretty much just around the corner from where they were.

                2. re: misskale

                  The only LT restaurant I've been to recently is the first one in the Westover neighborhood of Arlington.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I liked it better when it was Airborne Pizza. They had an excellent Greek pie back in the day.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Huh, that's sad since it's been the best/most consistent of them for me.

                3. Most of my great finds this year have been outside the DC area, but two recent meals stick out - Temel in Fairfax and the Lao menu at Bangkok Golden.

                  Growler's, my go-to brewpub, has been closed for months due to a storm that took it's roof off. They're supposed to open in February. Not really "bit the dust" but it feels like it, especially since they've weren't open during football season.

                  Clyde's Tower Oaks and Volt were both pretty uneven for me this year. Volt keeps showing flashes of brilliance but then makes some pretty bad missteps along the way.

                  1. You know what I loved about 2010? Brunch at Againn. You know what I hated about 2010? The end of brunch service at Againn.

                    Worst experience of 2010 was brunch at Hook. Hands down, far and away, the worst. Note to restaurant employees everywhere - if you see my napkin on the floor, please don't put it back on my chair when I'm standing up and not looking. Thanks.