HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure
TELL US

New Restaurants You Tried in 2010

chowser Jan 11, 2011 05:00 AM

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.

  1. l
    lblau Jan 13, 2011 06:23 AM

    Can't remember if this was new this year or last. but I love having Cafe Sano nearby. (Reston). Fresh ingredients, comfortable enough atmosphere (including a tiny outdoor balcony), and reasonable prices. It's our goto place for a quick dinner. LOVE the Bianca Insalata pizza.

    My biggest disappointment this year was that Minibar closed for December so I didn't get to try it for my birthday dinner. Restaurant Eve did not disappoint as the replacement though.

    -----
    Restaurant Eve
    110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

    4 Replies
    1. re: lblau
      chowser Jan 13, 2011 08:45 AM

      I've never heard of Cafe Sano but it looks like a great quick, healthy bite type place. You can never have enough of those types of places.

      http://www.cafesano.com/

      Thanks for the rec.

      1. re: chowser
        Dennis S Jan 13, 2011 09:51 AM

        Sano was incredible when it first opened. Now it's okay (disclaimer is that I haven't been in a while - read on). I pass by it daily (on foot and in car).

        So, when it first opened, they just did everything TOP NOTCH. Fresh fruit always, good mozzarella, great soups. They did this for about a month. If you didn't go that first month, then it's a great place. If you DID go that first month, and were discerning, the downward changes are noticeable. For a while (and this is posted somewhere here) the "prosciutto" seemed like VA ham - which is fine, but don't label it otherwise.

        They've opened a market, and I'm still rooting for them, but I think it was a major blunder to open as something they turned out not to be, or otherwise make changes and do them up front. Costs too high to support? Raise the prices or explicitly change the menu. Don't lie about it.

        Sorry for vitriol.

        1. re: Dennis S
          l
          lblau Jan 13, 2011 04:29 PM

          Guess I either missed the first month, or am not discerning enough. But, this place beats anything else we can get to easily. It's hands down better than Panera or Cosi. If you know of other places nearby for similar type meals, I'd love to know of them.

          -----
          Panera
          6700 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306

          1. re: lblau
            Dennis S Jan 14, 2011 07:05 AM

            Good point there, certainly better than Panera, and I'm originally from Missouri (and usually support home-state businesses; Budweiser being the other exception).

            Have you been to Primo Italiano? I've largely boycotted the place for the past 5 years or so, but the quality of the food has remained strong (the owner had a few distasteful run-ins with customers). It's probably closest to Sano. And I don't want to overly knock Sano entirely, I just still resent the bait and switch they pulled.

            For pizza, outside of Primo, I personally don't think there's much in the area.

            For kebabs, either Reston Kebab or Charcoal Kebab are, imo, as good as Kabob Palace and the like (the sides at CK are great).

            Perhaps my favorite deli sandwich is at The Deli over by the Herndon K-Mart. This is not to be confused with A Deli at Worldgate.

            You might also want to check out Pica Deli for deli items, which is tucked away near Reston Kebab and Popeye's - it's in the office building complex just South of Popeye's. It didn't do much for me but I know it has a lot of fans.

            -----
            Kabob Palace
            2315 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202

            Italiano's
            2229 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

            Panera
            6700 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306

    2. m
      marcj Jan 12, 2011 06:02 PM

      1) Againn, Bibiana, and Kushi are my favorite recent additions to the DC scene. Oh, and the Columbia Room really is fantastic.

      2) Cashion's is still OK, but it used to be much better than that

      3) No disappointments that come to mind, but I didn't try many new places (I can think of only one or two new places I tried other than those listed above).

      4 Replies
      1. re: marcj
        r
        Raids Jan 13, 2011 05:29 AM

        How recently have you been? Can't remember for sure, but I think Tom Seitsema said in his chat that it had recently gotten very, very good again.

        1. re: Raids
          m
          marcj Jan 13, 2011 05:57 AM

          I think it's probably been about 5-6 months. And yes, I noticed that yesterday Sietsema mentioned a Cashion's soup as a dish that's been particularly on his mind. I guess it may be time for a return trip--I'd be delighted to discover I just hit them on a couple of off nights in a row (a couple of months apart).

          1. re: marcj
            r
            Raids Jan 13, 2011 08:40 AM

            Haven't read this week's chat yet, so he must've mentioned Cashion's two weeks in a row - I remember the comment I read as being really general and not about a particular dish. I have a Groupon to use and a reservation, so I will report back!

            1. re: Raids
              m
              marcj Jan 13, 2011 08:57 AM

              That's funny, I missed last week's general endorsement. This week he touted a "broccoli and beer soup with the texture of a souffle." I'm intrigued.

              I look forward to your report.

      2. s
        spinachandchocolate Jan 11, 2011 02:31 PM

        Fun thread.

        Kushi was a nice surprise. DC needs good sushi.

        Tried Ris and expected more.

        Some of my old casual standbys in the neighborhood have gone downhill: Lebanese Tavernea, Rosemary's Thyme (used to love this place) and Lauriol Plaza's salads.

        -----
        Lauriol Plaza
        1835 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

        1. k
          KeithW Jan 11, 2011 02:25 PM

          I actually went back to Cedar Cafe in Burke last month (for carryout) after not going for a long time and I liked it a lot. Maybe you got them on a bad day. Or I got them on a good day. Hopefully the former.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KeithW
            chowser Jan 12, 2011 09:42 AM

            Don't get me wrong--it's not a bad place and we still go there. But, I'm finding the quality of the food isn't quite the same. I've found it's far better to eat in than take out there and you can't beat the garlic puree still. But, overall, the quality isn't the same as it was when we discovered it years ago.

          2. chowser Jan 11, 2011 11:19 AM

            I'll add on, as I remember--based on CH recs, I tried le Pain Quotidien and really liked it. Good thing I don't live closer because those crispy, melt in your mouth buttery croissants are addicting.

            1. d
              Doh Jan 11, 2011 10:51 AM

              Finally made it to Taylor Gourmet (or perhaps I should say they made it to the burbs) and it lived up the hype. Maybe next year I'll make a pilgrimage to Deli City.

              -----
              Deli City Restaurant
              2200 Bladensburg Rd NE, Washington, DC 20018

              Taylor Gourmet
              1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

              1. r
                Raids Jan 11, 2011 10:50 AM

                Okay, I consulted my Opentable history and much more prepared to answer this question.

                In 2010, I had a really awesome birthday dinner at Jaleo. I think we ordered one of everything. I tried the Jose Andreas G&T for the first time. I've had dozens since.

                I went to Zola before the redesign and did not like it. I am looking forward to trying it again. I went to Zengo for the first time and decided that while not the best food in the city, it's still a very fun place to dine and the cocktails are very good.

                I decided that I hate, loathe, detest Rosa Mexicana. I have come down on the side of liking the sushi at Buddha Bar, despite the fact that nobody agrees with me.

                I had a really awesome dinner at the Columbia Firehouse in Arlington thanks to some recs here - just a fantastic place. Fun and yet intimate. Great for a dinner with a few friends.

                I had excellent dinners at RIS, Poste, J&G, 701, and Raiksa. I had a pretty good, but not great, dinner at Kaz.

                I had a very awkward - though no fault of the restaurant - dinner at Kushi. Have to return soon.

                Best dinner of the year goes to Rasika, but I still end up at Jaleo most often and will continue to do so because the lounge service is so great. This was also the year that I discovered The Passenger, but the allure has somewhat worn off in light of all the fantastic cocktails I've had at J&G, Ris, Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico, Zaytinya, Zentan, etc., and because of a truly nasty excuse for a dark & stormy I had at The Passenger.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Raids
                  chowser Jan 11, 2011 11:18 AM

                  Great list. Is Rosa Mexicana the place at the National Harbor? What didn't you like about it? I've talked to friends who've raved about it but none are particular about food.

                  1. re: chowser
                    r
                    Raids Jan 12, 2011 07:51 AM

                    I think they have one there also, but I'm speaking of the one in Penn Quarter. The food was fine - nothing special, but not offensive if overpriced for what it is - but the service is kind of...snooty.

                    I know! I'm like, come on, you're Rosa Mexicana! And I gave it a few tries. I really did. I've waited 30 minutes for my check to come back. Seriously. I've been ignored by the bartender for 20+ minutes, while sitting at the bar. Which was not busy. Requests for things like, you know, silverware, were met with a flat stare.

                    I wanted to like it. My only other options in the neighborhood for Mexican are the pretty much appalling (and not because it's Tex-Mex) Austin Grill and the wonderful but not always affordable Oyamel.

                    I admit that I kind of expected the service to be like, you know, Chili's or something. Not that they'd be wearing actual "flair" or anything, but that it would lean toward the casual and friendly, not distant and haughty. That could be coloring my POV.

                2. d
                  dpan Jan 11, 2011 10:34 AM

                  Finally made it to Grace Garden. It lived up to the hype. Also had meals at Againn (it was good, nothing to rave about), and Brabo Tasting Room (Very good meal, and a relative bargain for the price). Cheong Wong in Fair Lakes was a surprise hit.

                  -----
                  Grace Garden
                  1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

                  1. ktmoomau Jan 11, 2011 09:55 AM

                    1) 701 since they revamped,Thai Square (I can't believe even after reading about it all the time I didn't go sooner) and Pizzeria Orso.
                    2) Brunch at Eventide :( I am very upset they stopped this.
                    3) Central didn't live up to past experiences on multiple occasions.

                    1. f
                      flavrmeistr Jan 11, 2011 09:45 AM

                      What is this thing for cupcakes everywhere? I understand that grilled cheese sandwiches are the next iconic consumable. I think it all started with bottled water and $5 cups coffee.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: flavrmeistr
                        Bob W Jan 11, 2011 12:30 PM

                        Yesterday I noticed The Big Cheese food truck among the several trucks parked across K St from my building. I think their specialty is grilled cheese sandwiches.

                        -----
                        The Big Cheese
                        47 Randall St, Annapolis, MD 21401

                      2. r
                        Raids Jan 11, 2011 09:02 AM

                        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.

                        1. r
                          reiflame Jan 11, 2011 05:58 AM

                          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. s
                            Steve Jan 11, 2011 05:48 AM

                            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
                              Dennis S Jan 12, 2011 03:16 AM

                              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
                                f
                                flavrmeistr Jan 12, 2011 08:11 AM

                                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
                                  Dennis S Jan 12, 2011 05:25 PM

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

                              2. re: Steve
                                m
                                misskale Jan 19, 2011 05:41 AM

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

                                1. re: misskale
                                  r
                                  Raids Jan 19, 2011 07:43 AM

                                  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
                                    s
                                    Steve Jan 19, 2011 07:31 PM

                                    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
                                      Dennis S Jan 20, 2011 06:01 AM

                                      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
                                    s
                                    Steve Jan 19, 2011 07:28 PM

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

                                    1. re: Steve
                                      f
                                      flavrmeistr Jan 20, 2011 04:31 AM

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

                                      1. re: Steve
                                        m
                                        misskale Jan 20, 2011 08:18 AM

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

                                  3. Dennis S Jan 11, 2011 05:26 AM

                                    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
                                      chowser Jan 11, 2011 05:42 AM

                                      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
                                        Dennis S Jan 11, 2011 11:32 AM

                                        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
                                          s
                                          sekelmaan Jan 11, 2011 12:02 PM

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

                                          1. re: sekelmaan
                                            s
                                            Steve Jan 11, 2011 01:09 PM

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

                                      2. s
                                        sekelmaan Jan 11, 2011 05:25 AM

                                        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
                                          m
                                          mt7187 Jan 13, 2011 01:39 PM

                                          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.

                                          -----
                                          Rustico
                                          827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

                                          Pupatella
                                          5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203

                                          1. re: mt7187
                                            s
                                            sekelmaan Jan 13, 2011 02:35 PM

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

                                        Show Hidden Posts