Interesting places in Dunloring/Fairfax/Tyson's Corner
My son and I will be staying in Dunloring for the weekend so I was looking for some interesting restaurant suggestions. We're adventurous eaters and from Philadelphia so we've eaten all the cuisines that people tend to associate with the DC area (Vietnamese, Ethiopian, etc.)
I've heard that there's interesting restaurants in Tyson's corner, anything closer? We like funky places, ethnic places and of course my son loves old school cantonese/polynesian style Chinese places where you can get a PuPu platter and I can get a strong drink in a Tiki Cup.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Uncle Liu's is a sister restaurant to my favorite place in the whole area (Hong Kong Palace), which both are Sichuan. Uncle Liu's has a hot pot menu, and at least for lunch a buffet (that I haven't tried - looks better than normal, but I would still order off the menu).
You might also want to try Shamshiry in Tyson's for good Persian. Rose in Vienna is largely reported by Hounds to be superior though I can't to that since I've not been there.
Mainly for atmosphere you could check out Vienna Inn and get some American pub food.
re: Dennis S
The Vienna Inn is an institution but I would go for a beer more than the food. I can vouch for Rose. I also like my Tigris Grill in Oakton but I only do carryout as they have very few tables. 4 Sisters is near Dun Loring and has solid Vietnamese. Also, in Falls Church there is La Caraqena, I have not been, but friends rave about it.
I definitely think The Vienna Inn fits into the "funky" criterion. I always feel like I've stepped back in time. I know of few places that use the honor system for paying, i.e. you tell them what you've had at the cash register and they believe you and charge you accordingly! The food may be nothing to write home about, but I can't tell you how many times I've been in there and the person at a nearby table is ordering their 3rd, 4th, 5th hotdog. I've never had them (not a hotdog person) but people really seem to love them. But yeah, not what the OP is looking for, food-wise.
Also nearby is Maple Ave. - nice, small neighborhood place with interesting small plates.
While the food actually wasn't too bad at Vienna Inn, the place is an absolute hole. I've been to a lot of dumps, but that one takes the cake. The place feels like it's being held together with 10 yr old duct tape!
Maple Ave. is very nice and quite interesting. As far as being in Vienna and not eating ethnically, it's a very good option!
You should try the amazing phenomenon which is Korean fried chicken at one of the Bon Chon locations. There are several in the area. Note that the waits can be long so you should call your order in in advance. See:
Mazadar for Afghan. Get the baba ganouj (a rich brown from smoked paprika), bulanee suzi (leek pastry) and kadu chalow (pumpkin sautee).
Saravana Palace: Purely vegetarian South Indian, hard to go wrong here (chili panner, chaat papri, dhosa)
Rose Kabob , Persian: Geymeh (split pea and beef stew with eggplant, garlic torshi, mast-o-khir, tahddeg)
Bangkok Golden, Lao menu: nam nao (rice ball salad), kao piak sen (chicken noodle soup), mieng muang luang (rice paste wrap).
As a Vienna Resident, I can definitely second the Maple Ave suggestion, most of their food is Asian influenced; French technique though.
As for kabobs, a new place has my vote, Kabob Tavern. I've eaten at Rose's for many years and I don't say this lightly. Kabob Tavern's kabobs are better. They also have great sides too. Try the Haleem or the pumpkin, both are superlative.
As for other ethnic options try La Caraquena in Falls Church. It's Venezuelan and pretty small and funky. So I think it fits the bill.
Kabob Tavern's upstairs dining room is open now. There are a few things on the menu that aren't available downstairs, you get real plates and metalware, and the room, though pretty small, is pleasant and fairly quiet. Prices are higher, of course, but not bad. Most of the entrees are in the $14-$18 range as I recall.
I think your son might love Neisha Thai, which is around the back side of Tysons Corner Mall, accessible ONLY from the outside of the mall. It is not a tiki bar, but it is decorated to look like a jeweled cave.
The pineapple fried rice is served in a pineapple and it is actually quite good. They have non-alcoholic fruit smoothies for the kids and alcoholic versions for the grownups. The menu has a few real gems among the Thai fusion dishes--the Yum Eggplant is going to blow you away if you like smokey Chinese eggplant, and all of the noodle dishes in clay pots are good.
Wanted to add that Uncle Liu's has a specials menu that includes some of the Hong Kong Palace sichuan specialties, though not executed quite as well in my opinion. If you can stand some heat, the cumin lamb is very nice. For comparison purposes, my 12 year-old will eat it while proclaiming that it is too spicy (and going back for seconds), and my 73 year-old mom ate and loved it too, but friends of ours have found it past the edge of tolerance.