Coming to DC for 4 Days
My wife and I will be in DC for 4 days at the end of this month (29th - 3rd). We are travelling by car from Dallas so driving is not a problem if need be. I know about the traffic and all, got it covered. I have done my research and I failed to book Volt earlier so I need a few recommendations.
We are into just about any cuisine and into craft beer, but we are looking for cuisines we don't have a good representation of in Dallas (Dallas has Pakistani, Korean, Vietnamese and Mexican). My wife is pregnant so she can't have any alcohol or any raw meats.
I know we will be hitting up Eatern Market, El Pollo Rico, Bangkok Golden, Chez Aunty Libe, Amsterdam Falafel, Sundevich and more than likely Granville Moore's for beer.
We are looking for a high end place and really can't pinpoint which to choose. Please no steak and generally nothing overly stuffy (no high end French). Below is what I have gathered through combing the boards. Is there any of these below that you like over the others? What specific dishes are good/must orders? Are there any others we might have missed.
Rasika - is it that much better than Indika/Pondicheri in Houston
We know it will be crab season so we are also looking for a place outside DC that is a well known but not touristy crab place. We are after the food not the atmosphere.
I made a map of all the places I gathered but i know we will not be able to hit them all.
I'd definitely consider Palena for high end dinner. If you want beer, and like Belgian beer, try Brasserie Beck.
Actually the best crabs are found from some of the trucks on the side of the road, but they move around. For restaurants, the most famous, and fairly reliable are in Annapolis and Baltimore. Cantler's in Annapolis is well known, The Cracked Claw in St. Michael's (eastern shore) and several in Baltimore.
Palena in Cleveland Park is fantastic. They recently expanded their bistro so seating is no longer a problem. I would also recommend Brassiere Beck - excellent mussels and Belgian beer. If you're interested in Thai, I recommend Siam House in Cleveland Park. I have been eating there for years and haven't had a bad meal yet.
Crabs - Cantler's. But be prepared to get there early and wait in line.
Otherwise - only four days and into craft beers - Birch & Barley and Churchkey (this is one place; 500 different beers). Vietnamese - Eden Center out in Seven Corners. All Vietnamese. Take your pick. If that's a hassle (and the traffic and parking are a hassle, not to mention trying to figure out where to eat) then try Minh's in Clarendon or Present in Falls Church.
I am not a fan of Jaleo. I haven't been to Fiola yet but pretty much everyone raves about it.
I agree with both dinwiddie and Just Visiting on the Brasserie Beck and Birch & Barley recommendations if you want an excellent selection of Belgian or craft beer. Although Granville Moore's has a good beer selection, the star of the show there really is the mussels. Birch & Barley, in particular, is great at doing food and beer pairings.
I would consider adding Kushi to your list. As for Jaleo, I enjoy it but wouldn't put it in my top five must-go places.
It could be that El Pollo Rico is no longer the pinnacle of rotisserie chicken. I think they've changed their operation a bit so that getting a bird fresh off the skewer is much less likely. At least in Arlington. What location were you thinking of?
Crabs at Quartdeck in Arlington are about as good as anywhere, and it's close by. Make sure to call in advance.
Less convenient to DC than Amsterdam Felafel, but far better is Max's in Wheaton, MD. Outrageously good. Kosher, so not open Friday night or Saturdays. And if I had a choice between getting a Uruguayan chivito (Fast Gourmet, inside a gas station at 14th and W Sts, NW) and AF, I'd get the chivito every time.
Steve if there is a better place to get a Peruvian rotisserie chicken let me know. We don't necessarily have a set El Pollo Rico location in mind. I just want to experience what everyone is raving about and preferably from a place that pulls off hot birds. I would welcome better suggestions as to such.
I will look into Quartdeck as see what the crab situation looks like there or will be for our trip.
Looks like we will be changing the falafel to chivito!
I've only been to the Pollo Rico in Wheaton (which I've been to countless numbers of times) and I think it's still the best...by far. Crisp and Juicy in Silver Spring is just not as flavorful. It's a mild difference, but noticeable to me. Then again, although it pains me to admit it, you're basically talking about better than normal rotisserie chicken. Still, I think Pollo Rico gets a better smoky flavor (though again, somewhat mild) to their birds than any others I've had in DC. That said, the sides at Pollo Rico are thoroughly forgettable. I actually tell them to just leave them off entirely when I visit.
Too poor for the other places you mentioned except Jaleo, which I've always found consistently over-rated and underwhelming. Yeah, it's good, but I've never quite understood all the fuss.
You may hate it, but DC has a ton of Ethiopian restaurants. If you like Indian, and you don't mind the Injera bread, which is used to scoop up all the food in place of utensils, it can be an interesting eating experience. I love injera myself, but a lot of folks compare it to a cold, stretchy grey pancake, which is a bit harsh, but also somewhat accurate.
If you want to split a bushel of crabs in a no-frills place, the Bethesda Crab House is just that - very low key and basically specializing in steamed crabs.
No issues here getting fresh chickens at Pollo Rico, but then again, I've only gone during peak dinner hours. I did recently try Super Pollo and I've preferred them since they have more sides. However, definitely not picked up a fresh bird there; unlike El Pollo Rico, they haven't had huge lines. Crisp and Juicy will be on my to do list this week since it's along my commute home anyway!