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Mid-Week visit to DC/VA

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Coming to DC/VA for 2 days next week. We have dinner plans in Arlington (greek food, forgetting the name of the place) on Thursday evening, but otherwise would love suggestions for dinner on Weds and lunch on Thursday. We're staying in Arlington/Crystal City, but seems easy enough to pop into DC on the metro.

I would love to go to Little Serow, but my fiancee doesn't eat pork/red meat, so that seems out. How is Table? Can we even get in? Doesn't need to be fancy, just something good and ideally fun.

As for Thursday, for lunch any opinions on Shake Shack vs Ray's Hellburger? Anything better I should seek out instead?

Thanks!

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  1. Cava in Arlington is Greek, and I think it has become seriously substandard for the area. Too many locations.

    Instead of blowing $90+ on Little Serow, Bangkok Golden in Falls Church has a Lao menu (same cuisine) with much better selection and lower prices. Get the vegetarian version of Nam Khao (rice ball salad), Fish Larb, Mieng Muang Luang (rice paste wrap), and Khao Piak Sen (chicken noodle soup). If you can ask in advance, see if they can make the som pa (fermented fish) which is not on the menu, but can be special ordered. I prefer it raw, but it is damn good cooked as well. Or ask for the special paper menu by the cash register and get the pounded and dried fish. You'd have to take a cab from the closest metro stop, but overall you will save money for better food.

    Chef Seng's facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/BangkokGolde...

    For lunch on Thurday, go to DGS in DC for a Jewish deli with a Sephardic influence. Your fiancee can go for the whitefish salad and the matzoh ball soup or perhaps a knish. All excellent. For you, don't miss the chopped liver app and the meats are great. This place is very popular and takes reservations. You'll probably need them.

    Another lunch option is Locolat for savory Belgian waffles. The garlic waffles with grilled vegetables is a great dish. And so are the escargots, carbonnade, or queens delight on a pesto waffle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      bangkok golden is brilliant!

      and if you ask for lao hot, they ain't foolin' around. fair warning.

    2. I don't think Ray's Hellburger is open any more, though apparently you can still get the burger across the street at Ray's to the Third. Not sure if they have lunch hours. Ray's is definitely superior to Shake Shack.

      I would consider Room 11 for dinner. Really high-quality food, lots of choices, good cocktails, nice terrace, fun, and it should be relatively easy to get a table on a Wednesday. In a similar vein is Bistro Bohem, check out the menu online.
      I have not tried Table yet.

      1. I'm not quite sure I understand the burger question if a non-meat eater is involved. Of the two, Ray's to the Third in Arlington has a larger menu with not only burgers but other items as well.

        However, Good Stuff Eatery has a very nice mushroom burger in case you want a good alternative. Their sunnyside burger is much better than what Shake Shake has to offer, and we like the village fires (with rosemary) as well. Toasted marshmallow milkshake is a Must Order.

        The best burger IMO is BGR which chars the meat very well on the outside and keeps it nice and juicy on the inside. In principle all burgers are made from dry-aged beef. Counter service. The lunch special is a great deal as well.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Steve

          Ray's to the Third definitely has non-meat items. Great fried chicken, a very nice salmon, a turkey burger that is (IMHO) even more phenomenal than the beef burger.

          Yes, Hellburger is closed but to the Third is catty-corner across the street from that location and yes, they absolutely do have lunch hours.

          1. re: Just Visiting

            FYI, it looks like Rays to the Thrid no longer has their fried chicken pieces on the menu :-(

            Just boneless chicken sandwiches.

            Still, other great dishes are available.

            1. re: Steve

              I haven't been in a few weeks, so I can't say one way or the other. What I can say is that as usual, Mr. Landrum seems to be having trouble keeping it up (I meant a current website; what did you think I meant)?

              1. re: Steve

                On Monday, Fried Chicken was not on the menu as an entree, just as a sandwich.

          2. I normally see open reservations slots online for Table so you shouldn't have trouble getting a seat midweek. I thought the dishes were subtle, nuanced in flavor and light. I personally prefer bolder and aggressive seasoning so Table was a nice change of pace but not something I gravitate towards. My recommendation for Table would depend on what you like to eat.

            I too like DGS. I would also look into Red Hen and Etto as alternatives.

            15 Replies
            1. re: shake N baik

              Just a second hand FYI, so take it with a grain of salt (ha!).

              Table has been getting bad reivews on the Washington Post's weekly food chat lately. Both chatters and the Post's critic have said the quality has fallen off quite a bit since it opened. Someone this week posted that after going 3 times and seeing the quailty drop after each visit, they will no longer return.

              I haven't been there, but you may want to reconsider, or do a little research to see if it's worth spending one of your nights there.

              1. re: Bart Hound

                Your summary is factually inaccurate. You may not meant to hurt the restaurant but you are, with inaccurate information. There's a reason why hearsay aren't admissible in court.

                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                  What's inaccurate? Several chatters complained about Table during Tom Siersema's chat. No different than what we do here.

                  1. re: Hobbert

                    Only one chatter complained about the service, not the food. Another chatter said he noticed signs of slippage on his only visit (but his main point is to tell the first chatter to stuff it). A third whined about the wine not being at the proper temperature and referenced Table and Mintwood as examples. I didn't see anyone say they went 3 times and won't go back. Read for yourself http://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-to...

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      I did, actually. I read the chat every week as I enjoy Sietsema's writing. Bart Hound also stated twice that he hasn't been and to take his info with a grain of salt. The OP only has a few days in the area and, like everyone else, is entitled to all the info at hand. Perhaps you've been to Table and had a different experience. If so, I'm sure the OP would appreciate your feedback.

                      1. re: Hobbert

                        If you're a business owner, would you like your business put in a bad light because of inaccurate second-hand information? I'm sure Bart Hound is just trying to be helpful to the OP but inaccurate reports (whether first hand or second hand or third hand) aren't fair to the restaurants.

                        I havent' been to Table but I've been to Azur (another Frederik De Pue restaurant) twice. The service wasn't great but I think it has something to do with the restaurant's hiring practice. I'm not sure if they're trying to qualify for tax credit or what. The seafood, however, is some of the best in the city.

                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                          I'm just puzzled as to why you denounce Bart Hound's post as second hand info. The OP can easily read the chat and restaurant owners and chefs are welcome to chime in during the chat. If you've never been, you've no idea if its inaccurate.

                          1. re: Hobbert

                            Bart's post is nothing but second hand info. The OP cannot easily read the chat. Not everyone knows how to find the Washington Post chat. I guess I wasn't being clear, I meant Bart's post was not an accurate summary of the chat.

                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                              Ok, I'll agree that that's a valid, if subjective, take. And he can easily read it because you posted a link :) That's all I meant by noting that.

                        2. re: Hobbert

                          I am against the idea of bringing in the opinions of others - and repeating it here. If we are going to be the amplifier for a Tom Sietsema chat, then I'm not sure what the purpose is anymore.

                          If Sietsema wants to post his thought on Chowhound, let him. But this is not passing off knowledge, it is amplifying an opinion which may not be in line with Chowhound experience.

                          Perhaps every post on Chowhound could include a rundown on the Yelp, Washingtonian, WaPo, Eater, Urbanspoon intelligentsia.... I hope not.

                          1. re: Steve

                            To be clear, we're talking about posters to Sietsema's chat, not Sietsema himself. If a friend recommends a restaurant to me, I'll listen. If I read a review here, I'm interested. Bart Hound passing on info is no different to me. YMMV.

                            1. re: Hobbert

                              Yes it is different because we cannot have a conversation with Tom Sietsema or his chatters on Chowhound.

                              If someone gives their personal opinion on Chowhound, we can question the person directly to get more info. Passing on opinions from other websites is simply bad form on a website devoted to give and take.

                              Or did you not realize that Chowhound has this very important function?

                              1. re: Steve

                                Well, Steve, there's at least 3 people on this thread who read/contribute to his chat so that kinda ruins your theory :) But I get you don't agree with me. That's cool.

                                1. re: Hobbert

                                  It's still not a conversation with Chowhound no matter how many people read the chat. I am unable to have an exchange with the person on the WaPo website, as where we can have a lengthy exchange on a particular restaurant's food or service question.

                                  1. re: Steve

                                    Ok.

              2. Little Serow's actually closed until Sept. 4. My DC favorites are Jaleo and Rasika West End. Both are pretty easy to avoid pork and red meat at.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hobbert

                  Rasika West End is great for a non-meat eater, especially since some of their strongest dishes happen to be vegetarian (there is a potato and eggplant dish with peanut sauce that I am obsessed with right now).

                  If you like fish you might also enjoy Blacksalt, although you should know it is not metro accessible so you'll either need to drive or take a taxi.

                  I haven't been to Ray's Hellburger but I do love Shake Shack. I also agree that if you have a non-red meat eater than Good Stuff Eatery is a good choice because besides the mushroom burger they also have a great turkey burger.

                  DGS is also another great lunch recommendation, as if The Hamilton.

                2. Athena Pallas is in the restaurant row across from Crystal City. Is that where you are going? I had a wonderful special there once -- shrimp, onion, tomato, feta and ouzo with linguine. Mr. alka had lamb shank. Both were wonderful. The "Village Salad" salad is HUGE (and was very fresh). Be careful and don't over-order. The appetizer-dips sampler is ok, but I'd just go for the taramasalata.
                  http://www.athenapallas.com/dinner_me...

                  1. Turns out Cava is where we are going on Thursday, but it's a group dinner so out of my hands.

                    Should have clarified that I'm on my own for lunch Thursday, will definitely look into DGS.

                    Thanks for all the Wednesday night suggestions, though may now meet up with an old college friend, so not sure where we'll end up.

                    1. Reporting back, thanks for all the suggestions.

                      Hamster, we looked into Room 11, but ultimately it was going to be too far on the Metro.

                      We ended up at Table on Weds, and I'm pleased to say that despite the rumors alluded to below, we loved it. Sat on their third level patio on a warm end of summer night and had a great meal. To start we shared the avocado/tomatillo gazpacho with soft shell crab, I had the chicken (which was a special) and my fiancee had the eggplant. We had some good wines by the glass and ended with the chocolate mousse with strawberry gelato. All were excellent. The service was knowledgeable and "relaxed", but it was a nice night out so we didn't mind.

                      Ate at Shake Shack for lunch the next day as it was across the street from my destination, the National Portrait Gallery. Have to say it blows other fast-food burger places out of the water. Arguably better than In-N-Out out here in CA and definitely superior to 5 Guys.

                      Steve, agree with your assessment of Cava, fairly bland and mediocre, but it was good enough for a group outing and again we got to sit on a nice patio during the great weather.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: VealParmGuy

                        I'm glad you weren't deterred by the rumors at Table. Personally, I haven't been there so I can't say, but your description sounds enticing. Thanks for the report back.

                        BGR, as I mentioned above is a fast-growing local chain that blows all the competition away. It's especially fantastic for their lunch special which seems like a steal for a steakhouse-quality burger. Who knows, you might find one near you one of these days if they continue expanding.