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What's in DC that's not in LA?

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I'm from LA and looking for some great food here in DC that I can't at home. All suggestions welcome!

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  1. Rasika and Bombay Club - high end Indian

    Komi - high end Greek

    Rogue24 - uber tasting menu

    DC also does Ethiopian really well, but that's something that LA has (eg., Meals by Genet, Addis, Rahels, etc.) but it's worth a look if you really enjoy Ethiopian in all of its iterations.

    1. I would certainly check out some Ethiopian cuisine. My favorite is Etete and Ethiopic.

      You can get Jose Andres in LA now, but why not check out his original restaurant that started it all Jaleo.

      Also not sure if you have any high end, gourmet Indian restaurants....even if you do they probably are not as good as Rasika. There are 2 locations---I prefer the West End location.

      Finally, you might want to check out some food with a southern bend. For higher end try Vidalia or Acadiana. For a more casual setting you can try Oohs and Aahs.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        What is the Kenyan resto?

        1. re: luckyfatima

          Swahili Village in Beltsville is the most prominent one. Safari DC in Petworth closed recently. I believe there is at least one more in PG county.

          The folks I worked with at the Embassy of Kenya said that Kenyans loved grilled meats, but they don't like the meat in the US, so going out to eat Kenyan food is a bit of a disappointment to them.

          Swahili Village was profiled in the Washingtonian Best Cheap Eats article:

          http://www.washingtonian.com/restaura...

          1. re: luckyfatima

            There are also a few Nigerian restaurants - this would be similar to Cameroonian food, in PG County: Kingsway, De Ranch, Queensway. I haven't been to them.

            Cameroonian are Roger Miller in Silver Spring and Kitchen Near You in Hyattsvile.

            Ghanaian: I think three still in DC, one in Adams Morgan (Bukom) and another on 14th St (Ghana Cafe), and on 9th (Rahama) plus in PG: Sahara Oasis, Pinks Cafe Afrika, Cape Coast Cuisine, and there is Rainbow in Gaithersburg. There are others of unknown origin. And then there is Aburi Gardens in Woodbridge, VA

            Some will be threatened by development like Sumah's on 7th St which is cooking from Sierra Leone.

            1. re: Steve

              OK, thanks.

              1. re: Steve

                Roger Miller is awful. The service is beyond bad and they are always out of multiple menu items. The fish I had was nothing special and was very, very bony and the stew I had was also bland and underwhelming. As far as Ghana cafe, I have no idea how they are still open - my GF and I live a block over and walk by quite often and no one is ever inside that place.

                1. re: The Big Crunch

                  Sumah's is much tastier than Ghana Cafe. I found the food at Ghana Cafe to be quite bland.

                  1. re: hamster

                    They cater the hot bar at Whole Foods on P Street a couple of times a week and I have NOT been impressed with anything they serve. Granted, they may change some recipes and the food is not as fresh out of the kitchen, but still, it's pretty unimpressive. I honest-to-god believe that Ghana Cafe is a front for something, maybe money laundering, because I simply don't see how it stays in business with no customers on one of the most competitive food strips in DC.

          2. Just like the LA Board, this board covers a lot of territory. Bolivian is probably one of the biggest communities here that I don't think is in LA.

            My favorite, Luzmilla's, is in Falls Church , VA open 7 days from noon to 6pm (but check their schedule). They make their own saltenas, which are like football-shaped empanadas with a hard baked shell and hot soup on the inside.

            Another good choice is Sibarita in Arlington, VA which has more normal restaurant hours and specializes in silpancho, which is meat and breadcrumbs pounded together until it becomes super thin and translucent. The wildest place is Llajtaymata (Falls Church, VA) where all the clientele is Bolivian and the food is unrecognizable compared to food from anywhere else. Very little or no English.

            1. Continuing on a bit: Do you have Bengali? Chettinad? Palestinian? Eritrean? Jamaican? Jerk, real jerk, not oven baked? Trini? Senegalese? There are few Ghanaian and Kenyan places around, though none I recommend at this time.

              There's a soul food joint here that specializes in Coastal Carolina Soul Food like shrimp and grits, lemon pepper wings, broiled crab cakes, called Oohhs and Aahhs. Maybe my favorite meal in the DC area.

              I'm also not sure exactly what you have in the way of Lao food.....

              1. Crab cakes made with blue crab. Sad to say, I think you may be a little late for steamed crabs themselves.

                4 Replies
                1. re: lawhound

                  Sad to say, you can get steamed crabs all year. They're not MD or VA and they're usually not that even in season.

                  But still, a great idea and I upvote!

                  1. re: Dennis S

                    You're right that they're available -- from Texas or wherever. But it just doesn't seem "kosher" (pun intended) to be eating steamed crabs outside of June-September, October at latest.

                    1. re: lawhound

                      I'm just saying that for the most part, even in those months you're probably not getting anything from the Bay. So with that in mind, what does it really matter?

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        I believe there are only two crab restaurants in the entire DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area that serve strictly crabs from the Bay. Crabsellers (steam your own or simply take out), yes there are quite a few, but not restaurants.

                        I do agree it is a "not in L.A." specialty.

                2. It's also oyster season. I never really thought of that as a local thing, but my friends from LA found it really strange that people just go to get oysters out here.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: pgm123

                    I dont know. I was just out there a few weeks ago and both L&E Oyster Bar and Blue Plate Oysterette had some pretty good oysters. Granted its not about local stock so much but more about oysters from all over the country (which makes them more expensive). But they werent lacking for customers.

                    If only they had Hunan here like they do in SGV where you can find dozens of places that will serve exotic ingredients in true abundance and very spicy by default. Visited Hunan Chilli King while I was out there and Im jonesing for a place that serves chinese like that: drowning in hot pepper (without having to be fluent in Mandarin to prove you can handle it), a bit greasy and with no lack of animal part on the menu.

                    But then this question is about the yummy things we DO have of which there are many so I'll end my complaint there and echo whats already been said about Ethiopian, Salvadorean and MD crab based cuisines.

                    Although if someone knows of a secret place thats opened recently that approaches that kind of chinese cuisine in some way do let me know.

                    1. re: Insidious Rex

                      Let's see...Joe's Noodle House and Grace Garden come pretty close. They will both make dishes hot as you want and no shortage of tripe, tendon, blood, etc. All you have to do is ask.

                      1. re: Insidious Rex

                        Order the from the Ma La menu at Great Wall in DC. Those dishes are definitely drowning in Szechuan peppercorn. Joe's Noodle is okay, but often too greasy IMO.

                        1. re: Insidious Rex

                          My short list of excellent Chinese includes:

                          Sichuan
                          Joe's Noodle House
                          Sichuan Jin River

                          Hunan
                          Peking Palace

                          Shanghai
                          Pacifica Cafe

                          Yunnan
                          Mandarin Gourmet Express

                          Shaanxi
                          Panda Gourmet

                          Canton
                          Grace Garden

                          Dongbei
                          Hunan Gate

                          But please follow recs that have been posted so many times on this board.

                          I'll also mention a couple of outstanding sichuan dishes at Hong Kong Palace which are not on the menu, but usually listed in Chinese on the specials posted on the wall. Ask for the chicken with crunchy peppers and the 100 flavor chicken which is a salad that includes cold sliced chicken on the bone.

                          Both dishes will be served with a serious amount of heat.

                          The single hottest Chinese dish in the area will be the Szaechuan Spicy & Dry Beef Saute at Joe's Noodle House.

                          1. re: Steve

                            +1 for the chicken with crunchy peppers at HKP. Serious heat.

                            Speaking of which, Steve, you think the Beef dish at Joe's is hotter than the tiger skin peppers at HKP?

                            1. re: Bob W

                              That dry-fried beef at Joe's is pretty fierce on it's own. I use it more like a tasty, firey condiment to compliment the other dishes. We always order big at Joe's.

                              1. re: Bob W

                                If you get a tiger skin pepper that is hot, then a plate full of those would be very hot. But only some of the peppers will be hot. The dry beef dish at JNH is unrelentingly hot.

                                Too hot for me to enjoy.

                        2. Half Smokes!