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Request for mini reports week ending March 16

Hi everyone I'm going to take some initiative and ask for brief reports (or make them as long as you want) for the past week or so. This is not to discourage longer reports that are their own threads, but rather to encourage shorter reports so we'll get more of them and get them more frequently. If people like this format maybe we can make this a weekly thing. I'd love to hear about food experiences for both new and established places.

Please include locations along with the names. I'll post mine later today.

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  1. Red Hen, Bloomingdale, DC
    March 10
    I went for an early dinner (5:45 PM) with friends. The restaurant is adorable and cozy, well-lit and not too loud (though this was on a Monday evening).

    For appetizers we got the fried artichokes and the ricotta crostini with brown butter and honey. I liked the fried artichokes and probably could have ordered an entire bowl for myself! The crostini were just okay.

    My entree was the baked semolina gnocchi with hazelnut pesto-definitely recommend. A friend who got the same dish thought it was overpriced ($17) but I thought it was a good portion and great quality. Gnocchi was very light and the hazelnut flavor of the pesto not too overwhelming. Other friends liked their entrees: lamb sandwich and the rigatoni.

    My dessert was definitely the best of the three we got. I got the maple custard, yumm. I loved the toasted hazelnuts and their crunch. I didn't like the chocolate cake (gummy) or the pecan tart (dry).

    1. District Fishwife, Union Market, NoMA, DC
      March 15
      I went for lunch and got their fish and chips. Order came out extremely hot. Sizeable portions at $12.65 plus tax. I think this might be too much for 1 person if you're not particularly hungry. The fish was very fresh, but the breading was greasy and gummy; I expected better. The fries were delicious. Overall I would probably not go back to Union Market just for these fish and chips but would probably try them again with friends. The fried scallops looked tasty too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tarilyn

        Try the fish and chips at Bidwell Restaurant in Union Market. They are the best I've had in DC. Fresh cod with crunchy beer batter, perfectly cooked. Great fries with spicy ketchup. Delicious!

      2. Osteria Marzano, Springfield VA
        Overall: Good/OK

        Antipasti: Mussels with white wine, garlic, parsley: straightforward and simple but good, mussels tasted fresh

        Grilled rockfish with mashed potatoes: this special was the highlight of the night, fish and sauce were delicious

        Risotto with mussels, calamari, shrimp, scallops, clams: not good, the disappointment of the night, especially since it was a special and recommended by the waitress; under-seasoned and bland, aside from the two shrimp which were tasty; also the risotto seemed more like just rice, not the creamy texture of good risotto

        Tiramisu: served in a glass like a pudding or parfait which was different, but the flavors you would expect from a standard tiramisu; tasted good but nothing special

        Service was fine

        The two glasses of wine we had, including one not on the menu but recommended by the server, were good

        Bread before meal was generous and I liked the olive oil and pesto but the bread itself was nothing special

        1. Bangkok Noodle, Springfield VA
          Overall: Good, will definitely return

          Thanks to chowhound recommendations I went and tried this.

          Floating market soup:My first time trying it based on recommendations and I have to admit that the liver itself and liver flavor in the broth just isn't my thing. But I still ate a lot of it and I can see the appeal. It has a nice depth and richness of flavor.

          Pad Phed Pha: Very spicy hot, very good. We actually asked them to downgrade us from level 5 spiciness ("Chef's Special Hot") to level 3 spiciness ("Thai Hot"). It was still very hot -- and very good.

          Service was friendly, I look forward to returning.

          4 Replies
            1. re: KeithW

              Thanks for the review. I need to check it out. I looked up the location and can't remember seeing it in that area. Is it behind the Hard Rock Cafe or across the street?

              1. re: KeithW

                Thanks for this recommendation. We just gave it a try and loved it. This is the first Thai restaurant I've been to in this area that isn't either 1) too sweet or 2) so spicy that it overwhelms the flavors. We started with the Hoi Jaw and the calamari. Hoi Jaw was very good, nice dipping sauce, almost honey like and went well with the spiral carrots which seems to accompany everything. Calamari were thick rings, not typical small ones w/ tenticles, served with a spicy/sweet sauce and requisite carrots. Very tender, nice crunchy coating. We had the paradise soup which was excellent. I loved that you could taste all the flavors in the hot and sour broth before the heat took over. The also had the tilapia which was nice and crunchy and the sauce was great-- sweet/spicy/sour. It's a nice interior, too. I don't know how this place has flown under the radar for so long. So many things I want to try. We did the 2 and 3 rooster dishes but I do want to try one of the two 5 spice dishes. I asked the owner and he just smiled and said, "It is very spicy. Very, very spicy."

                1. re: chowser

                  Glad you liked it. Sorry I missed your earlier question about location.

              2. Society Fair, Arlington (new Columbia Pike location @ Penrose)
                Still have fish and chips available off the old Eamonn's menu but no choices on fish or sauce. Good basic lunch though. Sandwich selection much more limited (and less interesting) than the OT location. Had ham and swiss, was slightly over-toasted.
                Was looking forward to having the shop slightly closer to me than OT but will probably still drive the extra ten minutes to visit the original for a better menu and more market selection.