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Hi all- I'm a video journalist looking to do a short piece on a hidden food gem at a restaurant in DC. I'm looking for a particularly wonderful dish that deserves to be talked about, but is currently flying under the radar. I'd love some suggestions!

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  1. what about the chicken tikki masala or chicken korma at salt and pepper grill on georgia? a hidden gem at a hidden gem

    the wings at kochix

    1. oxtail brown stew at Pimento Grill
      polori with pickled tamarind sauce at Rita's
      Manioc with goat at Chez Aunty Libe

      1. Face bacon @ The Pig

        Apple Pie @ Ambar

        The AYCE deal @ Ambar

        1. These are great ideas. Please keep them coming! It is very helpful.

          1. Kimchi bacon grilled cheese at Cafe Kimchi.

            1. There's lots of good ones at Grace Garden (not in DC, but pretty close):


              1. Amoo's Persian in McLean, VA -- their grilled fish kabob or their double lamb chops. Just won a local CityPaper award. Super food. Chef: Sebastian Oveysi. First dish I ever had there was a chiLean sea bass with saffroN and truffle oil marinade. AWESOME and swoon-worthy. it sold me on the place, which looks very so-so in a small strip center on Old Dominion. GO IN. DO NOT PASS GO! the lamb chops in the photo had some sort of pomegranate marinade, and fresh pom seeds, with pilaf having orange peel and other savory elements. chef is always experimenting with great creativity. good stuff. never disappointed. having a special dinner tonight, if you can wiggle in! (PS -- saffron ice cream is fabulous). just saw this: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bl...

                I'm also completely nutty about Bangkok Golden's crispy Rice Ball Salad with Sour Issan Sausage. KNOCKOUT dish. (Falls Church, VA).

                5 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  Always hard to argue with that picture! Amoo's is a great address to know.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Did you ask where their Chilean sea bass came from?

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      We are still trying to educate Chef Seb on sustainable fish...

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        i did not. there are sustainable sources. http://www.seafoodwatch.org/cr/Seafoo...

                        i presume chef is responsible as a buyer.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          There are sustainable resources, hence my question. I would love to go try their Chilean sea bass kebab if they're from sustainable sources.

                    2. Thanks guys. This is helpful. Any dishes that qualify in the "how the heck did they do that category"? Anything you'd want to see a video on about how the chef conceived of and makes the dish?

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: droch

                        Your OP makes it seem like you are open to anything, but now you seem very closed off to a particular kind of restaurant, chef, and dish. All of the above suggestions are traditional or maybe traditional with a twist, and there are extant similar videos on the internet to any of those dishes.

                        The "how the heck did they do that" category is pretty slim these days with internet videos on all manner of cooking. And it definitely does not cover a journalistic view of a Jamaican family laboring in obscurity lovingly creating brown stew for an underserved population.

                        I marvel at the textural masterpiece that is the yum pla dook foo or yum pla krob at Thai Square in Arlington, as well as the Korean fried chicken at Bon Chon, which looks like it is wet and covered in sauce yet is dry to the touch.

                        But I'd be surprised if instructional videos can't already be found.

                        So what are you trying to do?

                        1. re: Steve

                          Thanks for the note and giving me a chance to clarify. I think all of the above options are really good. Im just asking the question in a different way to see if it will jog other people's minds and get some more input. I'm definitely not looking for molecular gastronomy or anything terribly fancy, though if I found the right dish in that vein I would be open to it. I asked the question in a different way because there are some dishes that are not "hidden gems", but that we are interested to know "how they do it". One example of that is the spinach at Rasika. The Oxtail Brown Stew that you mentioned is potentially a great example of a hidden gem that also makes us question how they do it - and how they do it so well. Korean Fried Chicken - also that you mentioned- is another great example of "how do they do it". I'm not after anything fancy necessarily just looking for examples of great dishes that leave us in awe, no matter how traditional or fancy.

                        2. re: droch

                          At Rasika last night, we were wondering how they make their food so much more flavorful than any other Indian restaurant. Not sure if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, though.

                          1. re: ecjg00

                            Where do you live? The suburbs have a number of very good options that I prefer to Rasika, though Rasika is indeed a good place.

                            1. re: Steve

                              Steve, what are your Indian options in NoVA?

                              1. re: souvac

                                Thanks for asking. I just had a terrifc Pakistani 'breakfast' at Toosso in Sterling (they serve this until 2:30pm on weekends). This includes halwa puri and nehari. also excellent from the regular menu served anytime is the qeema, and they make a mean biryani. Almost everyhting here is very good.

                                There is a bengali hole-in-the-wall in Arlington, Gharer Khabar. Start off with the moghlai parotta. The roast chicken, the fish curry (but not the dried fish curry), and most other items are very good.

                                Saravana Palace is a purely vegetarian South Indian restaurant. Dosas, chili paneer, chaat papri, chaat samosa (spinach) standout.

                                Hopefully luckyfatima will see this thread and expand upon my choices, she is far more knowledgeable.

                                If you are ever in Bethesda, then Passage to India is a knockout. I adore the spinach with buttermilk and peanuts, the baby gourds, the black dal, and order the spices and pickles from the last page. Thsi is a better meal than Rasika, and I've traveled there many times from Arlington.

                                1. re: Steve

                                  For Maryland, I second Steve's recommendation on Passage to India, and add Indique Heights in Chevy Chase. Stunning decor, and brilliant flavors.

                            2. re: ecjg00

                              Yeah - this is a great idea. Is it the spices, where they source their ingredients, the technique or a mixture of it all. Great idea.

                            3. re: droch

                              oh, maybe you are looking for the fancy "experimental food" chefs. here, we are talking good TASTING food.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                That's it - just looking for great tasting food that leaves us in wonder. That could be anything from fresh fruit with chile and lime on the street to the fanciest of composed desserts. I'm interested in everything.

                                1. re: droch

                                  amoo's saffron marinades are intriguing. chef combines saffron with other ingredients for marinades, yet strikes a good balance of flavors.

                              2. re: droch

                                I would love to see all the various ingredients that go into the Palak Chat at Rasika. It's certainly not flying under the radar but there has to be about 20 ingredients in there and I can only really identify about 6 of them.

                                  1. re: Steve

                                    I coulda sworn there was a touch of balsamic vinegar in that...

                                  2. re: Elyssa

                                    Indeed a great dish. I'm almost sure it had a fair amount of shallots and not red onion as the recipe suggests.

                                    We had a couple of misses there the other day. The lamb mirchi korma was not as elevated as some of their other dishes and pretty pricey at $18 for four cubes of very overcooked and dry lamb. The bhindi was also a little flat.

                                    That being said I'm still dreaming of the dal dungharee and dum ki biyrani...oh and of course, the palak chaat.

                                1. The soup, but especially the coconut lime bao at Toki Underground in Union Market.