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  • Washington DC?

    Post #1 - June 10th, 2004, 5:11 pm
    Post #1 - June 10th, 2004, 5:11 pm Post #1 - June 10th, 2004, 5:11 pm
    I'm looking for good places in the metro DC area.
    One place I know I won't miss is Lebanese Taverna, right across from the Woodley Park metro stop

    2641 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

    I've been there several times, and it's awesome. A huge vertical spit like for gyros roasting slabs of lamb and another with chicken. Great meze items, and the fateh blahmeh (chicken and chickpeas in a garlic yoghurt sauce over toasted pita bits) has to be experienced. Perhaps I'll take pictures.

    That neighborhood is chockablock with restaurants of varying quality. The thai place on the same block is great, the mexican only so-so. I had an Indian meal nearby once, but I don't remember it.
  • Post #2 - June 10th, 2004, 8:45 pm
    Post #2 - June 10th, 2004, 8:45 pm Post #2 - June 10th, 2004, 8:45 pm
    I lived for more than a year in DC, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, which at the time was especially great for Ethiopian and Salvadoran food. As you probably know, Adams Morgan is easily accessible from the Woodley Park station: just walk across the Calvert St bridge. For Ethiopian, I'd recommend Meskerem (2434 !8th). I don't know if the Salvadoran places are still there (I can't remember the names so can't use google) but you might have fun searching for them -- and other stuff -- there. Another Adams Morgan place I liked was Mixtec (1792 Columbia), for tacos al pastor.

    Elsewhere in DC I've had excellent Indian food at Aditi in Georgetown (3299 M St), and good tapas at Jaleo (480 7th St.) There's also a Burmese place in Chinatown that was pretty good...
  • Post #3 - June 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm
    Post #3 - June 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm Post #3 - June 10th, 2004, 11:01 pm
    Full Kee! Fuuuulllll Keeeeee! If you do not go to Full Kee in DC's teensy weensy Chinatown, you will regret it the rest of your life! FullKeeFullKeeFulKee. You should get deep fried softshell crabs, with fresh beautiful plump chesapeake sofshells, that fall apart with crisp and tender toothsome joy. You should get the fried oyster pork hot pot with mammoth oysters and ginger and scallion. You should get the finest clams and black bean sauce known to man, a dish that makes the version loved by GWiv and Evil Ronnie at LTH seem insipid and dull by comparison. You should eat leek flowers with garlic and most of all, most terribly important, you should eat at least one bowl of hong kong style shrimp wontons no noodles in peppery stock. It is incredible and simple - the wontons have zero filler, just pasta and pristine shrimp, barely clinging together, waiting to achieve a dumpling apotheosis in your mouth. I hope you go there. 6th and H across from the MCI center.

    Also, Kinkeads. You shoudl go and sit int he bar and go for lunch and eat order after order of perfect fried clams, with deep fried lemon slices and garliccy mayo. Then have some tuna tartar with avocado and cilantro, and follow it up with a dozen raw oysters, or a pepita crusted salmon, or jeez, skate. But be prepared to part with a couple of bucks.

    In the last ten times I've been to DC, I can count on one finger, the number of times I haven't hit both of these restaurants, and can count on no fingers, the times I haven't seen either one.

    Also, Marvelous Market has excellent bread. That is all.
  • Post #4 - June 11th, 2004, 2:32 am
    Post #4 - June 11th, 2004, 2:32 am Post #4 - June 11th, 2004, 2:32 am
    Aaaaaakkkkkk, you had me right up to this point.......... :wink:
    Seth Zurer wrote: You should get the finest clams and black bean sauce known to man, a dish that makes the version loved by GWiv and Evil Ronnie at LTH seem insipid and dull by comparison.

    Insipid ???

    Image
  • Post #5 - June 11th, 2004, 10:16 am
    Post #5 - June 11th, 2004, 10:16 am Post #5 - June 11th, 2004, 10:16 am
    Well, now I'm intrigued. If Full Kee can make the food pictured on GWiv's post seem insipid (note he didn't say that it was indeed insipid), it should be worth a try. I'll be at the MCI center for a conference, so that's optimally positioned.

    Thanks
  • Post #6 - June 12th, 2004, 12:55 pm
    Post #6 - June 12th, 2004, 12:55 pm Post #6 - June 12th, 2004, 12:55 pm
    If you want company at Full Kee, send me a note. I am always looking for an excuse to eat there.

    Also for lunch near the White House, Bread Line makes some of the best sandwiches known to man. On Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 17th and 18th Street...expensive and disorganized, but delicious.
  • Post #7 - July 1st, 2004, 8:38 pm
    Post #7 - July 1st, 2004, 8:38 pm Post #7 - July 1st, 2004, 8:38 pm
    Probably the best pizza I have ever had came from a place in Georgetown called Pizza Paradiso. Really fresh ingredients - really nice space...
    Last edited by Snark on July 2nd, 2004, 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - July 1st, 2004, 8:49 pm
    Post #8 - July 1st, 2004, 8:49 pm Post #8 - July 1st, 2004, 8:49 pm
    Snark wrote:Probably the best pizza I have ever had came from a place in Georgetown called Pizza Paradiso. Really fish ingredients - really nice space...


    It's not the best pizza I've ever had, and I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to an out-of-towner. But it is very good pizza, and of a sort that seems to me easy to find elsewhere in the country but almost impossible to chance upon in Chicago. I also really liked their antipasto plate.
  • Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:31 am
    Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:31 am Post #9 - July 2nd, 2004, 9:31 am
    Jeez, Aaron, you're a tough critic. I respectfully disagree on Pizzeria Paradiso, which, to my taste, is head and shoulders better than any pizza i've eaten in Chicago. Great balance in the crust between crisp and chewy, fresh ingredients, straighforward sauce, a delicious pizza. Though not up to the Pepe's standard.
  • Post #10 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am
    Post #10 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am Post #10 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:00 am
    Seth Zurer wrote:Jeez, Aaron, you're a tough critic. I respectfully disagree on Pizzeria Paradiso, which, to my taste, is head and shoulders better than any pizza i've eaten in Chicago. Great balance in the crust between crisp and chewy, fresh ingredients, straighforward sauce, a delicious pizza. Though not up to the Pepe's standard.


    I guess I wasn't clear. I agree that Pizzeria Paradiso is better than any pizza I've eaten in Chicago. I really liked it. If you're looking for pizza in DC, I'd highly recommend it.

    My phrase "easy to find" is probably the source of confusion. I don't mean that pizza of that quality is common. My point is that I don't spend much time in DC. I haven't made almost any effort to find good pizza in DC. When visiting my sister and her husband, they say, well, there are a few places around that are good. We hit one, Pizzeria Paradiso, and with that simple stroke, I've eaten a better pizza than nearly all of the many places I've tried and continue to try here. It's a much better pizza with much less effort. That's what I mean by easy.

    I will say that back when Pizza DOC was good, I thought it compared pretty favorably with Pizzeria Paradiso. I also will continue to proclaim my affection for Bricks, even though it's now been quite some time since I've been there--it's not at all convenient for me--and I worry that its esteem unduly rises with all of the dreck I've eaten in the interim.
  • Post #11 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:11 am
    Post #11 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:11 am Post #11 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:11 am
    Well, all right then. A side question - did the poster ever get to FullKee?
  • Post #12 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:28 am
    Post #12 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:28 am Post #12 - July 2nd, 2004, 10:28 am
    In June, 2003 I was in Washington, DC for a meeting and made the following post on another board. Please note Lebanese Taverna has several locations including Connecticut Ave by the National Zoo:

    Hi!

    Vital Information, on the Chicago board, has been raving about Lebanese Taverna's Grilled Chicken with garlic sauce as something outstanding and not available in the Chicago area. I am always interested in trying something with such credentials and maneuvered a group of friends for a try last weekend.

    We arrived around 7 PM Friday and was promptly seated. What struck us first was the high volume of noise, which was a mixture of people shouting to be heard over the background music. This background music was like a movie soundtrack, it seemed to be on a loop with no discernible beginning or end. Sort of a new age-ish middle eastern-ish music which Yanni would love and a classic folklorist wouln't recognize. Ok initially but annoying after a while.

    For appetizers, we ordered babaganoush and an chopped, cooked eggplant-tomato-onion, both we ate with their freshly made pita. I did return the babaganoush initially because there was only a trace of olive oil on top, I felt we needed more.

    BAsed on my recommendations, several of us had the grilled chicken with (extra) garlic sauce. It was as promised, an outstanding dish of grilled to perfection, moist chicken. Eat this chicken in the pita with the garlic sauce slathered on was a sublime experience. Though almost pure garlic, this sauce wasn't too hot.

    Just before arriving to D.C. I had made a garlic sauce for an Armenian dinner in Chicago. Both Lebanese Taverna's garlic sauce and the sample I had from an Armenian shop in Los Angeles tasted quite similar. Therefore, they are simple sauces of garlic, salt, lemon and oil. Whereas, my garlic sauce had all these ingrediants, beginning with a quart measuring cup of pealed garlic! It was hotter than I liked. Some people were eating directly on their chips. I couldn't but I certainly could with the garlic sauce from Lebanese Taverna.

    Here comes the rub, I am enjoying myself immensely eating the chicken-garlic-pita bread. I'm loving and planning in my mind to come again. However, one of my friends is sitting around with her main course missing in action. We call over the waiter, who takes the orders but doesn't do the serving, to inquire about her food. He runs off and returns with an (unlikely) explanation her food was overcooked the first time and was being prepared again. Though I was enjoying my food, my guests were grumbling over the service. They were especially irked that yes there was an explanation but no apology or offer to comp or free dessert.

    Just to round off my impressions, I ordered a serving of Baklava. It didn't arrive after a rather lengthy pause. I got the waiter's attention again and suggested he simply cancel dessert. Where one friend pipe in, "Can dessert really take THAT long?" At this point the waiter began to realize there was some resentment building at my table. He brought the singular piece of Baklava promising it was on his account. This was a drier version of baklava which was made mostly with pistachios. A similar variant I buy in Chicago uses Walnuts which is much oilier, thus seemingly more moist. I don't like those with honey or sugar syrups. Some tea would have gone well with this Baklava, but my table would have rioted if there were any more delays.

    I really, really liked the food. I hated the needlessly noisy atmosphere. I will check out another location and if it is as noisy, then do take out. Of course, if it is my favorite company of me-myself-and-I, then we'll come to soak up more garlic chicken real soon! Alas my friends already voted to take a pass, that is their loss.

    All the best,
    Cathy2 from the Chicago Board
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - July 6th, 2004, 8:12 am
    Post #13 - July 6th, 2004, 8:12 am Post #13 - July 6th, 2004, 8:12 am
    A newer place that, while rather "hip" right now, is quite good is Zatinya. I may have felt differently about it had I been required to wait an hour before being seated - being 6 mos. pregnant had certain limited advantages. Meditereanean tapas from the people who own Jaleo (also quite good). The menu is almost encyclopedic, but the food is really extremely good.

    I would also highly recommend Florida Avenue Grill for breakfast. Fantastic hot cakes and biscuits and gravy, the best I've had in a while.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #14 - July 6th, 2004, 8:23 am
    Post #14 - July 6th, 2004, 8:23 am Post #14 - July 6th, 2004, 8:23 am
    I would also highly recommend Florida Avenue Grill for breakfast. Fantastic hot cakes and biscuits and gravy, the best I've had in a while.


    We are periodically in Washington, D.C. and Florida Avenue Grill is always on our list of places to visit. I have never been there for breakfast, now I am aware of their biscuits and gravy, well we'll be doing breakfast.

    I have often been to Florida Avenue Grill for mid afternoon lunch. This is southern food, which Ourpalwill would approve of. There are smother chicken fried steaks, fried chicken, ham on the bone plus your choice of side dishes. Or you can simply order a plate of 4 sides with macaroni and cheese and candied sweet potatoes an absolute must.

    Once after I was seated, the 7-year-old daughter of a waitress came to our table. She inquired if we were indeed going to eat there. I cheerfully responded yes. She then offered her experience, "People like you always order take out. You never stay. Nobody like you ever eats here." All the while, her melt-into-the-ground embarassed Mother was trying to disconnect the thought and drag her away.

    Florida Avenue Grill
    1100 Florida Avenue Northwest
    Washington, DC 20009
    202-265-1586
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - July 6th, 2004, 8:34 am
    Post #15 - July 6th, 2004, 8:34 am Post #15 - July 6th, 2004, 8:34 am
    I wasn't sure whether I was going to bring the locale of Florida Avenue Grill to the forefront of the discussion. We took a cab, and when the driver dropped us off, he asked skeptically whether that was really the address. After we left, we walked to the metro stop. The neighborhood is not that bad, but it does require awareness of your circumstances as does walking in many Chicago neighborhoods. There is a parking lot right next door.
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #16 - July 7th, 2004, 9:53 pm
    Post #16 - July 7th, 2004, 9:53 pm Post #16 - July 7th, 2004, 9:53 pm
    Well, we will be back in DC next week and have Pizza Paradiso back on our list. Curious as to see if it was as good as our visit last year. Ill post pics on our return...Maybe this place should have its own thread...
  • Post #17 - July 12th, 2004, 9:15 am
    Post #17 - July 12th, 2004, 9:15 am Post #17 - July 12th, 2004, 9:15 am
    I second the recs for Bread line( not open on weekends though), Lebanese Taverna, Kinkeads (pricey though), Pizza Paradiso. For some of the best kebabs/pita rice combo you must go to Moby Dick's- this was our fave restaurant in DC while living there for 2.5 years. (yeah, I am including Kinkeads. 1789, Citronelle, all the supposedly " best" in this mix). There are several locations of Moby Dick. There are a number of Ethiopian places, but i think they are all mediocre at best- i wouldn't bother with any of them. Jaleo is not bad tapas - a bit overrated IMO. For upscale, pricey stuff, kinkeads is very good as is 1789, but Citronelle is way overrated. Very pricey, over salty, attitude laden.
    Be careful of the unknown threats, while you are there :roll:
    LO
  • Post #18 - July 12th, 2004, 9:49 am
    Post #18 - July 12th, 2004, 9:49 am Post #18 - July 12th, 2004, 9:49 am
    some associates like Tyler Cowen's ethnic guide to eating DC. I have not tried any of the restaurants listed.

    http://www.gmu.edu/jbc/Tyler/ethnic.html
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #19 - July 12th, 2004, 2:27 pm
    Post #19 - July 12th, 2004, 2:27 pm Post #19 - July 12th, 2004, 2:27 pm
    Back in Sept. 02 we made a two-day trip to D.C.; I reported on it on another board ... and would concur with Seth's recommendation on going to Kincaid's.

    --------

    Thanks to many of you, especially Pam, for providing feedback on my dining itinerary for my quick weekend in DC.

    We had a great time in the district, though with the weather was a bit more tolerable than 88 degrees with rediculous humidity.

    Anyway, here's a quick report:

    Saturday

    OLD EBBITT GRILL -- Just what we needed for lunch: a quick, easy, convenient destination for a couple sandwiches. The food wasn't spectacular, but we managed. I had a Reuben that was a bit light on the sauerkraut. My wife seemed to be pleased with her crabcake sandwich; I thought it had too much filler. Good fries and fruit (choice) accompanied the sandwiches. Service was good. One complaint is that the hostess neglected to ask for a smoking preference and I just forgot to ask. It was brought to my attention at the end of the meal when a neighboring diner started puffing smoke in our direction.

    KINKAID's -- Overall, was very pleased with this popular DC seafood restaurant. Waited 5 minutes past our reservation time before being escorted upstairs. There, the hostess brought us to a table -- way in the back in a confined area near the restrooms. No ambience at all, with only two other tables in viwe. Hardly an area where one would want to be trapped for 2 hours. We sat there for 2 minutes before I went up and had the hostess move us to a table right off the food prep area. While it was a little loud (love to hear the chefs bark orders at the food preparers -- "What are you doing? Replate this cod now!"

    Beyond that, they have a wonderful wine selection; the list even provides a scale for how light or full bodied the bottle is. Selected a nice Caymus Conundrum to compliment our entree selections.

    As expected, the food was great, with quality ingredients prepared just right. Opened with a sampler of oyesters that were quite tasty. Wish my wife enjoyed clams as they looked pretty good and popular, too. For the entree, I had the scallops, which were five plump morsels accompanied with steamed spinach and a light white wine sauce with smoked bacon. The bacon was a bit overpowering but an enjoyable dish nonetheless. My wife was pleased with her hallibut, a nice-sized piece accompanied with the ubiquitous spinach. For a starch we shared the mashed potatoes.

    After graciously perusing the dessert menu we decided to go elsewhere. Afterall, as we were only in town for one evening, why not take in another restaurant? (See below.)

    If I have one complaint about Kinkead's it was undoubtedly the service. In a word, our server was indifferent. He didn't show much of a personality nor any interest in our being at the restaurant spending good money. He did two things well: write down our order and continue to fill our wine glasses throughout the evening. I expected more. Heck, maybe we would have had better service if we stayed at the table off the restroom...

    BUTTERFIELD 9 -- After dinner, we wondered in the direction of the White House in seach of dessert. We first went to the Hotel Washington to check out the roof. Unreal. Too many people wearing shorts and fannypacks at 10:45 p.m. From there we went to the Occidental, but decided it wasn't what we wanted. We walked out the back door of the Willard, turned the corner onto 14th St. and entered Butterfield 9. Nice looking restaurant, though it seemed a bit slow for a Saturday. We grabbed seats at the bar and ordered a dessert sampler. As they were out of the Riesling my wife ordered she then asked for a glass of champagne, which was very nice. I settled for coffee. The dessert sampler was perfect: two bongo bongo cream puffs, miniture classic creme brulee, cherried jubilee, blueberry cheesecake, and orange chocolate ice cream in a pastry shell. Each was delightful and filling, too. We walked off our dinner in trekking back to our hotel.

    MARTIN'S -- Thanks to the board, I spent some time last week looking for a brunch in Georgetown. All the time, my wife had a place in mind. We went to Martin's (one block north of M on Wisconsin), where she apparently frequented when she was in DC for school. They give you this giant brunch menu with six or so pages of items (eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, etc.). We ended up with the breakfast sandwich (scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon [instead of sausage] on a croissant) and the corned beef hash. All in all it was pretty good and we'd go back again.

    Thanks to those that provided direction/feedback in advance of our visit. Let me know if I can answer any questions about the above restaurants ... or any in Chicago.
  • Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 1:23 pm
    Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 1:23 pm Post #20 - July 16th, 2004, 1:23 pm
    I visited a friend in DC during her internship 3 years ago, and she treated me to Lauriol Plaza in Dupont Circle. It was a very trendy restaurant at the time, and I have no idea what it's like today. However, I will never forget the most delicious Crab Quesadilla special. The crab meat was fresh and overflowing from the tortillas. Yummy - I miss it, and often wish that I could taste it again.
  • Post #21 - November 5th, 2004, 10:00 pm
    Post #21 - November 5th, 2004, 10:00 pm Post #21 - November 5th, 2004, 10:00 pm
    I galloped down the K concourse at O'Hare at 7 this morning, my suitcase bouncing and flipping over behind me, as they were paging "Washington passenger Ann Fisher, please report to the boarding area" and just made my plane. I got to Reagan, got to the Bar Association building on 15th, dropped my stuff off, and faced the issue of what I was going to do until the meeting began at noon. I had decided on my default choice, the Corcoran gallery, when construction near the White House forced me to cross the street. I had passed the Ebbitt Grill, and was half way down the next block when all my chow alarms started ringing. "Oysters" is what they said. "You didn't have breakfast. They have oysters. Oysters! Oysters! Remember oysters?" I turned around, walked back to the Ebbitt, and told the maitre 'd that I was there for oysters. He put me at a table with the oyster menu and the advice that if I can, I should be sure to come back on a Tuesday or Thursday evening when they're half price. I ordered a dozen. They came. I ate them. It was way more fun than another trip to the Corcoran.

    I love oysters. I even loved their Westminister brand oyster crackers, made in Vermont, though you'd think that a nice restaurant could come up with a better way to serve oyster crackers than in those crinkly little bags.
  • Post #22 - November 5th, 2004, 10:26 pm
    Post #22 - November 5th, 2004, 10:26 pm Post #22 - November 5th, 2004, 10:26 pm
    Hi Ann,

    Sounds like a great breakfast to me. Back in the seventies, when I lived in the Maryland suburbs, I loved going into downtown Baltimore to Lexington market where breakfast at Faidley's stall was raw oysters and clams with hot sauce, saltine crackers, and washed down with ice cold Natty Bo's.

    Shaw's serves a really interesting oyster cracker at their Hubbard St. location. O.T.C. oyster cracker (Old Trenton Company). Really rustic...soft of like hardtack.

    The regulars probably like the fish house feel of tearing the plastic packs open and swilling down cold beers with their oysters.

    Come to think of it, I dont mind it either.

    :twisted:
  • Post #23 - November 6th, 2004, 7:51 am
    Post #23 - November 6th, 2004, 7:51 am Post #23 - November 6th, 2004, 7:51 am
    Evil Ronnie wrote:Shaw's serves a really interesting oyster cracker at their Hubbard St. location. O.T.C. oyster cracker (Old Trenton Company). Really rustic...soft of like hardtack.


    Evil,

    "Rustic" is an interesting way to describe the oyster crackers at Shaw's. I find them almost inedible unless I let them sit in chowdah for a minute or two. They do hold up in soup much better than lighter and less rustic versions.

    Hammond
  • Post #24 - November 6th, 2004, 10:48 am
    Post #24 - November 6th, 2004, 10:48 am Post #24 - November 6th, 2004, 10:48 am
    When I last spent any significant time in DC (2 or 3 years ago) I was fresh off an extended trip to Italy and suffering from major gelato withdrawl.

    At the time (I have no idea if this is still the case) I was surprised to find that the food court (I know, I know) in the National Gallery had an awesome selection of different flavors. Most importantly, though, it all compared favorably with what I had had in Italy -- right consistency, temp, amplitude, etc etc.

    As I said, this might have changed, but if you're in the area, its worth checking out.
  • Post #25 - November 11th, 2004, 10:54 am
    Post #25 - November 11th, 2004, 10:54 am Post #25 - November 11th, 2004, 10:54 am
    Well, I was kind of lurking here in this thread for a while. I've been traveling to and from Reagan Nat'l. Airport the past 4 or 5 weeks and the chow options in Crystal City, VA are pretty limited. I had been hoping for a chance to get into the district, and Tuesday that chance finally arose.
    I checked into my hotel and fired up the laptop. I looked for a few addresses for places mentioned here and ran the mapquest to determine proximity to my lodgings (near Metro Center). I was pleased to find I was mere blocks from Chinatown. I put on my coat and headed out.
    After a quick walk around the block to get my bearings, I headed east (I think?) on H street. A few minutes later, I was standing in front of the lauded Full Kee. It did not disappoint.
    Most of the time when out of town, I love the chance to dine solo. The waitstaff generally dotes and the table is usually close to the kitchen. This time was no exception.
    I spotted the clams in black bean sauce immediately and made my decision. Besides the accolades the dish has received here, a quick web search earlier brought up a local food writer's similar praises. After sitting for a few more minutes scanning over the menu (more extensive than I anticipated, really. Lots of interesting dishes here - cold and hot beef tripe, copious use of jellyfish, pork skins, etc.), I made my order. Wonton soup - yes, Hong Kong style please - and the baby clams.
    Wow, the soup portion was huge, with at least 8 or 9 wontons. And it was so hot that the lining of my mouth is still a bit raw. But I ignored the scalding and the taste was so simple and delicious and the texture just the perfect blend of give and snap that I couldn't stop myself from the next bite. I developed a routine of isolating a wonton on the spoon and biting off the top to release some steam. Then I would try to pop the remainder in my mouth and devour it all.
    Before the clams came out, I was wondering if I could eat an entire entree. Those doubts were assuaged after a single mollusk. The clams were great, but the combination of that sauce (what is that sharpness hiding in there, some sort of horseradish?) and the sticky white rice is a taste I crave again.
    Total with tax and a generous tip was a reasonable $21 (cash only). I
  • Post #26 - November 11th, 2004, 12:31 pm
    Post #26 - November 11th, 2004, 12:31 pm Post #26 - November 11th, 2004, 12:31 pm
    Thanks for reporting back! I'm tickled that you went to full kee and glad you liked it. Next time you're there in season, be sure to get the fried softshell crabs - they're unbelievably good!

    seth
  • Post #27 - March 19th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Post #27 - March 19th, 2005, 2:56 pm Post #27 - March 19th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    I just returned from three days in DC, and appreciate the good advice on this thread. During my days in Washington, I ate at Full Kee, Ben's Chili Bowl, Restaurant Nora, Paradiso Pizzeria, and discovered a wonderful African-American bakery Cakelove (across the street from their Lovecafe).

    Restaurant Nora is an upscale restaurant near Dupont Circle. It specialized in "organic" food (the menu is filled with footnotes as to what this contested concept means for them). This does not mean vegetarian food, by any means. While I enjoyed my Cannoli with Pineapple Mascarpone with Blood Orange Compote - the mix of the tang of fruit matched the richness of the mascarpone - in general I found Restaurant Nora to be one of those restaurants that equated the number of ingredients with the quality of the dishes. The Peekytoe Crab Tart with Lemon Crust, Spring Pea Radish Salad, Saffron Dill Emulsion, and Crisp Shallots suffered from this (as well as from somewhat dry crumbs on the top of the tart. My main course of Coriander Crusted Leg of Lamb with Dill Gnocchi Cake, Pearl Onions, Caramelized Cauliflower, Black Currants, Sugar Snaps, Pomegranate Jus would have worked much better with the perfectly cooked and seasoned Leg of Lamb standing alone. Chefs should require a license to include more than ten ingredients per dish!

    I look forward to revisiting Full Kee with a larger party (I ate there alone). Full Kee is a Hong Kong style restaurant in Washington's small Chinatown. The roast duck was perfectly prepared, moist and flavorful. The Beef Brisket with Turnips (I am partial to root vegetables) was really delightful, larded with chucks of brisket fat creating a sinfully rich casserole. Next time I visit DC, I will gather a group to order the dozen dishes that make for Chinese food heaven, but at this point I tentatively would place Full Kee in the class of the best Chicago restaurants (and it being a "dive" adds to its authenticity and low prices). It also has a rather extensive range of organ meats (Marinated Pig's Intestines, Beef Tripe, Pig's Skin & Duck Blood), as well as Jellyfish.

    I was disappointed in Pizzeria Paradiso. The topping of my Pizza Margherita was rich with basil and cheese, but the crust (somewhat dry to my taste) dominated the pizza. However, as I ordered the pizza as a take-out it might have suffered from the delay.

    In contrast Ben's Chili Bowl was a delight. I ordered a Chili Half-Smoke and Milk Shake. The half-smoke is a hot-peppered hot dog (perhaps a sausage - an expert in encased meats can clear it up). Sometimes when I order a half-smoke in DC I find the chili pepper over-powering, but not at Ben's. The chili is of the meat and beans sort (not a chili one would wish to eat by itself), but combined with the half-smoke and mustard, it was a dog that matched the better Chicago dogs. I look forward to return for their scrapple and eggs. The milk shake was properly smooth and thick, but might have used more flavor.

    On my way to Ben's I walked by Cakelove and, as I had not reached Ben's, I was a bit hungry. The chocolate cupcake was rich, but the buttercream orange frosting was heart-stoppingly remarkable. So was the lemon rolled cake with hazelnut filling. Cakelove is African-American owned, and there are some African-American elements, but to say that Cakelove is an African-American bakery is like saying that Bonbom is a Mexican-American bakery, both true and false. It is not to be missed. Their product list proclaims "Nothing is fat free" - and no truer words were ever spoken.

    Ben's Chili Bowl
    1213 U Street, NW
    Washington, DC
    202-667-0909
    www.benschilibowl.com

    Cakelove
    1506 U Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    202-588-7100
    www.cakelove.com

    Full Kee Restaurant
    509 H Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    202-371-2233

    Pizzeria Paradiso
    2029 P St., NW
    Washington, DC
    202-223-1245

    Restaurant Nora
    2132 Florida Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20008
    202-462-5143
    www.noras.com
  • Post #28 - March 21st, 2005, 8:54 am
    Post #28 - March 21st, 2005, 8:54 am Post #28 - March 21st, 2005, 8:54 am
    GAF wrote:In contrast Ben's Chili Bowl was a delight. I ordered a Chili Half-Smoke and Milk Shake. The half-smoke is a hot-peppered hot dog (perhaps a sausage - an expert in encased meats can clear it up). Sometimes when I order a half-smoke in DC I find the chili pepper over-powering, but not at Ben's. The chili is of the meat and beans sort (not a chili one would wish to eat by itself), but combined with the half-smoke and mustard, it was a dog that matched the better Chicago dogs. I look forward to return for their scrapple and eggs. The milk shake was properly smooth and thick, but might have used more flavor.


    GAF,

    Looks like you spent a lot of time in my old neighborhood. Your post brings back a lot of memories. For about a year and a half, I lived in the house directly behind the U Street Metro Station. Ben's was visible from my window, and during those days, there were few other late-night food options.

    I never grew much of a taste for DC's cheapo skinless hotdogs but the half smokes are not bad. If my information is correct, I believe that a half smoke is half-beef, half-pork, spiced and smoked. Kindof a breakfast sausage flavor.

    Ben's has the amazing ability to use cheap, canned ingredients and turn them into something delightful. The hot dogs and mustard are Sysco quality, the buns often fell apart, and the famous chili sauce is canned. You're right, you wouldn't want to eat this chili on it's own--it's really just a thin chili-flavored meat sauce. In spite of all those criticisms, there's something unique about a Ben's chili dog. The whole is far greater than the sum of it's parts.

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #29 - March 21st, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Post #29 - March 21st, 2005, 1:06 pm Post #29 - March 21st, 2005, 1:06 pm
    GAF wrote:Restaurant Nora is an upscale restaurant near Dupont Circle. ...


    I appreciated your report on Restaurant Nora. When I lived in DC in 1986, Nora was my favorite upscale restaurant in town: low-key but producing delicious food with great care for the ingredients, in the style of Chez Panisse. But the last time I went there (more than 10 years ago) I thought the place had really gone downhill. I can't remember the details of the meal now: the appetizer was great but the entree was shockingly bad. I was so disappointed. Now, judging from your report, they've improved a little to merely confused. :)

    Thanks for the details on all the places you went.

    Amata
  • Post #30 - March 26th, 2005, 6:44 pm
    Post #30 - March 26th, 2005, 6:44 pm Post #30 - March 26th, 2005, 6:44 pm
    Man, you guys are good. Off to DC in the morning for 5 days with the Bride and son (with whom I will spend some number of days visiting colleges), but the evenings will be for fun.

    Will report back.

    Any suggestions for one quite fancy meal? Seems like Kincaid's is the one possibility, but I have to believe there are some more creative spots.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy

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