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February 2004

Red, White, Blue and You

Completely revemped the look of DCFoodies today. Hope you like the new look. Opinions? That is what the comments section is for. :) Oh, and if I insulted anyone with the first banner I posted...Sorry.

Neisha Thai - First Impressions

The first question I have that really has nothing to do with this review is this...Why do Thai restaurants feel that they have to put the word "Thai" in their names for people to know they are a Thai restaurant. Anyway...just a pet peeve I think.

Neisha Thai just moved in last month up the street from us on Wisconsin Ave by the new Best Buy. To be honest, when we first saw that a Thai place was moving in, we were disappointed. The last thing this area needed was another Thai place. But at least another mattress store didn't move in. Jandara is right down the street and I know that eventually Jandara will shut down because Neisha will steal all of their business. Then we'll have another empty building in the neighborhood that the asinine neighborhood associations won't allow to be filled (see this article). Seriously, don't people have anything better to do with their time? Rant over, back to the review.

So Amy and I walked up to Neisha last Sunday to try it. We were dressed pretty casual and so was everyone else. Looking around I saw a lot of AU students and other people from the area. The restaurant is designed well with two levels, so there is plenty of seating. We sat at the small bar while we waited and ordered a couple beers until the hostess took us downstairs when the table was ready. It was prime dinner hours and there was only a 10 minute wait.

Looking at the menu, Amy's first thought was, "Looks like another Tara Thai clone." I was thinking the same thing. The menu had all the standard Thai dishes that every other Thai restaurant has in the area - they might be named slightly different, but they are the same.

Continue reading "Neisha Thai - First Impressions" »


Amy and I have been going to Spices, located across from the Uptown Theater on Connecticut Ave, for a while. Because it serves all types of Asian food, Spices is the perfect place to go if you are with friends that aren't sushi fans. You can get all the sushi you want, and they can choose from other Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes.

First I just want to say that the Sushi isn't out of this world. I actually think that the sushi at Sushi Sushi is better as far as freshness and quality of fish is concerned. Spices doesn't get too exotic on you. But, if you are familiar with our taste in sushi, you won't be surprised why we still like Spices. Our favorites at Spices are the Spicy Crunchy Tuna Roll, Kimchi Tuna Toll, Dragon Roll, and Yellowtail Roll. As you can tell from this list, we are not the most adventuresome people when it comes to sushi. We've tried the exotic stuff: Octopus, Barbeque Eel, and we're just not crazy about it. Maybe we are squeemish, or just unadventuresome when it comes to raw fish.

As far as non-sushi dishes, there's one dish there that Amy and I crave on a regular basis - Crispy Tangerine Peel Beef. I swear they put drugs in it to make it addictive. In fact, just writing about it is making me want to go there tonight. Also I particularly like the Mee Goreng. It is a combination of Lo Mein and Pad Thai with Indian spices, tofu and your choice of chicken, shrimp, or beef. One thing to keep in mind...When they say on the menu that a dish is spicy...THEY MEAN IT. Last time, I ordered the Ginger Chicken and I could barely finish it. If you order it, be prepared to have your water glass refilled a lot.

The wine list is average, but inexpensive. Oh, and save room for desert. They serve a flaming ice cream, which consists of vanilla ice cream dipped in tempura batter and then fried quickly. They then dump it in Rum and light it on fire. When they bring it out, everyone's head turns to see and you just know they are saying, "Ooooh, we have to order that!"

Spices is as casual a restaurant as they come. We usually go in jeans. We try to arrive early or later in the evening, since the service tends to falter when the place is really crowded. Prices are extremely reasonable. The average bill tends to be around $70 with a bottle of wine.

3333-A Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 686-3833

M-F 11:30AM-3PM, 5PM-11PM
Sa: 12PM-11PM
Su: 5PM-10:30PM

Delivery available - minimum $15 order - $1 delivery charge

Chipotle Disappointment

After going to the gym last night, I stopped by Chipotle in Tenleytown for dinner - you know, to take in double the calories I had just worked off. I ordered the Carnitas bowl with black beans, cheese, guacamole, and corn and green tomatillo salsas. The pork was really fatty, much to my disappointment. This is the second time this has happened. For some reason, Chipotle has changed the way they make the carnitas. I think I will be ordering the chicken from now on.

Dupont Grille - Overwhelmed and Underwhelming

Maybe I am asking too much, but all I want is to find a place that can make good breakfast food in a semi-consistent manner. I don't know of a single place to get a good omelet. Amy and I tried today with no success. If anyone knows a good place, please leave a comment and I will try it.

Last night, we were a pretty extravagant compared to previous Valentines Days. We ate at the Melting Pot (review to come) and spent the night at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Ave. After the long night, I was feeling a bit hung over and had a huge headache (I don't know what it is about breakfast food, but is the best hangover killer). When we left the hotel, we started walking down Connecticut Ave. I was just looking for a place to get a decent breakfast. We came across one diner that looked pretty promising, but the wait was at least 30 minutes, so we kept walking. By the time we gave up looking, we were all the way up by Kramer Books.

Amy then noticed the Dupont Grille. It looked like a diner and people were eating breakfast food so we went in. There were menus out front and prices seemed reasonable but there was no hostess to be found. After about 5 minutes of walking around trying to find a hostess or the main entrance to the restaurant, we just walked into the dining room. Someone who seemed like the manager stopped us and seated us at a table. Actually I would not call this person a manager. She was young enough that she was probably only a sophomore in college. Probably, a Hotel-Restaurant Management major that had never previously worked in a restaurant, but thinks that since she took that cooking class in junior high, it makes her qualified to run a restaurant (Can you tell I am bitter).  I thought about leaving and going across the street to Kramer Books.

I knew there was going to be trouble as soon as we sat down. The menus the manager handed us we not the same as the menus that were out front. Instead, they were for the Sunday Brunch. The price was $19.99. This was the first time I thought about leaving and walking across the street to Kramer Books. However, we were sitting down and my hang-over was quickly turning into a migraine. Coffeeeeeeeee pleeeeaaassse.

After a little time passed and no one came to get us coffee we started looking around. We noticed everyone else was as well. 10 minutes later, 10 evil stares at passing by wait-staff and 10 more thoughts of leaving to go to Kramer Books, someone finally came over to take our order. It was the same manager that sat us - Interesting. "Can I get you come coffee or something else to drink?" YES! We both ordered a Bloody Marys and coffee. We were ready to order our main dishes but the manager left before either of us could spit it out.

About 10 seconds later a woman, who seemed to be our waitress, stopped by. "Hello, can I get you some coffee or something to drink?" she said. We quickly stated that someone had already taken our drink order. "Oh ok, thanks," and she was off before I could say, "but we are ready to order." The manager quickly returned with the coffee and some water. She was soon followed by our waitress again. The waitress seemed to be a bit irritated with the manager and practically ripped the coffee out of her hands scolding, "I can handle this." The waitress noticed that there was no cream on the table and quickly ran off to get some cream without asking if we even wanted any. Ugh, are we ever going to get our orders in? 5 minutes later after tracking down some cream, she took our order. "God the food had better be freekin amazing after all this", I said to Amy.

I would have to say the one saving grace of Dupont Grille was the Bloody Marys. They were probably the spiciest I have ever had. That is about all that was good though. Some fruit was brought out for each of us. We were famished, so we quickly ate it. Soon after that our food came out. "That was quick", Amy said. We quickly found out why it was so quick. My omelet was undercooked. Amy's eggs were the same, but luckily she likes them that way. Risking salmanella, I just ate the omelet anyway - I was so ready to get out of there.

I wish we had not been cheap-skates and stayed at the hotel to eat their brunch. It was $24 each, but looking back on the experience at Dupont Grille, it would have been a bargain.

I want to appeal to all the restaurant owners that might be reading this. Someone please open a breakfast place in the District. There are not nearly enough of them. Any place that serves breakfast and is halfway decent is incredibly crowded, which makes us have to try places like Dupont Grille.


Before reading this post, please read my more recent entries about Komi. This post is seriously out of date. Komi is now my #1 restaurant to eat at. If you read my more recent posts, you'll understand why.

After reading the Post's review of Komi, Amy was so intrigued that we called that same weekend to make a reservation. "No available reservations."  Gee, what a surprise -- the Post's featured restaurant was booked all weekend.

The next weekend, we decided to try again with my friend from work, Mike and his girlfriend Jen. This time, however, Amy called on Wedneday and made a reservation for not the coming weekend, but the following Saturday.

We shared a cab over to the restaurant on 17th St. NW. The cabby tried to rip us off with the fare -- typical. When will DC to go a damn meter system? Anyway. That's something for a whole other blog.

When we walked in, there was not much of an entry. We were 20 minutes early, but luckily the table was ready. The restaurant had a modern, sleek look. Long and narrow, with nothing on the walls, and a big stone oven in the rear. We all swore we were in some swanky Manhattan bistro. We were all dressed to go barhopping later and we fit right in.

Once we sat down, the server quickly introduced herself and gave us menus. Throughout the night there were three different servers that gave us food and drinks. The only bad thing about the service that I noticed was the waitstaff had a tendency to let our drinks get empty and stay that way -- much to our sober annoyance. We had heard that the wine list was one of the better in the city, but we opted for the mojitos. Not too uncommon, but worth noting, is the fact that Komi does not have a full bar. Mike ordered a Manhatten and they could not make it.

There were many different choices on the menu that interested us -- Veal, Quail, Lamb, Rabbit...Wood-Fired Pizza? The appetizers were interesting, but fairly typical for this type of trendy restaurant. We started with the roasted pear, walnut and gorgonzola salad and a very interesting beet salad. I ordered the veal and Amy ordered the Buffalo strip steak.

Once you order, another waitperson comes over with fresh homemade bread (foccacia and sourdough), and then another comes by with a little teacup filled with something green. "Roasted cauliflower and apple is our soup today," said the waitress. We all tasted a little bit of curry as well. Yum. All over the restaurant you saw diners tipping their heads waaaaay back to get every drop of soup from the cup.

When the servers brought the salads, they looked very "pretty." The food looked as if an artist had put every leaf of lettuce on the plate. It was good, but it left me wishing I was having the Little Fountain Café's version of this salad.

Mike's first comment about the quail he ordered was, "That's a tiny little bird, isn't it?" Don't get me wrong, the food tasted excellent, but there was not much of it. My veal was he most tender cut of meat I have probably ever had, but there were only three tiny pieces of meat on my plate. The helpings were the perfect size for my better half, who actually cleared her plate. Amazing!

The small servings meant...ta-da! We all had plenty of room for dessert.  We all ordered the homemade cinnamon donuts and Mexican hot chocolate. In retrospect, we probably didn't need to all have our own order, but given the size of the entrees, I expected to see another very small serving. None of us were going to risk leaving this place still hungry. As it turned out, however, each serving had two donuts and their holes. Heads turned to stare at our table: Wow. Pigs. But who cares? The donuts were fantastic.

The hot chocolate was more for dipping than drinking. It was as thick as the soup they had brought out earlier. As the servers brought out our donuts, one waitress commented, "We mix in a little corn starch to thicken it, so feel free to eat it with a spoon." Amy was feeling a bit sleepy from all the food and ordered coffee...which, as a nice touch, comes in a French press that they leave at your table. After a pot of that, she was bouncing off the walls. Caffeeeeinnnneee!

Overall, I was pretty happy with our trip to Komi. The only thing I would have changed was the serving size and the amount of alcohol I consumed. But quite honestly, I probably don't need either, so it was for the best.

Out total bill for the four of use came to a little over $200 before tip with an average of one and a half drinks each, four salads, four entrees, four desserts and a coffee.

1509 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 332-9200