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Dulles Corridor Restaurants


doctoro
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Just a quick quip, I would like to know someones favorite places in Reston or surroundings for great dining experiences or not so great. Formal or informal

Pizza or steak, Chinese or Sushi, Ethnic or American.

Get the picture...

Some of my picks are,

Peppers BBq,

Jasmine Cafe,

El Cigno,

El Mannetial*

Metropolis ( not a big buffet fan but they do a nice one with the fresh sushi.)

Primo Italiano for sandwiches,soup and Pizza

Whole Foods for salads

Fast bites...Chipolte*

Town Center dining all around experience McCormick Schmicks,Clydes.

Herndon offers, Euro Bistro

Best Breakfast: Virginia Kitchen

Pub Food: Jimmy's Tavern

Ethnic, Russia House, Zefferellis

Disappointments: Morton's, Paolo's,

*Some spellings may be wrong.

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One of the things I was happiest about when I left my job in Reston was ... leaving Reston. Unfortunately, the move was to Ashburn!

Granted it was a couple of years ago, but I found Reston to be a culinary wasteland. The only somewhat interesting restaurant to me in town center was the Big Bowl.

The other shining exception was Philly Mike's for Cheesesteaks.

Hopefully, things are getting better out there, but at the time it was a very depressing foodscape.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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There are a few that I would add.

SBC Cafe. I've had a number of good lunches there. Good Cuban Sandwich and their soups are very good.

Reston Kabob. Certainly nothing fancy, but well prepared kababs. It's in the International Center across from the public Golf Course.

Market Street Grill in the Hyatt at the town center. I've ony had one fairly uninspired lunch there, but they have a very nice Sunday Brunch.

My other perennial reccomendation, Chinatown in the Town Center closed sometime in the last two weeks with no notice of reopening anywhere else. This is sad for me, since this was probably my favortie place to get good, Americanized Chinese and they treated my wife and I very well (always greeted us by name and brought us a scoop of Ice cream for dessert on the house, sometimes despite our protestations).

I also find myself at Champps at least once a week for one of their big salads (and I do mean BIG salads).

Bill Russell

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One of the things I was happiest about when I left my job in Reston was ... leaving Reston. Unfortunately, the move was to Ashburn!

I live there too and Ashburn is a complete void when it comes to food. One note of encouragement is that there is a new pizza place opening up in the shopping center with the new Safeway.

The good news is that it claims to have wood-fired pizzas. The bad news is that it is called something like Italian Ristorante. This leads me to believe it will end up being like any of the other half-dozen bad pizza/pasta places in the area.

One halfway bright note out here is Banjara, which I think is at least serviceable Indian food.

Bill Russell

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Ugg, being an Oak Hill (fancy name for Herndon) resident, not much great food out that way. Some of the best mentions above give me the chills (not that they're bad, but just very average).

Ok: one of the absolute best indian restaurants in the DC area is Minerva in Herndon. SBC Cafe is ok for dinner, not expensive. Pho 99 has cheap Pho and grilled lemongrass chicken w/ rice (and it appears that the Vietnames eat there often so it mush be authentic). There are no less than 3 thai restaruants in Herndon, but they rate good, at best. The Sorrento Grill is a persian kabob place with a southwestern US sounding name, but they're as good as Moby Dicks. Zefrelli has the best veal chop and couple of other good italian dishes (but I hate their wine list), although everyone goes there so you can't get a walk in table on Friday or sat. We have a Hard Times in Herndon (don't we?).

A new central american spit roasted chicken place opened by Bestway and it's ok (but not if your a fan of Crisp n Juicy's peruvian or Carribean Grill's cuban spit roasted chicken). Never did care for Tortilla Factory (mexican) although its generally good (I grew up in So. Cal. so so-called "mex" food doesn't generally impress me).

A couple of ok restaurants on Lake Anne, but I already forgot their names.

Town Center is busy and the restaurants mostly ok. Angelo & Maxi's does a good steak. But this going downhill....

Actually my favorite local joint for food not otherwise avalible elsewhere is a "mexican" place is Teocalli Tamale on Elden Street. I get a free burrito for every 7 I buy. But shhh, keep it a secret :cool:

edited for my typos

Edited by bbq4meanytime (log)
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Thanks for some of the feedback, I agree that the Reston area is kind of void of any real standout restaurants, I wouldn't say they are all bad just nothing to go out of the way for. BTW, The veal chop mentioned earlier was a recipe the owner stole from Da Domenico's in Tyson's Corner, a family owned Italian restaurant with almost an identical menu to Zefferelis in Herndon.

I think Euro Bistro is a nice little place in Herndon the chef is Austrian and prepares nice german and french fare for those who don't want to drive to the traffic laden beltway areas for good European fare. Once you get to Ashburn you should just cook at home! I have found a very good wood burning pizza place on rt.28 next to the Golds Gym and a rug and flooring store, called Emilios's they have been open for quite sometime and I love the way they prepare their wood burning pizzas. The owner is Iranian but lived in New York and has brought that knowledge to Virginia. Ironically they have been making wood burning pizzas long before Matchbox and some of the other trendy places in the Metro area opened.

Believe it or not Jimmy's Tavern does a nice plate of buffalo wings and has decent

stick to your ribs type of food.

But I need something to jump out and say, Come Here Again!!!

I haven't really found it.

The Doctor Is Out.

Edited by doctoro (log)
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Absolutely remarkable that not a single person who lives out here has mentioned Sylvano's in Herndon which has pizza 90% as good as the average New York pie and is the closest that anyone is going to come in the entire D. C. metro area for NY pizza. It's not Grimaldi's nor Totonno's nor Patsy's but, for D. C. it's as close as you're going to come. Maybe 95% as good as the "average" NY pie.

There's also a Five Guys in Fox Run as well as Burgerland in McNair Farms. Kobe Grill is a very good Chinese fast food (much better than China Star). And a sushi place two miles down the road towards Chantilly that Sietsema raved about.

And, Rio Grande in Towne Center which in Dallas is known as Uncle Julio's and is given 3 1/2 stars by the Dallas Morning News. They're the same.

Still, Sylvano's.

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I've eaten at the Rio Grande in Gaithersburg and I can't say that I was terribly impressed. Not bad, just nothing that really made me overly ecstatic that I had chosen to eat there. I think it may be one of those cases where the franchises pale considerably when compared to the original.

My main complaint about Tex-Mex when you're in neither Tex nor Mex, held true there -- absolutely drowning everything in sauce that is way too sweet.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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As far as places that haven't been mentioned, Buffalo Wing Factory in Sterling and Ashburn has good wings, burgers and pizza, and a stellar beer list.

Hama Sushi and Mikaku in Herndon are both excellent for sushi -- Hama's more of a mom-and-pop type place, Mikaku's a little ritzier (it's the one Sietsema reviewed). Hama has nicer soups and tempura; Mikaku has better toro.

For Indian, Supper Club of India in Worldgate has a solid menu and excellent service - the manager there used to run Harvest of India over by K-Mart in Herndon. I think he may have taken the chef with him to Supper Club -- since it opened Harvest has gone downhill a bit. Banjara in Ashburn is good as well -- their menu is more South Indian, and their masala dosa is comfort food at its finest.

Finally, for that just-gotta-have-cheesecake-at-3am craving, there's Amphora. The food quality's all over the place depending on when you go and what you order, but their bakery quality has always been stellar. Between the various cheesecakes and the carrot cake, it's hard to go wrong.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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I used to live in Herndon and was never too impressed with the nearby restaurants. I enjoyed Euro Bistro, however, I have not been there since they expanded. I’ve had more luck with Japanese food in that area. Matsutake has a good lunchtime sushi buffet as well as decent hibachi, and I have always had good sushi at Mikaku. I had one of the worst meals of my life at Angelo & Maxie’s in Reston Town Center. My wife and I ordered the Porterhouse for 2, which arrived cut up in chunks (as opposed to sliced up as I have had in most every other steak house). It was cooked to medium rare, which we ordered, yet somehow was completely dried out. Sweetwater Tavern in Dulles is a reliable place for good food and good beer.

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Joe, never heard of Sylvanos, I'll have to try to find it. I love Kobe Grill, buts its not chinese, its a variation of japanese. Their "sake chicken" is some of the best hawaiian style teriyaki I've ever had.

I agree w/ Hannah on both Hama and Mikaku. We like them both and tend to rotate between the two. Burgarland 22 s now "wing n thing" or something like that and I want to try 5 Guys to see waht all the hype is about.

While we're at it, I like Baja Fresh but I'm a little burnt out on it. When it opened in Califormia around the mid-90s, all of my friends and family thought is was great, despite having plenty of calif-style mex.

Rio grande is ok, but nothing really great (nor is On the Border).

What we need is a In-N-Out Burger, that would make Herndon/reston a destination stop. :wink:

Anyone try Pollo Campero (sp?) in Herndon (also in Falls Church). The line is way too long for me to wait for fried chicken. Give me some popeye's.

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I like Chao Phra Ya (I believe that's correct) in the Clocktower -- over by Minerva -- for Thai. I'd actually argue that it's one of the best Thai restaurants in the area. Sweet Basil in Reston was very nice; I don't remember if it's closed or changed hands, but it's definitely not the same, in any case.

Edited by MichelleW (log)
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I like Chao Phra Ya (I believe that's correct) in the Clocktower -- over by Minerva -- for Thai. I'd actually argue that it's one of the best Thai restaurants in the area. Sweet Basil in Reston was very nice; I don't remember if it's closed or changed hands, but it's definitely not the same, in any case.

Michelle good call on that one, I just didn't remember its name. It took me while to adjust to their style of food, I mean the thai staples such as chicken penang or green curry are just average to me.

But they have some dishes like cripsy duck and basil and some others (including a couple of other duck dishes) that you rarely see on thai menus that are fantastic.

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I'd suggest adding Thai Luong (Elden Street, just West of Fairfax County Parkway) and Yoko (Elden Street, two doors down from the excellent Teocalli Tamale) to your list of places to try.

Thai Luong is a bit on the expensive side for Thai, but we have never had a bad dish there. They do a crispy duck which is exceptional. The interior is decorated pretty extensively with elephants.

Yoko is a Japanese place with a modern looking interior and lively jazz playing. They do an equally good job with cooked and raw dishes, although the teriyaki is a bit gloppy for my taste. The broiled yellowtail jaw is excellent. When they are in season, their softshell appetizer may be my favorite preparation anywhere. They are very lightly breaded and fried and served with a citrus-soy sauce (ponzu?) that is a perfect compliment.

Should you have a small child (or be unhappy dining in places with small children), be aware that the early dining hours in the evening generally include several families with kids. For whatever reason, we've yet to encounter an ill-behaved child at Yoko.

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I love Thai Luang's food, but we stopped going there after they got one too many writeups from the Fairfax County health inspector for thawing poultry overnight in the sink. :blink:

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Wow!

I live in this area, and I can't believe all of the names of places I have never

been to. I have been to Sylvanas, it is in old town Herndon, and I like their

pizzas and Gyro platters, also a nice salad bar with a pizza is a good lunch or a quick dinner.

In the Dulles area I like Pacific and Chengs over in Countryside.

Sweetwater always does good by me.

But I think Wegman's is opening up Feb. 29, and that actually might be your best

dining experience if you happen to live in Ashburn. They have an upstairs dining area that looks promising.

Emilios is my pizza stop

For wings I think Clydes has the best, even better than the buffalo wing factory.

Exactly where is SBC Cafe?

I have heard good things about the place. What a name for the restaurant!?

Hopefully some restaurants will open up in this area with the

diner's needs and wants in mind, this is a rare trait in the suburban areas of

Northern Va. in the Dulles corridor.

The Doctor Is Out.

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Just remembered one other place from my time working in Reston.

Anybody recall the name of the Tex-Mex (actually IIRC it was labeled as New Mexico cuisine)place in Herndon?

I can see it perfectly, except for the name. Aunt something?

Of course, I'll recall it exactly once someone points out the name to me. Hate when that happens. :angry:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Exactly where is SBC Cafe?

I have heard good things about the place. What a name for the restaurant!?

Its about two shopping centers south of the Toll Road on Centerville Rd. / Elden St. A few doors down from a 7-11.

The name is SBC becaus ethe people who own it also run a company called Sweet Basil Catering.

Bill Russell

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A problem here--which we've discussed in various forms on other threads--is that the burbs haven't demonstrated they can support "interesting" or "creative" restaurants much outside the ethnic/cheap/chain/power categories. It doesn't matter that there's affluence, interest and foodie knowledge residing in the burbs--there is--there isn't enough of it to have reached critical mass willing to reward the few restaurants willing to try to do something special let alone support more! A special pizza joint here, a special Thai place there--usually special for a while and then usually dumbed-down to meet the low expectations of the surrounding area. I'm happy to read about some exceptions on this thread. But the question always has to be asked: are those who reside there too tolerant of the mediocrity, too accepting of the lowest common denominator cuisine of their areas? I don't know for sure, but the evidence accumulated over time seems to indicate yes.

But SBC is a good case in point--I love SBC--and yes, it is still under the Clocktower, still looks like a strip mall storefront (because it is a strip mall storefront) and still run by the same nice husband and wife team. It got a very positive, very accurate review by Sietsema--misunderstood at the time by some--it still offers interesting food and affordable wines and it is still in business. I live in Courthouse, could get into the city in 5 minutes anytime I want, and yet have driven out to this place maybe 7 times to eat since our first thread about them on eGullet. Pick any adjective you want--nice, sincere, humble, chef-driven, affordable, interesting--it still applies. It's the kind of restaurant--chef in the kitchen, minimal help--that any community, any burb, would be lucky to have--in theory.

Unfortunately restaurants are businesses, real not theoretical.

It seems most of their regulars, most of the "appreciation" they've been able to cultivate, comes from people like me willing to make the drive out to them rather than from locals who live nearby. Their neighborhood support, in other words, isn't as strong as it should be given its price point, given what is on the plate and given its competition. As a result the chef is pushing his investors to move his cafe closer in--say to Clarendon--where he might be more successful. I wish him well whatever he and his investors decide but I believe his story demonstrates what you're all up against out in the burbs. And what chefs and investors are up against when they consider opening out in the burbs.

The sad thing is--there ARE plenty of restaurants in Reston/Dulles that open with diners wants and needs in mind doctoro--they're just not the wants and needs of the small percentage of eGulleteers who are capable of appreciating chefs and restaurants on a more-broadly-drawn scale.

The majority of diners out your way have spoken--their wants and needs are some combination of: cheap, consistent, kid-friendly, quick, conservative, safe, predictable, mediocre and/or sanitized. And their needs are being met.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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A problem here--which we've discussed in various forms on other threads--is that the burbs haven't demonstrated they can support "interesting" or "creative" restaurants much outside the ethnic/cheap/chain/power categories. 

Steve,

I'm not sure that's true, because when I tick through the list of Virginia restaurants in the genre you describe, one thing comes to mind: they're all still open and thriving, with the notable exception of Le Relais. Colvin Run Tavern, 2941, Inn at Little Washington, L'Auberge Provençal, Ray's The Steaks, Harry's Tap Room, Bombay Bistro, even L'Auberge Chez François was considered creative in its day. Todd Gray is opening a new place out in Middleburg which will undoubtedly be popular, at least at first. Granted, most of these are newish, but they're all packed with customers.

A few days ago, I had lunch at Caravan Grill which is next door to Lauriol Plaza. There were three people in the restaurant, yet Lauriol Plaza seemed bustling when I walked by. Witness also that Wazuri (across the street) went out of business a month ago, and that 88 seems to be struggling a bit although there's a lot of construction going on there. There seems to be a pretty high level of doltitude within the city limits as well, but my main point is that there may indeed be a longing out in the Virginia burbs for something other than Fuddruckers. It may take some time for the masses to get up to speed - if you had shown Louis XIV a light bulb, he would have had no idea what to do with it.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Edited by DonRocks (log)
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Don, most of the places that you list are a little higher on the scale than the everyday places that would make a difference. The type of place that aren't for special occasions, but for a normal Thrusday or Friday night. I'd love to see a Firefly or a Jaleo or an Indique or a Majectic Cafe in this part of town. They types of places I currently have to drive 45 minutes or an hour to get to on a weekend.

Steve, hearing what you said about SBC looking into moving has motivated me to go there for lunch today.

Bill Russell

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Just remembered one other place from my time working in Reston.

Anybody recall the name of the Tex-Mex (actually IIRC it was labeled as New Mexico cuisine)place in Herndon?

I can see it perfectly, except for the name. Aunt something?

Of course, I'll recall it exactly once someone points out the name to me. Hate when that happens. :angry:

Anita's? :blink:

I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.

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