Let’s Start With Food (12 cents)

This is a catch-up posting reviewing recent restaurant visits:

1.  Zaytinya (Olive in Turkish) is a mezzo (i.e., tapas) restaurant at 9th and G, NW.  We went for a father’s day brunch, and it was excellent.  I had two things – “Patata Harra”, cubed potatoes, a homemade sausage, a moderately spicy cilantro sauce, and a absolutely delicious poached or lightly fried egg on the top, and an order of kasar cheese, a Turkish lamb’s cheese.  We also had three dips – hummos, htipiti (red pepper and feta cheese), and taramosalata (made from carp roe) on the restaurant’s light, puffy not-quite-pita.  Zaytinya is owned by the same folks who own the Jaleo restaurants, Spanish tapas restaurants, where we are to eat with friends on Thursday. “A”

2.  Busboys and Poets, at 14th and T, NW, where I went twice, for brunch on a Sunday and supper before a book signing program.  The brunch was simply scrambled eggs and toast – perfectly done.  The supper was a simple mahi mahi sandwich – perfectly done.  This a very casual, very friendly place, with performance/lecture space and a “progressive” bookstore attached.  (There are now three Busboys in DC.) “A”

3.  Shangri La, at 7345A Wisconsin in Bethesda.  A new Indian/Nepalese restaurant serving, in elegant fashion, organic food.  We had supper, a appetizer that was similar to, but not quite, pakoras, a simple vegetable biryani (that was filled with fresh vegetables and not overloaded with potatoes), and an okra stew.   As local Indian restaurants go, I think this is one of the best.  “A”

4.  Thai Tanic, 1326 14th St NW, Washington, is an ordinary Thai restaurant (which means that it is pretty good, but not exceptional), in a crowded space, which can get a little noisy.  But it’s a good before-the-show place, even if the best thing about it may be its name.  I don’t remember what I ate, but on each of my visits (like 3), the food has been quite good.  “B”

5.  Logan Tavern, P Street between 14th and 15th NW.  We’ve been here many, many, many times, and I am tired of it.  The food always used to be very good, then good, and now fair.  I don’t like the bread that they serve particularly, but they stick with it and have served it from the day the restaurant opened.  I talked to the waiter about this; he seemed to think it was OK, but in fact, this is what I think is wrong with the place.  The last time there, I had their big chopped salad with chicken.  It was OK, but when you look at the menu, which you have seen so many times, and decide on the big chopped salad, you know something must be wrong.  “C”

6.  Baldwin Station, Sykesville MD.  There are only two or three restaurants in Sykesville, and this one occupies the former B & O Railway Station.  It is a restaurant/bar with at least three separate dining areas.  We were there for lunch.  I ordered fish and chips, and then warned myself against fried foods.  The potatoes were not greasy, and I thought above average (I only ate about half of them), and suprisingly the fish pieces were large enough that I could cut away the fried exterior, and have some excellent fresh tasting cod.  “B”

7.  Moby Dick, Bethesda (also on N Street of Connecticut in DC).  This is one of those places where you order at the counter and then bring your meal to your table.  Quite informal.  I had a swordfish shish-kebob, which was very, very tasty.  You can get it with salad or rice, or by itself.  Unfortunately, although it needs something to make it into a meal, the rice was ordinary, and the salad equally so.  “B”

8.  Cosi.  For a salad at lunch, I find Cosi always hits the spot.  I normally either get the vegetarian Signature Salad or the Shanghai Chicken Salad.  The bread (choice of white or whole-grain freshbaked flatbread) is as good as the meal.

9.  Au Bon Pain.  This is my other normal lunch choice.  I had an Arizona chicken sandwhich (I think that is what it’s called) – nice piece of grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, romaine and mustard on sun dried tomato bread.  Very nice.  And here, I hardly ever order the same thing twice.  “B”

10.  Austin Grill.  I remember the days when the Austin Grill in Glover Park was a favorite for a casual meal.  No more.  In fact, it’s not there any more.  It is still in other places, including 8th and E, NW, Washington.  I went in for lunch today, ordered a chopped salad with chicken.  It was filled with beans and corn and slivered tacos, and all sorts of other things, and it was spicy, spicy, spicy.  This just is not a good place any more.  “C”

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