Sunday, May 16, 2010

Appethaizing. Or, it's a Thai!

I went to two Thai places in Georgetown fairly recently, Bangkok Joe's and Bangkok Bistro. Bangkok Bistro is the hip and happening place that recently had Gabourey Sidibe as a guest. Bangkok Joe's calls itself a "dumpling house" and is situated on the lovely Georgetown waterfront.

Bangkok Bistro
Friendly and efficient

Overall excellent quality. I appreciate their menu because they added vegetarian versions of traditionally meat-filled foods, such as "snow white soup" to replace the chicken or shrimp in the Tom kha soup, or tofu pad thai with the vegan or vegetarian option. I ordered snow white soup, tofu panang and tofu pad thai.  The soup was absolutely delicious, probably one of the best I've had. However, the tofu in the tofu panang was distractingly salty, which I just couldn't get over. The sauce was excellent, though. The pad thai was pad thai, nothing to write home about but not awful either.

Overall: 9/10
With the strange exception of the salty tofu, the food was excellent and worth what was paid for it, the service was attentive and the restaurant has a great vibe with huge walls that open so that the entire front of the restaurant is open to the street.

Bangkok Joe's
Efficient but not that friendly. They service tends to hang out in the back of the restaurant talking to each other and standing around. They're never smiling or friendly, either, even though they always get your food quickly. It's very strange. They've also brought out the wrong food before, and overcharged for what I've ordered.

The food is great! I got lemon grass soup, tofu panang and a "tomkhatini," which is a martini based on the coconut tom kha soup. The lemon grass soup was great, and the tomkhatini is a revelation. It's really the panang that I keep going back for, though. The curry sauce is thicker than those served in other restaurants, which gives it a truly creamy texture, and the flavor of the kaffir lime really comes through. My one complaint is that the dish typically comes with noodles, so you have to remember to request rice instead. The noodles have an unpleasant texture, almost like solid pudding or something. I really dislike that.

Overall: 9/10
The service has always been strange here, but the food has always been absolutely the best I've had in DC. I have dreams about their panang sometimes...

In the end, if I have a choice I'll go to Bangkok Joe's because I love their food so much, but both are really, really good. You can't really go wrong at either one. Only note is, I'm not sure the price is worth it at dinnertime, when a basic entree can start at $15 - they're typically around $10 at other Thai places.

Bangkok Bistro
3251 Prospect Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20007-3243
(202) 337-2424

Bangkok Joe's
3000 K Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20007-5109
(202) 333-4422

Thursday, May 13, 2010

24 hours

'Twas the day before finals
And all through the college
Computers were clicking with students
Trying to prove their knowledge.

The library is nearly full
For the first time all year
And the caffeine is flowing
As the end is drawing near.

I sit staring at my screen
Thinking how I should spend my time.
Instead of writing my essay
I'm making up poems that rhyme.

Awake! I must work now
Or risk my degree.
I'll buckle down and write all day
Until I'm finally free.

In the meantime,
Stock the fridge with beer
And get out the tequila
Because the summer is nearly here!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review: Ragtime

We went to Ragtime for a quick dinner, and it has an atmosphere like TGI Fridays or Applebees.

The Service
Fast, friendly and efficient. Don't really know what else to say to that.

The Food
We ordered Spaghetti with Meatballs, Caesar Salad and Macaroni and Cheese. The Caesar Salad had wilted and black leaves mixed in, and the Macaroni and Cheese was mediocre. It came at room temperature, as if it had been sitting out for a while before they brought it. It's amazing what a difference something that simple can make. I think I would have enjoyed a lot more if it had been fresh out of the oven, or at least appeared as if it was. I tried some of the spaghetti sauce, and that was actually relatively good.

Rating: 6/10
It's a fun, affordable place to go with friends and order a ton of food and beer - my "small" salad filled a regular-sized dinner plate and the $6 mac and cheese filled a huge bowl. However, the food is what you'd expect as "bar food" not what they should be serving at a sit-down restaurant. It's not somewhere I'd go for culinary delights, but everyone inside was with friends and laughing their heads off.

1345 North Courthouse Road
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-4003

Review: Sushi Rock

I ate at Sushi Rock and I have to say I was disappointed. They had been constructing the restaurant for the past few months so I was looking forward to trying it out once they opened. Since their theme is "Rock" they have a cool red/black interior design with rock music blaring and rock-themed sushi rolls.

The Service
The Service was interesting...I thought our waitress was hilarious, but my eating-mate found her off-putting. She was Japanese, so it was a little difficult to understand her accent, but she also made a lot of jokes about us drinking more during happy hour to bolster the tab and carding us for water. I literally laughed every time we interacted with her. At one point though, our water was late and she sort of rolled her eyes and whispered that the busboy tended to be slow about these things. It's my pet peeve when employees at restaurants blame each other, since it is the overall experience that matters, but she said it conspiratorially and laughing, so I didn't really feel like it was that malicious. Nonetheless, it was a little strange. And when I asked to get all the food at the same time, they still ended up bringing the appetizer first.

The Food
The food was overpriced without a similar increase in quality. The speciality rock 'n rolls (hardy har har) were minimally $12 each, so we both opted for the cheaper classics, ordering a cucumber roll ($6!!!), spicy tuna roll and salmon roll. I also got the agedashi tofu appetizer.

The tofu was fine but the sauce was rather flavorless. The cucumber roll was dry and uninteresting and apparently the other rolls were "fine". I'm more than happy to pay extra for sushi, but if I'm paying above the market price, I expect above-average quality, which we definitely didn't get.

Rating: 4/10
They got the 4 points for being fast and because I personally found the waitress hilarious. Not worth the investment.

Sushi Rock
1900 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA