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Washington DC & Baltimore Arlington

Arlington: Ray's, Guajillo, The Liberty Tavern


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Arlington: Ray's, Guajillo, The Liberty Tavern

L84Dinner | Aug 30, 2009 08:05 PM

We've been here over the weekend dropping our daughter off at college so we took the opportunity to explore some of Arlington's restaurants.

We've been to the new Ray's the Steaks before but went again when a call at 2:30 the day of our arrival (a Thursday) scored a table at 7:30. As always, a solid meal with spectacular smoked bacon-sauerkraut appetizer and perfectly executed steaks. Wine service was great as well as we let Mark suggest wines based on our party's preferences and they neither disappointed nor broke the bank. Remains a must visit.

We scoured chowhound for a mexican place and went to Guajillo Grill (1727 Wilson Blvd.). Opted for an outdoor table where we could enjoy the breeze and watch the masses crowing Ray's Hellburger next door. Very friendly service, outstanding marguertias. Homemade salsa with chips had just the right amount of spice; fried plantain appetizer with sour cream was perfectly done although the con queso was a little less warm than it should have been. The tacos (chicken, flounder, beef) were all subtle combinations - my only complaint was that the chicken was a little overcooked and the sauce with the flounder could have used a tiny bit more spice. Chicken quesadilla was enormous but fantastic; shrimp fajitas the same. We were too stuffed to try the desserts but they should be good if the plantains were any indication.

Tonight we ventured further up Wilson Blvd. to The Liberty Tavern. As others have mentioned, the bar is quite loud - the dining room upstairs is as well but it's manageable. Service and food were spectacular. We were told it was the last night of Restaurant Week and that the entire menu was included for $35pp (app-main-dessert). The grilled octopus and clams with grapefruit, fennel, sugar snap salad with lemon-coriander vinaigrette was an unbelievable combination of flavors. Lobster fettucine carbonara was a nice twist on an old standard. Pork chop with ham hock jus, chantarelles, and pepper mostarda was well executed, but the accompanying corn/potato hash in cream sauce was fabulous. Cheeseburger sliders with spectacular herbed french fries were perfect for our nine year old. Desserts were also great, including warm profiteroles and american farmstead cheeses. French press coffee was better than most. Wines by the glass matched dinner well and the wine list was interesting - both were well-priced.

We will definitely visit all three again. Great food at great prices with good, friendly service.

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