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An outsider's first impressions of chowing in NOVA, and a request for suggestions ...


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Restaurants & Bars Washington DC & Baltimore

An outsider's first impressions of chowing in NOVA, and a request for suggestions ...

manicakes | | Sep 12, 2010 12:45 PM

Hi everyone,

I just moved to the NOVA area (Reston/Herndon specifically) from Montreal, Quebec.

I've been trying some of the recommendations posted here to get a feel for the place, here's my thoughts!

Reston Kabob: This isn't authentic Persian kabob by any means, but I go here often for lunch. Portions are sizeable and the price is okay. I like their "white sauce"/tzatziki, and appreciate the fresh flatbreads. Kubideh, while heavily spiced, is pretty good and fatty. Chicken is a bit on the dry side but still quite good and regains new life if you grab one of the lemons next to the soda dispenser and give a little squeeze!

Busara: I was not expecting much from comments here, but I have been impressed by their pork drunken noodle. Noodles cooked perfectly, and the dish was seasoned nicely with some cherry tomatoes tossed in which gave a nice kick of acidity.

Thai Luang: I need to return here, but went once and ordered only one dish - the crispy duck (not sure if that was the actual name on the menu). It was overly heavy & greasy and simply did not make sense as a main dish. I wish the waittress had steered me away from this dish as my main course. The crispy duck might only be good as a complement dish to share.

Chao Phra Ya Thai: I tried more dishes here and enjoyed the experience. The large spring roll was unique and tasty, though I wish the syrupy sauce was served on the side because it overpowered this large appetizer. I ordered the duck panang curry which was good. The place did not blow me away but I would repeat.

Amoo's: VERY impressed with this authentic Persian eatery. For context, I am Persian, and my father ran a successful kabob stand in Tehran after the revolution. I know my kabobs. I think he would be impressed with the food here. I ordered the chicken soltani, a skewer of chicken served with two (!!) kubideh kabobs. The chellow (rice) was perfect. I enjoyed my dish with the traditional raw egg yolk and a cold glass of doogh (a little underseasoned, I fixed that with a pinch of salt). I am extremely excited to try out the other kabobis in the area Shamshiry and Rose.

Jackson's: I like this place. Went once for dinner where I had the lobster roll. I've had maybe 5 lobster rolls in my whole life, so I'm no expert, but it was truly excellent and easily the best I've ever had. Served with above average fries and a perfectly grilled corn on the cob. I topped it off with the white chocolate bread pudding with was disappointingly far too sweet. I must note the service at Jackson's is top notch.

Chickenout: Never heard it mentioned here but this is a great place for quick lunches at a good price. There's healthy options and comfort food-y options, and everything is quite good and consistent for a chain.

Mykonos: This place is terrible. I do not understand why so many people recommended it here. I had the pork souvlaki plate for lunch. The meat was dry and overcooked, the flatbread was tough, the tomatoes in my salad overripe, and the price *ridiculous*. Maybe I am spoiled because in Montreal we have tons of excellent, cheaply priced Greek eateries, but this place was VERY disappointing given the positive feedback given to it here.

Mayuri: A great indian lunch buffet. Pretty standard stuff, just executed well with a large selection. I will only knock this place for the nan which was "meh". At $10 you can't go wrong.

Five Guys: So, I finally got to try Five Guys. The burgers here do live up to the reputation. I like to get the bacon cheeseburger with "everything". It's a definite notch above BK or Wendys (I am a fan of the fast food burger provided by these chains). The fries however were disappointing, though I am very peculiar about my fries, and don't care for most fast food fries).

Il Fornaio: Went once and greatly enjoyed a lamb gnocci, one of the best gnocci's ive ever had. Went back, and it was no longer available. Had the lasagna, which was a greasy mess, especially after having experienced the near perfection of their gnocci. Will have to give the place another chance.

Now ... given some context of what I am experienced so far, I am looking for the following suggestions:

- I NEED some authentic Chinese food. Specifically, a Cantonese place and a Szechuan place. Must be authentic ... I want to see things like tripe, chinese broccoli, szechuan peppercorns, dried chili peppers, and home made noodles used in the preparation. I have tried one place, Ming's in DC chinatown, which did not meet this standard. I know this area is lacking in general for authentic chinese cuisine, but if I could have just one or two decent places to go to, then I would appreciate it.

- Pizza. I'd like a good convenient pizza place to go to. I do *not* prefer thin crust like most -- I like a nice bready, crusty crust. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

- Steak house. What is a good, reliable steak house around here?

- Finally, what have I missed so far? I feel like i've covered most of my bases here, but am curious if there's any major restaurants / cuisines I've been ignoring.


8607 Westwood Center Dr Ste 100A, Vienna, VA 22182

Busara Restaurant
8142 Watson St, Mc Lean, VA 22102