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Arax Armenian Café, Victor’s Grill Restaurant and Harry’s Tap Room: Two Hits & a Strike – Reports


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Arax Armenian Café, Victor’s Grill Restaurant and Harry’s Tap Room: Two Hits & a Strike – Reports

ANCyM | Oct 20, 2003 08:58 AM

In an effort to get in as much dining out as possible before our first wee one comes along, my wife and I went on a spree recently and had two good meals, but struck out on a third.

Thanks to a recent comment by Foodgeek, we went back to Arax an Armenian café in Westover. It’s on Washington Boulevard, across the street from Scoops Beauregard. We’d been to Arax during the summer and enjoyed it tremendously though anxious that it wouldn’t survive this long. Anyway, it’s still there and we enjoyed our second outing.

We both had the bishop’s lentil soup which incidentally was the same soup of the day when we first visited. It was still good, creamy, rich, piping hot but in need of salt. My wife tried their falafel sandwich and it was wonderful. The falafel balls were hot and the pita wrap perfectly warm. It came with the requisite tomatoes and yogurt sauce. I had the khash khash which was described as ground beef and lamb kebab wrapped in warm pita. It too was amazing; the taste of lamb was very prominent, and that was a good thing. The vegetables, tomatoes, onions and sauce were cool and crisp and so offered a nice counterpoint. For dessert I indulged in two cookies – one filled with a date paste the other with a pistachio paste – neither disappointed. As it was nearing bed time, I stayed away from the cardamom flavored, thick, thick, thick coffee this time, but strongly recommend it!

Victor’s Grill Restaurant in Falls Church was our second hit. Again, my wife and I went thanks to a positive posting about it here on the site. It’s a hole in the wall on South Washington Street in Falls Church, across the street from the Honda motorbikes. If you blink you’ll miss it, as we did. After a go around the block we found it and had an outrageous meal.

My wife ordered the currasco Argentino; I had the lomo saltado and a forgettable chorizo Argentino. When they brought our orders, we nearly needed a second table for the forklift to put down my wife’s plate. Good Lord in Heaven; it was a site to behold. A beautiful cut of nice, medium rare meat serve over a mountain of thick cut fries and arroz blanco. Perfectly seasoned too. My lomo saltado was similarly ample and also came over the great fries. The beef tips were wonderfully seasoned and came mixed with sautéed onions and tomatoes.

Finally, we went out to Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon and were very, very disappointed. I will say that the restaurant is very attractive, if you like Pottery Barn type décor. The beautiful tile wall in the lower level dining area was particular striking. Anyway, to the food.

We were served a small basket of tasty breads which included two orange, corn muffins, chive (?) biscuits and standard crusty bread. All were warm and pretty good. I started with a Caesar salad that truly was about one of the best I’ve had. The greens were crisp and NOT swimming in the dressing. They also provided extra fresh anchovies upon request. Post apps and bread it all went downhill.

My wife ordered from HTR’s twin filet selection, which provides two petit filets and one of ten sauces. She went with the Dijon mustard peppercorn and also ordered a side of vegetables. I had the braised long rib, served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

My wife originally ordered her filets medium rare but was advised to go with the medium, which she did and for which she paid. The filets came out over done in parts and red in others. They were also not very hot. The sauce was forgettable because it was almost non-existent both in presence and in taste. My long rib was really little more than gristle, although the presentation was interesting. It came plated with the bone intact. The mashed potatoes were lukewarm as were the vegetables. We think perhaps parts of the meal were prepped ahead of time and set under lamp warmers.

Cheers and good eating –


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