So I had read about Ghion Cafe in the City Paper and was curious to check it out. It's this little hole-in-the-wall Mt. Vernon bar--no windows, barely room for a table and some metal chairs, very dark. But the owners are an Ethiopian couple and are just lovely. The wife makes a few Ethiopian dishes--the menu's about half a page long. It's not the best Ethiopian Ive ever had but it's legit and tasty and if you like quirky, "dive-y" places it's really worth stopping by for a nosh. Entrees run around $10 or less and are of course very small, but come with three vegetable sides and plenty of injera (served in the sort of plastic basket bars usually put fries in). Yum!
Also, up in my neighborhood in Hampden, there's a coffeehouse called Common Ground. A friend told me they'd started serving entrees on weekend nights, so we went to check it out. It was very nice--again, a very small menu, one app, three entrees, a soup. But everything was very well done and just enough food to make getting individual desserts unthinkable. It seemed pretty much French with some Asian and Latin touches--citrus salsa on the fish, sesame noodles with the chicken, etc. Also, very reasonable--my friend had a big old steak for something like $15. Oh, and they don't have a liquor liscense so its BYOB.
Again, neither one of these places is fine dining. Their the sort of places where the server isn't wearing a uniform and you get paper napkins. But if you like holes in the wall, both places had alot of charm and "good vibes".