There was this great book that I bought maybe 10+ years ago when I lived in Los Angeles. It was titled Diving Out In L.A. and was published by some small publisher. (Think I still have the book in storage somewhere checked Amazon, its no longer published.)
Anyway, similar to many restaurant books, it provided reviews, but in this case only of the best Dives in Los Angeles. If I remember correctly, to qualify as a dive the total bill for one person out the door had to be under $10, and it could not be a chain (I think a 1-3 locations were permitted). Restaurants were rated on cleanliness, décor, food taste/quality, and portion size Bang for the Buck was key.
They also broke down the Dives in 4 main categories: Wading, Snorkeling, Scuba, or Deep Sea. Wading locations were safe spots that everyone knew about Five Guys would qualify. Deep-sea diving spots were often in sketchy neighborhoods, and had warnings in the descriptions about not going after dark, parking close to the restaurant, etc.
It was a great book - my culinary bible when I was in college at UCLA and afterwards. When I was shopping or happened to be in a random neighborhood Id pull out the book and find a new place to eat. Wed also plan trips around some of the more highly rated Dives.
Some of the Deep-sea diving spots were absolutely amazing (as dives go). Being mom & pop operations they knew their local clientele well and could easily spot us as visitors. Chefs would come out and say hi and ask how everything was, wed be offered seconds on helpings. We were often blown away by the hospitality, which more than made up for the lack of decor.
I understand that Chowhound user tastes span the gamut, from Inn at Little Washington to neighborhood joints, and that not everyone is a dive connoisseur, but I for one really wish someone - the Post, Washingtonian, or some other publication - would publish some sort of Diving Out in DC guide. I know that I would use it often.
In the mean time, Id love some suggestions for some "must try" Dives I should hit in the DC/Balt area. And for fun why not score them so we know what to expect.
Portion size (1-5)
Bang for the Buck (1-5)
Wading, Snorkeling, Scuba, or Deep-Sea