For those of you who live in the DC area, as well as those who come here on occasion, here are mini reviews of three local restaurants and a bakery that might have some interest for you.
Fat Pete’s Barbecue, Est. 2014:
It’s probably an understatement to say that DC is not known for its BBQ. Without getting into a discussion of DC’s deficiency in this food category, suffice it to say we have nothing comparable to other states (‘state’ is another negligence, but I’ll leave that for another time too). Now that I’ve been spending some time in various Midwest locations (Kansas City, Austin, Little Rock, etc.), I’m able to satisfy my interest in good BBQ, which I haven’t had since I left Florida, where, believe it or not, the spareribs at Hilltop BBQ in Ocala were outstanding. (Hilltop, according to a quick check with Google, apparently is no more. Their website states: “HILLTOPBBQ is closed. We sold the property and bought sailboat. See you in the islands!”).
But I digress.
The other evening Ellen and I, having spotted Fat Pete’s a few days earlier in the Cleveland Park area of DC, tried it and liked it. Know we only tried the Burnt Ends and the St. Louis Cut pork spareribs, two of their homemade sauces and a couple of sides. But that was enough to make us want to return.
You could make an entire meal out of the Starters – Smoked Wings, Burnt Ends (Brisket), Sliders (your choice of three – chopped pork, pulled chicken, chopped brisket or smoked turkey), Rib Tips, ABT’s (‘BBQ Crack’), Pitmaster Chili (sold out the night we were there) and Fried Green Tomatoes.
For me, I almost exclusively stick to ribs, and the ones at Fat Pete’s (mine were Honey BBQ glazed and Ellen’s were dry rubbed), tho a tad dry, were as good as I’ve had in this area. Plus, the portions were more than generous, and I’ve had two more meals from the leftovers we took home.
Note: The restaurant is less than a month old (Est. 2014 they say on the menu) and has had some problems with running out of various items and with long waits for tables. There are only two tables that I saw that can seat more than four (tho there is an upstairs which apparently is going to open next month). Also, Yelp reviews have been mixed at best.
I don’t think Oklahoma Joe’s (Kansas City) or Franklin’s (Austin) is in any jeopardy of falling in rank, but give Fat Pete’s a try if you’re hungry for BBQ, and let MillersTime readers know what you find.
Thai X-ing (“Thai Crossing”):
I’ve looked for this tiny restaurant for more than a year when coming from the north into DC and driving down Florida Ave., but I could never spot it.
I’ve also looked forward to eating there for a couple of years, ever since I learned that there were only a few tables in the basement of a row house and that you didn’t order but were served what chef/owner Taw Vigsittaboot cooked that night. The food comes from recipes passed down from the chef’s mother, aunt and grandmother and has been described as “traditional home style” Thai cooking.
Six of us went last week (515 Florida Ave., NW) and found the ‘restaurant’ had expanded from the basement to include two more floors of eating space.
Whether it was too high expectations or because of the increase in diners (28?), I’m not sure, but aside from one or two tasty dishes, it seemed as if we had been served from a big pot of food that had been sitting on a stove for some time, too much time.
We probably should have gone two or three years ago. Not that the food is bad, it’s just nothing very special (and I have eaten in a home in Thailand where the cooking far surpassed that at Thai X-ing). It is expensive for what you get ($50 per person, $10 more than if we had been in a group of less than five. The prices are less Tuesday and Wednesday nights).
If you go, know that you can and should bring your own beer or wine. Also, Tuesday and Sunday night are vegetarian nights (Tues includes a fish option). Otherwise, as far as I can tell, they are largely serving the same meal every night. So one visit is certainly enough. Also, reservations are generally necessary.
PS – I’ve read that Thai X-ing is supposed to open a new restaurant in the same general area and will close the existing one for a time while they focus on the new one. If they reopen the existing one, I hope they can find a way to make it more special and more satisfying.
For those who have lived in DC for a number of decades, Sushi-Ko was always a favorite. Located just north of Georgetown in the Burleith/Glover Park area on Wisconsin Ave., it was one of the first Japanese restaurants to serve “small dishes” and the sushi and sashimi was always first rate. They eventually expanded with a much larger second location in Chevy Chase, MD.
Last summer, a notice appeared on the window of the DC location announcing Shushi-Ko had been closed by DC for violations (not having a business license, i.e., tax issues?). The Maryland location remained open, tho we never seemed to enjoy it as much as the one in DC.
Now the DC location has reopened with different ownership and under the name of Sushi-Keiko. I’ve only been there once, last night. Neither the manager (David Zhang) nor the chef (Koji Terano), both hold overs from Sushi-Ko, were there, and the rest of the staff was new to the restaurant and seemed to be learning the menu and the preparations.
The best part, however, is that the food is good, perhaps as good as it always was, although the menu is currently not as expansive nor as creative as it was. But then Sushi-Ko had 30 years to get to that point.
But now, once again, we have an unpretentious, neighborhood Sushi restaurant, open from 6 PM (5:30 on Sundays) to 10:30 or 11.
Let’s hope this one builds on what was there in the past.
Remember Marvelous Market when it first opened on Connecticut Ave and had the best bread in the city?
Well Mark Furstenberg, the creator and owner of Marvelous Market and Breadline (he sold both) is back with a new neighborhood bakery, and I’m delighted to report that the bread is every bit as good as it was previously.
Bread Furst also serves breakfast items and has ready made sandwiches (try the Ham and Swiss on a baguette, even better than the one he made at Marvelous Market.). Pastries also looked enticing.
The new location is also on Connecticut Ave. just north of the Van Ness metro, next to the car wash (4434 Conn. Ave.). There is parking in the back, and I believe also an entrance in the back.
If bread is one of the things that brightens your life, Bread Furst’s opening is something to celebrate.