Restaurant Review: Prime 16

August 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

These past three years I haven’t been doing a good job of trying too many New Haven restaurants, though this city is famous for so many types of food. I will try my best to remedy the situation during my last year at Yale. Last weekend I went with a group of friends to a restaurant in downtown New Haven called Prime 16. It is known for its reasonably-priced burgers.

The restaurant itself is rather small and dimly lit, but our group of five was seated relatively quickly. The tables are kind of close together so it was a bit hard to hear the conversation – maybe not the best place for an intimate dinner, but good for a casual gathering of friends. The menu is extensive, consisting mainly of various types of burgers and toppings. There is a salmon burger, a turkey burgey, bison, and a house made veggie burger. Toppings include different cheeses, guacamole, mayo, etc. I chose the option of topping a salad with a medium-done burger.

It took a while for us to receive our entrees but we were quite pleased with them. The serving sizes are tremendous – you will definitely get your money’s worth here! The burger was massive and delicious – juicy and flavorful, with just a hint of pinkness. There were candied walnuts and cranberries in the salad – I felt like I needed some vegetables to balance out all the meatiness.

I polished off the burger, no problem. My friends ordered various types of burgers and they all enjoyed their dishes as well. My order was about $12, a reasonable price, especially since the burger could have been big enough to split into two meals. I’m glad to have found this place in case I ever have another burger craving.

Restaurant Review: Tonic

August 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tonic is a little gem in the middle of George Washington University in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. I’m sad to only have tried it on my last night in D.C.! I met up with a couple of friends for dinner here at around 8PM on a Friday. It is a bar/restaurant with patio seating, and though it is a really narrow building there are three floors for indoor seating.

First thing – the service throughout the night was great! We were seated in about five minutes at a high table on the first floor next to the bar. Our server was fantastic. She was fast and efficient without rushing us, knowledgeable about the menu, and friendly without being too intrusive. I debated between the house-made veggie burger and the portabello sandwich – felt like going the vegetarian route for once, and she immediately recommended the veggie burger.

I really enjoyed the burger. It is made in-house, and is a great combination of oats, beans, and various vegetables. This is definitely not the type of veggie burger that tries to resemble meat, but I enjoyed the heartiness wholesomeness of the patty. It was really moist, almost to the point of falling apart (utensils were necessary!) and there were chunks of beans and other veggies. Also, it was a really filling size, and it came with a thin layer of guacamole. I wish there had been more guacamole! My friends got the salmon burger and a pineapple pizza, and both options looked really good as well.

With a side salad, the order was $12 – not bad at all for a healthy and filling meal in a laid-back environment, with prompt and friendly service.

Restaurant Review: The Daily Grill

August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Daily Grill in Dupont has a very unassuming exterior, but the inside has a classy vibe, with dark wooden walls, cozy booths, stately decor, and a comfortably dim lighting. It definitely has an old-fashioned, professional, “D.C” feel to it.

I ate dinner here with a friend on Monday night at 7PM. The service was really fantastic and fast, and we were almost immediately seated, asked for drink orders, and given a loaf of crusty sourdough bread with butter to munch on.

The classic American menu had all sorts of delicious choices, including seafood, steak, and pasta. I really appreciate that they have plenty of vegetable options and healthy entrees. Though I was really indecisive (Ahi tuna salad? Salmon burger?), at the last moment I decided upon the Moroccan-spiced chicken, which came with grilled vegetables, arugula, and herb brown rice.

The portion sizes were really large and the food was plated nicely on big platters – the chicken kabobs and vegetables freshly off the skewer. The vegetables consisted of large chunks of zucchini, mushroom, onions, and cherry tomatoes. I think they would have been more flavorful had the pieces been a bit smaller.

The chicken was great and well-seasoned- it was had a little bit of kick to it from the spices, and was tender, and not overcooked and charred black like it is at some places. The arugula came with a light dressing of balsamic vinegar – it was fresh but I’m not really a big fan of the sharp taste of arugula. The herb brown rice had a slightly nutty taste and texture but otherwise pretty non descriptive, besides the fact that it came in a huge mound.

I really enjoyed my dinner here and the overall experience was pleasant – I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a nice dinner in the Dupont area.

Restaurant Review: Founding Farmers

July 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Founding Farmers, offering farm-to-table American food, is the trendy spot to be right now. This restaurant in Foggy Bottom, right in the IMF building, is packed all night, every night, with a large crowd waiting for a table. It’s essential to get a reservation – last week a friend and I tried to get in for dinner on a Saturday and were told that it would be a 1.5 hour wait. We decided to make a reservation for this week, Saturday at 7, which was a great decision. We were seated after about 5 minutes at a nice table upstairs.

The menu has a little bit of everything – burgers, sandwiches, pasta, flatbread, seafood, steak. I heard that they are famous for their chicken and waffles. I decided to go with an entree under the vegetarian category, the rolled egg white omelet with sides of succotash, Farmer’s Salad, and mashed potatoes.

The omelet was a generous size, and it was stuffed with the vegetable succotash (a combination of zucchini, carrots, peas, green beans, and cauliflower sautéed with butter). I really enjoyed the vegetables, though I thought the omelette itself was a bit greasy and lacking flavor.

The Farmer’s Salad was terrific – I should have gotten an entree portion of it! It included chunks of avocado, large slivers of parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and almonds, dressed in a champagne vinaigrette. All the ingredients were very fresh and crisp, and even in the small portion I received I could tell the combination of flavors was spot-on.

The service was very prompt – I had my water filled at least five times, from a glass jar placed on our table, and the waiter literally had our credit cards back to us in about thirty seconds after picking up the bill. The place is a bit pricey but it really depends on what you order – my omelet was $12 for a large plate of food, and my friend ordered a cheeseburger for $10. Obviously, the seafood and meat-based entrees cost more, but eating here does not have to break the bank.

I would love to come back and try some more dishes – maybe I should make another reservation!

Restaurant Review: Serendipity 3 DC

July 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Serendipity is a quirky diner/bar/dessert establishment in the heart of Georgetown in DC. It’s pretty famous for its desserts, especially the frozen hot chocolate. A friend and I decided to check the place out on a Saturday night around 7. I was surprised to see that there was not a line – the place was pretty empty and we were seated promptly. However, about half an hour later there was a good amount of people lined up by the doorway, so I guess timing is key.

Their menu is full of American classics, from burgers and sandwiches to crab cake salad and omelets. I finally decided to get the S3 Chopped Chicken Salad, which is a mix of artichoke hearts, tomato, chicken, and corn with ranch dressing.

The vegetables were all very fresh and colorful. The corn had just been cut off the cob, and the lettuce was crisp and the tomatoes very sweet and juicy. The chicken was a bit tough and lacked flavor, plus some parts were a bit burnt, and I suspect that the artichokes were from a can. All in all, a pretty decent, large salad, though not worth the $15 price tag. Also I admit that this choice wasn’t the most exciting, so I probably shouldn’t judge Serendipity based upon it.

A table next to ours was celebrating a birthday and all of them ordered deliciously decadent-looking desserts, so next time I’ll know what to go for!

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