Restaurant Review: La Tasca

June 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

After work on Friday afternoon, a few interns and I decided to check out this Spanish tapas place located in Chinatown called La Tasca. We left work at 6, hung out a bit at Jazz in the Garden, and then walked a few blocks to the restaurant. It was 7:30 on a Friday night and the restaurant was bustling but we were quickly seated in the downstairs area.

The menu looked delicious – there is a myriad of tapas, ranging from meat and seafood to vegetarian options. Most of them were around $7-10. I ordered “Verduritas a la barbacoa,” which was barbecue-grilled vegetables with a fried egg – a combination of two of my favorites. It was $7. Other people at the table ordered eggplant rolls, sautéed mushrooms, and scallops, which all sounded incredible. The food arrived 10 minutes later. Now I know that tapas are meant to be appetizer portions, but the ones here are absolutely tiny. We all finished our food in three minutes, no exaggeration.

The veggies consisted of a few small pieces of zucchini, eggplant, and red bell pepper, light seasoned and grilled – nothing to complain about but nothing special. The egg yolk was deliciously runny but obviously a bit hard to eat. We all had to be places, otherwise we might have ordered more food. The price was also an issue – I paid $10 including tax and tip for this portion, barely an appetizer, so a full meal might cost $40-50. Maybe one day I’ll come back when I’m not living off an intern’s salary.

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Restaurant Review: Full Kee Restaurant

June 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I haven’t eaten out since brunch on Sunday, so I figured that it would be okay to do a night out in Chinatown. I have heard that the Chinatown in D.C. is pretty underwhelming, and this is accurate. There are two blocks of various Chinese restaurants and one street of American businesses that have additional signs with Chinese characters. Most of the restaurants in the area also have mixed reviews. We decided to try to Full Kee Restaurant on H Street. It seemed pretty authentic based on appearance – there were ducks hanging in a display case near the window, the waitstaff were all Chinese, some of the patrons also were Chinese, and it had a slightly dingy hole-in-the-wall look to it. It was a little past seven on a Tuesday night and the place was a little less than half full.

We saw on Yelp that the shrimp dumpling soup is highly rated. This is a bit confusing because the main menu book does not include the noodle soups or congee – these are listed in a separate laminated menu page that is propped up by the condiments. The soup comes with your choice of noodles and you can add vegetables or meat for an additional price.

I chose the shrimp dumpling soup, Hong Kong style, with vegetables. We actually all ended up getting variations of this dish. It came about to be about $8 per person. The piping hot bowls came out from the kitchen in about 10 minutes. My bowl had eight large wonton-style dumplings, and vegetables were bright green and lightly cooked.

I really enjoyed the dumplings. They were of ample size, full of large pieces of juicy, firm shrimp, and wrapped in a thin and tender skin. The broth could have been better – it wasn’t too salty, which was a plus, but I felt that it was too thin and needed a bit more body. It probably also had MSG, but then again it’s rare to find a Chinese restaurant that does not use this omnipresent condiment. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy.

The waitstaff were pretty good. They spoke English really well and were polite and helpful with our orders. They even helped us calculate our individual portions of the check. I might go back – the prices are reasonable and the rest of the menu is huge – there is seafood, chicken, beef, pork (all the average menu items), as well as some “gourmet” delicacies like pig’s blood and black mushroom.

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