Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Endo Sushi, McLean,VA


6828 Old Dominion Dr
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 883-2001

This place came highly-recommended by our friends as a decent combination of high-quality sushi, cleanliness and affordability.  We agree.   

For a neighborhood go-to sushi place this one is a keeper.  The service was cheerful and efficient, considering we came with a relatively large group.  We enjoyed the hot saki, tempura, sushi, sashimi, and a lettuce salad with savory ginger dressing.  One item that seems set Endo Sushi apart from the others - is our friends’ favorite - the Rainbow Roll.  The Rainbow Roll resembles a California Roll and gets its name from the alternating colors of wrapped fish.  The roll is laid out on a long rectangular plate with a mayonnaise-based accent sauce, which seems to be the house specialty.    

As this was our first visit to this restaurant, Elena ordered the plentiful Bento Box to taste the variety that Endo Sushi had to offer.  Definitely worth the $27.95.  It came with a miso soup, salad, a sashimi appetizer, a nice selection of tempura shrimp and vegetable, sushi, chicken teriyaki, and tofu.  An interestingly tasty rice-wrapped ice cream (available in vanilla, green tea, red bean, and strawberry) followed the box for dessert.   Bill ordered sushi a la carte and our friends also selected a variety of tempura and sushi.  Everyone loved the green tea. 

We have been looking for a neighborhood sushi joint that doesn’t disappoint, but doesn’t break the bank, either.  This place certainly fits the bill. 

One drawback is that this place doesn't have a website, so if you want to check out the menu beforehand (especially useful if you're bringing someone who doesn't eat sushi and wants to consider available alternatives, such as teriyaki or tempura), it can't be done unless you call the restaurant.  On the one hand, who doesn't have a website in 2011? On the other hand, a Japanese menu is relatively standard, so a website may not be imperative.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Diya Lounge, Vienna, VA

2070 Chainbridge Rd, 
Vienna VA
(703) 970-7500

At the intersection of Rte 123 and Old Chain Bridge in what is known as "the toilet bowl building" is a new restaurant called the Diya Lounge with a menu that we think can be described as nouveau Indian.  We got the feeling from the way the food tasted that this place was better known for its banquets.  This may be a nice way of saying that the food was less than impressive both in taste and presentation, and the ambiance was....  flatter than the naan.  There seems to have been several kitchens because the open kitchen in the dining room was empty with lights above it turned off and our food came from another kitchen, which was behind the dining room.  We went with our friends, and all ordered different items, so we were able to taste a variety of appetizers and entrees, none of which were flavorful or impressive.  Three ramekins with different sauces accompanied the meal, but all sauces were too sweet and did not add much personality to the meal.  Although the service was okay, the food took a while to be brought out.  All in all, it was a fun evening spent with friends, but not be a place to return for true Indian food or appealing atmosphere.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rocco's Italian Restaurant, McLean VA

Rocco’s Italian Restaurant
1357 Chain Bridge Rd
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 821-3736
We have driven past Rocco’s many times, but never had a reason to try it.  On a hunch*--not really, it was a suggestion from Vicky (see her comments on our Pulcinella blog entry) -- we decided to try Rocco’s Italian Restaurant in McLean on a cold post-snow Saturday evening.  And it was COLD.  28and a wind that howled through you no matter how many layers you have on.  But the warmth of this family restaurant quickly thawed the chill we experienced coming in from the parking lot.  

Everything about Rocco’s is typical and all you’d expect from this neighborhoody establishment.  The place is friendly, no frills, Chianti bottles and plastic grapes hanging off the ceiling, football game on a large flat screen TV, bumper stickers (especially the one that said, “Caps Country”) and hockey sticks on the walls overhanging the open kitchen.  The menu is standard Italian fare: appetizers from fried calamari to onion rings (they look almost alike except one is bigger than the other); entrees are a mix of New York and Chicago-style pizzas, pastas (macaroni) with sauce (gravy), and hot and cold sandwiches.  We had the cheese garlic bread appetizer that came with a ramekin of thick marinara sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Parmigiana entrees.  All entrees come with a generous, though mundane, garden salad.  The Mrs. J’s Rum Cake looked appetizing but we did not have room for dessert.

Service was excellent.  Camila (from Brazil) was very attentive and treated us well.  John (the young owner) was also very friendly.  

If you go here and have a few minutes, please take time to read the history of the owners’ family at the entrance.  It relays a touching story about growing up Italian in America; about family bonds; and about how immigrants can keep – or lose -- their heritage over time. 

A word to adults – this is a “family restaurant” - read: a kid-friendly place.  VERY kid-friendly (i.e.  there were A LOT of kids).   

All in all it was a great evening.  Nothing pretentious about this place, just good local Italian chow.

* "On a hunch, I took it upon myself to check out if there was any information on a '63 Pontiac Tempest stolen or abandoned recently. This computer readout confirms that two boys, who fit the defendants' description, were arrested two days ago by Sheriff Tillman in Jasper County, Georgia, for driving a stolen metallic mint green 1963 Pontiac Tempest, with a white convertible top, Michelin Model XGV tires, size 75-R-14."
                                                                      --Sheriff Farley, quoted from My Cousin Vinny

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chima, Tyson's Corner, VA

8010 Towers Crescent Dr.
Vienna, Virginia 22182
(703) 639.3080

There is a little place in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ that (at least for Bill) set the standard for rodizios (Brazilian meat fests).  That place is called Brasillia.  Take the basic Brasillia, add the sterile charm of a hospital operating room, throw in some modern touches, and take the food down a few notches, add complimentary valet parking and you have Chima.  

Tucked away on the first floor of an office park just outside the parking lot of the Tyson’s Corner Center, Chima is in one word—OK.  They do try their best, the service was attentive and accommodating, the gauchos shaving meats from the two dozen or so cuts were all done very well.  The salad bar was acceptable (we’ve had much better at the Texas de Brazil—another rodizio chain located in the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax).  We spent the early part of New Year’s Eve at Chima where we were hooked in by the complimentary champagne (to our dismay it amounted to a three ounce glass).   There were very few empty tables in the room, but don’t think there was much a wait for those who did not have reservations.  Looped Cirque de Soleil performances were projected on few glass panels which did not add much to the ambiance.  Perhaps they should be showing Brazilian tourism films instead. 

Bottom line, if you want ok rodizio, go to Chima.  If you want good rodizio, go to Texas de Brazil.  If you want GREAT rodizio, go to the Ironbound section of Newark.  

<--  With family at Brasilia, Newark, NJ 2002