Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.


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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tequila Grande Mexican Restaurant - Vienna, VA

444 Maple Avenue West
Vienna, VA
(703) 255-5933

Situated on the corner of Vienna’s two main drags Maple Avenue and Nutley Street in a standalone building next to the Wolftrap Motel, Tequila Grande is a cheerful, delicious, down-to-earth dining choice. It is a large restaurant, but the separation of space and difference in decoration among the rooms make it a cozy experience. Soft music in the background - a selection of Latin rhythms - lighten up the atmosphere without being overbearing.

We had a delicious helping of their bottomless chips and salsa, but also ordered their guacamole, which comes in a thick tortilla shell inside a lettuce leaf. The chips are thin and light, absolutely perfect. The salsa was delicious, if a little sweet. But the guacamole was a clear winner - very fresh, the perfect combination of seasonings. The smooth consistency of the guacamole here separate it from the chunky kind served in places like Rosa Mexicano, for instance.  

Entrees did not disappoint. We had a combination fajita – beef, chorizo and chicken. We rarely eat chorizo and found it to be a bit on the greasy side. But the combination of ingredients with the side of sour cream, pico de gallo and shredded cheddar cheese was simply wonderful. Our second entrée was a combination platter – a burrito (chicken), an enchilada (also chicken) and a chile relleno. This entrée came with a side of rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream and pico. A definitely worthwhile selection, especially for those who can’t make up their mind which item on the restaurant’s long menu looks most appetizing. All were very good.

Dessert was amazing. We went for their daily special, which was a warm almond bread pudding with vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream and coconut shavings. This is not on their standard menu.

The service couldn’t have been more friendly and more efficient without being intrusive. We wish we could remember our waiter’s name, but it looked like all the staff at Tequila Grande was equally great.

We can’t wait to return.















Saturday, December 21, 2013

Amoo’s House of Kebab - Wholesome Persian Food - McLean, Va - Revisited


6271 Old Dominion Dr.
McLean VA 22101 (703) 448-8500



There’s nothing certain in life but death, taxes, AND a great meal at Amoo’s House of Kebab.   So good in fact, that we’re revisiting our earlier posting to update on our experience and reinforce the notion that if you’re seeking great Persian food in Northern Virginia, look no further than Amoo’s. 



We’re not going to run the reader through the many great details of this family run Middle Eastern gem, so please refer to our earlier post on Amoo’s.  We would not be doing justice in describing our most recent visit without first mentioning the charismatic and enthusiastic host, Sebastian.  The owner’s son has the perfect mix of attentive hospitality and boundless energy that speaking with him for a few minutes proves that he is the hub of a family who thoroughly enjoy serving their food from their part of the world to their diners.  For such a young man, he understands the needs of his customers and is willing to stretch the typical kebab house with a more eclectic and energetic vibe.   



So lets get to the meal.  We started by sharing an Ash (pronounced “Ahhsh”) Soup.  Words cannot describe this amazing dish.  Served in a homemade restaurant-baked sourdough bread boule, this wonderful mix of beans, mint, yogurt, and countless other ingredients, was so plentiful, we used the remainder of the bread throughout the rest of the meal.  Sebastian highly recommended the soup and on a cold winter’s day was the perfect beginning to the meal.  We shared the soup--and that was a good thing because if ordered for one, there would be no room left for an entrée.  After the Ash, we were served two different skewered chicken dishes.   Elena had the Tandoori Chicken, a skewer of chicken cooked in a jalapeño marinade.  Bill had a Chicken Breast Fillet.  Both were served with saffron rice and grilled tomatoes.  Elena also ordered a side of Mast-o-Mousir, a creamy yogurt blended with minced shallots and seasoning - the perfect condiment for these chicken dishes.

 

The soup was so filling, we were able to take home and enjoy half our entrées the next day.  This blog continues to highly recommend Amoo’s over its abundant competitors.  We will surely be returning soon.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Restaurant hygiene study across 10 U.S. states - frightening results

This is scary.  Although testing was not done in the DC metro area, the results of this 10-state study are reason enough to think twice about eating out...  62% of Restaurant Workers Don't Wash Their Hands After Handling Raw Beef.... and vegetarians aren't safe either.  As frequent restaurant patrons, we know that most restaurants take excellent precautions to ensure food is healthy and handling is safe, but nonetheless as a consumer it's important to be vigilant.  The restaurant industry as a whole is highly responsible, it's the few offenders that "spoil the soup."

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/restaurant-food-poisoning-bacteria

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Viet Royale - Vietnamese Restaurant - Falls Church, VA


6767 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044
(703) 533-8388


(This restaurant does not seem to have a website.  If you would like to see the menu, go to Northern Virginia Magazine)

If this were not a blog about our dining experiences in local area restaurants, we could do a better job adhering to the age-old good advice “if you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all.” In the case of Viet Royale, we would be all mum. But this is a forum where we offer to readers our views, and as we have done on numerous occasions in this blog, we can only relay our own experiences, so here goes.

Viet Royale is located inside the famous Eden Center, which is the Vietnamese community’s dining hub in Falls Church. Apparently, this particular restaurant has been around for 20 years and in 2007 band 2008 even made it to the Washingtonian Magazine several times. Maybe something has changed since then, or maybe we just went on a bad night. Granted, it was very crowded, so we may be in the minority of not having had a good experience.
 

We called in advance to reserve a table for the time we planned to arrive, but were told they only reserve on the half-hour. When we arrived at the time we planned, which was 6:45pm, the 5 of us were seated at a huge round table that would have comfortably sat 12 people. Requests for a smaller table were futile. The man told us that had we told them we were coming earlier he would have made the table available earlier. Duh!!!

Our order was messed up so many times that we lost count. Almost every person in our party had something wrong with their order. We kept having to ask for our water to be refilled every single time. We were then charged for a dish that was never even brought out! Good thing someone in our party caught the mistake, since the bill was all in Vietnamese. It was indeed a busy night at the restaurant, so we can understand that the staff was running around, but we just felt unwelcomed.

Warning to anyone who likes spicy dishes – the dishes they call spicy in this restaurant are definitely not. But they were not even mild, they were bland.

We really think that if we had ordered the Pho we would have been less disappointed with the food, but we will not return to Viet Royale to find out. There are lots of other great Vietnamese restaurants in this area where we would rather go. This place was a “royale” disappointment.





Friday, November 22, 2013

21 Awesome McDonald's Dishes That You Can't Get In America

Although I rarely eat in McDonald's in the U.S., when I travel abroad I sometimes visit McDonald's.  Usually in other countries, particularly so-called transitional or developing economies, where I usually travel, places like TGI Friday's or McDonald's offer a familiar American environment for me.  These restaurants are dependably clean and friendly, and give me a chance to watch local families enjoying a meal together in an American chain establishment.  Also, it's fun to see what the different sandwiches are called in the local language and whether there is any food that is tailored to the local tastes.  This is why I found this link particularly interesting - https://socialreader.com/me/content/lVWLz?chid=27443&_p=trending&utm_source=wp&utm_medium=Widgets&utm_campaign=wpsrTrendingExternal-1-opt





Thursday, November 7, 2013

Artisans Grill

2 East Main Street
Luray, Virginia 22835
540-743-7030

http://www.artisansgrill.com/








After years of searching for a decent place for lunch near Luray caverns in beautiful Shenandoah Valley, we are glad to report that we found it!  ArtisansGrill is a low-key sandwich place with two dining floors where wait staff rush around to accommodate the constant buzz of customers. This is a popular destination on the otherwise desolate (at least it was desolate Saturday afternoon) old-city intersection of Main and Broad Streets, about a 3-minute drive from the caverns.  Prices are cheap, for us Washington metro area dwellers, and the sandwiches are just the perfect size, especially for those who worked up an appetite at the hour-long tour of the magnificent Luray caverns.  My friend and I both ordered turkey sandwiches that came with a reasonable assortment of toppings and sides.  Parking was pretty easy to find, again a novelty for visitors from the DC metro area.  For those who are interested, they serve a nice variety of Virginia wine.  While Artisans Grill offers nothing fancy or out of the ordinary in terms of cuisine or ambience, it is a good wholesome diner that hits the spot.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Someone who shops at Tysons knows this area all too well!!

 
Some great restaurants along Rte. 7 (a.k.a. Leesburg Pike, a.k.a. Broad Street), but during the Silver Line construction period, which seems to be endless and messy, this driver's sentiments certainly resonate with many!!
 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Choyhona Authentic Uzbek Restaurant, Gaithersburg, MD

28 Bureau Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 330-5262

From the outset, we have to say that this place is definitely worth a visit. If you are not familiar with Central Asian or particularly Uzbek cuisine, don’t worry. Take our recommendations on the menu selections and you will not be disappointed. You must have an open mind and an adventurous palate. Even for those of us who have traveled to Uzbekistan and Central Asia many times, this food was as authentic as you can get, and it saves a 20-hour flight each way with two layovers!


We don’t often venture across the state border into Maryland, but when we got a tip from a friend about how great the food is at Choyhona Authentic Uzbek Restaurant in Gaithersburg, and when we read on yelp that it has only been open 17 days, we just had to try it. And we were not disappointed. Even those of our friends who were skeptical at first, came around after the first course was served.

For those who want to know, “Choy” means “tea” and “hona” means “hall,” so Choyhona means literally Teahall, but in actuality means “restaurant” in Uzbek and Tajik languages. As one drives across Central Asia, one can see many “choyhonas” along the way, particularly along some of the larger roads, for travelers to stop and rest over a small teapot of black or green tea, have a good solid meal, and chat with others about the goings on of that community. Local families go to choyhonas to have a reliably good homecooked meal.

The owners of this new establishment hail from Samarkand, an ancient city on what was

known as The Silk Road centuries ago, that served as a bustling trade and transport corridor of all things that were basic necessities of life, but also wonderfully exotic, beautiful and delicious. Food preparation in this part has remained a very important tradition. The Uzbeks historically were a tribe of “settlers,” unlike some of their neighboring tribes who were “nomads,” such as the Kyrgyz and Kazakh people. Now all these tribes have become sovereign nations with their own geographical borders and continue their best ancient traditions in modern times.

Samarkand, considered a Tajik city in Uzbekistan because of the large Tajik population and many preservations of Tajik customs, is a peaceful, mysterious, beautiful and special place in the world, seldom visited by tourists in modern times. Registan Square is the most famous, ancient and well-preserved spot in Samarkand, a Muslim city, where Muslims, Jews and Christians have truly lived peacefully side by side since time began. If you come to this restaurant you will see some depictions of Samarkand on the walls painted on hide, as well as some beautifully embroidered fabrics typical of its ancient traditions. The china here – plates, cups and teapots – are also of typical Uzbek white and blue pattern. It is truly a small trip into Uzbekistan without the jetlag and the TSA.
 

We started our meal with salads and soups. The “Tashkent” salad (named after the capital of Uzbekistan) reminded us of the sopska salad served in the Balkans, made of sliced tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, and onions with a healthy dose of feta cheese on top. The “Lagman” soup was made with homemade egg noodles, beef (although traditionally in Central Asia it is made with horse meat), what looked like green beans (Choyhona’s chef’s tasty invention) in a red spicy sauce. This was prepared in an authentic way, which means it is rather oily, but delicious. We also had a dish of pickled herring and wonderfully prepared potatoes, which was the Russian influence on Uzbek cuisine, and
deliciously prepared at this restaurant. Another wonderful surprise was the Khonim, which was a steamed layered dumpling with beef and a bit of dill, served with sour cream. We also ordered a side of regular French Fries. Although they came out at the very end of our meal, they were friend to perfection and served with a salsa-like home-made spicy dip, which was great, but they also had a bottle of Heinz ketchup on hand. The only disappointment was the bread / naan / “lepioshka,” which was very dry, clearly overbaked, and bland.

Now for the entrees. A must-have is the plov, a Central Asian rice dish, which takes a full work day to cook in a large iron kettle. Although traditionally made with lamb, the more palatable meat for Americans is beef, so here it is made with beef, and it is delicious. Thinly
sliced carrots, raisins and garbanzo beans add terrific flavor and texture. Plov must be eaten with a salad called “shakarap,” made of sliced tomatoes and onions, which can be ordered here as a side, and must be eaten together with plov, we cannot stress that enough. The fried pelmeni (also a Russian menu influence) sprinkled with dill were absolutely scrumptious. Ask for sour cream, which will complement ­the pelmeni.

Not to be missed is the assortment of kebabs. We ordered the salmon kebabs, the shrimp kebabs, and the liver kebabs. Very reasonable prices, which is why we ordered such a large variety. All were grilled and seasoned to utmost perfection. A little squirt of the lemon made them heavenly. Our stomachs seemed to have been transformed into a bottomless abyss because although we all were full after the second course, the deliciousness of the next wave of portions made us unable to stop eating. Yes, this is dangerous, but oh, so good!

There was a large party in the restaurant celebrating a couple’s 10-year anniversary. As the restaurant is a “hall,” basically one large room, the festivities of the party, particularly of the half a dozen toddlers playing loudly with toys on the beautifully-ornate floor rugs, was somewhat distracting. We wish that when we made reservations, we had been told about this. But on the other hand, this is clearly a family-oriented restaurant, where families are welcome, and this is a good thing.

Choyhona is situated in a Giant plaza, and can be easily passed over in favor of those restaurants that are more familiar, such as the Subway next door, the Asian buffet across the lot, or any of the other fast-food establishments in the area. Choyhona is definitely not fast food—it is slow-cooked goodness that is worth a visit! 


And by the way, if you're wondering what to order for a gastronomic feast, here are more tips http://www.buzzfeed.com/dianabruk/delicious-uzbek-dishes-you-need-to-try-immediately.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

50 Best Restaurants 2013

Even more of our favorite restaurant picks in 2013 than in previous years! Glad to see we're on the same wavelength with the rest of Northern Virginia! Thanks to Northern Virginia Magazine for putting together the list. Many of our faves are on the list, like Haandi,Tachibana, Peking Gourmet Inn, Anita's, Clyde's, Ray's Hell Burger, Honey Pig, and more.... Way to go!!

See all the restaurants here: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/best-of-nova-2013-food-drink/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

50 Best Restaurants 2012

Some good picks here, definitely worth exploring for those with an adventurous palette.  Very glad to see two of our absolute favorite ethnic dives Meaza and Tachibana are on this list. Well-deserved!  Missed some other gems in the area, but....  maybe next time.....

http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/food-and-wine/trending-food-and-wine/2012/11/20/50-best-restaurants/

27 Arlington Restaurants Welcome “Doggie Diners”

27 Arlington Restaurants Welcome “Doggie Diners”

(Bill & Elena: From time to time we post articles from other reputable blogs / publications that we think are useful to our readers, such as this one, and of course always give credit where credit is due.)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Twenty-seven Arlington restaurants that have met the County’s health and safety conditions, and received a variance, now allow “doggie dining” in designated outdoor areas.

“Arlington’s restaurant dining culture is fun, festive and increasingly, includes outdoor seating,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “Arlingtonians love eating in our great restaurants. Now, those who own dogs, and who take appropriate precautions, have the option of bringing their pets along when they dine at restaurants that meet all the requirements and have obtained a variance.”

Any restaurant with an appropriate outdoor seating area may apply for a variance. Restaurants that receive a variance must agree to comply with conditions designed to minimize risks to the dining public’s health and safety, including:

- Signs must clearly mark which tables are “dog-friendly”
- Outdoor dining area must be accessible from a separate entrance, to ensure that pets do not enter through the indoor area
- Tables may not be pre-set with cutlery, glasses, or plates, but must be set only diners are seated
- Food may not be prepared in the outdoor dining area – only served there
- Incidents must be promptly reported
- Dogs that are disruptive or in poor health must be excluded by restaurant staff
- Dogs are not allowed on chairs, seats, benches, or tables, and must be on a leash and under control of an adult at all times.

If you have questions about this information, please call (703) 228-7400 or email them to ehealth@arlingtonva.us.

Restaurants with Variance for “Doggie Dining” (updated August 2013) :
- American Seafood
- Arlington Capital View Renaissance & Residence Inn
- Arlington Capital View Renaissance - Illy
- Asia Bistro
- California Pizza Kitchen
- California Tortilla (Crystal City)
- Chasin’ Tails
- Elevation Burger
- Faccia Luna
- House of Steep
- Jay's Saloon & Grille
- La Côte D’Or Café
- Lyon Hall
- Mexicali Blues Restaurant & Bar
- Nando’s Peri Peri
- Rappahannock Coffee
- Rhodeside Grill
- Rockland BBQ and Grill
- Saigon Saigon
- Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub
- Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant
- Thai at Corner Restaurant
- THAI Shirlington
- The Green Turtle
- The Liberty Tavern
- William Jeffrey’s Tavern
- World of Beer

To read the entire article go to the Arlington County website here: http://news.arlingtonva.us/releases/27-arlington-restaurants-welcome-doggie-diners

Restaurant Tips for Diabetics (Part 2)



Restaurant Tips if you have Diabetes (Part 2)
by Roberta Kleinman, RN, M.Ed., CDE September 4, 2013

In continuation from last week's newsletter I wanted to add more useful restaurant tips. If you plan ahead, think of reasonable food choices prior to arriving at the restaurant and you and your diabetes will be pleased with your dining experience.

We are all human; try to enjoy the meal as a social experience without feeling guilty or deprived. Remember, if you do mess up one time, immediately recognize that you should and can return to healthier eating at the next meal.

Consider the way the food is prepared. Try raw, broiled, baked, steamed, grilled or sautéed. Stay away from fried foods as much as possible. Ask for food to be sautéed in olive oil instead of butter. Ask for sauces on the side and dip instead of having the food smothered.

For breakfast, substitute egg beaters or egg whites if you have high cholesterol, and eat only 3 regular egg yolks a week. Order grits or oatmeal instead of hash browns. Replace bacon with Canadian bacon or turkey bacon and eat only occasionally. Use sugar free or fruit only jam on your bread. Use sugar free syrup on waffles or pancakes (these sugar free products may cause gastric distress, so watch portion amounts). They usually keep it on the side. Skip the bagel which counts as 4 servings of a carbohydrate. Eat whole grain, rye, sourdough or pumpernickel bread.

Order skinless chicken to avoid eating the skin. Ask for steaks to be grilled without butter or heavy sauces. See if they can trim the fat off the meat before it is cooked and served to you. Include 3 fatty-fish meals a week and try not to order farm raised fish.

Continue reading...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

iThai (Revisited), Vienna, VA


8607 Westwood Center Dr.
Vienna, VA 22182
(703) 975-8785


Still a pleasant surprise! We LOVED it then and we still LOVE it now. iThai remains a simple, affordable, no-nonsense, convenient, and most of all great tasting Thai restaurant. Can't beat their savory Num Tok and delicious Drunken Noodles.


With great happy hour offerings, cozy atmosphere, and convenient location (just behind the new Wal-Mart in Tysons, if you have not tried iThai yet, what are you waiting for?

Anita's New Style Mexican Food

521 E Maple Ave
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 255-1001

Always a low-key, pleasant and cheerful dining experience at
Anita's New Mexico Style Mexican food in Vienna. Their complimentary chips and salsa are addictive! Our meal usually begins with an order of Gringo Nachos. Chicken fajitas do not come out on a sizzling plate, which is great because you don't go home smelling like a smoky kitchen. Their new Taco Mexicano Combo is fantastic, definitely worth a try! We have come here many times by ourselves, with friends and with family. We've tried their breakfast, lunch, dinner, and margaritas. All are wonderful. If you want fancy, this is not the place. But if you want good simple food with a consistently great service, we definitely recommend Anita's in Vienna.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Restaurant Tips for Diabetics (Part 1)

Restaurant Tips if you Have Diabetes (Part 1)
by Roberta Kleinman, RN, M.Ed., CDE

August 28, 2013

There are many retirees living with diabetes in South Florida where I educate people in a self management program; a big proportion of them spend a majority of their time eating out in restaurants. They admit that eating out is a luxury, but after spending years raising young families they have disconnected from the kitchen and are willing to spend money for food.

Eating out can be a very social experience and often they live in communities where restaurants are readily available. I actually teach a couple who only make coffee in their kitchen and eat out for every meal! The husband always jokes that they should make the kitchen into an extra closet or large plant box. Surely this is very unusual, but I would like to share some restaurant tips with you that I frequently share with my patients.


Before you head out the door, search on-line for restaurant reviews and menus. Many restaurants, especially the chains, offer full menus with nutritional information (calorie/sodium/carbohydrate counts) as well as portion sizes. Be prepared before you go so you can make healthy choices. Take home printed copies of the menu to be ready for the next trip.Avoid buffets as often as possible. Although it sounds great economically, having too many choices with "as much as you can eat" can be dangerous for anyone - even more if you have diabetes. Calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates pile up and you think you are "just tasting everything."
Continue reading...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Taco Bamba Taqueria, Falls Church, VA

2190 Pimmit Drive
Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 639-0505

The best part of the Taco Bamba experience was its location.  You know you’re in America when you park in a strip mall with a host of international variety.  Nestled between a Karate Studio, a Latin Market, a Persian Bakery (run by Armenians), a Neo-classic French restaurant, and a dive bar with a host of smokers chatting it up outside, you’ll find Taco Bamba.   That’s pretty much where the intrigue ends.  

We seek out restaurants through a wide variety of means—word of mouth, just passing by, Groupon and Specialicious ads, Restaurant Week promotions, and other reviewers.  This visit to Taco Bamba was a result of the latter.  Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post reviewed Taco Bamba a few weeks ago and gave it a good rating (2 out of 4 stars).  We think that’s a bit of a stretch.  1½ at best. 

The menu is pretty much a la carte.  Mr. Sietsema does a great job of explaining the menu, so we wount venture too far from our experience here.  We ordered 5 tacos total:  Chorizo, 2 chicken, shrimp, fish.  The authentic nature of a dual-shelled corn taco made them reminiscent of a visit to Mexico.  We tried the guacamole based on the Post suggestion and yes, the grilled avocado does make a difference.  For desert we tried the rice pudding. 

There seemed to be a disconnect between the order taker at the register and the chef.  Our orders came out in separate plates at separate times and thank goodness it was not crowded at the time or everything would have been difficult to track.  There are two patio-style metal tables with a few chairs each outside the restaurant.  A small dining “bar” can accommodate dining singles, but perhaps the best bet here is to take your tacos to go.  Even though the tables are around the corner from the bar and its host of smokers yapping it up, it was close enough to smell/hear their rambunctious conversations.

On the bright side, there is a salsa to address the full array of flavors and spices found in Latino culture.

It was pretty cool to have some tacos, stop off at the Latino market, pass kids in their karate garb as we walk by the Dojo, and stop to chat with the nice Armenian Iranian bakers all made an interesting international experience in Falls Church.  Bottom line:  skip past Taco Bamba, say hi to the bakers, and pick up your chorizo at the Latino market and make your tacos yourself.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

El Paso Mexican Restaurant, Springfield, VA



El Paso Mexican Restaurant
6804 Commerce St
Springfield, VA 22150
703-912-6166

Colorful décor at El Paso
Is there such a thing as “authentic” Mexican food in the NoVA area?  Depends.  With the DC dining scene mostly inspired from all of Latin America, “authentic” can have Argentinian, El Salvadorian, Ecuadorian, Columbian, and Peruvian (to name a few) influences.  On the flip side, Mexican food influenced by the southwest US (Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico) brings its own differences to the palate.  El Paso seems to get its inspiration from the latter with a straight-forward menu and décor more geared towards the TexMex palate but leans towards a more northern Mexican direction with traditional Mexican fare found somewhere north of Mexico City. 

On a mid-day Saturday we went to El Paso for lunch—we were pleasantly surprised they
Chips and Salsa
were still serving breakfast so our lunch experience turned into brunch (which by the way is “brunch” in Spanish).  El Paso serves brunch from 11am to 1pm.  This restaurant is not your typical “sombrero here, blanket there” type of décor.  The colors hit you like a huracán in Acapulco.  Bright, cheery, latin, clean, almost over-the-top, but certainly tasteful and above par for the average NoVA restaurant.  Our combinación de desayuno y almuerzo experience began with the traditional no-frills chips and salsa.  An empty molcajete (Spanish mortar) arrived with a small carafe of pour your own salsa and a smile from a very friendly server. 

Breakfast Quesadilla
We scanned the basic menu and focused on the breakfast offerings.  We ordered the breakfast quesadilla and the Migas Estilo Michoacan.  Each was prepared well, and was generous in size.  The great service ensured that our beverages, chips and salsa were kept full.

All-in-all, El Paso set a standard for traditional Mexican fare
Migas Estilo Michoacan
that we will soon and surely return to in the not-too-distant future to try (maybe for cena?).  FYI, military, firefighters and police receive 15% off their bill, but you have to ask for it to get it.