Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.


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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sweet Rice - Thai Cuisine - Falls Church, VA


1113 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA
(703) 241-8582

Don’t blink when you’re driving down Rt 7 on the east side of Falls Church City or you’ll miss Sweet Rice.  Hidden in a small 2-store building on Main St in Falls Church City next to a bakery and across from the Giant/Staples strip mall is a bit of a hidden gem.  A small, clean, and comfortable restaurant which was not too busy the night we visited.  An added benefit is that Sweet Rice is a very local place for us and we’ve eaten there before.  The d├ęcor is borderline sparse, but it’s the food that drew us back, not the orient-themed vases, prints, and plants.  This was our second time dining there, and Sweet Rice did not disappoint.  The staff was friendly and courteous and the food was tasty.



Have a favorite Thai dish that’s not on the menu?  No worries.  If Sweet Rice chefs know the recipe they’ll make it for you.  Elena loves Num-Tuk and did not see on the menu.  Not only did they make it for her, but made it with non-traditional ingredients like chicken instead of the traditional beef.  Needless to say, it is TREMENDOUS!

Our favorites at Sweet Rice start with a few appetizers including the unique Blanky Shrimp, 5 large shrimp wrapped in an egg noodle and deep fried served with sweet sour sauce.  Entrees included the Nua Ka Ta, a sizzling platter of marinated beef flank stir-fried in sesame oil and served with pickled vegetables and the stand-by Chicken with Cashews.


We’ve never had a bad experience at Sweet Rice.  One time we had a wonderful evening with friends, other times as a couple.  Each time it’s a new experience in eating some great Thai food. Bottom line, if a good close location adds to the overall appreciation of a restaurant, then this place gets a few extra notches.  Since its close, we are excited about returning there for more great meals and wonderful service.   


We recently heard that Sweet Rice has updated their wine list, so definitely worth going back for a visit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Curry Mantra 2, Falls Chuch, VA



*** CLOSED AS OF OCTOBER 2014 ***

1077 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 992-0077

I love Indian food and I can honestly say that this is not only the worst Indian food that I have ever had, but also the weirdest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.   On top of it, the service is also so weirdly bad that I just can’t understand why Tom Sietsema, or anyone else for that matter, would like it.  But what do I know?  And by the way, just for the record, Bill, who is not a big fan of Indian food, but supports me whenever I have a craving (which is all the time), didn’t hate this restaurant as much as I did.  So, there you go.  Lovers of Indian food – AVOID. 



The strangest thing about this restaurant is that they serve dishes on top of dishes.  I don’t know how to explain this because not only is it extremely inconvenient to eat the food, it is also highly likely to be unsanitary.  I am not implying that Curry Mantra 2 practices poor hygiene, but what I am saying is that I don’t want dishes touched by people’s hands, no matter how clean, to touch my food directly on the plate.  There is just no reason for it.  Nonetheless, this is oddly how Curry Mantra 2 (never been to Curry Mantra 1) chooses to serve its food.  I’m sure they think that it is a cool nouveau culinary presentation, but it is just disgusting.  You can see in the photo what I am talking about.  If that doesn’t gross you out, more power to you, this is the place for you.



Secondly.  Forget any concept of feng shui here.  All the dishes and the tables are square.  There is nothing wrong with that per se, except for the fact that half of the tables are arranged askew, while half are perfectly straight.  The plates are also arranged askew on the table.  I am not going to describe to you the shape of everything else in the restaurant, e.g. the dining hall itself, which is rectangular, the rectangular open kitchen, the rectangular eating booths along the wall, etc.  Suffice it to say that being cramped in a rather small dining hall with sharp corners randomly-selected askewly-positioned square tables with the additional odd placing of square dishes at strange angles on top of one another is enough to make one seasick. 


Once your chi has been sufficiently disturbed, and the clueless waiters finally bring the food to the table, you may realize that this is the blandest, least tasteful food, mind you INDIAN food that you have ever had.  Bland and boring.  We got 3 appetizers and each of them had a green sauce on one side and a red sauce on the other.  Exactly the same for all three appetizers.  Not very creative or interesting on the variety front.  The couple times that we ate here, there were other patrons in the restaurant, so clearly there are people out there that eat this food and somehow tolerate the restaurant layout.  I have no idea how many of these are there for the first time or, like us, giving the place a second chance with the hope that we just had a bad experience once.  But apparently, they are opening a Curry Mantra 3 somewhere nearby, so seems that I am in the minority. 



Nonetheless, here’s another whammer -- the price for this “wonderful” experience is pretty high and definitely not worth it.  You’d think that paying almost $20 for a chicken biryani would at least motivate the otherwise useless wait staff to help you out by putting the leftovers into the Styrofoam container as a nice service for the customer.  Think again.  Even in restaurants where entrees cost half as much as here and are twice as tasty, the waiters do that for you.  But not here.  You’re on your own baby.

 

All in all, you may have surmised from this write-up that there is no way in hell we’re ever coming back to this restaurant.  For really good Indian food with excellent service and pleasant ambiance, our choice will continue to be Haandi, which is right across the street from Curry Mantra 2 in the Giant shopping mall on West Broad Street in Falls Church.