Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fava Pot - Egyptian, Middle Eastern Food - Falls Church, VA

7393 D Lee Highway
Falls Church, VA 22042
Telephone: (703) 204-0609

To sum it up: Run, don't walk, to Fava Pot.

We won't mince words here. We loved everything about Fava Pot. There are at least NINE, yes, 9, great things about Fava Pot just off the tops of our heads that we wanted to share with you. We could probably think of at least one more to make it a 10, but by the time you finish reading this review, you could have been already in the car on your way to the restaurant. Besides, we wanted to give you a chance to think of what possibly we missed and to suggest a Number 10.

Here they are, not necessarily in ranked order:

1) Great food. A wide menu selection with an extensive variety of sides and appetizers that are sure to please everyone's taste buds. ALL FOOD IS MADE FROM SCRATCH in the kitchen, according to the owner, Dina Daniel. Vegetarians and vegans, as well as carnivores, can find delicious plentiful options. The portions are healthy, ample and filling. Fava Pot serves all three meals of the day - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We came here on a sunny June Sunday for a late lunch. 

OH, by the way, ONE IMPORTANT NOTE ON BAKLAVA. While there are five great desserts available at Fava Pot to choose from, we noticed the traditional Baklava is not an option. This is because everything at Fava Pot is made in its very own kitchen and since Baklava isn't made there, it isn't sold there. That's A-OK with us, since there are more than enough other delicious desserts.

 Appetizer / Starter of three side dishes selected by you.  There are 15 options to choose from! We selected the Baba Ghanoush, which was a little on the sweet side, the Spicy Feta Cheese, which had a slight kick, not very spicy, and the tangy mild Tzatziki, all sprinkled with olive oil and adorned with pomegranate seeds and all delicious. Served with a basket of freshly-baked pita bread. 

 This drink is not to be missed, especially on a hot summer day - Iced Mint Lemonade, the owner's creation. Its minty sweet freshly-prepared taste leaves you quenched and refreshed. 

 We both got the Chicken Kabob Platter. The chunky kebob pieces came accompanied by a Spring mix salad with marinated red onions, roasted potatoes (options are either Egyptian Rice or Roasted Potatoes), half of a hearty pita bread and a dollop of a fabulously strong garlic sauce on the side. Those who are salt-conscious may find the Chicken Kabob a bit on the salty side, but when coupled with the Tzaziki or the Pita, the combination is perfect.

 The pita deserves its own mention. It is a hearty thick bread made from a mixture of wheat and white flour with a healthy layer of baked-on grains. Use it to scoop, to dip, or to open up and use as a pocket to stuff a bit of everything into one bite. It is definitely not flimsy and will not fall apart. Wow.

Since Fava Pot is famous for its roasted potatoes, per Dina, we chose this side with our Chicken Kabob, and were certainly not disappointed. Perfectly seasoned and roasted, these are excellent.

2) Great location. The Shops at West Falls Church is a great location: Easy to navigate, easy to park and can get some errands done while there, such as grocery shopping at Safeway or pick up some treats for your pooch at Petco. 

 The Shops at West Falls Church at the intersection of Lee Highway and South West Street.

 Fava Pot is a stand-alone single-story restaurant. 

3) Dina the owner. Is wonderful. Period. Some of our neighbors raved about the restaurant on our neighborhood's Nextdoor.com page, as well as about Dina's welcoming friendly personality, but meeting her in-person is truly a treat. Not only does her down-to-earth spirit form the foundation for her solidly appealing culinary creations, it also permeates throughout the restaurant's atmosphere in its cheerful staff and the satisfied returning clientele. You cannot help but catch her positive dynamic energy and carry it with you for the rest of the day. Brava, Dina.

4) Falafel ... THE BEAGLE! Those eyes! Those ears! Other than our very own most beloved beagle, this is probably the cutest beagle ever. Falafel is 4 years old and tries to be on his best behavior. Best behavior is not always easy with so many delicious smells and adoring fans around, but make no bones about it, Falafel is an intrinsic delight in this establishment. He is Dina's envoy to the patio, may be one way of looking at it. We loved him as much as the food, or maybe even more. Hands down... we will only sit on the patio so we can hang out with Falafel.

5) The story.  Truly inspirational success story. Well-loved Food Truck transitions to a Brick and Mortar neighborhood restaurant. We love stories like this, and there are many. American Dream. Immigrant Dream. Female entrepreneur starts a tiny food business and transforms it into a popular neighborhood restaurant gathering spot, creating jobs and offering a taste of her previous home to her new community. Culinary Diplomacy at its best. 

Fava Pot - Culinary Diplomacy

6) The setting. Fava Pot serves typical Egyptian / Middle Eastern food, but it is not what we would call an ethnic dive, a term that may well be on its way out, anyway. It stands as a stand-alone single-story eatery with large windows, a nice-size L-shaped dining hall and a sizable outdoor open canopied patio that faces the parking lot and the other stores in the shopping center. The setting is bright and clean. Murals with faces of famous Egyptians, some we know, some we don't, grace the walls. 

7) The customers. For privacy reasons we are not posting photos of the families, friends, couples, etc. who were dining in the restaurant and on the patio, or the constant stream of carry-outs in large paper bags. We will also not post photos of customers standing in the fast-moving line to order food, which is brought out to the table quickly by friendly and efficient staff, or sometimes even Dina herself, with a bright smile. We just wanted to note the relaxed, pleasant, casual atmosphere that permeates to and through the patrons.

8) Prices. Prices are a bargain, especially considering the generous portions of delicious food in a friendly vibrant clean setting. It's no wonder that the Washingtonian magazine has listed Fava Pot both in the "Cheap Eats" category and also in the category of Washington D.C.'s 100 Very Best Restaurants of 2019

9) Values. Being successful is admirable in its own right. Translating success into improving the lives of marginalized young children is transformational. Fava Pot donates a portion of its profits to improving the lives of Coptic orphaned children back in Egypt and toward helping improve literacy among girls and women in areas of the world were women are regarded as second-class-citizens. This is a new program launched by Dina as a result of her passion for helping these marginalized groups after having worked with them in the past. In this way, Fava Pot does not stop at good food. Its values reach back into the corners of the owner's former community, connecting Fava Pot customers to great causes on the other side of the world.

Can you come up with a 10th reason to love Fava Pot? Or is nine enough? ;) Please feel free to post in comments on this website or in social media. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Rango's Tex-Mex Bar & Grill in Vienna, Virginia (Tysons Corner...errrr Tysons area)

1934 Old Gallows Rd, Vienna, VA 22182
Tel: (571) 282-3054

Newcomer to the Tysons area, Rango's opened this week to some growing pains. Its website is finally up, though without prices -- a restaurant trend that does not sit well with us. Rango's replaced the short-lived mediocre Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar in the Nordstrom Rack / BJ's Brewhouse Plaza. We were glad to see a new Tex-Mex restaurant in Tysons fill the temporary Tex-Mex void left by the abrupt uprooting of Chili's and On The Border

Right off the bat we'll be upfront and say that the welcoming atmosphere and accommodating staff more than compensated for the bland, uninspiring dishes.

We believe in Rango's potential to step-up their kitchen creations, as the experienced owners are known in our area for running the long-time well-loved local chain Guapo's with roots in Fairfax County dating back to the 1970s. This new endeavor in the quickly urbanizing Tysons (known to most of us as Tysons Corner) has a large physical footprint, ready to seat hundreds of hungry eaters. There is a tortilla-making station inside the dining hall and a large outdoor patio seating area, which is likely to be in high demand as soon as the snow melts. 

We came here for dinner on a Saturday night the day after they opened in the first week of February. The staff was numerous, smiling, and friendly. The restaurant's orange walls, low mood lighting, soft Mexican music and dark wood furniture gave it a warm feel, balanced by the large windows that let in ample light. It seemed open and clean, even though one of the black cloth napkins on our table had some dried food stains when unrolled, it did look like it had been through a wash. The silverware was shiny. The large tray-like plastic plates were quite overbearing and the average food portions were spread thin on these large serving dishes.

Chips and salsa arrived at our table immediately. Disappointingly, chips were thin and broke easily when dipped in the salsa. The salsa was watery and humdrum at best, akin to red water with some diced floating tomatoes and onions. We asked for some hot sauce, which arrived quickly in a small ramekin with a warning from the waiter that it was very spicy. It was not. It was the only thing on the table that actually offered some flavor.

The Ceviche ($13.95) on the menu was a full appetizer portion, but since only one of us wanted it, we asked if they could give us a half order. Our request was cheerfully accommodated, which we appreciated, and we were charged for a half-order ($7.00). The shrimp, flounder, calamari, scallop mixture was disappointingly under-marinated. Despite squeezing over the fish the entire half of the juicy lemon almost down to the pulp, it was equivalent to chewing on rubber balls both in flavor and texture. Sadly, the thinly sliced red onions lacked any punch whatsoever. This was unfortunate, because a good ceviche with tang and personality would be sure to set an exciting tone for the rest of the meal. However, this is where our disappointments continued. 

We also ordered the Cheese Nacho appetizer platter ($9.95) that arrived on one of their overbearingly large tray-like plates with a mere eight paper thin flat chips topped by a thin layer of cheese, laying on a thin layer of re-fried bean puree. It was accompanied by a small bowl of guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, pico de gallo, and 4 fresh jalapenos. At $1.25 per chip, this was barely a bargain. Moreover, the jalapenos were not only chalk bland, they were also ice-cold, while the lettuce was warm and limp, leaving us to question whether the chef pays any attention to the plates before they exit the kitchen.

Shortly, our entrees arrived, and they were not any more inspiring. Served on the same huge plates where the food is spread wide and thin, in our opinion, the portions seemed rather average in size, if not smaller than average.

Prior to placing our entree plates on the table, the server moved the salsa bowls and seeing some salsa spilled on the table, rather than wiping it, placed the dishes right on top of the tomato pieces. Not the most palatable thing to see. It wasn't until after we were done eating that the bus boy came over and wipe the table before bringing us the check. Attentiveness to details like wiping food remnants off the table in-between courses would have been reassuring, but was missing.

Now where were we... back to the entrees.  

The Chicken Enchiladas ($11.95) were dry and bland. Both the very dark pulled chicken meat and the tortillas were so dry that not even a full helping of the green "spicy" (not spicy at all) sauce and the salsa were able to salvage it. Lettuce was warm and limp, and the pico.... oh the tragic pico that usually adds a savory delicious blast of flavor, well.... at Rango's it was lukewarm, bland and barely noticeable..... 

The Beef Chimichanga ($11.95) did hit slightly above the (low) bar with its smoky flavor and relatively tasty meat. The ground beef was better seasoned than the Chicken Enchiladas and the tortilla was crispy, not dry.  The shell kept its shape when cut into, as opposed to being too mushy or too crunchy that it would splinter into pieces.

While in our opinion the food is bland and unpalatable, we heard a lady, who was obviously a friend of the staff and the owner, at a nearby table, comment that the salsa was too spicy for her. Along the same lines, our neighbors on Nextdoor.com raved about the size of the portions, which we found to be quite average, or smaller in size than average. Neighbors also commented about the "succulent" food, which we found to be quite under-flavored. Goes to confirm that everyone has different taste buds and different strokes for different folks.

The positive side of Rango's is its wonderfully welcoming, pleasant, friendly and upbeat staff.  The owner also came around checking on the patrons and asking about the food. After all, restaurants are about much more than just food - they're also about the people and the whole dining experience. At Rango's, the people really compensated for the lackluster food.

We are so lucky in Northern Virginia to live in an area with an abundance of terrific restaurants. We will give Rango's Tex-Mex Bar & Grill some time time to acclimate to Tysons until we ponder returning. In the meantime, we wish them well! 

 Tortilla-making station

 Dining  Area

 Bar Dining Area

 Tasteful Artwork Around The Restaurant 

 Thin Chips and Watery Bland Salsa

 Green "spicy" sauce, which was not spicy at all

 Cheese Nachos Appetizer $9.95 with 8 Chips Total

 Half Order of Ceviche Appetizer $7.00 (Full Order is $13.95)

 Beef Chimichanga $11.95

 Chicken Enchiladas (2) $11.95

Sunday, September 2, 2018

LAZY MIKE'S Homemade Ice Cream and Delicatessen, Falls Church, Virginia

7049 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22046
Telephone: (703) 532-5299

On a hot, sunny, lazy August Sunday, we headed to Lazy Mike's for a lazy brunch. After Long John Silver's closed its doors in this small stand-alone bungalow on the busy corner of Leesburg Pike (Rte 7) and Shreve Road, owners of a well-known Falls Church City establishment, Clare and Don's Beach Shack (where we have yet to visit!), quickly swept up this high traffic location and Lazy Mike's made a move up the street.

We never visited Lazy Mike's at their old location on N. West Street, Falls Church, where they were since 1996, according to their website. They moved their current digs in late 2017 and caught our attention. The bright natural light from windows and the vintage New Jersey and New York license plates decor on their walls, coupled with a low-overhead one-room seating area, including even some counter seating with 50s style stools, gives it an-almost Jersey-Diner-kind-of feel.

Great homemade fare, breakfast served all day, busy lively family atmosphere and great service make Lazy Mike's an all-around neighborhood restaurant where you'll really feel like home.

It's hard to imagine someone who won't find something to their liking on the extensive menu. Even vegans have a diverse menu here from which to choose. One of the new items on the burger menu is the vegan version of a burger - the "Impossible burger," that just saw the very ingredient that makes it taste like more like a real beef approved by the FDA in July of this year.

We ordered a delicious Reuben with a side of fries, which are only $1.50 if ordered with a sandwich.  The Reuben was juicy, flavorful and delicious. Though a far cry from a Reuben you'd get in a New York Deli, for the Northern Virginia area, this was quite good. The fries reminded us of McDonald's fries, which were a little thicker and very good.

The burger menu at Lazy Mike's is quite extensive, and all burgers can be ordered "Impossible," so we went ahead and ordered a Mushroom Swiss Impossible Burger. The waitress suggested that if we're trying a vegan burger, why not top it off with a vegan cheese, which was a great suggestion - if you're going to do vegan, do it all the way, so that's exactly what we tried. In fact, Lazy Mike's must be highly commended for being one of only a handful of restaurants in our area that offers the Impossible Burger. You can find all the locations that serve it up on the website of Impossible Foods

The Impossible Burger was somewhat of a disappointment, as it tasted little like meat. Perhaps it was something about how it was prepared (flimsy and soft, not charbroiled in flavor or texture) or maybe it had something to do with its ingredients, but it was not as exciting as it had been built-up to be by its advertising (does anything really live up to its advertisements?). Nonetheless, it was a good meal.

It goes without saying that the homemade Brownie Sundae was absolutely the best possible ending to our Lazy Sunday brunch at Lazy Mike's. Both the Brownie AND the Ice Cream are homemade here, in fact 80% of their desserts are homemade, the rest come from an Arlington bakery. The ice cream at Lazy Mike's was so good, that we soon returned to buy 3 of their pints that are available in a freezer to take home. Though one of our friends noted that their ice cream is a little too sweet for his taste, it is still pretty amazing. 

Lazy Mike's is a one-room low-overhead operation with a small outside seating area, offering a total capacity of just under 100 people. They do not sell alcohol, except for special occasions, but they do offer a warm, welcoming, lively family atmosphere with a true-blue neighborhood vibe. 

We can't wait to return to try all the other options on their menu.

Lazy Mike's is located on a busy intersection across from the Giant Plaza in Falls Church City, VA

Reuben with Fries

Mushroom Swiss "Impossible Burger" with Fries

Impossible Burger Up Close

Brownie Sundae

New Jersey and New York vintage license plates adorn the walls, makes us wonder whether the owners Clare and Don are from our own home state NJ

Homemade Ice Cream lots of flavors available for take-out

So many choices, it's hard to pick just one

Low overhead contributes to the homy feeling

Homemade Apple Fritters

Lazy Mike's well-deserved rating

Fun architecture on the side of the building

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Aldeerah Saudi Arabian Restaurant in Vienna, VA

262 Cedar Lane
Vienna, VA 22180
Telephone (703) 992-9994

In a quiet out-of-the-way small shopping plaza in Vienna, VA, Aldeerah shines as a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Northern Virginia. For someone whose familiarity with Middle Eastern cuisine is centered around those common in our area, such as Lebanese, Iranian, Moroccan or Israeli, this is a uniquely new experience. Aldeerah serves up a distinct taste of the Arabian Gulf, offering some dishes that are very different from the familiar flavors.

If you were not aware of Aldeerah's existence, you're not alone: the restaurant notably caters to the Saudi population in the Washington, D.C.'s suburban Northern Virginia area, with no particular penchant for accommodating "American" tastes.  The very friendly staff is happy to provide a small plate to taste an unfamiliar dish to newbies, which is highly welcome, as the menu is quite different from the typical Middle Eastern restaurants that are abundant in Northern Virginia. 

The setting is colorful and traditional. The restaurant is split in half, giving you the option to sit on floor rugs, surrounded by pillows, or, on the other side of the wall, at tables adorned by cultural reminders of Saudi Arabia, down to the salt and pepper shakers depicting a man and woman clad in native traditional Saudi garb.

We arrived with an open mind willing to try new dishes. Not ready to commit to something that could potentially result in diner's remorse, we were offered a taste of two items on the menu that we were considering, namely Jireesh and Qursan with vegetables, both pictured below. We are thankful to have been offered a taste, as neither of these appealed to us. Had we ordered them, we would not have enjoyed them.

Some of the familiar appetizers and salads, like the Samboosa, or the Tabbouleh, are available, as well as Hummus, and a few other items that one can find in other Middle Eastern restaurants. But we chose to forgo those. 

Any chicken dish you order here will come with the same roasted half-chicken served intact, roasted to perfection so that the meat falls right off the bone. We opted for the traditional Chicken Mandi dish, which has two ingredients: RICE and CHICKEN. It was deliciously prepared, though very simple. It did not not disappoint in flavor.

The ambiance was pleasant with soft Arabic music playing the background and quite a few happy patrons in both dining halls. Patrons were both families and same-gender groups, seemingly regulars. The restaurant offers silverware, though the regulars eat with their hands. There is also no alcohol served here.

The all-Indian staff was friendly and knowledgeable. We appreciated their help navigating the menu and learning from them about Saudi cuisine. We had a great dinner and a lovely experience, though unlikely to return for dinner any time soon, as nothing on the menu looked worthwhile to explore for those of us who are not lamb eaters. If do we go back, it will be on a Friday for a $14.99 lunch buffet to try a variety of options that are not typically available on the regular menu.

 Samples of Jeerah (left) and Qursan (right). Both were bland and thick.

 Aldeerah does not skimp on the traditional decor, and offers a 20% student discount Monday - Thursday.

 Groups and families are the norm in Aldeerah.

 Chicken Mandi was delicious, wonderfully complemented by a side order of Yogurt Labneh.
  Delicious Chicken Mandi falls off the bone and the rice cooked and seasoned to perfection.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2941 - French-American Modern Upscale Cuisine in Falls Church, VA

2941 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042
Tel: (703) 270-1500

The best (and only) thing that the 2941 restaurant has going for it is the setting.  Those who can afford to splurge will be welcomed at the entrance with a large a koi pond adorned by miniature fountains and lighting effects that distract from the tall office building that looms over the restaurant. Gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows offer an impressive daytime view of nature, though as darkness falls, this view disappears, save for a handful of illuminated trees.

What 2941 lost in luster, it gained in arrogance. 

When 2941 first opened in Falls Church back in 2001, it was all the rage, deservedly so. Our several meals there between 2001 and 2007 were spectacular. Each experience was marked with top-notch customer-focused white-tablecloth service and excellent food.  After numerous reincarnations over the last decade, all that remains from the once-breathtaking dining is solely the beautiful setting. 

We contemplated a spot in the Northern Virginia area where to mark a special occasion on a cold Fall evening. Armed with a gift card we received from an acquaintance, we browsed 2941's website's Fall 2017 menu, pre-selected what we would like to try, including appetizers, entrees and desserts, and on a Thursday afternoon phoned the restaurant to make a Saturday dinner reservation. As one of us is a flexitarian, leaning vegetarian, we inquired with the courteous young lady who took our reservation on the phone whether it would be possible for the restaurant to whip up something vegetarian off the menu that is other than the two seemingly vegetarian options listed on their menu - a heavy cream Porcini Risotto and a mushroom dish that includes Shitake mushrooms and Portobello mushrooms in a mushroom broth (whew, both are for an avid mushroom lover!).  The courteous young lady asked whether we were celebrating a special occasion, indeed, we answered, we were. 

She assured us that on Saturday afternoon we will receive a call from the restaurant telling us exactly what vegetarian meal the Chef will be preparing and she noted our special occasion on the reservation.  We never actually requested to know what exact dish will be prepared, only made an inquiry and voiced our preference. To our surprise, our phone rang only one hour later on the same Thursday afternoon, re-promising us a call on Saturday.  

Ironically, the twice-promised Saturday call never came.  When we arrived at the restaurant on Saturday evening for our celebratory dinner, it was clear that not only was neither the staff nor the Chef aware of our vegetarian dish request, they were also unaware of our marking a special occasion.

We decided to overlook the obvious miscommunication among the restaurant staff and make the best of our special evening. However, what followed was a series of disappointments from confusion among servers to seating changes to hot radiators to wobbly (very wobbly) tables to dirty napkins to tragically bad food and an overall dismissive attitude.  We will spare you all the peripheral, though pertinent, details that contributed to our unpleasant dining experience, and get straight to the food.

The restaurant's printed menu (pictured below) carried a title identical to the menu on their website, namely "Fall 2017," however differed significantly in the selection. We were told the website does not keep up with regular updates.  Oh, well. 

We ordered two appetizers that by a strange coincidence were listed both on the website and on the printed menu - The Mushroom Tartine and the Crispy Calamari.  The Mushroom Tartine arrived on a wooden slab, as pictured below. The rustic bread served as a grease-dripping boat for the bland chewy mushrooms.  It was difficult to eat, as picking up one of the bread slices caused the mushy middle to collapse into a heaping mushroom mess on the table, yet cutting the rock-hard bread crust with the dull butter knife at the table was similarly difficult.  Folks, rarely something is so bad that we send it back to the kitchen, in the case of this mushroom appetizer, it was not a difficult choice to make. As for the Crispy Calamari, it contained more "crispy" than "calamari," and the accompanying sauce, which we left barely touched, tasted like 3/4 vinegar and 1/4 mayonnaise, highly acidic and unpleasant. 

As a side note about mushrooms, we like mushrooms as much as the next person... however, the restaurant seems to offer a noticeable mushroom overload on its menu, it is some sort of a mushroom obsession. Just because something is in season, doesn't mean you have to rely on it so heavily, especially on a menu as small and limited as the one in 2941. Bottom line here, people, if you like mushrooms, run! don't walk to 2941, quick, while their "Fall 2017" menu is still in effect.

For our entrees, we ordered the Nantucket Bay Scallops from the printed menu. Unfortunately, the Spiced Corn Ravioli with lobster, scallops, clams and chorizo turned out to be one of the numerous website menu mirages. The $37 scallop dish came in a wide-rimmed kitchen bowl measuring probably about 8" in diameter with tiny scallop bites. What looked like a white sauce with some potential for dipping was actually a leak-laden viscous "sweet potato confit" beneath the scallops... sadly it was barely 1/4 inch deep and was quite bland. 

We asked our waiter to request that the Chef make a vegetable dish, preferably with no squash, for us. Our waiter brought out this beauty pictured below - a square plate with two arched slabs of blanched cabbage drizzled with balsamic vinegar and two crisp paper-thin crostinis encircling.... you guessed it, our friends!!! two tiny piles of bland MUSHROOMS!!! The blanched chewy cabbage, again, was impossible to cut with the butter knife provided on the table, so we asked our waiter Jean-Mark for a steak knife. Paradoxical, yes. The saddest part of that was that when we were able to finally cut and taste the food, it was so tasteless, that we had to send it back, to chase the bad appetizer.  As a result, one of us was left with neither an appetizer nor an entree.  Even an attempt to dip a piece of bread into the "sweet potato confit" proved futile, as there was so little sauce in that tiny bowl.

A small aside on the topic of vegetarian-leaning flexitarians, or vegetarianism, if you will permit us. The trend across restaurants, up and down the scale, has recently maximized on offering its patrons delicious vegetarian creations, be they listed, or not, on the restaurant's menu. A strong case can be made that Chefs can (and should) be unabashedly judged on their creative flexibility to concoct impromptu phenomenal vegetarian dishes for a vegetarian that accompanies their flexitarian or carnivorous friends to restaurants. Anyone can season a chunk of meat, soften it with some salt or vinegar, call it an exotic name, and place it on a plate with some garnish. Making a great vegetarian meal takes a lot more imagination and skill. 

As an example, we recently dined at L'Auberge Chez Francois, which is truly one of the best restaurants in the D.C. metropolitan area. Here, the Chef, with no prior warning at all, improvised a beautiful delectable vegetarian dish in one of the most amazing sauces we ever tasted. This is really the value of a truly great Chef - the ability to create an amazing dish with the ingredients on hand, per customer's dietary request, and make it amazing. 

Speaking of vegetarians or vegans no longer having to be limited to bread and water, the absolute best thing about 2941 was Edwin, who not only kept our water glasses filled and our bread bowl replenished (after all, for one of us that was the entire meal!), but he also had a positive energy and such a pleasant demeanor, that he ended up being the only staff in the restaurant who brought a smile to our faces and made us feel welcomed! Thank you, Edwin!  

To try and salvage what little of our celebratory spirit was left, we were determined to order the rich dessert for which we had prepared our taste buds when browsing the restaurant's menu online only two days earlier - The Chocolate Napoleon! The description made our mouths water, especially because it came with maple ice cream! Once again, 2941 did not cease to disappoint.  AND YOU GUESSED IT AGAIN! The dessert for which we trekked out to 2941 was unavailable! It was another website menu mirage.

There was no apology, no conciliatory gesture from the restaurant for anything. In fact, the arrogance and dismissiveness was so thick you could not cut it with our dull butter knife that was on our table.

While the restaurant still gets busy, there must be some appeal to some, no doubt, as its own website touts it as "one of the most celebrated restaurants in the metropolitan area."  The ambiance of high ceilings, larger-than-life paintings and meditative style music has its admirers. The real draw for repeat customers is a welcoming staff and delicious food.  That's what counts. And that's where 2941 falls short. Very very short. 

Much-ballyhooed Koi Pond at the restaurant's entrance

THE REAL 2941 Fall 2017 Menu, not to be confused with the menu on its website by the same name

 Bread, water and butter - for one of us that was the entire sad meal

 Calamari appetizer with dipping sauce that tasted like 3/4 vinegar and 1/4 mayo

 Mushroom Tartine Appetizer - A grease-dripping mushy boat of bland mushrooms garnished with grass, it was so bad we sent it back

Nantucket Scallops entree in a tiny bowl with barely a quarter inch of sweet potato confit sauce 

A Chef-improvised attempt at a vegetarian creation, which was bland and tasteless, also sent back 

 Unrolled napkin with black spots all over it, on a wobbly table that had to be wedged by our waiter, so it wobbled less

 THE REAL 2941 DESSERT MENU Fall 2017, different from the one on the restaurant website, which, as explained to us, does not get updated regularly, and even the print menu may change without any notice 

Some kind of a dry jelly square that was rolled in layer of thick sugar. One bite was more than enough.