Tag Archives: Arlington

Sushi Rock

What sushi and rock music have in common is beyond me, yet somehow, Sushi Rock mends the two together quite well (and not just through the name). Located in Clarendon, away from the nightlife scene, this two floor modern restaurant has an industrial architecture inside decorated with warm tones.

I went to Sushi Rock with a friend on a weeknight and was seated immediately. We were greeted promptly by our server who fit the rock/waiter bill perfectly. Well, he had pierced ears, and in my book, that means he probably wears a leather jacket while listening to Axl Rose. That is my definition of a rocker.

Before I even got my hand on the drink menu, our rocker waiter was back asking if we’d like to start with an appetizer. Two seconds later he was back asking if we had made a decision. Pretty sure I still had my purse on at this moment. I had to politely ask for a few more minutes a couple more times until we were ready to order drinks. Searching through other reviews of this restaurant, the majority of complaints pertain to service.

Above is the “Day Tripper.” Both the drinks and food have rocker themes, and yes, I felt like an idiot ordering every single thing. The Day Tripper has raspberry vodka, blended juices and coconut foam. Doesn’t get much girlier than that! Something tells me our waiter never orders this drink.

For dinner, my friend and I decided to go with three different types of sushi.

The sushi presentation is done beautifully. If I remember correctly, above is the Ziggy Stardust roll. Ugh, I feel like an idiot just typing the name of the sushi. This roll has an interesting twist, rather than fish, this is rolled up kobe beef, asparagus, red pepper and a jalapeno mayo. I like the creativity of this roll, but every bite I found myself thinking “wait, this texture is weird,” and then I’d have to remind myself about the beef. Quite the mind game let me tell you.

Our favorite of the evening was the You Shook Me All Night Long (ugh). As the menu breaks it down, it’s tempura shrimp + avocado + cucumber + crab stick + black tobiko + red tobiko + scallion + Japanese mayo. What’s tobiko you say? Fish roe. What is fish roe you say? Fish eggs.

Fun fact: Roe is a rich source of vitamins A and D, fatty acids and zinc.

If fish eggs or sushi in general aren’t your thing, Sushi Rock also has shared plates that range from salmon to meatball skewers.

It’s a fun place to go with friends while taking in a cool atmosphere. While the service was a tad overbearing at times, sometimes you have to remind yourself that every rose has its thorn (nailed the rock reference!).

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Northside Social

If there is one thing I love more than eating food, it’s eating food outside. It was the outside dining area at Northside Social that caught my eye awhile back.

The locally owned and operated coffee shop and wine bar is owned and operated by the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group and is located in Clarendon. Fairly new to the area, the restaurant’s laid back feel is evident by the customers coming in with gym clothes while ordering their food at the front counter.

As much as I love eating outside, the heat wave kept me indoors, which led me to exploring the wine bar upstairs. Much of the featured wine is from small family run vineyards that otherwise could be difficult to purchase. The wine bar menu keeps it simple with primarily cheese and meat plates.

You can order wine and beer downstairs, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and quiches. It’s not unusual to see people working on their laptops or reading a book while sipping on a glass of wine or coffee. Like the guy below, look he’s reading a book and having a beer!

The coffee is also suppose to be a standout, with different types of extraction methods. Those include espresso (their specific espresso machine is only used by two or three other places in the nation), drip coffee, a specialized coffee production per cup method and the french press.

One the 100 degree day that I visited Northside, there were still people crazy enough to eat outside in front of a massive grill. Perhaps the beef brisket they were serving was THAT good. They also have marshmallows that you can toast outside.

If the marshmallows don’t cut it, the front also has cookies, soft serve ice cream (flavors change and are made fresh daily), muffins, scones and tarts that are all made by their very own pastry chef.  I was tempted to try to the walnut coffee muffin.

Given the time of day I went, I stuck to a glass of chardonnay for $7 and the Black Forest ham quiche. The quiche’s flavor was delicious with caramelized onions through and spinach. The crust was thick and flaky, but I would have like this to have been served much hotter. The fruit and simple side salad comes with the quiche and was a nice light side for such a hot day.

When getting up the front counter, my friend asked for the best sandwich they had. The cashier insisted it was the chicken salad. I didn’t have the time to try the rest of their sandwiches to see if this guy was lying or not, but the chicken salad here is quite tasty. I’m not even a fan of chicken salad. When ordering a sandwich, you have the option of side salad, potato salad or chips. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the potato salad.

Much of the food at Northside is local, and you can even purchase local milk from grass fed cows.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Northside which will hopefully involve a giant cup of their coffee and a chunky monkey scone. Fingers crossed it will be cool enough to eat outside.

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Rustico

Upon moving to Northern Virginia, one restaurant that I kept hearing about was Rustico. Two days after moving I was stepping into the restaurant. Two days later, I was stepping into it again.

Both weeknights I went  had a similar vibe. Not too many people in the dining area, but a decent amount at the bar. Sleek lights hang in one portion of the room and a few steps down more rustic (like the restaurant’s name guys!)  lighting illuminates the place.

While Rustico is known for their pizza, my eyes caught the couscous on the menu. It caught my friends too. The couscous carbornara is similar to a risotto with bacon, parmesan, black pepper, truffle oil and garlic. The best part of the dish is the poached egg that sits on top. It has a creamy consistency and they don’t go light with the truffle oil. The couscous was apparently one of the first items Rustico decided to put on the menu and it has been a popular selection since. In fact, DCist featured this exact dish along with a recipe if you want to try and make it.

Like I said, Rustico is known for their pizza which is why I ordered it a couple days later. The white pizza is fairly simple when it comes to ingredients: mozzarella, basil pesto and ricotta. The pizza is pretty thin and there is a good amount of cheese. I liked it, but I was more impressed with Pizzeria Orso down the street.

Another pizza, the spicy shrimp, came with a jalapeno pesto. Caliente! Actually, it’s not too spicy — just keep a drink nearby. Speaking of drinks, Rustico has a happy hour including an enormous amount of  beers.

For $11 I also got an appetizer, the lettuce wrap meatballs with a sweet tomato aioli and a minted yogurt for dipping. Nothing impressed me about this dish other than the pig shaped cutting board.

My second time visiting I finished the meal off with a Nutella cheesecake with a dark chocolate sauce and candied hazelnuts. It was a deliciously light cheesecake. The again, I guess light cheesecake is kind of an oxymoron. Either way, if you make it to Rustico in either Ballston or Alexandria stick to the pizza or couscous.

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T.H.A.I.

I went to this restaurant a couple months ago and have been craving one of their dishes since.T.H.A.I. is located in a section of Arlington, VA called Shirlington. It’s a classy establishment with modern decorations that still manages to keep a simple decor. When I went in around 5:30 on a weekeday there were only a few tables taken, but upon leaving the entire restaurant was packed.

When it came to Thai food,  I had only had pad thai, but my friend insisted I try the drunken noodles. These fresh rice noodles were seasoned with onions, basil and a chili and garlic sauce. I added chicken to the entree, but you also have the option to add shrimp or tofu.

Some of the dishes at this restaurant are marked with the image of a chili pepper depending on how hot the dish is. The most on the menu that a dish has is three. The drunken noodles is one of them. I think I drank about eight glasses of water and my lips were tingling well after dessert. It was worth it though. The sauce that the dish is covered in has a great flavor and the onions add even more flavor.

Like the restaurant’s ambiance, the dishes are modern here too. Chef Aulie was inspired from her grandmother’s Thai cooking which used old recipes with a modern French twist. Even better, Aulie also likes to incorporate local produce into the mix.

For dessert I needed to cool my mouth down a bit so my friend and I both ordered the sorbet. You have the option of strawberry or mango — so we got both! Topped with whipped cream and a chocolate sauce — something I could have done without when it came to sorbet–there were also chunks of fresh fruit in the mix.

 

If you want a heavier dessert, a couple that I was tempted to order included the banana bread pudding and the banana split brulee.  Another plus about this restaurant? The prices. My dish was $11.95 and the two scoops with toppings of sorbet was $3.95.

Oh, and if you were wondering what T.H.A.I. stands for it’s Tasty Thai cuisine, Hospitality and warmth, Architectural elegance and Innovative seasonal menus. Whew, I can see why they made it into an acronym.

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