Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sticky Rice

H St. is the next up and coming neighborhood which has seen a massive transformation in the past couple of years. Month by month a new hip restaurant or bar is opening it's doors as well as opening eyes around the city. Personally this is my favorite neighborhood to go bar hoping because of the wide variety of chic bars.

I decided that my first blog post on this neighborhood had to be the most renowned restaurants on the entire block and a personal favorite of mine. Sticky Rice has grown to fame and prestige as one of the most popular destinations on this neighborhood and even the city as a whole.

If you have never had the opportunity to dine here it is a bit hard to explain their off the wall approach and their take on this classical Japanese food. My first visit came over a year ago and my first impression was that it was hipster sushi. All of the servers and bartenders adorned sleeves and their rolls have witty names such as G.I Jane, Shiitake Happens and the Goochland. Last and most importantly they had PBR which is essentially want makes a place a hipster sanctuary.

I was not blogging at the time and scarcely remember what I ate since I went after having a couple of drinks. I did however embrace the experience and left a bit intrigued about the prospects of returning here and actually enjoying my meal.

My next couple of visits came during a living social binge in which I found myself going at least 10 times to either use my coupons or friends coupons. Per the endless positive accolades from just about everyone on yelp I decided to try their tater tots which come with their unique sauce. The tots were spot on and the dipping sauce was solid but not what I imagined especially after all of the positive remarks.

(Bucket of Tots & PBR)

After our tots I decided to order their sticky balls which have received even more positive reviews. Unlike our previous appetizer these miniature morsels pack an astounding amount of flavor that make my mouth salivate just by thinking of them. Their crunchy texture takes your pallet on a roller coaster of culinary nirvana.

(Sticky Balls)

To date I have tried all of their all but a couple of their vegetarian rolls. My overall favorite is the Godzirra roll which consists of crunch shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, cucumbers and tobiko. This to me is by far their best and most genius roll, the flavor combination mirrors that of the sticky balls to some small extent.

The crazy calamari, millennium and the fantabulous amazing roll round out my other personal favorites. But in all honesty you cannot go wrong with whatever you order. While there are some that are average or sub-par I have never had a roll that I could not finish.

(2000 Leagues & The Fantabulous Amazing Roll)

Aside from their sushi Sticky Rice also offers a number of other options. From a variety of sandwiches, noodles and even chicken wings (sticky wings) which are fairly tasty. The ambiance adds another dimension to your culinary experience.

Every night has a different event. Whether it's Tuesday night karaoke, Thursday night bingo or Saturday nights which have dance parties with local DJ's spinning solid tunes. You will never have a dull night if you go here.

(Snap, Crackle & Pop, Godzirra & Crazy Calamari)

All their fame does come at a cost, if you try to come on a weekend night without a reservation you should pray to the God's that the wait is under an hour. The servers have been known to be a bit snide but I have not really experienced this. My biggest pet peeve has to be the fact that you cannot make your own saki bombs which is odd because I have never come across this problem in the ten to fifteen other sushi places I have dined at. They do however make it up by pounding the gong each time you order a round.

All in all Sticky Rice is a fantastic destination not only for food but for entertainment. Their late hours and half price sushi night on Mondays only add to the appeal. Their aforementioned popularity requires you to set up a reservation, especially if you have a large party. The service is average and the food is a cut above average.

They also have a challenge in which you can create your own sushi roll to be put on the menu if you dine there 30 days in a row. This is a feat that I hope to try and accomplish in the near future. If you have never been here or to H St. in general then it is should be put near the top of your list of places to go.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thunder Burger & Bar

Our next stop takes us to Thunder Burger & Bar which serves up some unique burgers and has an extensive beer list to make it the best of both worlds. Located right on M St. next to Thomas Jefferson St. this bar/restaurant resembles it's rock star decor with burgers and beer that have attitude.

My first visit came over a year ago when they had just opened. What initially caught my eye was that their menu of burgers were spinoffs of famous Beatles songs such as Love me Tender or Portobello Road. After reading the description of each burger I became highly interested in giving this place a try.

I decided to take a friend of mine to go and try some of their burgers. I first got a Venison burger which has since been taken off the menu while my friend got a Bison burger called the Buffalo Stomp. While we both enjoyed the unique flavor combinations of our burgers we weren't overly thrilled with our meals. After this visit I took a year long hiatus from this place only stopping by for an occasional beer for happy hour.

Recently I began working in the Georgetown area so naturally I was more inclined to visit this place. I decided to invite the same friend for my next visit after work. When I read the menu I noticed that it had experienced a vast transformation. When I asked about it the bartender informed me that a new chef had recreated the menu to keep it's general dynamic but offer better flavor.

(Beer Flight)

We both started off with a beer flight which comes with 3 beers of your choosing. While I am not the beer connoisseur I can easily say that this place offers a large list of quality brews. From their homemade Thunder Lager to Flying Dog and even DC Brau this list is sure to appease any beer enthusiast. I tried the Southampton Double White Ale, Duck Rabbit Milk Stout, and the Sam Adams Rustic Saison all of which I enjoyed.

We followed this up with a pair of burgers, I myself was feeling like having a light meal so I decided to order the O Fortuna which consists of ahi tuna served rare with watercress, caramelized red onions, tomato and wasabi mayo. My friend ordered the Thunder burger which is essentially a plain burger that you can top with a number of condiments.

(O Fortuna)

My burger was both light and refreshing. The tuna was well seasoned and the hard crust sealed in all the juices. I was delighted with both the taste as well as the lack of dread and guilt that came after devouring it. The fries were also very plesant, the were double fried and topped with garlic herbs and sea salt. Both of us felt that this new chef had upgraded the appeal to this restaurant so we have since been coming more often.

Recently I have been going to catch a quick half of the Champions league during lunch. I have also had a couple more happy hours here as well as some early dinners. I have sampled most of their beers as well as a number of burgers. One of the most exotic I have had was their Elk burger which offered a very different taste than their other burgers. I have also sampled their crab, bison and kobe beef burgers.

(Elk River Falls)

I have yet to try their Born to Wild which consists of Boar meat but can tell you that it has gotten rave reviews from what I have read. I also want to try their Big Pimpin which comes with Kobe Beef and Foie Gras and is valued at $23.

All in all I give this place two thumbs up. They serve solid burgers and have a good beer selection. This is a great place to both get a drink or get some food so if you are in Georgetown I would definitely give this place a try, it is one of the few late night gems in the neighborhood.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

JJ's Cheesesteaks

Finding a quality cheesesteak in this town is about as hard as finding objectivity on Fox news. At this point my search has brought me to the conclusion that the best cheesesteak is served at a mall.

At a certain point I had lost all confidence and came to conclusion that I would have to go all the way to Philadelphia to get some quality cheesesteak. This notion quickly dissolved when I found JJ's Cheesesteak. Located right on the famous intersection of 14th and U St. this restaurant serves up a variety of sandwiches all with a different spin on the classic cheesesteak.

When you take a quick glance at the menu you will see that this is not a place to go for those who count calories or care about their arteries. All 17 of their sandwiches offer a unique take on the classic Philly Cheesesteak.

They encompass the entire lexicon of this classic sandwich which is sure to appease any enthusiast. Whether you are a provolone or cheese whiz fan or if you like or dislike onions and green peppers there is sure to be a sandwich to your liking. Their fries are also deviously concocted to include cheese, bacon or even steak and cheese!!!

My first encounter came a while back when I invited a friend of mine to try it out as he is a huge cheesesteak fan. A day or two before I had stumbled upon their menu so I knew I had to pack an appetite. I decided to order The Monument, their most intimidating sub. This collosal concoction comes with thinly sliced rib-eye topped with American cheese, bacon and cheese whiz and stuffed with french fries and ketchup. If that wasn't enough I decided to order a side of bacon cheese fries to push my meal on the brink of caloric insanity.

(The Monument with Bacon Cheese Fries)

Armed with an appetite for the ages I tried my hardest to tackle this gargantuan meal. Like most of my daring attempts I failed to tackle this meal. I was able to successfully eat the entire sub but was immediately thrown into food a coma. From what I can remember from this hazy experience which put me in a state of drunkenness was that the meat was juicy, the cheese oozing out and the bacon full of flavor. I liken this sandwich to a meat orgy that is just naughty in every way. I felt guilty and vulnerable after finishing this bad boy off, so much so that I had to take a two month hiatus from eating here again.
Of all the sandwiches I have tried my favorite has to be the Ben Franklin which is their most basic cheesesteak served with cheese whiz as opposed to provolone cheese which I top off with a side order of french fries which I drench with vinegar and hot sauce.

(Ben Franklin with Fries)

All in all my numerous experiences here have been met with nothing but pleasure. Their food is spot on, the service is prompt and their late night hours on the weekends test my will power. Every night I am on U St. I walk by this place and immediately begin feeling the drunk munchies.

If you are a cheesesteak fan I definitely recommend giving this place a try. No matter what your philosophy is for this sandwich the numerous options will surely give you an ideal choice. If you are still unsatisfied with your options you can order the "U" special which allows you to build your own sub with unlimited toppings. The only thing you need to bring when you go here is your appetite which will be quenched.