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Del Mar's Baja Mexican

 6920 Bradlick Shopping Ctr
Annandale, VA
 

Worthless web site

I wanted to give it 0 stars but unfortunately that is not allowed.

I hope their food is good, their web site is a joke, and not a funny one. It provides you absolutely no information about anything. You should take this down until they can figure out what they are doing. I have no idea what food they have on offer, what it costs, when they are open, or where they are located. Stop wasting my time with this kind of nonsense.

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The Grille

 116 S Alfred St
Alexandria, VA
 

Top of the line

This is a top drawer restaurant, great if you dine on an expense account. Otherwise, go for Restaurant Week when it will only set you back $110 for 2 (glass of wine each).

There are two dining rooms, one with a piano and fireplace. On weekends amateur singers (patrons) entertain; no music otherwise. Other dining room has much more comfortable chairs and larger tables, softer décor also.

This is definitely a $$$$$ restaurant, and actually worth it, although I know of another restaurant that is roughly the same price structure and better.

The big disappointment here is the wine. The cheapest wine by the glass is $8 (a very good reisling), but most are $10. Wines by the bottle start at $31 and there is only one at that price. They are priced way out of line—150% of the cost of the average entree and quadruple the price at the store. They will allow you to bring your own wine but I don’t know what the corkage fee is.

Valet parking for $5. Before you leave, don’t miss seeing the library and drawing room to the right of the entrance.

endive salad

Endive and radicchio salad with frisee, and bijou cheese in a vinaigrette. Excellent, except too much endive for my taste. The radicchio was not bitter at all, strangely enough.

Rockfish

Perfectly cooked, piping hot and still hot to the last bite. It is served on some sort of potato sauce with baby asparagus, which looks like some king of wierd vine but taste delicious.

apple cake dessert

Delicious, and unusual. It is similar to carrot cake but definitely an apple cake, with raisins, served with caramel sauce and another sauce I couldn’t identify.

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Le Mistral

 6641 Old Dominion Dr
Mc Lean, VA
 

5* dining at a 3* price

This place is exquisite. Don’t let the fact that it’s in a small shopping center put you off—Balducci’s in the the same shopping center! It is not easy to locate, but worth it. The restaurant moved from Capitol Hill a couple years ago. It has a definite Mediterranean flavor to the menu—lot of fish, all good—but still quite French. (France was still on the Mediterranean the last time I was there!)

The last time I was there I had the arugula salad and bronzini, which was out of this world. My wife had the mussels and rockfish, both superb, as we always swap tastes. Everything they serve is excellent so it is a good place to experiment with something you have never tried. Of course, if you just despise liver, don’t order it, but I’ve never had anything there that wasn’t delicious. And I have never seen anybody send anything back. And absolutely everything that should be hot is piping hot and everything that should be cold is ice cold, no exceptions. They actually pay attention to what they are doing.

The service ranges from pretty good to over the top. Make just a little bit of fuss and you will get your own personal butler! And the staff are ALL very friendly—just stop anybody walking by and they will get you whatever you need.

If you are doing Restaurant Week, put Le Mistral at the top of your list.

bronzini

I had never heard of it. It was somewhere north of outrageously good and perfectly cooked.

arugula salad

excellent, needed more dressing and cheese

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Shooter McGee's

 5239 Duke St
Alexandria, VA
 

They WILL get it right, eventually!

We went for lunch on Friday for cheeseburgers. We both ordered exactly the same thing: bacon cheddar burger, medium rare, french fries, and a beer. The place was not the least bit crowded, maybe 40% full. After about a half hour the food arrived. My wife’s was fine, Mine was luke warm and well baked. I finally got the waitron’s attention and told her to forget it, I wasn’t going to eat or pay for it. In 5 minutes I got a piping hot, medium rare cheddar burger in front of me. It was outstanding, including the charbroiled taste. Yes, I know that comes from the fat burning, but it was one of the best cheeseburgers I have had in a long time. They must use no more than 75% lean meat.

There is a special every night here, after 5:00 p.m., burgers on Monday. Lobsters on Wednesday are great, ribs on Thursday. All recommended heartily.

Reminder: this is a SALOON. Be prepared to get your own cocktail napkins from the bar and extra napkins from the next table. They act like they cost a dollar a piece instead of $1 per thousand.

bacon cheeseburger

excellent, once they got it right

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Red Hot & Blue

 1600 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
 

Still a stellar place!

Went there yesterday for lunch. Service was unusually good, but it was nearly empty. Food was the same as always—delicious and a bargain. They have the best bbq brisket outside of Texas, unless you drop by my house when I decide to make it. The “personal” size onion loaf, which is more than enough for 2, seems to get bigger every time. The pig squeal was oustanding as usual according to my wife. I am from North Carolina so I am very particular about bbq pork.

The potato salad leaves the skin on the potatoes, so we always skip it. They have four different bbq sauces. No matter what the menu says, ask for the sauce on the side—I skip it all together. The fried okra is exquisite. The ribs are the large St. Louis style, either wet or dry rub. They do not have baby back ribs. (Ugh!) The catfish is also good, as are the corn muffins. You can order side dishes separately off the menu, but they will always substitute at no extra charge so if you don’t like their menu selection to accompany your meal, just tell your waitron you want something different.

Easy to park on the street for lunch during weekends, during the week it’s usually more crowded for lunch from all the office building around. At night, there is free parking in the garage.

Biggest complaints: they never give you enough napkins—bbq is sticky and gooey, no matter what kind you order. Tthey don’t have any real beer on tap, like Budweiser or Miller, just frou frou Yuengling, light this-or-that and such junk.

This is the original Red, Hot & Blue, and still the best bbq restaurant within 300 miles of the Washington Monument, bar none. BTW, we have been to other Red, Hot & Blue restaurants. They are very consistent, this is just the closest one to our house. We go at least a half dozen times a year.

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Hector's Place

 3112 Mount Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA
 

Great neighborhood place

We have been eating here for 7-8 years. Hector and his wife Myrna are some of the friendliest people in town. The food is consistently good, not the Ritz but then the entrees aren’t $47, either. Monday and Wednesday there is dinner for 2 for $26 which includes a bottle of wine—salad or soup, hot bread and entree. There is always food left to take home for lunch tomorrow. If asked, they will make simple substitutions on the menu items. Give the service a 7, but it’s a friendly neighborhood place. Reservations available but rarely needed for 2, free parking in front, full bar.

A 2-course dinner with wine for 2 for a total of $32??? A definite “best buy” place.

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