Cooking began as a hobby for Reda Asaad. Along with his wife Nadia, the local Arabic teacher would often host barbecues for friends and students, feeding the masses with dishes such as his signature grilled chicken with a marinade of aromatic Middle Eastern spices. After friends and students alike continued to insist that the couple open a restaurant and share their recipes with the public, the Asaads founded Bistro LaZeez. They never lost sight of their cuisine’s backyard barbecue roots, though. As Reda explained to The Washington Post, “what I cook in the restaurant is what I cook at home.”
Garlic, coriander, cilantro, turmeric, and cardamom appear throughout the menu and reinforce its Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins. In addition to roasting kebabs, all-natural lamb and tender beef, Reda still prepares his signature antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken dishes, which helped Bistro LaZeez earn a nod on Bethesda Magazine's 2013 list of 25 Favorite Ethnic Restaurants as well as win the magazine's 2010 award for Best Grilled Chicken. The selection also includes vegetarian items—such as traditional falafel and hummus—as well as a number of gluten-free dishes.
Although the menu is steeped in classic, homespun tradition, Bistro LaZeez’s dining room appears to embrace a more modern ambiance, complete with clean lines and a simple color scheme. Dark walnut chairs and olive green banquettes flank the room’s tables, which complement the neutral earth tones of the walls. Three small crystal chandeliers hang above the booth-lined wall, casting their light across the white marble bar and the sandy tiled floors.
At both of Himalayan Heritage’s locations, chefs pull marinated chicken and lamb from charcoal clay ovens. The tandoori dishes are a staple of Indian cuisine, but Indian is only half the story here. Much of the menu is dedicated to Nepalese food, which, as Tom Sietsema explains in his glowing Washington Post review, is similar, but not the same. For an introduction, he recommends the momo—dumplings made of spiced minced chicken or vegetables that are steamed inside flour dough and served with aachar or chutney sauce.
Diners enjoy their meals at white-linen covered tables in a dining room with bright orange walls and a golden ceiling from which intricate lanterns hang. The space is flush with cultural artwork, including a large thangka painting that acts as a blimp in an emergency if you add enough balloons.
Boloco aspires to delight diners with the unexpected and strives to take care of its employees and the planet in the process. The Boston-based business first opened in 1997 as Under Wraps. But in 2005, it changed its name to Boloco, realizing wraps incited some terrible feelings - often involving alfalfa sprouts. With the fresh name came a new mantra, "Globally Inspired Burritos."
Despite winning an award for "stupidest name change", Boloco's menu has steadfastly offered customers globally inspired burritos and burrito bowls alongside smoothies and shakes, such as the Jimmy Carter, infused with all-natural peanut butter and premium ice cream. Boloco also uses eco-friendly practices, recognizing that today that might mean corn cups and utensils, but tomorrow it could mean driving to work in cars fueled by guacamole.
Vibrant murals and golden accents ornament the modern interior of Tandoori Nights, where chefs craft palate-pleasing Indian dishes. Tandoori specialties emerge piping hot and ready for stop-motion-animation performances from a clay oven, where boneless chicken breast swathed in yogurt, cream cheese, ginger, and garlic transforms into the malai kebab. Curry sauce flavors goat, chicken, and a school of Bombay-style fish and shrimp, and samosas lock flavorful bites inside pastry shells. Fluffy rounds of garlic-and-butter-topped naan swoop in to sop up leftover sauces or happy tears spilled by piles of biryani after they finally comprehend their own deliciousness.
Owners Bruno and Jimmy fill Mamma Lucia’s kitchen with housemade Italian family recipes. At each of the eight locations, chefs mix and match myriad pastas and sauces such as penne in pink sauce or chicken pesto ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce. Chicken and veal can be dipped in egg and sautéed in a lemon-and-wine sauce or prepared in any of 15 other ways. In the dining room, servers happily deliver New York–style pizzas to tables or to passing taxicabs full of lost Brooklyn residents.
Be the first to bathe your tongue in a rare brew named after a mythical giant. The beer is as mythical as its namesake because it comes in a bottomless mug and with unlimited food and drink for $70 at Brasserie Beck with this Groupon ($100 value).