Those with a hankering for Thai food will find their appetites satisfied at Cleveland Park’s Siam House, one of this Washington DC neighborhood’s favorite spots for cheap eats. Though small in stature, with relatively sparse walls and a sometimes bustling interior, this tiny hole-in-the-wall is as popular as ever, serving up Thai-flavored meals with lots of flavor. Among the favorites are the Tom Yum soup, the drunken noodles and the mango curry, but the menu abounds with all manner of entrées suitable for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Inside seating is tight, but during warm weather, a small outdoor area makes for a delightful place to dine and people-watch.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop?then called Pete's Subway?proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway restaurants number over 34,000 around the world?almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Salads free crisp veggies from bread's overprotective embrace, and crunchy baked chips or apple slices accompany entrees to tables. Subway's website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutrition information and fastest mile time online.
Old and new flavors mingle in the bustling kitchen at Indique. Amid cushy benches and satin pillows, diners discover a menu packed with Indian classics such as lamb vindaloo and tandoori chicken, as well as modern interpretations including charcoal-grilled king shrimps or the Achari chicken taco?poultry pickled in traditional Indian spices and served in a corn tortilla. Indique has been called one of the area's 100 Very Best Restaurants for seven years running by the Washingtonian, whose reporters raved about the salmon sliders and the okra with dried mango powder.
Former White House Chef | Upscale New American | Seasonal Ingredients | Onsite Coffee Shop | Acclaimed Desserts
Who's in the Kitchen? Chef Frank A. Ruta has done it all. Just one year after graduating from culinary school, the White House hired him as an assistant chef. He moved up to executive sous chef, serving both the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. Since then, he's been wowing DC's less presidential residents at Palena, where he received a James Beard Award in 2007 and the title of Food and Wine magazine's Best Chef in 2001.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Stop into Palena’s onsite coffee shop to work out the kinks in your dinner-conversation game plan over a cup of joe.
After: Keep the good vibes going with a pitcher of beer and a game of pool at Atomic Billiards just down the street (3427 Connecticut Avenue NW).
If You Can't Make It, Try This: Chef Ruta's more casual sister restaurant, Palena Cafe, which whips up the same locally sourced, seasonal cuisine and is located right next door.
The sounds of clinking steins and lively conversations fill Tyber Bierhaus, which embraces the spirit of a Belgian-, German-, and Czech-inspired beer hall. This revelry-inducing eatery is the third restaurant for co-owners Mark Moore, Paul Uppole, and Dan McLaughlin, who also opened the similarly inspired St. Arnold's Mussel Bar. At Tyber Bierhaus, the bar features more than 20 beers that includes everything from relatively light Czech pilsners to rich Belgian tripels. The food menu is equally diverse?homemade goulash, pork schnitzel sandwiches, and the restaurant's signature mussels in an aromatic, beer-based broth with caramelized shallots, garlic, thyme, and duck fat all emerge from the kitchen. At the same time, chefs occasionally find inspiration in Mediterranean cuisine as they prepare dishes such as linguine shrimp scampi and olive and red pepper hummus with pita bread.
As further proof of the restaurant's commitment to creating a European-style beer hall in Bethesda, Tyber Bierhaus features communal picnic tables throughout its dining room. This communal setup encourages guests to chat with their neighbors or even lift their liter-sized glasses together for celebratory toasts. The relatively simple ambiance features mustard-yellow walls adorned with vintage advertisements for European beers and other details, such as the tin cans filled with sheaves of wheat that decorate a small ledge. By remaining open until as late as 2 a.m., Tyber Bierhaus provides guests with a place where they can settle in for the night and enjoy the lively, communal atmosphere even after their cars have turned back into pumpkins.
As 20 high-definition televisions play the latest sports in Uptown Tap House?s dining room, the pub?s cooks tirelessly craft their upscale take on classic bar food. They smother pumpkin ravioli in brown butter-cream sauce, pile hickory-smoked pulled pork and chipotle slaw onto sandwiches, and leave oysters and clams just as they are for raw bar orders. To complement each feast, bartenders decant predominantly local American brews from 22 taps. The full libation menu features more bottled beers, plus wine and spirits, all three of which Uptown showcases at its weekly tastings.