Thai Eatery

Rating: ★★★★★

23698785_10155907474968011_1354944506_oAt first glance, this small, storefront Thai restaurant in Arlington looks like a run of the mill Thai restaurant. But look more closely, and you’ll notice signs that this is no ordinary Thai restaurant. The picture on the wall, for instance, is of people on horseback on a steppe with a yurt. That’s because the owners of Thai Eatery aren’t Thai at all but are, in fact, Mongolian and this is a spot that (in addition to an extensive Thai menu that I didn’t try) serves up authentic Mongolian food. How did I know that? Well, I probably would just have bypassed this place as just another Americanized Thai restaurant had it not been for the fact that a college classmate of mine lived in Mongolia for a time and tipped me off about the place. I ordered raisin juice to drink, which is a traditional and refreshing Mongolian beverage. In case you’re wondering what raisin juice is, you’re not alone. I, too, couldn’t fathom how a dry raisin could produce juice, so I looked it up. It turns out that it’s made by soaking raisins in water and then evaporating the excess liquid.

For food, I ordered khuushuur, which are fried dumplings filled with juicy beef, and a bit of broth, making them reminiscent of soup dumplings, but fried. An interesting Mongolian tradition is the belief that holding warm khuushuur between your hands will boost circulation thereby promoting health. I’m not sure there have been scientific studies showing whether the boosted circulation offsets the artery-clogging that is sure to occur from eating these. Either way, they are delicious (but very heavy).

Thai Eatery certainly isn’t fancy, but it’s a solid place to grab a tasty and reasonably-priced Mongolian meal.

Thai Eatery is located at 1926 Wilson Blvd in Arlington.

Pho 75

Rating: ★★★★★

13441624_10154287559793011_651096052_o.jpgPho 75 is a Vietnamese restaurant located at 1721  Wilson Blvd in Arlington, with multiple other locations throughout the DMV area. Don’t expect to get a Banh Mi sandwich here. They only serve pho (17 different varieties) and you can choose your size (regular or large). The regular costs only $6.20 and is a very hearty portion as is. This is one of those places that takes a no-frills, no-nonsense, utilitarian approach. If you are alone (as I was) you will be seated at a long table next to a stranger. Decor is sparse and service is about nothing more than bringing the delicious pho to you as quickly as possible. Upon the recommendation of my 13441635_10154287559728011_1354662375_oserver, I ordered the #12, which comes wth slices of steak and brisket in it. It was absolutely delicious. Once you finish eating, you simply pay at the counter and go on your way. For a hearty meal at a great price, it’s hard to beat Pho 75.

Wiseguy NY Pizza

Rating: 

12722420_10154028927628011_683089961_oWiseguy NY Pizza has locations at 1735 North Lynn St in Rosslyn and 300 Massachusetts Ave NW. This review is for the Rosslyn location. As a native of Long Island, I have high standards for pizza. We also have this wonderful creation called garlic knots, that somehow haven’t caught on in the rest of the country. This baffles me since garlic knots are so much better than regular garlic bread- they’re difficult to describe but are basically little knots of greasy, doughy, garlicky goodness. They were an indispensable part of my childhood, so I was thrilled that Wiseguy NY Pizza has them. The pizza itself is pretty solid and the ambiance is complemented by a classic Rat Pack playlist. The owner’s name is even Tony. This place makes me feel at home and I would totally recommend it.