Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Niwano Hana- Rockville, MD

Hi everyone! I wanted sushi recently so the bf was nice enough to satisfy my craving by taking me to Niwano Hana. It's my 'go-to' sushi place if I want something a little more special in terms of rolls.  It is located on Rockville Pike in Wintergreen Plaza with the closest metro stop being Rockville on the Red Line. There is plenty of free parking in the shopping center, but it can get crowded.

There are some Zagat awards displayed in the front window. 

The sushi bar is located by the entrance of the restaurant. Everytime I go there I am greeted by a very animated, friendly host/sushi chef. I don't know if he's the owner or manager, but he's really nice and always says hi and bye to his guests. Sometimes he can be seen wearing purple suits, and it's just awesome. 

This is what the interior looks like. It's only one room, but has a cool blue lit ceiling. It can get crowded in there for dinner so luckily the 2-person tables were available when we got there.

What's cool about this place is their Special Rolls. They have a whole list of them on their menu, but they have different specials written on a black-marker board on the wall above the kitchen. They have some neat rolls names like Crocodile roll, Dragon roll, Rainbow roll, Typhoon roll, Rockville roll, etc.

Another thing I love about Niwano Hana is you get a free soup or salad with any order of $12 or more. In the past they would give their customers a miso soup and house salad (iceberg lettuce with a ginger dressing). This time they gave us a choice of one item: miso soup, house salad or sushi bar salad. 

Both the bf and I decided to try the Sushi Bar Salad, which was chopped raw fish with a spicy sauce. It reminded me of a spicy ceviche and it was so delicious! The shredded bed of radish helped cool down the spiciness. If I had ordered this myself it would've cost me $1.25.

They also give you a warm 'Clean Towel' to wipe your hands before dinner. It's not very necessary but I think its a nice touch. 

To start I ordered a salmon roll. Don't kill me guys, but I can't find the price! I know it was around $4-5, so next time I'm there, I'll update this. 

I also ordered one of my favs, the 'Alligator Roll- Shrimp tempura, Eel, Avocado' for $11. Its one of their special rolls, and I get it all the time there. The roll is really big, and the combination of flavors and textures is great. 

The bf ordered a 'Dynamite Roll- Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Spicy Sauce' for $5.50. The sprouts give this roll a nice touch, and I love those fish together. I kind of wish it came with more than 4 pieces but it's still a good deal. 

One roll wasn't going to fill up my bf, so he also ordered 'Chicken Teriyaki' for $12.95. The platter was HUGE! You get a ton of food, and it was really good and sweet with extra teriyaki sauce on the side.

It also comes with rice! I love short grain rice and how it clumps together. It makes it easier to pick up with chopsticks.

I enjoy coming back to Niwano Hana because of their special rolls and the friendly staff.  Their special rolls can range between $6.50-$11 and the roll presentation is a nice touch. Their main entrees can cost up to $20, and their sashimi dishes can cost even more than that. They offer soups, tempuras, teriyaki dishes and sushi. The place is small so it might be hard to come with a group larger than 4 unless you want to wait. They also offer special prices during lunch.

Mon-Fri: 11:30-2:30 (Lunch)
5:30-10:00 (Dinner)
Sat: 12:00-10:00 (Lunch/Dinner)
Sun: 5:00-9:30 (Dinner)

887 Rockville Pike
Rockvile, MD 20852

Niwano Hana on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 20, 2009

Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar- Bethesda, MD

Hey Everyone! For one of my lunch dates with my Dad I wanted to take him to Olazzo's, however they aren't opened for lunch on the weekends (duh) so we saw Louisiana Kitchen and decided to give it a shot. Located in Bethesda, there is metered street parking as well as a meter parking garage on the same street. Closest metro stop would be Bethesda on the Red Line.

FYI, I forgot my camera at home! However I had just bought an Apple IPhone 3G, so I documented the experience anyway with its 2 mega pixel camera. It doesn't do the food justice, but it'll give you an idea.

Like many Bethesda restaurants, its not very big on the inside, however I've been in much smaller restaurants. This picture is from the back of the restaurant with the white blur being the front window. There's jazz music playing while you eat, and a full bar to the left (not shown). The place doesn't have fancy decor, but I liked the checkered table cloths to make you feel like chowing down on some seafood.

For our appetizer we ordered the 'Alligator Beignets (4)- served with Remoulade sauce' for $5.25. It was really good, freshly fried. The consistency reminded me of chewy chicken, but in a good way. The remoulade sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce that was served with everything.

I went kind of traditional and got the 'Oyster Loaf "Peacemaker" Po'Boy' with Fried Oyster, lettuce, tomato, remoulade sauce for $9.75. It was a big sandwich but packed full of flavor. I loved it with the sauce and the nice consistency of the fried oysters.

The bf came along and ordered the 'Chick-steak and Cheese Po'Boy- Chicken, Cajun-spice, onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and mayonnaise' for $8.75. He said he really liked it, and our server also recommended it.

My dad was in the mood for a burger and ordered the 'Louisiana Hamburger (1/2lb) and Spicy Fries- Onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, remoulade sauce, creole mustard' for $8.75. It was huge! The bun looked a little strange, but my dad said it tasted like a normal bun but toasted. My dad ate the entire thing! He doesn't usually eat a lot at lunch but he said he enjoyed it.

My dad's burger came with a side of spicy fries. They have a kick to them! Think of Hot Fries snacks, and that's pretty much what you have but with a bit more spice. They're really good though, and quite addictive. You have the option of having them plain too.

Our server was really nice and helped us with our lunch choices. Water was refilled all the time, and it's really affordable food. All the dishes are under $10 unless you get the large option and then it'll be about double the price for more food. Its a relaxed atmosphere, with very flavorful food. They offer traditional Cajun food such as Po'Boys, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Creole, Etouffee and Dirty Rice. They are open 7 days a week and offer brunch (optional) on Saturday and Sunday.

Weekdays - 7:30 am to 10:00 pm
Friday and Saturday - 7:30am to 11:00 p.m.
Sundays- 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Saturday Brunch from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm
Sunday Brunch from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm

4907 Cordell Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland, 20814
(301) 652-6945 or (301) 986-8833

Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Update: Cherry Blossoms & Easter

Hi Everyone, I don't think I did a March update, but the bf and I rescued a dog last month. She's a 10 month old Chocolate Lab/Austrailian Shepard Mix. We named her Phoenix after the bird, not the city, haha. She's been a handful, but a joy to have as a part of our family.

Last weekend the bf and I went down to see the Cherry Blossoms, and it was super pretty. There were tons of people everywhere and it wasn't too hot walking around. I haven't been back to see those cherry blossoms in ten years or so!

Then for Easter I went over to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner. My aunt married a Greek man, so most of the time when we're at their home we eat Greek and Vietnamese food. We had Vietnamese egg rolls (not pictured), lamb, shrimp and feta cheese, baklava, roasted potatoes, Cesar salad and roast beef. Delicious meal, and great time with family.

Next review coming up will be Louisiana Kitchen in Bethesda!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Addie's- Rockville, MD

The bf and I recently went to Addie's since its been raining a lot and eating is the best way to spend a rainy day in my opinion. It's an American restaurant in a converted home in Rockville. There's free parking in the back and the closest Metro stop is Grovsner-Strathmore on the red line.
You can see the sign from Rockville Pike.

The restaurant is a tiny yellow building with outdoor seating to the right of the picture (not shown) for eating outside when the weather is pleasant.

The interior looks like someone's home, so its very small and cozy. This is the main room with yellow walls, and through that arch is a small green room. I like the soft lighting, black tables and the simplicity.

This is the other side of the main room. See how tiny this place is? The kitchen is behind the curtained door.

I think its a nice touch when restaurants have real flowers on tables, plus the salt and pepper shakers are actually grinders, which I think is a nice classy touch.

We were served slices of french bread and cranberry bread with fresh butter. I thought the cranberry bread was good and something more memorable than regular bread you can get at any restaurant.

As our appetizer we ordered the 'Buttermilk Battered Fried Calamari with Chipotle Remoulade, Fresh Parsley & Parmesan Cheese' for $10. Love it! Clearly not frozen squid, and it was fried to perfection with great seasoning. 

The bf ordered the 'BBQ Pork Sandwich served on a Soft White Roll with Fennel-Celeriac Slaw & Shoestring Fries' for $10. He liked it a lot and I tried some and it was very flavorful with a toasted bun. The fries were really good, and I personally like skinny fries. The ketchup was homemade, which is an interesting touch. 

I too was in the mood for a sandwich, so I ordered the 'Hardwood Grilled Chicken Breast- Warm Brie Cheese, Mixed Organic Greens & Pesto on Ciabatta with Shoestring Fries' for $11. I'm a huge fan of Brie, and I liked the pesto on the bread. 

Addie's is a cute place with a small menu. Lunchtime is more affordable than their dinner menu, which is why we decieded to eat during the day. The service was great since whoever seemed free would check on us, or clean our table. The most expensive item on the lunch menu is $17, they use fresh ingredients and serve huge portions with homemade items.

11120 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-881-0081

Mon- Fri 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
Sat 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Mon- Thu 5:30-9:30 pm
Fri 5:30-10 pm
Sat 5:00-10:00 pm 
Sun 5:00- 9:00 pm


Addie's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Featured on RockvilleCentral.com!

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know the site is featured on RockvilleCentral.com!

Its a helpful site that informs you of all things going on in the city of Rockville. It features things from city meetings, fun events, local crime, construction, grand openings, etc. Not to mention the quite funny Photo of the Day, my fav =) Check out the site and/or the post.

I just wanted to thank everyone who has stopped by to check out my blog. It's been a fun 7 months, and I hope this blog has been helpful and informative. So come on back, there's more restaurans to come! 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mi Rancho- Rockville, MD

The other week the bf and I were in the mood for some Tex Mex food and decided to hit up Mi Rancho in Rockville. We've been to their original location in Silver Spring, but since they opened another location in Rockville we figured we would check it out. This location doesn't seem to have outdoor seating whereas the Silver Spring location does.
It inhabits the former 'On The Border' building and has free parking on the front and side of the restaurant. The side is where Joe's Noodle House is located. If you were to take the metro, the closest stop would be Twinbrook on the Red Line.
As you can see there's a huge neon sign in front of the place, so you can't miss it from the road.

When you walk in there's a bar, and then the coolest thing ever, which is their tortilla machine! Some lady got really excited and asked one of the workers there if she could work the machine herself =) Basically a ball of dough is dropped into one side and it goes through and gets flattened and put through its oven and comes out ready to eat.

The place is big with lots of tables to accommodate large groups of people. The chandeliers were kinda cool, and overall it looked like a festive, but not over the top place.

Here is the other side of the restaurant with booths on the perimeter of the restaurant.

We were served salsa and chips as we waited for our meal. The salsa was mild and had a smoother consistency without many chunks of vegetables.

I'm a huge fan of really thin tortilla chips that are freshly made, so these were really good.

We didn't order an appetizer since we loaded up on the chips. What I didn't realize is we pretty much ordered the same dish, just with slight variations from the Platos Combinados part of the menu.

I ordered the 'Jalisco Platter- 2 Beef Enchiladas, 1 Chicken Taco, 1 Pork Tamale. Served with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes' for $12.95. Everything was really good, however if I had to choose my favorite, it would be the enchiladas. Great filling of beef, onion and spices, and the melted cheese and sauce made it really good. Not to mention the tortilla it was made in wasn't mushy and still kept a great texture and flavor. I love pork tamales, however it was mostly corn meal without much meat, but it was still good.

The bf ordered the 'Laredo Platter- 2 Chicken Enchiladas, 1 Beef Taco, 1 Pork Tamale. Served with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes' for $12.95. His enchiladas had a white cheese on top that went better with the chicken. He enjoyed his meal a lot and ate the entire thing! I took 1/2 mine back since they really give you large portions.

Our dishes came with a side of beans, which were really good when you added in the rice from the platter.

The service was super fast, which is great when you're starving, and the portions are huge! It's a great place for kids to come and be intrigued by the tortilla machine (every kid in there was standing and watching it work) and the prices are fair. It is a large space and we didn't have to wait to be seated.

Aside from the delicious food, "Mi Rancho Restaurant is a family operated restaurant that has been serving our customers since 1990, " which I think is great since I love it when small businesses can flourish in the day and age of national chains.

1488 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Mi Rancho on Urbanspoon