Crossroads Grill

Crossroads Grill
5842 Columbia Pike

Falls Church, VA  22041
703.931.5426
Mondays – Fridays, 7:30 AM – 9 PM
Saturdays, 9 AM – 7 PM

Closed Sundays

I LOVE Crossroads Grill (aka X-Roads)!  One of my favorite foods is the Steak and Cheese, so to get my fix, I always drop in at this totally unassuming ‘grill‘ that is located inside a Shell gas station.

They are always consistent in their Steak & cheese (#15 combo) – the bread is slightly toasted, and it is filled with lovely chopped steak, melted Provolone cheese, yummy sauteed onions, and the tangy zip of the extra mayo (you can also add tomato and lettuce).  It comes with a side of french fries (naked or ‘spicy’ (which is like a Cajun seasoning blend on top)).

The place gets packed during the lunch hours during the weekdays, and the cashier/chef is always unbelievably sweet and friendly!  There’s limited seating within (4 tables – two 2-seaters and 2 corner booths), but you can also do carry-out.

When you place your order, you walk to the other side of the food mart and pay at the main gas station cashier, where they stamp it; you then trade in the stamped receipt for the food when the Grill calls out your number. I highly recommend dining in so you get the Steak & Cheese nice and hot (as it can get slightly soggy with the foil, all nestled inside the styrofoam to-go box).

I’ve also tried their shrimp basket, which are sooo crispy and generous in the amount (comes with fries as well) – they also offer burgers, burritos, kabobs, and breakfast items.  Check them out!

+Steak & Cheese combo (#15)
+Shrimp Basket (crispy!)
+friendly chef
+order, then pay with the receipt at the cashier on the other side; bring back the stamped receipt to pick up your order
+limited seating inside
+located inside Shell gas station (to your right), next to German Gourmet

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The Bohemian

The Bohemian
57 Great Jones Street

New York, NY  10012
Phone number is not displayed due to its ‘secrecy’

The Bohemian is an exclusive/secret/underground restaurant (sister restaurant to the Nishiazabu’s location; I heard this space used to be Warhol’s loft!!!) that you can only get reservations with a REFERRAL from a past/regular patron (YES, THEY CHECK, so don’t go on being shady!).

We came here to celebrate the hubs’ birthday – they have two seatings – 6PM or 9PM.  Finding the place was slightly tricky, but it’s strategically located by the butcher shop.  Once you ring the bell, you are confirmed on their list.  There’s a coat rack in the front where you can hang up your belongings and you are shown to your table.

The restaurant itself is SO SO SO CUTE (and clean)!  There’s a little ‘nature-istic’ decor on the far side of the restaurant and lovely art pieces from the artist, Seiji Yamauchi; there are only 21 seats in the main area (3 2-seaters, 2 3-seaters, and 2 4-seaters), and some more seats up at the bar.  Considering how this restaurant is so secretive, I loved how totally unpretentious it was!  We were greeted warmly, and our server, Karen, was so cute and lovely, and made sure that our dining experience was wonderful!

We were given lovely scented warm hand towels while deciding on what to order. We had the tasting course; this came with a ‘Farmer’s Fresh Vegetable Fondue’ – very fresh and crispy parsnips, radicchio, bell peppers, juicy & plump cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers, all dip-able in a lovely cheese sauce that was so creamy and yummy (husband was a total fan!).  Next was the Uni Croquette, which was filled with a mushroom cream, topped with creamy uni – this literally tasted like a cream of mushroom in a croquette form .  Next, we had a Washu-Beef Short Rib Sashimi – thinly-sliced, marinated, and lovely with the pickled/delicately-sliced garlic, dipped in the soy sauce mixture.  Yum!  The main entree was the Pan-Roasted Branzino with farmer’s seasonal vegetables – it came in a hot skillet, and the whole fish was delicate and flaky.  The side of the pan-roasted vegetables (potatoes, brussel sprouts, and half of a roasted garlic bulb) were so delicious.  Next, you were able to choose between the Bohemian’s Washu-Beef Mini Burger with fried potatoes or the Sashimi Rice Bowl with Japanese Cucumber Pickles with Toss-zu jelly.  My husband had the burger, while I had the rice bowl.  The burger was done medium rare, which I was not a fan of (I probably would request the patty to be well-done next time!).  I enjoyed my Sashimi Rice Bowl, with the fresh sashimi and the seasoned rice – yum!

Before the conclusion of our tasting, I, of course, had to add additional plates – Karen was a bit nervous at first, as she said that the tasting is a lot of food, but we ensured her that we can EAT and that we could handle it (yes, she was impressed with us at the end AHAHAHA)  We tried out the Homemade Pickled Cauliflower (this was delicious, as the large cauliflower florets were pickled in this great brine, and had this sweet/tangy taste going on), the Toro-Taku Roll (with daikon pickles, scallions, roasted sesame, and shiso leaf – garguantuan in size, it had a generous amount of toro; my husband was a fan of this), the Bohemian Mac & Cheese (similar to the fondue cheese; came with a tomato butter toast), the Cazuela Garlic Shrimp (which came with a shrimp paste (not a fan) and sliced baguette; loved the minced garlic and the salty whole olives within), the Kuro Buta Pork Loin (topped with cacao-nibs and mixed spices with roasted baby onions – the pork was SO JUICY – it was cooked perfectly and great with a little dip-age of the course salt); and, the Tokyo Teriyaki Washi-Beef Mini Burger (enjoyed the teriyaki sauce; came with pickles).

The ending of the tasting was with the Yuzu Pannacotta – literally, one of the best desserts I’ve had in my life!  So creamy and delicious, and the tangy yuzu was a lovely complement!  My husband also had a lovely creamy vanilla ice cream scoop as a birthday treat!  My husband also had a strawberry basil frozen drink that was really nice – fresh and not overly sweet.

The manager, Kadori, was also awesome – extremely kind and also checked up on us.  I really enjoyed this experience and will definitely be back.  I would probably order off the a la carte and am curious of any of their new additions.  On a side note, they have a bidet in the bathroom – um, it was awesome with its warm seats (I know, TMI).

+lovely underground Japanese dining experience
+awesome staff

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Shady Lane Crab House

Shady Lane Crab House
119 Hawthorn Street
Colonial Beach, VA  22443
804.224.2722
Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays: 11 AM- 7 PM
Fridays & Saturdays, 11 AM – 8PM
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays

I LOVE SHADY LANE!!!  Whenever the hubs and I go down to CB, we always make it our goal to stop by Shady Lane when the crabs are in season!  They originally started out as a carry-out only place, but with such high demands, they set up a restaurant by the river.  The menu offers appetizers (such as crab dip, oysters, shrimp cocktail, etc.), steamed seafood (crabs, shrimp, crawfish, etc.), sandwiches (crab cake, po’ boy, etc.), fried seafood, grilled seafooed, soups, as well as homemade desserts and beer/wine.

We started off with the crab dip (this came with perfectly-toasted pita triangles and a bowl of hot dip, filled with luscious juicy crab meat and cheese – this was literally one of the best crab dip I’ve ever had!  It was so creamy, and the amount was just perfect with the pita!); a basket of hush puppies (perfectly golden-fried, these were so crispy, and was sooo delicious with their housemade cinnamon honey butter!); an oyster po’ boy (perfectly battered, well-seasoned, with a great drizzle of a mayo-based sauce, lettuce, tomato, and red onion; this was crispy, crunchy, and tasty; served with fries); crab cake sandwich (comes in a hamburger bun with also lettuce, tomato, and red onion; you can opt for another side, and we chose potato salad; this crab cake was fresh and with a very small amount of filler; great with the Texas Pete hot sauce!); and, the soft shell sandwich (when in season and at market price; this soft shell crab was also perfectly battered, well-seasoned, filled with juicy meat, and great with the hot sauce; I opted for the coleslaw, which was creamy and refreshing).

We couldn’t say ‘No’ to the homemade desserts – we tried the banana cream pie (so creamy and delicious, with perfectly-ripened banana slices and a light whipped top, this was absolutely scrumptious and one of the best pies I’ve had!) and the key lime pie (not too overly sweet, but with a little tang, this was quite tasty as well!).

Our server was Ms. Teressa, and she was such a sweetheart and so kind; she checked up on us often and made sure that everything was tasty.  The place was definitely packed, with large parties chowing down on the steamed crabs and peel-your-own shrimp.  There is also outside picnic tables to dine al fresco on a nice day.  Definitely check this local gem out – you will not be disappointed!  It is literally one of my favorite places with its fresh fresh fresh seafood

+crab dip
+hush puppies with cinnamon honey butter
+soft shell crab sandwich
+oyster po’ boy
+crab cakes
+steamed Old Bay (their special seasoning) crabs
+coleslaw
+banana cream pie
+key lime pie
+ask for Ms. Teressa
+friendly staff
+al fresco dining available
+carry-out location available
+plenty of parking

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Gaijin Ramen Shop

Gaijin Ramen Shop
3800 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA  22207
571.386.1422
Tuesdays-Sundays, 4 PM – 10 PM
HH: Tuesdays-Sundays, 4 PM – 7 PM
Closed Mondays
http://www.gaijinramenshop.com/

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Gaijin Ramen Shop!!!  A new addition to Arlington, they just opened back in July.  Co-owned by two best friends, Tuvan and Nicole (who are the most sweetest, the most loveliest, and the most genuine individuals everrr!), all the broth is made on the premise, all fresh, every single day (that is why they open at 5PM!) – you can really taste the LOVE, the complexity, and the depth.  Let me tell you, it is DIVINE.  These folks don’t play around!

I had the Spicy Miso Ramen (make sure you get the true Osaka-style with the sesame oil), made with their Gaijin original spicy paste.  I added kimchi (prepared Japanese-style and is a little sweeter, and complements really well with the ramen (I highly suggest in purchasing a tub to go, as it’s great to eat with bulgogi/K-meats)), bean sprouts, and the Nitamago Boiled Seasoned Egg.  The broth was on the slightly thicker end (which I absolutely LOVED) and just filled with pure yumminess.  That kimchi?  Made on the premise and it is LEGIT!  That Nitamago Egg?  Yeaaaaa!  But, most importantly, how about them noodles?  OMG, one of the best CONSISTENTLY prepared fresh noodles I’ve had – springy and al dente – it was heaven!  In addition, the spiciness of the broth wasn’t overwhelming, but interwoven with such expertise, that you get the pure flavor without feeling that you’re just eating spices for kicks!  The hubs had the Spicy Tonkotsu, also made with the Gaijin original paste – the beautiful pork bone broth was creamy – one of the BEST tonkotsu broth I’ve had in a very long time!

We also tried their Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns (you can choose either Sesame Beef Burger, Spicy Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, Pork Belly,and Tofu Veggie; we tried the Pork Belly (mannn, that pork belly was cooked perfectly!), one of their specials, the Fried Chicken Curry (beautifully-battered fried chicken with a zippy curry sauce – yum!); the Spicy Fried Chicken (little cutlet of battered chicken, but I did prefer the Fried Chicken more); and, the Pulled Pork (a generous amount of pulled pork, jam-packed in the bun; great flavor, but I prefer it in the Tater Takoyaki!) – the buns were nice and soft and filled with fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and sliced scallions!  The Tater Takoyaki, which were hot-off-the-fryer tater tots, are perfectly crisp; they’re topped with a mound of delicious and juicy shredded pork, spicy mayo, and green onions – the sauce was beautiful and not overwhelming at all – the pulled pork with the tots and the sauce makes this a really addictive starter!!!  They had Osaka Wings, so I had to try those babies out – freshly-cooked chicken wings (always fresh, never frozen!), perfectly glazed with a spicy black pepper sauce – it had a lovely crispy exterior with this lovely sweet/slightly spicy kick, and it was finger-licking good (I’ve also tried the sweet Thai chili, which is sweeter, but I prefer the Osaka version more!)!

Other items on the menu include Tonkotsu/Chicken/Curry Chicken/Veggie/Curry Veggie/Double Miso ramen, cucumber salads, edamame, wakame salad, and various ramen toppings (chashu pork shoulder, minced pork, garoti bbq chicken, bamboo shoots, pickled seasonal veggies, etc.).

They also serve red/white wine, sake/flavored sake, plum wine, beer, and other specialty drinks (mojitos, etc.).  I’ve also tried Nicole’s special housemade Avocado Smoothie with housemade whipped cream – SO DELICIOUS!!!  Their sparkling lemonade is also sooo refreshing!

We’ve always had either Michael (!!!) or Diana, and both are very sweet and makes sure that we are checked upon constantly!  The stars have aligned as we now have literally one of the best Osaka-style ramen shops, right in our backyard (I wouldn’t be surprised if NYers have already begun making special ramen pilgrimages to VA for this joint!)!  Totto fans (same mentors behind this joint) – you’ll HEART it; followers of Santouka & others (#sorrybutnotsorry, but I have to roll the eyes) – this will be an automatic permanent replacement.  Check them out and support this great local business – you will NOT be disappointed!  I personally cannot wait to go back (you’ll probably find me there tonight) AHAHAHA

+best ramen everrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Osaka-style and made with LOVE!!!
+no MSG!!!  All-natural and fresh!!!
+Spicy Miso Ramen (true Osaka style with the sesame oil; add the kimchi, the Nitamago egg, and the bean sprouts!)
+Spicy Tonkotsu/Tonkotsu Ramen
+Tater Takoyaki
+Sparkling Lemonade drink
+Housemade Avocado Smoothie with Housemade Whipped Cream
+Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns – Pork Belly
+Oishii Oishii Steamed Buns – Fried Chicken Curry (special)
+Osaka Wings
+ask for Tuvan and Nicole
+ask for Michael
+friendly service
+free street parking after 6PM
+HH Tues-Sun, 4-7PM ($2 off apps/drinks)

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Slab-O-Ribs

Slab-O-Ribs
3360 Livingston Road
Indian Head, MD  20640
301.375.6297
Seasonal; Saturdays & Sundays

SLAB-O-RIBS is currently open for the season, guys!!!  This very unassuming shack off of Livingston Road offers the best ribs EVER!  Mr. Joe, the owner, is oh-so-awesome and very passionate about his ribs and his homemade sides (like potato salad, collard greens, mac & cheese, baked beans, etc.) – and, rightfully so, as his food is sooo delicious!  If you’re lucky, he sometimes has hot-out-of-the-oven yellow cake and rum/whisky cake available (next availability will be during Memorial Day weekend!).  We always get a couple of slabs of ribs, hot BBQ sauce on the side (mild sauce is also available), and family-sized sides of the collard greens, potato salad, mac & cheese, and the baked beans.  The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, has a lovely crispy exterior, and that lovely color within.  The homemade BBQ sauce also takes it to a whole another level, but the ribs themselves are flavorful as it is, so sauce is technically not needed!  Don’t forget to ask if they have NC-style pulled pork, as that is just so moist and so flavorful – don’t forget to get a cup of their coleslaw for that nice creamy crunch complementing situation!  They have outside seating available, but we usually take it to-go.  One of my favorite places EVER, we’ve been bringing all of our dear friends, and they all become Mr. Joe’s fans right on the spot – SNAP*  Check out Slab-o-Ribs – you won’t be disappointed!

+Memphis-style ribsssss
+NC-style pulled pork!
+hot sauce & mild BBQ sauce available
+yummy sides (collared greens, potato salad, mac & cheese, and baked beans)
+yellow cake and rum cake available on special weekends
+ask for Mr. Joe!
+limited outside seating available
+open Sat & Sun, during summer months
+catering available
+little lot for your car

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