This is pretty great, courtesy of Thayeravenue.com. Silver Spring’s beloved-by-some Piratz Tavern has gotten a makeover from SpikeTV and is now the Corporate Bar & Grill. Many commenters are complaining about the irony of the silly Piratz becoming blandly corporatized, but there may be multiple levels of irony here. Judging from the empty-suit logo above the door, the proprietors may be putting one over on us all with a tongue-in-cheek anti-corporatist subtext. If that’s really what’s going on, then nicely done, sirs. Hilarious. On the off chance it isn’t intentional satire, then at least maybe the food will be better…
It’s almost a real-life Crimson Permanent Assurance! (Pythons!)
There hasn’t been much eatin’ (out) in Wheaton over the past month, a deficit that must be remedied over the rest of 2011, but there was some eatin’ out elsewhere. For example: we tried Silver Spring’s relatively new Kao Thai (8650 Colesville), which turns out to be no threat to Wheaton’s Thai restaurant dominance. KT has pretty good pad prik khing, but not as good as Ruan’s exemplary version. Pra Ram, a dish not offered in Wheaton as far as I know, is okay, kind of bland peanut sauce. KT’s Panang curry is thin and wan, not close to Nava’s league. Pad Thai is fine. Overall not bad, but not worth leaving Wheaton for.
All this redevelopment talk is making me thirsty (and giving me a headache). So let’s get back to food, and give Silver Spring some love and attention: this weekend’s Post Magazine features a strongly positive review of Jackie’s (8081 Georgia, speaking of good restaurants on feral-looking streets outside the downtown core), raving particularly about the new chef. We love Jackie’s funky decor and mostly have liked the food, and now sounds like we need to revisit. The key is to get a booth, because the place is loud, and the non-booth tables are packed waaaay too close together. Especially avoid the two-tops at all costs.
We also need to hit the new-in-2010 Sidebar, next door to and owned by Jackie’s, about which we hear good things.
Pub quiz night at McGinty’s! I had never been before, tucked into the Ellsworth side of Silver Spring’s central core of restaurants. The quiz is held upstairs in a huge open room, nice space. Shouldn’t take 2.5 hours to get through a sixty-question pub quiz, though. Maybe I’m just bitter: top three teams out of a field of 21 won prizes, and we finished fourth. D’oh!
Fish bites ($5 at happy hour) were excellent, though the other components of the mini-fish’n'chips platter were less successful: over-salted fries and bland tartar sauce. I ate it all anyway, so couldn’t have been that bad. Harp good, Diet Coke watery. Friends had soup and bacony potato skins, all looked good. Servers were kind of spacey, but maybe it was just one of those nights. I will brush up on my trivia so I can go back and dominate both pub quiz and the happy hour menu.
Dan Dan the Just Up The Pike Man is moving up to Philly soon, says he’ll keep blogging but his MoCo content will surely lessen. JUTP is the most-read (my daily hits tripled the first time he linked to me), most influential MoCo blog; I don’t know where he finds the time to post so extensively every day. Skateboarders, food bloggers, and lots of folks in between will miss you here, Dan, and hope you return in 2012 for more East County blogging excellence. In the meantime, enjoy cheesesteak paradise.
Washingtonian Magazine’s annual top 100 Cheap Eats edition came out a month or so ago in hard copy (June 2010 issue) but it wasn’t online immediately so I ignored it, then forgot about it, then noticed it has appeared online so now I’m gonna talk about it.
Wheaton scores four of the spots, all fairly predictable, and of course well-deserved: Nava and Ruan for Thai food, and Hollywood East (no longer on the boulevard though, is it) and Full Key for Chinese food.
I don’t know if Silver Spring’s good eats are too expensive to make the list or if Washingtonian just doesn’t like them, but SS scored only a trifecta: Mandalay (which I can vouch for), Ray’s the Classics (“cheap”? Hmm…certainly good though), and Kabob n Karahi, about which I know nothing; I’m surprised not to see Ghar-e-Kebab or White Oak’s Bombay, given the rave comments here lately (Langley Park’s Woodlands did make the list). General Store in Forest Glen also makes the cut.
Beyond that, Rockville has apparently cornered the market on good cheap Chinese food: five of seven Rockville restaurants listed are Chinese; there are twelve Chinese places in all on the list, making it the most populous category.
These kinds of lists are always subjective, lots more places that aren’t listed easily could be, etc etc, but it’s always fun to see who’s there, makes for good discussion, and is a good reminder of how many quality inexpensive dining options we have in these here parts. Now go forth and chow down.
We tried the tres leches cake (successfully distinguishing it from flan this time — Mrs. Me is better about desserts than I am) from Caramelo Bakery (11301 Georgia) and it was good, not great, consistency was right but they added unnecessary strawberry jelly layers. Looked like birthday cake. We also ate more of their excellent empanadas.
In terms of price-to-quality, and even to some extent variety and just quality period, I think Wheaton overall stacks up well against Silver Spring (not to mention the rest of MoCo — Bethesda is so overrated!), but this month the excitement is all to the South. 8407 just opened a couple of weeks ago (sans tikis) and already the Gazette is on the case (maybe a little early for a review, hmmm?). Jackie’s opened their new Sidebar (get it? Bar, to the side of Jackie’s!?) on April 1. Fire Station 1 brewpub is coming. These are all examples of why the despised Red Lobster ought never be allowed to define the Silver Sprung dining scene. The SS trend is in the right direction IMO, especially since some of the older holes-in-wall are surviving alongside the gentrification. Remains to be seen whether Wheaton will benefit in similar ways over the next 10-20 years…
Silver Spring’s much-anticipated brewpub, aka Fire Station 1, is finally almost ready to open at Georgia and Silver Spring at the site of the old fire station, which moved across Georgia. We’ve been waiting for years. It was supposed to be owned by the Hook and Ladder beer folks, but neither website refers to the other, so it is unclear if they are actually related in the end. The menu is really long and diverse, which makes me worry about the food quality, but hopefully at least the appetizers will be solid. If they get the atmosphere right, they’ll be fine, and even if they don’t, they’ll probably be fine. I think this will be a very very popular watering hole. No official opening date as far as I know, but soon.