Back not a moment too soon. The hard copy Washingtonian for September 2011 is out, with the annual top 100 Cheap Eats list, this year including Wheaton hotspots El Pollo Rico, Full Key, Nava Thai, Ren’s Ramen, and Ruan Thai. Ren is new to the list this year, and is totally deserving. Hollywood East is off the list for the first time in a long time. Full Key, where I still have yet to eat, gets a “Best Dishes” highlight for its sizzling beef with black pepper hot pot — I guess I know what I need to order when I finally go there.
There are of course many more than 100 excellent, cheap restaurants in greater DC and it is too easy to nitpick lists like this, so I will nitpick in only limited fashion. Masala Art is on the list this year, and while Masala Art is a truly excellent restaurant and also a good value, I would not describe it as “cheap” though I guess the $9.95 lunch buffet does qualify. Silver Springs’ newish Kao Thai is also on the list, but my recent experience there (soon to be posted) was mediocre, certainly not in Ruan/Nava territory.
Irene’s Restaurant in Laurel is on the list (no website, and Yelp reviews at odds with its inclusion in any kind of “best” list) (of course Yelp is completely unreliable in general). Not to be confused with Wheaton’s Irene’s Pupusas. I wonder if they will have any hurricane specials this weekend? Batten down the hatches!
The September Washingtonian also features a Best of Bethesda section with many restaurant capsule reviews, but I’m not even gonna go there right now.