The February 2013 issue of Washingtonian magazine is devoted to the 100 very best restaurants in the DC region and three Rockville restaurants are included! Here’s what the critics had to say about them:
- Cava Mezze: “Casual-rustic digs, clever takes on Greek mezze, and gentle prices make these eateries among the buzziest around [the two other Cava Mezzes are in DC and Arlington]. Sometimes the ktichen takes liberties with tradition–gyros, for example, are fashioned into sliders–but it’s usually to the good, and chef Dimitri Moshovitis understands that a bit of innovation goes a long way. And though it might seem there’s little reason to stray from small plates, a whole branzino crisscrossed with char marks convinced us otherwise.” 9713 Traville Gateway Drive (west of #270, just west of Shady Grove near a Giant grocery store). Warning: Traville Gateway Drive is a large loop that intersects twice with Shady Grove Road and nearby there’s a separate but similarly named Travilah Road–don’t the police and fire departments find these loose street-naming conventions a safety hazard? And technically, this restaurant is outside of the City of Rockville (which ends at Shady Grove Road).
- La Limeña: “You can eat Peruvian chicken anywhere these days. You come here to explore the multifaceted cuisine beyond pollo a la brasa–from tiradito (lime-marinated tilapia atop yellow-pepper sauce) to grilled beef hearts (imagine a hanger steak with slightly more chew) to rich aji de gallina (chicken in a sauce of egg, white wine, and garlic). And don’t allow the steam of a sizzling steak trailing through the room divert you from the fish, particularly the ceviches and the whole fried trout blitzed with shaved almonds.” 765-B Rockville Pike (in the far corner of the Richey Shopping Center (CVS, PNC, IHOP, and Llewellyn Realtors), which is in the northwest corner of Wootton Parkway and the Rockville Pike). I stopped by the restaurant on Saturday at 4 pm and discovered that although it’s hidden in the far corner of the shopping center, it was packed with customers waiting to be seated. People raved about the home-cooked meals and enthusiastically suggested things to try–and that you need to arrive early or late to avoid waiting.
- Sichuan Jin River: “There are get-away-from-it-all restaurants, date-night restaurants, and restaurants for conducting business. This is a go-with-a-group restaurant. With its voluminous menu (you want the Szechuan one, not the Chinese-American one) and low prices, the greatest rewards are to be had by bringing family or friends for a kind of DIY Chinese banquet. The full range of Szechuan cooking is on display: hot and spicy (a smoky mapo tofu), delicate (braised flounder with pickled cabbage), cool and tangy (pickled cucumbers); mild and earthy (lotus-root salad).” 410 Hungerford Drive. I haven’t confirmed the location of this restaurant in person, but I think it’s downtown next to the fire station and in the back of the 414 office/shopping building (where John McCord had his security consulting business). It recently changed its name from Sichuan Pavilion (same owners, named changed to avoid confusion).
Living in Rockville also puts us close to several “100 very best restaurants,” including:
- Black’s Bar and Grill (Bethesda)
- Black Market Bistro (Garrett Park)
- Pabu (Baltimore)
- Passage to India (Bethesda)
- Ruan Thai (Wheaton)
- Sushi Sono (Columbia)
- Volt (Frederick)
- Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore)