Tag Archives: Silver Spring restaurant

Restaurant Review: Greek Islands Grill (Silver Spring)

Greg and I found the Greek Islands Grill restaurant via a penny saver type magazine several years ago and have been enjoying it on occasional Sundays ever since. They were advertising a Sunday brunch Greek buffet. What could be better we thought. We were pleasantly surprised with the buffet’s offerings- though there were not countless dishes available, the ones they did offer were fabulous and hit the spot for the Greek food craving we have so regularly. According to their website the buffet is also offered on other days besides Sundays-  “All you can eat buffets Wednesday (5 to 9 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) are $13.95. Thursday’s lunch buffet (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) is $9.95.” . It’s a slight hike out there to the restaurant (technically it’s in Cloverly) but we have found it to be very worth it! Almost every time I go, it’s the only meal I eat all day.

On my plate pictured above (last crappy iphone photo I swear!),  I have Greek Salad with feta and house made Greek dressing, Gyro meat w/tzatziki, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves with a creamy sauce), pastitsio (yum if you love bechamel as much as me), house made hummus, and spanakopita. I’m not going to go into details, but trust me, everything was divine! Also on the buffet were meatballs in a tomato broth, orzo and vegetables in tomato sauce , a chicken dish, and probable a few others I can’t remember. They also have a couple of sweet offerings, which I never get to because I am always so full, that include baklava and one other pastry offering. (as you can see I sort of lost focus on what else was offered once I started eating 🙂 )

For the Marylanders out there, Greg and I definitely recommend this place. We have never ordered anything off the menu so I can’t speak much for that.  However, the buffet gives you the chance to try several different things at once and it has always been very fresh and hot. They change out the food regularly and the service is friendly and prompt.

I hope you like it as much as we have– we will miss it!

Greek Islands Grill

15410 New Hampshire Avenue

Silver Spring, MD 20905

Restaurant Review: Hong Kong Restaurant (Kensington)

You may have never noticed this place as it is in a little strip mall behind what used to be a bank (and is now an urgent care) and a gas station. It’s behind and to the right of the strip mall that houses continental subs and pizza, if you are familiar with that (if you are not familiar with that, you should be!). Anyway, Hong Kong, has pretty good, reliable Chinese food and on Sunday they have a “family buffet”. Now, it’s important to note that this is not your typical buffet where in the center of the restaurant there are large trays of food that you pick from. No, not here. This “buffet” is really food served family style, meaning that as you finish a dish, they will bring you more of the same. Each person gets tea, their choice of soup and an egg roll. They brought Greg and I three entrees- one chicken, one beef and one shrimp. We were simply told what they were and there was no choice in that department. Luckily, we were fine with just about anything they could have brought.

When we walked in we were the only customers in the restaurant. The decor is a mix of old and new and the waitress was a bit odd, but whatever. We were promptly served tea and crunchy noodles with duck sauce, mmm. (Pictures are from the iphone- sorry!)

and then like five seconds later we got our soups. I got hot and sour and Greg got wonton.I usually judge a Chinese place on their hot and sour soup. This soup was solidly good. Nothing to go crazy over, but good, standard hot and sour.

(note: steelers shirts make good backdrops for photos!)

Like I mentioned, we also got egg rolls (unpictured).The egg rolls were super good, deep fried, deliciousness.

Next, came our entrees.

More specifically, we got shrimp with vegetables, Hunan chicken, and beef with broccoli (I think).

Of the three dishes, ironically the chicken was the best! Usually I don’t order chicken when I am out because I eat so much of it at home. This dish was really excellent though and it was the only one we forced ourselves to finish so we could get another serving of it. It was really tough, let me tell you.  The beef and shrimp were pretty standard really. I can’t remember the exact pricing, but this deal is quite a steal. This place also delivers and we have had pretty good success with them. Again, it’s not gonna rock your world, but it should satisfy your Chinese food cravings!

Restaurant Review: Black Market Bistro

I have been talking about going to this restaurant for quite a while, but we finally made it there last night! I had the dubious honor of paying for the meal since I lost (on a technicality) our NFL playoff pool. For those of you who are unfamiliar, BMB is on the bottom level of a house in a residential area of Kensington. The neighborhood itself was quite astounding and we were quite awed by the million dollar homes we passed. The restaurant has a farm house or New England-esque feel to it, but it is certainly fine dining with a casual flare. The menu is rather small, with one dish for each type of protein (chicken, beef, pork, seafood, etc), with several appetizers and Italian style pizzas also on the menu.

They had very fresh and delicious bread on the table of two varieties, one sweet with raisins and one Italian style white. We started off our meal with two appetizers: the soup of the day, which was a tomato bisque with pesto creme fraiche and pine nuts, and the Thai style Prince Edward Island mussels, mussels in lemongrass, chiles, ginger, coconut and cilantro. What a great start! The flavors of both of these dishes were so intense and delightful. The soup was very rich, creamy, and hearty and the pesto creme fraiche and the pine nuts added that little something that made it amazing. The mussels were perfectly cooked and the broth was divine. I could have happily ate that broth as a soup by itself it had so much flavor.

For our entrees we decided to go with the special, which was braised veal shank with risotto, including kale, pearl onions, and crimini mushrooms and the Pineland Farms hangar steak, a hardwood grilled all-natural hanger steak with whipped potatoes, fresh vegetable of the day, chimichurri & crispy onions.

When the veal entree was placed before me, Greg thought that they would come running back to grab it as they had seemingly forgot to place the meat on top of the risotto. Well, that was not the case. Apparently, the meat had been shredded and mixed in with the risotto and there wasn’t very much of it.  We had envisioned a veal shank on top of some creamy risotto. No. This was risotto with the little bit of meat mixed in along with what appeared to be a brown gravy and it was very salty. I have to say this was a disappointing dish. It was all one texture, one note of flavor, and just wasn’t that interesting. Did I mention it was salty? I woke up several times last night with some serious thirst! Luckily, the hangar steak was PERFECT in every way. It was grilled exactly right with a nice crust on the outside and still red and juicy on the inside. The veggie of the day was kale, my new fave, and the potatoes were melt in your mouth good. They served it with a TON of fried onion rings, which were sliced very thin, so they were crispy and a good accompaniment to the other textures. This was a great dish. We did not have any room for dessert, but I did take a peek at the menu. Nothing too exciting, except for the root beer float, which a table near us got.

Overall, we were very pleased with our experience at BMB and would definitely go back for another special occasion. The staff were all very nice too, although our waitress went MIA after our meals were served, and it wasn’t really that expensive considering the quality and the portions (although we did not have any leftovers 🙂 ). It was worth losing the playoff pool for, I will say that.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but this place was fancy!

Restaurant Review: The Big Greek Cafe (downtown Silver Spring)

We have been wanting Greek food for a few weeks now and decided to go out for lunch this weekend and try a new Greek place in the area. I remembered that there was a place in downtown silver spring that could possibly cure our gyro craving: The Big Greek Cafe.  We decided to go for it and give it a shot.

It was a little tough to find at first, as their sign is on the small side. I was pretty sure we passed it when we saw a blue and white facade. There is another Greek restaurant about two block north on Georgia Avenue as well, but we stuck to our original plan to go to this one.  The set up is such that you order at the counter and they have a good amount of seating for you to choose from. It was very clean and inviting and the guys behind the counter were really friendly and attentive.

and check out  my eating partner! Look at this guy…

Anyway, back to the food. The menu was nice and large but we both wanted gyros. I went with the gyro salad (a “big greek salad” with gyro meat) and Greg went with the Gyro platter- which came with a gyro, salad, and choice of sides (he picked fries). Once we sat down I took a further look at the menu and found another 5 or 6 things I wanted. Guess I will have to go back!

The food was as impressive as the menu.

Here is my salad. It was huge! It had so many herbs and spices and it was absolutely perfect. They served it with a house  “opa” dressing (which was garlicky delicious) and I also asked for tzaziki on the side, which was equally delightful and no extra charge. I saved the pita for the birds and squirrels in our backyard and ended up taking half of the salad home. I couldn’t finish this salad, despite my Saturday afternoon appetite, but it hit the spot!

Here is the gyro platter- also a nice, big serving. The fries were soooo good! They had that beer battered crunch on the outside and they put tzaziki on top, which is genius. Our only complaint was that the gyro meat was a little dry. Believe me, we still ate it, happily, but that would be the only critique. We assumed that maybe we got meat  from the end of the rotation and wasn’t as fresh as it could have been.  For both of our meals and two drinks it was $22.00, which is pretty ridiculous for the quality and size of the meal.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised by this place as we have sort of come to expect the worst from many local places we try. I would definitely come back here though and try some other menu items! Check it out and let me know what you think!

Urban BBQ

On Sunday we had lunch at Urban BBQ and it was awesome! This is a very small chain (only three restaurants) in the Silver Spring/Rockville area. The creators/owners also have another restaurant in the area, urban burger, which is also very good! I was very impressed with the BBQ today! It was also nice to help out a local restaurant that is serving such good food . I have to say that it is one of the best restaurants in this area for some real good American comfort foods.  (I took these pictures with my iphone, which is not very adept at close-ups, sorry!)

Front to back: Texas Steakhouse Salad, Beef Brisket Sandwhich, and Chili Cheese Fries

I had the Texas Steakhouse Salad: Fresh iceberg, romaine, chopped brisket, crispy potatoes, bleu cheese crumbles, bacon and diced tomato. I can’t see a way this would not be good but it was even better than I expected. The meat was really tender, juicy, and had a great smokey flavor. Also, it was nicely coated in BBQ sauce which worked well with the sharpness of the bleu cheese. The warm meat and potatoes on top of the cold lettuce and tomatoes also provided a nice contrast. It may look small, but it was more than enough and very filling. All in all, I would definitely recommend this and have it again.

Texas Steakhouse Salad

Greg had the beef brisket sandwich, which was basic but complemented nicely by the the BBQ sauces and hot sauces available from the condiment counter.

Beef Brisket Sandwich

We also got an order of the chili cheese fries: House-cut fries smothered in Redneck Fondue. What is redneck fondue? It’s a three cheese dip blended with their Two Step Chili and it’s so good (to eat, not for you) that you must give it a try and I would recommend doing this over french fries. I mean, how can you go wrong!

Chili Cheese Fries