Archive for August, 2008

Yoyogi Sushi

328 Main Street
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Pros: Amazing prices, fresh ingredients

Cons: Cramped seating

You may have noticed that this list and our previous lists have had surprisingly few sushi restaurants. It’s not that we hate sushi – we actually enjoy it quite a bit – it’s just that we feel that sushi usually tends to be one of the most commonly over-priced meals. Our friends introduced us to Yoyogi Sushi which dispelled this notion. Yoyogi Sushi offers excellent sushi for amazingly low prices! Instead of paying about $7 to $10 for a single roll of sushi, you get about two rolls for the same price.

We tried a handful of different rolls. The ones that we seemed to enjoy the most were their Unagi (eel) Sushi, California Rolls, Spicy Tuna Sushi, and Spider Sushi (basically tempura soft-shell crab sushi). Our friends also really enjoyed the White Tuna Sushi. If you’re so inclined, be sure to try out the seaweed salad, which can be enjoyed as a single meal unto itself.

Yoyogi Sushi was truly a place that introduced us to the idea of affordable sushi. Although the restaurant may be a little cramped for seating, there are some outdoor tables for nice days. Otherwise, feel free to order some for take out so that you can enjoy this amazingly good sushi at your own dining table.

Cheeburger Cheeburger

2135 East York Rd
Timonium, MD 21093

15755 Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866

8872 McGaw Rd
Columbia, MD 21045

14921 Shady Grove Rd
Rockville, MD 20850

Pros: amazing build-your-own-burger-menu; diner atmosphere

Cons: Limited menu outside the burger/sandwich realm

We were led to Cheeburger Cheeburger by a TV ad. And we’re glad that we found it! If you ever have a craving for burgers, this is the place to visit. The diner atmosphere recalls the 50’s and 60’s diners that you see in movies, and the service staff is incredibly friendly.

And of course the burgers…Cheeburger Cheeburger offers a range of sizes ranging from kid-size (1/8 pound) to the monstrous Pounder (actually 1 1/3 pounds). They offer the Pounder as a challenge to customers, and their entry way is filled with photos of those who have successfully taken on that challenge. Along with the burgers come a build-your-own topping menu. The topping list is fairly extensive. Be careful that you don’t end up piling on more than you can handle, and it’s easy to get a little too eager.

The fries are a little salty for my taste, but are otherwise fried beautifully and deliciously. The skins left on the potatoes leave a nice taste and texture. And while you’re there, try finishing off your meal with a malt or a shake. Just like the toppings menu, the soda and ice cream menu offers an amazing range of options.

So next time you’re there, see if you’re up to the Pounder Challenge!

Maiwand Kabob

Harpers Choice Village Center
5467 Harpers Farm Rd
Columbia, MD 21044

839 Elkridge Landing Rd, Suite 110
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Pros: What isn’t a pro? Amazing food!

Cons: Built more for take-out

Two words: Maiwand Kabob

One word: Yum!

Seriously, we can’t rave enough about this restaurant. Simply the tandoori bread warrants a visit. It’s hard to think of anything bad to think of this restaurant. The only very minor issue is that it has very few tables and seems to be built more for take-out. Whatever…the reason you come is for food! If you like meat, this one offers up an array of meats, each prepared with an excellent range of spices. Simply thinking of the food right now as I type this has me drooling and wishing for another visit.

During our visit, we munched on some Bowlani (potato and scallion filled pastries), then proceeded to devour some Beef Kabobs and Chicken Jalfarazi. The seasonings, spices, and sauces create such an amazing flavor. Unbeknownst to us, Afghani food is slightly spicier than most other Mediterranean foods, but this was a welcome surprise for us.

Like we said, there isn’t much to complain about here. Now please excuse us while we make another visit.

UPDATE (11/10/2013): This local chain has opened up a new location in the Columbia Crossing shopping Center (next to the Books-A-Million). Whereas the other locations did not really contribute much to a dine-in atmosphere and begged for more of a take-out experience, the Columbia Crossing location is quite nice and offers a warm dine-in atmosphere.

Mannarang Food Plaza

800 N Rolling Rd
Catonsville, MD

Pros: Excellent food for the money

Cons: Awkward location in a grocery store; does not accept credit cards

Don’t let its location dissuade you. This may just look like a food stand in an H-Mart, but judging from the food quality, it might as well be your local neighborhood Korean family restaurant…and for a lower price! The Dolsot Bibimbob still comes in stone pots that lets the food sizzle, and the meat is marinaded and grilled to perfection!

This eatery also serves some Japanese food, such as sushi and tempura, but we haven’t yet gotten around to tasting this. With their prices, we can bet that we’ll be visiting again to try out their sushi!

An Loi

7104 Minstrel Way, #9
Columbia, MD 21045

Pros: Excellent food for the price; Service was excellent

Cons: just slightly more expensive than your typical Vietnamese restaurant; very few dishes beyond typical Vietnamese fair

Given that we are big fans of Vietnamese fans, and while in the Atlanta area, we found perhaps the best Vietnamese restaurant (un)known to humankind (Pho 96), any Vietnamese restaurant that follows has big shoes to fill. Although An Loi didn’t fulfill all of our expectations, it was still damn good!

Compared to most Vietnamese restaurants, the service at An Loi far exceeded our expectations. We had never seen servers so amazingly attentive. Our wait for our food was minimal.

We had our favorite Vietnamese dishes of pho and rice vermicelli with barbecued pork. The pho was very nice, though the broth, itself, wasn’t quite as flavorful as we had expected. The rice vermicelli dish was great, but the pork wasn’t quite grilled to my taste. Given that our experience with Vietnamese restaurants has been fairly extensive, we’d have to admit that it would take a lot to really live up to our expectations. Despite our complaints, An Loi is still an excellent restaurant. There was no question about the freshness of the ingredients.

An Loi is an excellent place to take someone who has limited exposure to Vietnamese food. This is the place to take friends to give them an introduction to Vietnamese food.

Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe

186 Halpine Rd
Rockville, MD 20852

Pros: Excellent brunch selection!

Cons: Packed!

Our first restaurant entry on this list! We found this place as we were trying to look for a gathering spot with some old friends. As you may know, Rockville Pike is a haven for fine dining and good shopping. Nestled along here is this amazing eatery! So far, we can only comment on their brunch offerings, but if their brunch is any indication of what their dinner is like, we will be visiting again in the near future.

The restaurant prides itself on its unique use of waffles. Upon sight, it’s easy to see why. They look delicious! Other than waffles, Mosaic offers several other brunch options, all of them tasty! Try an eggs benedict with salmon over it. Trust me, you will thank me for the suggestion.

The only real downside to Mosaic is that you may have a hard time finding a table. When you can, make reservations and come early!

August 2008