Tournesol

50-12 Vernon Blvd
Long Island City, NY 11101-5734
(718) 472-4355

This is the first time I have ever eaten French food, unless you count the meals on Air France. Tournesal is a small place, and we just showed up with a group of 8 on a Saturday night, so naturally I expected to stand around for about one hour. Instead we only had a 20 minute wait before we were seated! For the appetizers I did not make any orders, others at the table did, so I am really unsure what we got. What I do remember is that the cheese platter was excellent. There was one item that stuck out on the menu, beef cheeks, not only did it stand out on the menu, but the guy on the table next to us got it and it just looked tempting. It was extremely tender and completely impressed me. Everyone else I dined with really enjoyed their meal, so for my first taste of French food, it was great! I definitely suggest this place to everyone.

Obi Sushi

1771 Library Street
Reston, VA 20190
http://www.obisushi.com

I love sushi so one day after work, it just seemed like a great idea to check out Obi Sushi which was located across the street from my office. To start with we went with a bottle of Hakushika Chokara sake. It was a nice dry sake, which we really enjoyed with our sushi. As for the meal I had to go with my normal of a sushi dinner. Obi’s Sushi Dinner has two options each came with 6 pieces of a California Roll, but one came with 2 pieces of 3 different fishes while the second has 6 different pieces. What did I get? Of course the 6 different pieces.. more the merrier, plus this option came with octopus! I would say the sushi was good, but not the best I have had. I have heard they have a sushi buffet for lunch which sounds interesting so I might make a trip to check that out next time I am in Reston.

Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe

1827 Library St,
Reston, VA 20190
http://www.unclejulios.com/

Nothing makes me happier then great service, but when you have excellent quick service and amazing food you have a place I will rant and rave about. I hit up Uncle Julio’s for lunch (located next to American Tap Room), remember to get there before 12pm as the lunch crowd seems to pour in. We entered around 11:45am just beating the crowd and were seated immediately. The wait staff was extremely attentive, in cases where our waitress was busy another one would come over to make sure our glasses of water were filled and if everything was ok. Now this is what makes an enjoyable meal for me. I went for their 2 enchilada meal, one beef one chicken toped with a verde sauce. It was amazing the food came out really quick, I was quiet surprised. Usually I get worried when food comes out to quick, I feel as if it might have been a microwave meal but the food tasted excellent. It was perfectly spiced and the perfect portion for a lunch meal. I do not know what else to say, this place just rocked!

American Tap Room

1811 Library St.
Reston, VA 20190
703-834-0400
http://www.americantaproom.com

Sitting in my hotel room in at Dulles Airport, I wanted to go out see people, grab dinner, possibly a drink and of course catch the Mets game. My search brought me to American Tap Room, and I was immediately pleased to see they had the Mets game on. This was a great environment for a weeknight and was prefect for the business traveler alone in the town. The staff was extremely friendly; at one point they switched the Mets game to show the American Idol finale, maybe they were Taylor Hicks fans? They quickly realized I was there for the game and got the Mets on one of the large plasma screens. I asked for a couple beers and ordered the Steak Town Center, a NY Strip with Peppercorn Sauce. If you remember my Riverview experience I was nuts over the peppercorn sauce, which is the reason I ordered this steak. Well when the steak came out, it looked like it was burned. It definitely not, but the look was not appealing. The taste was ok; portions of the steak were over cooked, while some were medium as requested. I wasn’t too pleased with the steak. Perhaps I should have stuck with a burger or something else. This place has a lot of options, so I would go back, but would not order the steak. Might just be that American Tap Room is a burger and beer type of joint.

Big Bowl

11915 Democracy Drive
Reston, VA 20190
(703) 787-8852
http://www.bigbowl.com/

Big Bowl was the first of my stops while in Reston, VA. I visited Big Bowl for lunch on a nice afternoon and after seeing the crowd inside I decided I wouldn’t mind sitting outside. Unfortunately, their outdoor seating is hidden from the sun, so it was a tad on the cold side. I guess this is not totally their fault but it is something that sticks out in my mind from the meal. Big Bowl has a pomegranate ginger ale, it sounded so unique I had to order it, and I am glad I did. One of my problems with dining out has always been making a decision at places that have large menus, and this was the case at big bowl. After a bit of deliberation I settled on the Thai hot pepper shrimp with basil and peanuts from the “RED HOT MENU.” Now this was a sort of a disappointment, the food tasted great, but I had expectations of a spicy meal. Is it wrong to expect a meal with the term “hot pepper” in it off the “Red Hot Menu” to be spicy? Maybe it was just me setting my expectations to high, but I was looking forward to a spicy meal. Overall, it was a good meal just didn’t hit the mark.

Rickshaw Dumping Bar

61 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
http://www.rickshawdumplings.com/

The name of this place is what drew me in, I thought to myself WHAT IS A DUMPLING BAR? As I walked in, Rickshaw seemed like a small place with 2 tables by the entrance, I continued to the register and realized there was a whole another area of seating in the back, so don’t be fooled by the first impression here. Ok so what about the dumpling bar you ask? Rickshaw is a very simple place they have 6 different types of dumplings 2 Chickens, 1 Pork, 1 Shrimp, 1 Duck and 1 Vegetarian. You pick which type you want in a 6 or 9 pack, either steamed or pan-friend and you can add a salad or noodle soup if you wish. It really doesn’t get easier then that. I went with the parents and ordered a 6 pack of chicken and shrimp, the order was up in 2 minutes! All the dumplings are kept there ready to go, but I can vouch they are fresh. Each order came with a individual sauce for dipping. Overall I preferred the chicken over the shrimp it had a lot more flavor. Since I did visit them about a week or 2 ago I can not remember which exact chicken we got, but I am willing to bet both are great!

Roomali

97 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10016
http://roomali.tripod.com/

Roomali’s claim to fame is their Roti Rolls. In short it is an Indian bread rolled up and filled with one of their many options such as lamb tikka, chicken, beef or paneer (cheese). In addition they have some grilled plates were just the meat or chicken, great for the low carb freaks out there. I had the lamb tikka roll and the chicken bihari grilled plate. Both were excellent. The roll can be a little greasy, but I think that is part of the charm. Each roll is around $5 so it makes for an affordable meal. The place itself is small so don’t even think about going with a big group.. but hey they have a friendster profile!

The Creek and the Cave

10-93 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101
http://www.thecreekandthecave.com

Off the back, I have to say I have never actually sat down and eaten at The Creek and the Cave, but have ordered in a handful of times and felt it was worth a mention. You may have noticed this place is listed under burgers as well as Mexican, why you ask? This is because their Vera Cruz Burger is my favorite burger in all of NYC. This burger is flavorful and toped with jalapenos, and this flavor has been consistent. There is more to the menu then just that burger, but I usually stick with the burger. I have also had their tacos, which come in options of shrimp, chicken, steak or fish. I personally like the shrimp and fish the best, there is some sort of tangy sauce on these that are absent in the chicken and beef. In addition this place serves as a bar at nights and weekends, the ambience seems interesting from the times I have picked up. If you are around the area, this is worth a trip for the burger. Even if you are in Manhattan take the 7 Train 1 stop into queens, you will be happy you did.

Sabor Tropical

36-18 30th Avenue
Astoria, New York
http://www.sabortropicalnyc.com/

Couple of friends and I were on the hunt for skirt steak, which landed us at the Brazilian restaurant Sabor Tropical in Astoria, NY. Their menu consists of more then just skirt steak, but our goal was skirt steak. For appetizers we started with the fried yuca and calamari. Both were excellent. Yuca is very similar to potatoes for those who are unsure what they are. On the side I did have the Brahma Brazilian beer, which I did not like, I would say stick to the Corona if you want a beer here. When it came to the skirt steak, there were 3 options, topped with Mushrooms, Onions or Hearts of Palm. I went with the mushrooms, but someone got the onions and hearts of palm. Due to my curiosity, I had to try the hearts of palms from my friend’s plate, and I liked it, but still I had no clue what they are exactly. If you want to know more, then I suggest you google it. As usual I got my steak medium, and it came out perfect. It was a nice healthy portion, which I unfortunately could not finish. People in our party did order a chicken dish which was massive as well. It looked great but I was stuffed with my steak. Next time I go I will make sure to have a bigger appetite and might try one of their other steaks or fish.