This week's $20 Diner column heads to Tacos el Costalilla to find the kind of tacos made in the Jalisco region of Mexico.
The path to navigate runs, again, through Jalisco, where "tacos al vapor" are a staple of the diet. At Costalilla, these tacos are steamed in a pot and filled with your choice of cow off-cuts, whether tongue or head or brain; the gelatinous head meat proves an ideal partner for the moisture-laden tortillas, provided you don't have a regrettable encounter with an uncooked mass of cartilage. While I'm thinking of it, make sure to ask the cook to steam your tacos with the garnishes and sauce included; it intensifies the flavors.
The ceviche and the tortas are worth trying as well, Tim Carman says. [WaPo]
For some reason it took several months for Tom Sietsema to offer a First Bite of The Coupe, but he likes what he finds there; the "eggs any time of day" makes him smile.
Another dish that elicits a grin is the lamb burger, a patty that goes Greek with feta and gets extra kick from sun-dried tomato mayonnaise and pickled red onion. As for the Caesar salad laced with white anchovies: well, not bad for a diner. [WaPo]
Springfield's Monty's Steakhouse, however, only elicits 1.5 stars from the critic.
My biggest beef with the place? The steaks. I've never met one here I liked, and I've tried four cuts: the New York strip, the rib-eye, the porterhouse and blackened prime rib. Together, they add up to a stockyard of disappointment. The meat is billed as dry-aged, but none of it tastes the part. The beef can also be dry. The flaws are magnified in the presence of stiff mashed or twice-baked potatoes. [WaPo]
Rockville's East Dumpling House catches the eye of Tyler Cowen. "Real Beijing street food...It has no close substitute in this area and in terms of quality and price it is excellent." [TC]
Northern Virginia Magazine offers a quick glance at Turmeric, where the price outweighs the taste.
Nothing on the menu at Turmeric is as intriguing as the decorations, but the price feels good. For $20 the maharaja platter sings the carnivorous anthem: chicken tikka (singed), sheekh nawabi (compressed beef), Bombay salmon (wedding-food quality), lamb boti kebab (rosy hued) and chicken curry (creamy). [NVM]
Don Rockwell turns his attention to Gharer Khabar in Arlington, which he finds to be a "bizarre restaurant."
Based on this one meal, I would highly recommended Gharer Khabar for a starving student that wants something more elevated and healthy than fast food. At this price, I'm a repeat customer. [DR]