Arlington, VA

Takeshi Sushi and Ramen in Courthouse has only been in its “soft opening” phase for a week, but at lunch today (Thursday) it was nearly full with locals checking out Arlington’s newest Japanese restaurant.

The small but sunny eatery at 2424 Wilson Blvd is sandwiched next to Delhi Dhaba Indian Restaurant and underneath Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill. It is open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

The restaurant offers a range of sushi platters, ramen soups, and rice books for between $11-$15 (one eel on rice dish, Unaju, being the outlier at $18). Vegetarian and vegan options — like a soft tofu ramen and a mango/avocado-based fruit “sushi” — are also available.

Owner and chef Wu Lin said there are a few more dishes on the way when the restaurant has its full grand opening sometime next month.

Lin said he trained at the Tokyo Sushi Academy and showed top-ranked certificates from the school.

While the restaurant is still using napkins from Papa John’s next door and has a rather sparse, hole-in-the-wall interior, the staff showed careful precision as they assembled meals. One chef slicing lemons for a boxed meal discarded two pieces after he decided they were sliced slightly too thin.

“This area is new for us, but we’re confident,” said one of the staff.

Lin said that while the restaurant offers sushi and ramen, the ramen has by far been the more popular choice so far.

A second location for the restaurant in the Fairfax Circle Shopping Center is also now open, according to Lin.

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Morning Notes

VHC Land Swap Ready to Move Forward — “Nearly six months after a divided Arlington County Board approved a major expansion of Virginia Hospital Center, board members are set to take the next step.” [InsideNova]

Ballston IHOP Reopens — “Good news IHOP fans: the Ballston location is back open and serving customers. Here’s why it closed.” [Twitter]

DEA Finds Temporary Digs — “The Drug Enforcement Administration has found temporary space in Crystal City for its employees while its… headquarters in adjacent Pentagon City gets a major makeover. Representatives for the DEA recently applied to Arlington County for interior alteration permits to renovate three floors at 2200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Road Closures for Ballston 5K Race — “The 2019 Girls on the Run 5K Race will be held in the Ballston-Virginia Square area on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement the following road closures from approximately 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]

Carlee Defines the ‘Arlington Way’ — “‘In its most positive framing’ [the Arlington Way] means ‘engaging with the public on issues of importance or concern (not always the same) in an effort to reach community consensus or… a shared understanding and an opportunity for everyone to be heard,’ [former County Manager Ron Carlee] writes. ‘In its negative framing’ the phrase has been ‘derided as a way to talk everything to death so that ideas are killed or that people are so worn-down that by the end, they do not care what happens as long as it is just over.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo courtesy @klk_photography11/Instagram

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It’s Ramadan and for millions of Muslims that means fasting from dawn to sunset.

Breaking that fast each day with the evening meal of Iftar is often a community experience. Here in Arlington, a few local restaurants have late-night menus or specials specifically for iftar.

Those restaurants with special post-fast menus include:

  • Tarbouch Mediterranean Grill (3110 Lee Highway) — An employee said the restaurant has a full-service buffet with soup, sweets, fruit and juice for $24.95. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m.
  • Ravi Chatkhara (303 N. Glebe Road) — An employee said the Pakistani restaurant has an iftar menu with specialty omelets and different kinds of food available. The restaurant’s online hours said the restaurant closes at midnight, but the employee said the kitchen is open until 4 a.m.
  • Fettoosh (5100 Wilson Blvd) — A Moroccan restaurant with an iftar menu featuring pancakes, Moroccan sweets, juice, and milk. An employee said the restaurant is open late in the evenings with no reservations needed.
  • Cloud Lounge (2525 Lee Highway) — An upscale, 18-and-older restaurant and coffee shop with an iftar buffet.

Both Kabob Palace Family Restaurant (2315 S. Eads Street) and Afghan Kabob (2045 Wilson Blvd) said they have no special menus or items for Ramadan, but that they have traditional dishes available after sunset. Afghan Kabob closes at 3 a.m.

Katherine Ashworth Brandt, president and founder of Dine After Dark — a nonprofit organization encouraging local restaurants to extend their hours for Ramadan — said the Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (4251 Campbell Avenue) is participating with extended hours. The restaurant is scheduled to be open until 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Photo via Tarbouch/Facebook

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Arlington County Police have arrested a 25-year-old man for an alleged sex assault in a Clarendon restaurant over the weekend.

Police say the crime happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday at a restaurant on the 3000 block of Clarendon Blvd, a block from the Metro station.

A woman “was cornered by the known male suspect inside a walk-in freezer, preventing her from leaving the area,” ACPD said in a press release. “The suspect then allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene.”

The press release implies that the victim and the suspect both worked at the restaurant, which was not named.

Arlington resident Duglas Santos is now facing charges of Abduction, Object Sexual Penetration and Sexual Battery. Police believe Santos worked at other restaurants in Arlington and are asking other potential victims to step forward.

The full ACPD press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a suspect charged with sex offenses and is seeking additional information and possible victims. Duglas Santos, 25, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Abduction, Object Sexual Penetration and Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 11:46 p.m. on May 4, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault inside a restaurant in the 3000 block of Clarendon Boulevard. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was cornered by the known male suspect inside a walk-in freezer, preventing her from leaving the area. The suspect then allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene. Officers conducted surveillance in the area and took the suspect into custody the following day when he returned to work at the restaurant.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it is believed the suspect has held positions in restaurants throughout Arlington County and there may be additional similar incidents. Anyone with past inappropriate encounters with this suspect or who has additional information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective H. Molina of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 703-228-4208 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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A new restaurant is planning to open soon at 3207 Columbia Pike, though the exact date is still unclear.

The sign over the former Mexican Bar and Grill still advertises a karaoke night grand opening for March 8. A man associated with the new restaurant said it is being renamed “El Campesino Mix” and an opening is planned for sometime next week. He added that he is still awaiting permit approvals from Arlington County.

An ABC license for the restaurant is also pending. “El Campesino” translates to “the peasant.”

El Campesino Mix is on the second floor of a small building that hosts a variety of international cuisine — with the Chinese restaurant Panda Bowl directly beneath it and Indian/Pakistani eatery City Kabob and Curry House on the other side.

The location has gone through a few changes in recent years. Honduran restaurant Plaza Maya opened there in 2017 and it was an Ethiopian/Italian restaurant called Toscana Flamingo before that.

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The Angelico La Pizzeria on Lee Highway is gone, but a new pizza place could be opening soon in its place.

Staff at another Angelico La Pizzeria confirmed that the restaurant closed for good at the end of April.

But construction crews are already at work on renovations for another restaurant. Owner Mandeep Singh said the current plan is to convert the location into a Chicago Pizza With a Twist, a franchise that offers pizza, Indian food, and fusions of the two — like a Chicken Tikka Masala pizza.

Singh said the restaurant is currently planning to open sometime between June 5 and 10.

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) The “Coming Soon” sign in front of the Bob and Edith’s Diner at 5050 Lee Highway could be a bit premature.

The space was once home to Linda’s Cafe, which closed after Bob and Edith’s owner Greg Bolton bought the property last May. A faded sign for Linda’s Cafe is still on display outside of the store.

At the time, it was estimated that the new location could open within six to nine months. But one year later, the inside of the building looks much the same as it did as Linda’s Cafe.

Rebekah Steele, a representative of the restaurant, said that they would not offer an update on the status of the location, but that more information could be available during the summer.

An employee at another Bob and Edith’s — which has diners on Columbia Pike and 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, in addition to other Northern Virginia locations in Alexandria and Springfield — said customers have been asking regularly about the Lee Highway location, but the only timeline they have been told is that the company plans to open within the year.

Avid local Twitter followers may wonder whether the delay has anything to do with a hex, of sorts, from the infamous @LindasCafeVA account, which made it clear that there was some bad blood between the former restaurant and its planned successor:

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(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A man suffered serious burn injuries after a flash fire erupted in the kitchen of a popular Ballston restaurant during Tuesday’s lunchtime rush.

Three others were being treated for potential injuries after the flare-up at Dirt restaurant, which recently opened at 4121 Wilson Blvd.

The incident happened around 12:15 p.m. While the restaurant was bustling with a lunchtime crowd, the kitchen suddenly and unexpectedly was engulfed by a large fireball. Staff and customers ran out of the restaurant, which was quickly evacuated.

One worker who had been in the kitchen during the flare-up ran out, screaming in pain from burns. Passersby and an Arlington County Fire Department ambulance crew, apparently on their lunch break, quickly jumped into action and began comforting and treating the man as he writhed on the ground.

He was transported via ambulance to the burn center at Medstar hospital in D.C. with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to ACFD.

Firefighters extinguished the remaining flames in the kitchen and treated the injured, two of whom were being transported to Virginia Hospital Center with minor burns, according to scanner traffic. Occupational safety investigators were dispatched to the scene to investigate.

Later Tuesday afternoon ACFD spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that the fire was caused by an aerosol can of cooking oil that ignited after being placed next to a stove.

Among those inside the restaurant at the time of the incident was an ARLnow editor, who was paying for an order at the front counter — which is adjacent to the kitchen — when the fireball erupted. While the editor felt the intense heat of the fire and had ash in his eye, he was otherwise uninjured.

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Arlington chef Mikala Brennan is returning to the small screen later this month to battle one of the Food Network’s biggest stars.

Brennan, chef and owner of Hula Girl Bar & Grill in Shirlington (4044 Campbell Avenue), will appear Thursday, May 23 at 10 p.m, on Beat Bobby Flay, where she will test her culinary chops against the Food Network personality.

Flay’s friends Michael Symon and Alex Guarnaschelli will be there, aiming to secure another victory. But before a new grill master can be named, Brennan and chef Armando Litiatco will square off to earn the chance to challenge Flay.

Chefs Michele Ragussis, David Santos and Lourdes Castro will be on hand to judge the kitchen clash.

Brennan has appeared several times in the Food Network arena, including winning Rewrapped in 2014 and competing on Chopped in 2017.

Photo courtesy Food Network

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D.C.-based burger joint All About Burger is now open in Ballston Quarter (671 N. Glebe Road).

The restaurant — owned by a pair of former partners in the Z-Burger restaurant chain — offers its eponymous hand-formed burgers alongside chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and more for under $10. The standard chocolate/vanilla/strawberry milkshakes are available for $4.99 with a wide variety of “premium milkshakes” available for $5.99.

Staff at All About Burger said the restaurant will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. every day.

The new eatery joins a spate of newly-opened restaurants in the renovated Ballston Quarter mall, including True Food Kitchen, which is set to open next Wednesday.

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Riverside Hot Pot is planning to open tomorrow (Friday) at 1028 N. Garfield Street in Clarendon.

The new restaurant features the traditional Chinese hot pot, but don’t expect traditional decor. Co-owner Vivi — who preferred not to use her last name — said she’s planning a restaurant that celebrates modern Chinese cuisine as much as it does the traditional.

This is the second location for Riverside Hot Pot, which also operates a buffet-style location in Gaithersburg, Maryland under different ownership.

To move into Arlington, Vivi said the restaurant would have to shift from something that catered almost exclusively to families to a restaurant that could reach Arlington’s young professionals.

“We didn’t want this to look like a traditional Chinese restaurant,” Vivi said, “It’s something new.”

Vivi says traditional hot pot meals are cooked in a collective pot, but the new restaurant will feature individual bowls with items ordered from a tablet at each table.

A conveyor belt system runs through the restaurant, sending dishes around on small platters, allowing customers to spot new items they might want to add to their meal.

Vivi said the restaurant had a taste testing a week earlier and the feedback was very positive.

“This is the first [restaurant] for me, so I was very nervous at first,” said Vivi, “but everything has been fine and I’m confident about the opening.”

The restaurant is set to have its soft opening Friday evening and to be open for dinners only for at least a week after its opening.

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