North American eateries

Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 24. The scale used to be 0 to 10, so restaurants written about before 2012 may have only had their ratings adjusted by formula and not by hand (hence all the 2s, 5s, 8s, etc.) The scale works as follows:

24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16
15 14 13 12 11 10
9 8 7 6 5 4
3 2 1

An asymmetrical 0 to 24 scale may not be intuitive, I realize. But as a rule of thumb: a double-digit score means I liked it, while a single-digit score... less so. Also, as you might expect, scores from many years ago may not be very reliable, so do check the dates.


I lived here for several years, but I can't say much about the restaurant scene because I was more into Cookie Crisp at the time.

Click on the column titles to sort the entries!

Name Cuisine Address Last update Score
Bernie'sDessert (Italian ice)8th & Dupont, Wilmington, DE2017-09-178
Very friendly service, and some good flavors (lemon, cranberry), but the cherry is a miss. It's also not exactly what I remember: snowier, not the flat ice flakes of my childhood.
Cunningham's Cafe & BakeryBakeryOlympic btw Dulaney Valley & York, Towson, MD2018-07-2610
Here I got a scone that tasted better than it looked. I am told that the same was true for the chocolate croissant I got for my traveling companion.
EquinoxUpscaleConnecticut btw I/H, Washington, DC2018-02-0413
An upscale vegan brunch buffet! Winners: tempura cauliflower, berry-stuffed French toast. Also good: black bean and walnut chili, eggplant and soba noodles, various fruity salads, breads with dips. Not so hot: tofu scramble, desserts. Truly dire: beet, hibiscus, and cucumber sorbet.
Fiesta MexicanaMexicanPhiladelphia near Spring, Baltimore County, MD2017-09-1514
This is a downscale place in the middle of nowhere… that turns out pretty frickin' good Mexican food. On my first visit I got the quesadillas, which were fried in the style of the ones I loved at Taco Mesa back in the late '90s. The next time around I got rajas tostadas and mushroom sopes, both of which were also very good.
Joe Benny'sPizzaHigh btw Trinity/Fawn, Baltimore, MD2017-09-1613
This place specializes in focaccia pizza, which may be just a little close to French bread "pizza" for my liking but was still eminently om-nom-nom-able. I tried two kinds and can't decide whether I preferred the burrata or the escarole. The one dessert on offer is cream puffs in a sea of chocolate cream, which is unsubtle but was worth trying once.
Koh-I-NorIndianLexington & Main, Lake Mohegan, NY2005-08-2014
I got lost driving around the infuriating tangle of streets that meander around the Hudson Valley and randomly ended up motoring past this Indian restaurant. Starving, I figured I might as well give it a try. It was really good! I got a platter that came not only with a good navratan korma but also with some very tasty dal. Better than any of the Indian places in western MA, I have to say.
RangoonBurmese9th btw Arch/Cherry, Philadelphia, PA2001-09-260
This is the first time I've given out a zero rating to a restaurant that didn't make me physically ill, but I figure that when you find yourself fleeing the restaurant to get away from your food and thus have an excuse not to eat it when you get back ("Sorry, I was off feeding the meter — oh, has everyone else finished? Well, don't let me hold you up. This is probably cold by now anyway. Oh well!"), what other assessment can there be? I'd never had Burmese food before and if the stuff I tried was representative I may never do so again. Start with some oily lentil fritters like undercooked falafel full of odds and ends of onion, then move on to a gigantic triangular version or more or less the same thing only more dubious still, and add a few bites of day-glo coconut curry. "Thousand-layer bread" was probably the best thing I had, but it was about 997 layers short as the bread was doughy and squishy with oil. Service was pretty bad with long waits for stuff, the wrong stuff delivered to our table and the right stuff delivered at the wrong time. And to top it all off, when they broke out the cake for someone's birthday party, the whole place swelled with the sound of a lo-fi recording of a roomful of Asian toddlers singing the "happy birthday" song over a syrupy string section. That alone may have scarred me for life.
RasikaIndianD NW btw 7th/6th, Washington, DC2018-02-0514
I've been here a couple of times now. The chaats get most of the press, and it's easy to see why: the avocado banana chaat looked like green and brown dog food, but tasted heavenly, and the crispy spinach chaat was not just tasty but was like no spinach I'd ever had before. The naan is very good and can be ordered with truffle oil or with olive oil and red chile flakes. Entrees range from okay (paneer in an underwhelming light brown gravy) to really good (the tikka masala is rich and complex, for instance). The date and toffee pudding was not hugely memorable but pleasantly light. I expect that I'll be back again to sample even more things.
ShoukMediterraneanK NW btw 6th/7th, Washington, DC2017-10-1514
Hot diggity, the cauliflower pita I got here was scrumptious. If I lived in DC I would come here all the time — it's vegan, and even though I am not, it does mean that the entire menu is open to me. Wow, was that pita good.
The HelmandAfghanCharles btw Madison/Read, Baltimore, MD2018-02-026
I was excited to discover that I could have a vegetarian aushak in Baltimore, but this was not good: the pasta was underdone and pasty. Stick to Fremont, I guess.
TriaSmall plateslocal chain, Philadelphia, PA2017-09-1712
We went to the "Cafe Wash West" branch and had a spinach-artichoke sandwich and several plates of bruschetta. Though nothing was revelatory, everything was tasty. A solid thumbs-up.
ZenebechEthiopian18th NW btw Belmont/Columbia, Washington, DC2017-10-149
Pretty standard Ethiopian fare; notable is that you do get a shiro wat in the veggie combo and that ful (with a scrambled egg!) is one of the entrees.

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