Best of Arlington: Locals' Favorites

Six residents— including a Caps player—pick their best bets

By: Sophie Gilbert

Brooks Laich is a center for the Washington Capitals. Originally from Saskatchewan, he’s played for the Caps since 2006.

The number-one go-to for me in Arlington is the Front Page. The nicest people in town work there. For a lot of guys on the team, it’s like a second home. We go in there so much that they just ask us if we want the usual—chicken, rice, and steamed vegetables. I’m also a big advocate of the soups. If we don’t have a game or a practice, sometimes we’ll go in the evening for a couple drinks.

I used to live in the Continental building (851 N. Glebe Rd.; 703-528-1783), and I still drop my dry cleaning off at Continental Valet there (703-248-9559). The lady who runs it is great. I’ve taken in a lot of shirts that had drinks spilled all over them, and they’ve always come out clean.

When I don’t go to the Front Page, I like Matsutake Sushi and Steak (4121 Wilson Blvd.; 703-351-8787). It’s one of those places where they have the chef come out and cook in front of you and put on a show. When family and friends visit, I take them there because it’s not something we have back home.

 

Liza Mundy is an award-winning author and a Washington Post reporter. Her most recent book is Michelle, a biography of Michelle Obama.

I’ve lived in Arlington for 20 years, so I’ve seen how development has changed Courthouse and Ballston. A lot of the hole-in-the-wall establishments are gone. But there are a few left. I like the Cowboy Cafe (4792 Lee Hwy.; 703-243-8010), an old, funky place.

There’s a children’s bookstore called Aladdin’s Lamp (2499 N. Harrison St., Suite 10; 703-241-8281) that I highly recommend. The staff is wonderful; you can tell them what your kids like, and they’ll always have something good to recommend that you’ve never heard of.

For interior-design help, we had a really good experience with Sjtorm and Theory (202-258-3750). The designer, Shane Castillini-Sjtorm, read all my work and talked to our kids to get to know us, and he’s not snobby about how much money you have. For us, he scoured fabric stores and flea markets to find old pieces that he could reupholster with remnants of different fabrics. It looks fabulous.

 

Remy Munasifi, a.k.a. GoRemy, is a musician and comedian whose video “The Arlington Rap” went viral earlier this year. His YouTube videos have been viewed more than 30 million times.

I like Ray’s Hell-Burger. I had a hamburger with bone marrow on it. I’d never had bone marrow before, and it came as a big ice-cream scoop of fat on top, which was awesome. Next time I’ll hold the burger and just get a fat sandwich.

I also love the Kettler Capitals Iceplex (627 N. Glebe Rd.; 703-243-8855). I’m not a member of any gym, which you can probably tell by looking at me, but sometimes I’ll play pickup ice hockey in the morning there. I’m a Caps season-ticket holder and I’ve watched a couple of practices there.

There’s a place near where I live, Le Pain Quotidien (2900 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-465-0970), which I think is French for “really expensive sandwich.” I like it. I didn’t at first, because I tried to order a Coke and they said they don’t have sodas. Everything’s made of wood, which they say is “reclaimed.” So I wanted to know where my table came from, and the waitress said it used to be a boxcar.

There’s a gelato store, Boccato Gelato and Espresso (2719 Wilson Blvd.; 703-869-6522), that I like. They have tiny spoons that make you feel like a giant. I usually get the mango, because I think it’s the most gangsta. Then I walk around, rocking it with my tiny spoon.

 

Interior designer Michael Roberson is a member of the Washington Design Center’s Hall of Fame and has twice been on House Beautiful’s list of the America’s 100 designers.

Pastries by Randolph (4500 Lee Hwy.; 703-243-0070) is an amazing French patisserie. It doesn’t really matter what you get because it’s all fabulous, but I love the Bavarians—these little cakes that look like bishops’ hats wrapped in chocolate with a shiny piece of gold on top.

I also love Artisan Confections (4815-B Lee Hwy.; 703-239-0616). The owner makes wonderful chocolates that are so beautiful to look at, and they taste fabulous. My favorites are the chili truffles and the salted caramels.

Most people don’t realize that we have six farmers markets in Arlington. The biggest is in the Courthouse neighborhood (N. Courthouse Rd. and N. 14th St.). I particularly like the buffalo meat and the wonderful mushrooms.

Shirlington Village (2700 S. Quincy St.) has some very good Japanese restaurants and a Busboys and Poets.

Arrowine (4508 Lee Hwy.; 703-525-0990) has a really good reputation. In addition to wine, they have good bagels, bread from Uptown Bakery, and a great cheese selection. People come from all around for the bagels.

 

T. Jens Feeley is a senior policy analyst at NASA. A New Jersey native, he has lived in Arlington for nine years.

I go to Best Foot Forward (1301 S. Joyce St., Suite D5; 703-413-0444) a lot. You can have your shoes repaired, you can buy anything related to leather or shoes, and they even fix luggage.

There are a number of restaurants that my wife and I like: Saigon Saigon (1101 S. Joyce St., Suite B16; 703-412-0822) is a good Vietnamese place—their specialty is pho. We also love the Kabob Palace (2315 S. Eads St.; 703-486-3535), which we stumbled on by accident five years ago. It has two locations a few doors apart. One is a sit-down place, and the other is a bit less glamorous. I love their combo number eight—a shish kebab of chicken and spiced ground beef.

I get my hair cut at California Nails (778 23rd St. S.; 703-838-5406). They specialize more in women’s nails and hair, but they do a very good haircut for men, and it’s a nice mix of people.

The Mount Vernon Trail (along the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Mount Vernon to Rosslyn) is a great place to go bike riding. And sometimes we bike over to Theodore Roosevelt Island (accessible from the GW Parkway’s northbound lanes) and then walk around.

 

Yvonne Caruthers has been a cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra since 1978. She also teaches music and designs music-education programs for the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center.

A little hardware store called Ayers Variety and Hardware (5853 N. Washington Blvd.; 703-538-5678) is fabulous. They have everything you could ever need, and if you have a kid in tow, they have a special section for children with things you can buy for a nickel. It’s a small-town kind of place.

Westover is a really awesome neighborhood, particularly the Lost Dog Café (5876 N. Washington Blvd.; 703-237-1552). They have pizza and sandwiches, but the owner also has a lost-dog rescue service (703-295-3647)—one of my neighbors has gotten animals through it.

Nearby there’s an ice-cream place called Scoop Beauregard’s (5849-A Washington Blvd.; 703-536-7000), but everyone calls it Scoops. You can get two ice-cream scoops for $3. There are a lot of different flavors and usually a line of people outside.

One thing I love about Arlington is all the parks. A lot of them are tucked into a neighborhood, and you wouldn’t notice them unless you lived there. There’s a tiny one, Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland St.), that’s kind of a cross between a playground and a water park—there are jets of water that kids can play under on a hot day.

There’s a rose garden near Wilson Boulevard, Bon Air Park (850 N. Lexington St.), that I love. I always figure I don’t need to grow roses in my yard because they have such beautiful flowers.