Category Archives: Rosslyn


The Steak & Cheese Joint: Don’t Call it a Cheesesteak

Just to be clear, The Steak & Cheese Joint is NOT serving Philly cheesesteaks. It says so on a sandwich board out front. What does that mean? It means no Cheese Whiz, no placing an order by saying, “Whiz wit,” and no bullying by gruff guys behind the counter who are peeved that you’re not using the correct lingo.

The Steak & Cheese Joint is the new venture from the owner of Ray’s Hell Burger and Ray’s the Steaks. It’s in a small Rosslyn strip mall with very little parking, and as of a couple of weeks ago when I visited with my friend Bethany and her husband Rob, the restaurant had no sign.  Unless you count this piece of paper taped to the door:

If you’re on a diet, this is not the place for you. A menu of steaks and cheese with various toppings on a toasted roll. The side offered is tater tots. Simple and to the point.

I got my steak and cheese with provolone, onions, mushrooms and peppers.

An enormous mound of sliced rib-eye — tender and juicy, with charred edges that gave it an extra blast of flavor. That was the key, those charred edges. Throw in the sauteed mushrooms, sweet onions, grilled peppers and nicely toasted roll (why all restaurants don’t toast the roll is beyond me), and quite frankly this thing was tastier than any cheesesteak I’ve had in Philly. It also probably took a year off my life. But I digress.

Steak and cheese, cheesesteak, whatever you want to call it, it’s a fine sandwich.

The Steak & Cheese Joint
1713 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA


China Garden: Venturing into Rosslyn for Dim Sum

What do Asians look for in an unfamiliar Chinese restaurant? We look for other Asians. The theory being, Chinese wouldn’t patronize a crappy Chinese restaurant.

Based on theory alone then, China Garden in Rosslyn was already in the plus column. My parents and I stepped into the large dining room for dim sum several months ago (yes, this post is long past overdue), and looked out over a sea of black hair, with more customers arriving en masse (I think there was a group that got off a bus or something). It was encouraging.

One of the factors that influences the quality of dim sum dining is the timing: arrive too early and the food is fresh and plentiful, but the dining room is a chaotic, crowded, noisy headache; arrive too late and the selection dwindles with fewer carts circling around. And then because turnover slows and items have been sitting longer, they’re not as fresh.  The goal is to find that dim sum sweet spot.

We got there probably just past peak — busy when we arrived, slowing down by the time we left. Here’s a look at what we ate.

One of my family’s favorites, turnip cake. It’s pan fried and has little bits of ham in it.

Steamed shrimp dumplings.

Spare ribs. I’ve mentioned this before, but these are all for my dad. I find them too fatty.

Chinese greens in oyster sauce. Having some greens with dim sum helps cut the heaviness of all the dumplings and fried items.

Springs rolls. A staple, and always reliable.

Shrimp-stuffed peppers.

Clams in a spicy black bean sauce. These arrived cold. They weren’t supposed to be that way. We asked that the dish be reheated, and that improved them immeasurably. The sauce was especially tasty.

Pot stickers.

I love these — shrimp-stuffed tofu.

Veggies and pork wrapped inside tofu skins.

And another favorite, fried glutinous rice balls stuffed with bbq pork. The rice is sweet, the pork is salty, it makes for a perfect yin yang.

As I’m writing this and reviewing the pictures, my mouth is watering like a dog begging for scraps at the table.  I’m suddenly starving and I already had dinner. Dim sum cravings are brutal.

China Garden
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Rosslyn, VA