silverdocs_logoNext Monday, Silver Spring plays host to one of our favorite annual events – the yearly SilverDocs documentary film festival.  Held at the AFI Silver Theatre each June, SilverDocs packs an amazing variety of subject matter into its slate year after year.  Murderball?  They had it in 2005, complete with a Q&A featuring some of the stars.  Man on Wire was a big hit last year.  I’d say a good 10 percent of our Netflix queue has shown at SilverDocs since its debut in 2003.

As much as we’ve enjoyed the shows we’ve seen, SilverDocs has presented something of a challenge to us when we’ve tried to make a date night of it.  Silver Spring isn’t exactly a hotbed of dining destinations.  OpenTable has exactly three choices – Ceviche, Mrs. K’s Toll House, and Nicaro – and most of the other options tend toward quick-service and/or chains.

Fear not!  Whether you’re looking to dine before or after that screening of The Nine Lives of Marion Barry, there are some options that are definitely worth checking out:

Nicaro ExteriorNicaroAs we mentioned above, Nicaro is one of the three Silver Spring restaurants on OpenTable, so you can lock in your dinner plans now (woe to those who wait until the night of the show to find a place to eat).  On a recent visit, we checked out their weeknight deal – two courses for $25 from Tuesday through Thursday.  The best part?  You can choose whether your two courses are an appetizer and an entree, or an entree and dessert.

IMG_7741Chef/Owner Pedro Matamoros made a name for himself at the Tabard Inn before opening his own place, and his approach to updated American cuisine results in some truly impressive dishes (though there are some that don’t quite come together, as well).  The menu changes regularly, but we really enjoyed a housemade charcuterie plate and grilled squid as our appetizers.  Our favorite dish?  A mixed grill of lamb that included sausage, shank and beautifully rare loin cuts with a tomato chutney.

Nicaro
8229 Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
Nicaro on Urbanspoon

Three more options for dining, drinks and coffee after the jump. (more…)

In the world of DC dining, Burger is apparently the new Black.  No sooner did we get home from Good Stuff Eatery last night than Elizabeth and I learned that Michael Landrum – the chef responsible for DC steak greats Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s the Classics – opened a burger joint just a few doors down from his original Ray’s The Steaks.  

Thinking ahead, we figured we’d swing by and take a few exterior pictures this evening and plot our visit in the coming days. We were expecting to see a line out the door, judging by the response Landrum’s announcement received throughout the DC blogosphere. 

What fools we were!  Like it was even remotely possible that we would park, walk up to Ray’s Hell-Burger, snap some photos and just leave?

As you might expect, we found ourselves drawn inside by the promise of juicy, delicious burgers and a line that was only three people deep when we arrived (though it grew considerably by the time we received our food and it remained busy throughout our meal).  Staycations be damned, the holiday weekend seems to have led enough people out of town to get us to the counter without too much delay.  What we found there after the jump. (more…)

UPDATE: While we’re on the topic of Landrum, it’s worth noting that he announced a new burger joint opening this week: Ray’s Hell Burger. Hell Burger is in the same strip mall as Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington. Thanks to metrocurean for the heads up.  And now, back to your regularly scheduled review..

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Carol Bengle GilbertIf you have 15 minutes or so to kill waiting for your table at Ray’s The Classics, consider yourself lucky.  The Classics’ experience begins at the bar.  The decor of the place delivers on the name promise – black and white, spare, seats covered in faux ostrich skin and speakers that moan anthems from the Rat Pack – I feel like I’ve slipped into my own Mad Men episode. When we walk in, I long to order stiff drinks from the always friendly bar staff and trade sassy quips with strangers, All About Eve-style. (more…)