A new Asian food hall, holiday traditions and more
Hitting The Spot
The Spot, a 6,200-square-foot, 200-seat Asian food hall, opened in July in Rockville, not far from Rockville Town Square. Co-owners Edward Wong and Vivian Zhu lease space to five vendors. In the works are a sushi bar and a cocktail bar that will also serve bao buns. (They expected a liquor license by mid-October.)
Overall impression: The Spot is bright, airy and especially fun for families. (There’s a section with low tables for kids where you sit on cushions on the floor.) The food is Instagram-ready, but largely average. Here’s a rundown:
Alpaca Dessert: This independent operator has two offerings—shaved snow ice and Hong Kong-style bubble waffle cones filled with ice cream. You can add dry and wet toppings, such as Kit Kat pieces, Oreos, berries, condensed milk and caramel sauce. It’s a kid magnet.
Cheers Cut: At this franchise, you choose chicken, beef or squid (or a combination), then select either breaded and fried, or grilled. Pick a seasoning (chili, plum or salt and pepper) and a sauce, such as teriyaki or honey mustard. Our fried combo was nicely cooked, but otherwise unremarkable. Bypass the teriyaki sauce.
Gong Cha: A Taiwanese bubble tea chain, Gong Cha offers milk tea, bubble tea, coffee drinks and smoothies. Add toppings (milk foam, tapioca bubbles, jellies) if you wish. The specialty here is milk foam, a frothy, salty topping that may taste strange at first but winds up delicious. You can customize the sweetness level and the amount of ice in your drink—a big thumbs-up.
Mian Pull Noodle: The main attraction at this independent local vendor is the handmade pulled noodles, made right in front of you. The action is mesmerizing and the noodles are nicely chewy and ultra-fresh, but the broth they come in is so lacking in flavor you need every drop of the vinegar and chili oil accompaniments. Pasty dumplings are a miss.
Poki DC: A local chainlet, Poki DC specializes in the Hawaiian-inspired raw fish dish called poke. You build your own bowl, selecting rice, salad mix or zucchini noodles to be topped with protein (raw tuna, salmon or yellowtail; cooked shrimp, chicken or squid; or tofu), add-ons (including edamame, radishes and kale), sauces (such as honey wasabi, eel sauce or mango sauce) and crunchies (sesame seeds and fried onions).
The Spot, 255 N. Washington St., Rockville, thespotdmv.com
Comings & Goings
The Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao will open in the Pike & Rose development in North Bethesda in early 2019.
D.C.-based fast-casual poke chain Poké Papa will open in Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery mall in early 2019.
Also opening in early 2019 is an outlet of the fast-casual burger chain Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar. It will be located in Silver Spring’s Blair Park shopping center on East West Highway.