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FOODIE ALERT: A taste of A-Town

A taste of A-Town
Chef Mike Cordero

BALLSTON, VA (WUSA 9) -- If you're an Arlington local you're most likely familiar with A-Town. From corporate dinners to their notorious "Sunday Funday", A-Town offers it all. Some would go as far to say A-Town saved the Ballston bar scene.

A-Town offers a VIP vibe attracting clientele such as Capitals players and a Redskin sighting every now and then (my first trip to A-Town Fred Davis was there with Brandon Meriweather).

For those who aren't familiar with A-Town, let me give you the breakdown.

A-Town was born in 2012 to Scott Parker and father-son duo Mike and Nick Cordero. Scott Parker, a serial entrepreneur and Arlington celebrity, got his start in the business at a young age. At 14 he started as a dishwasher moving his way up to short order cook, busboy, food runner, bartender, server, manager and absolutely EVERYTHING in between. He's done it all so who better to run a business than a man who knows it inside and out?

With all great venues you must have a great cook. Enter Mike Cordero. Mike has been in the business for 40 years and has owned more than 50 restaurants since the 70's. He is also the owner of Primetime Sports Bar and Grill in Fairfax, Bronx Pizza (popular late night snack stop) in Arlington and Flat Iron Steak & Saloon in Alexandria. Corderos has been known for experimenting with newer and bolder restaurant concepts, each time pushing the envelop within the industry.

Their strong partnership has been a major factor in all the success they have had from A-Town and their new bar/restaurant, Don Tito. But I digress. Time for the delicious part, the food.

My food tasting companion, Glenda and I were first served up Mini Lobster and Crab cakes with Papaya Chutney blended with pearl couscous, red quinoa, shallots and roasted garlic. I hate lobster, I don't like shallots and I'm not a fan of quinoa. However this was my favorite dish, an A++. Mike knocked it out of the park for the home run.

Next was the Tuna Tartare. It was refreshing, light and a delight for my taste buds. What stood out the most was the mango and corn salsa. My only regret is that I didn't eat more of it.

Now for my favorite type of food…the sushi! When it comes to sushi I consider myself a sushi connoisseur. I suggest skipping Hunan Number One and going to A-Town for sushi instead, you won't be disappointed.

We were served the Cherry Blossom Roll with spicy tuna and the Spider Roll. The presentation was as good as the sushi itself, though I can't tell if the Cherry Blossom Rolls are Cherry Blossom trees or a heart with arteries. Either way, delicious!

The Spider Roll didn't disappoint either. The soft-shell crab was deep fried to perfection, not too crunchy and not too soggy.

Next was the New Orleans Cajun Dumplings. The dumplings are handmade and stuffed with Andouille sausage and Aidells chicken. By this time I was already 10lbs heavier and could barely take another bite. I have only recently gotten into the dumpling scene (does Campbell's chicken dumpling soup count?) so I can't give an honest opinion. However, Glenda absolutely loved the dumplings!

Up now was my second favorite meal, a Bourbon glazed Delmonico Angus cut, heavily marbled. Up until a few weeks ago Glenda hadn't eaten meat in 25 years. I as well tend to stay away from meat, and for no reason really. However this Ribeye melted in my mouth and dramatically speaking, it was worth dying for.

If a chef can get someone to eat something they don't like, that's a pretty big indication they're doing their job right. It's ironic that the two things I don't like/eat the least (lobster and meat) were my two favorite dishes of the evening. Whatever you're doing Mike, don't stop!

Time for a little side action. A-Towns home style lobster Mac & Cheese was a creamy delight. You know the lobster deal by now however I wouldn't hesitate to go back for seconds. In order for Mac & Cheese to be good it must be creamy, never watery! Another A+ dish from A-Town.

Before ending the evening our sweet tooth's still had to be satisfied. Three words that took care of that: Deep. Fried. Oreos. That's right, A-Town offers their signature deep fried dessert with your choice of Snickers, Oreos, Milky Ways, Three Musketeers, Reese's Cups or Twinkies all topped with ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. Welcome to dessert heaven.

After typing all of this I realized how much I actually ate. I have no food regrets and my stomach couldn't have been happier. Overall the atmosphere, service and food together add up to an A. Thank you Scott Parker and Mike Cordero for feeding us and for a wonderful time. I will definitely be back to stuff my face soon.

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