If you happened to look out your window one day and saw a stranger eating fried fish on your stoop, that might have been me. If you live near Horace & Dickie’s, it was definitely me.
In my defense, food this good cannot wait. Most times, I’ll just sit in my car and eat at the Dashboard Diner. I’ll admit, there are still French fries between my seats that I can’t pry out.
These teeny-tiny, terrific take-outs are so small, most don’t even have seats, not even a counter to carefully balance a Styrofoam box on as you chow down. Imagine how the cooks feel.
So suck in that gut and count out your cash before you enter, because there’s no room for extra maneuvering. Just pray you don’t have to bump bellies with other people on your way out. That could be awkward and mistaken for some sort of mating dance:
Horace & Dickie’s, is so tiny, the only reason Obama hasn’t paid a visit to this iconic seafood shop is because there’s only one way in or out. Mandatory must-try: the jumbo fish sandwich ($5.80) that’s big enough to feed two. Ask for extra bread and hot sauce. 809 12th Street NE, Washington DC. 202.397.6040.
It takes 45 minutes to prepare your order at Adam Express, longer during busy times, so call well in advance. The sweet octogenarian couple who cook the best Korean food in the district are working as quickly as they can. There are four stools and a narrow counter for eating that looks like it’s held together by tape. Mandatory must-try: bulgogi sushi rolls ($6.95) and silky chap chae ($8.95) noodles with beef and vegetables. 3211 Mt. Pleasant Street NW, Washington, DC. 202.328.0010.
King Rib sells out its chicken, steaks and ribs every day from a stall that’s the size of a tollbooth. That’s because Bufus Buchanan’s been grilling up barbecue for over 40 years. Mandatory must-try: a half slab of ribs ($11) with Buchanan’s own secret-recipe barbecue sauce. Cash only. 6th Street and Maine Avenue SW, Washington, DC. 202.577.3670.
Famous burrito cart Pedro & Vinny’s opened a brick and mortar location in the parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy. I repeat, in a parking lot. This tiny house is really just a passageway to order the freshest, vegetarian burritos. (They serve delicious meat, too.) Mandatory must-try: large vegetarian burrito ($6.25) with corn, rice, beans, salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and mango habanero sauce. 2599 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA.
Greek Deli is like a food truck that got stuck between two buildings. You could sit at the lone plastic two-top, but really you’d just be in the way of the line that extends into the street daily. Jolly owner Kostas Fostieris happily serves up the best, homemade Greek dishes in town. Mandatory must-try: The gyro sandwich ($7.50) with marinated lamb on homemade pita, with lettuce, tomatoes and creamy tzatziki sauce. 1120 19th Street NW, Washington, DC. 202.296.2111.