The Cuban Club (no cheese for me) at Earl’s is very good; I honestly don’t remember what else I’ve had (but I’m confident it wasn’t turkey or fish). But I need to amend the my Arlington list anyway to add El Pike/Pan American Bakery & Grill for their salteñas, which would knock Earl’s off my list.
There was a Mexican restaurant prior to Los Chamacos in the same location, which was not good. I’ve eaten Los Chamacos three times now and remember the birria fillings as particularly good, but I don’t remember if I had it as the mulita or just as a plate. The enchiladas were also good. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the pambazos.
At Mehran, I’ve had the Achar Gosht, which is a goat stew with pickle, the bhuna ghost punjabi (goat in a spicy sauce), and the goat biryani (I obviously like goat at Pakistani restaurants). All were good, the samosas were not particularly good. They said they were out of the lamb brain masala, which might be a bad sign that they’re hiding some dishes from non-Pakistanis.
The location where Mehran is in in Arlington had a Pakistani restaurant in it before Mehran, which you probably ate in – it was pretty Americanized, heavy on the kebabs. The original location of Mehran is in Sterling and is (based on eating there just once) better than the branch in Arlington.
To shift topics (hope that’s not prohibited here like it was on Chowhound), I can recommend two restaurants in Rockville that were on Tim Carman’s recent list. Shi Miaodao Yunnan Rice Dumplings is a chain restaurant with its headquarters in China that makes very good rice noodle soups in which you cook about ten ingredients in a boiling pork broth. If it were in Arlington, I’d eat there regularly.
My recommendation for Z&Z Manoushe is even stronger, this is an outstanding Middle Eastern place run by three brothers. It specializes in dishes with za’atar. We had the lahmacun (ground lamb flatbread) and the “toum,” a flatbread covered with tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. and slathered in toum, which is an intensely garlicky aioli. Well worth a special trip to Rockville.
Z&Z also has the cutest restaurant website I’ve ever seen: