I just got a new apartment at 16th and Irving Streets NW. After dropping off the security deposit, measuring a space for a desk and figuring out where my records would go, I had one more decision to make: Where to celebrate?

I turned down Irving and made it to Mount Pleasant Street. I knew it well having lived in the neighborhood years ago.

The problem: The strip hasn’t changed all that much since I left. Gone: the wildly expensive organic grocery, the amazing pho place and the diner. Still around: laundry joints, cluttered discount shops, a great hardware store, a terrible-but-beloved bakery, and crummy restaurants aimed at the new homeowners.

The neighborhood joints range from just pretty good (Haydee’s) to always fun (the Raven). It’s the new places that are such disappointments.

A salad, a pizza, and two beers comes to $50 at Radius. Only the beer is worth it. Their pasta seems inspired by elementary-school cafeterias and Wheat Thins-covergal Rachel Ray.

Dos Gringos. Even the name is offensive.

Marx Cafe is the worst restaurant on the strip. I’ve eaten there twice. When it first opened, I tried a tofu dish that managed to be both bland and salty. A few months ago, I ended up there and attempted their hummus. It was the worst hummus I’ve ever eaten. It tasted like it came out of a can.

Tonic is pretty decent. But it’s bar food. Skip their brunch. Service is kinda slow and the food is pretty bland. Nothing inventive.

After some tense moments, we ended up at Radius for their pasta special. Big mistake! We grimaced through the greasy pasta. I came away thinking we should have just eaten in a different neighborhood. We could have walked down to U Street.

There has to be better food options on Mount Pleasant Street. Is the neighborhood only known for Laurie Collins, bad food, and people hating on Dos Gringos?

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