The cocktails also are impressive (try the brandied riff on an Old Fashioned).But it’s the stylish New American menu from talented exec-chef Jeffrey Power that really drew me back; fine homemade pastas (like the silky agnolotti stuffed with braised beef), artisan meat and cheese boards, pizzas, and ambitious seasonal entrées.But it’s my favorite project from him to date, as each of these crusty baguette sandwiches is made warm to order with fresh ingredients that pop: pickled carrots and daikon, plumes of cilantro, creamy liver pâté (a supplemental add-on, but essential), full-flavored proteins, and punny names (Simon Le Bánh garlic chicken; Al Báhndy spicy rib eye).

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After six years and several spin-offs (La Calaca Feliz, Taqueria Feliz), the original Cantina in Fort Washington remains the best of the Feliz family from Brian Sirhal and chef Tim Spinner, who’ve created here one of the region’s most satisfying Nuevo Mexican dining experiences, blending a colorful, casual space with outgoing service, excellent tequila cocktails, myriad fresh guacamole variations and a menu built to please a broad audience.

While the food certainly caters to suburban American tastes, Spinner, a Garces alum, creates dishes that are rooted in classic, no-shortcut preparations updated with polished style and great ingredients, from excellent ceviches to the tender steak grilled al carbon with fresh tortillas, awesome fish tacos, and delicate black bass over creamy poblano rice with crab.

And yes, Cantina also makes my favorite nachos, an imposing but irresistible tortilla montaña that’s intricately built, where every chip has a tasty salsa, pickled chile, soft frijole, trickling river of molten cheese or tender morsel of smoky brisket that seems to be calling my name.

Cantina has proven to be one of the most consistent winners in the suburbs.

F&M seems to have lost much interest in being a dining destination, though, with a pub menu that is increasingly limited, inconsistently executed, and served by a young staff that simply didn't seem to care that our meal was off.

This take-out shack with patio tables serving fusion take on classic Vietnamese bánh mi hoagies is perhaps an unlikely concept from TV celeb chef Chad Rosenthal, who’s best known for American barbecue at Ambler’s Lucky Well.

A perfectly charred “zucchini steak” over pureed yellow tomato sauce, smoked tomatoes, and Castle Valley grits was one of the better vegetarian dishes I ate all summer.

A devoted lunch crowd fills the rambling dining rooms and sunny porch of this Victorian stone house near the Fort Washington train station, lured by the bountiful salads, deep-dish quiches, and sandwiches, from house-roasted turkey with Brie to an excellent Cubano.

If that isn’t a vote of approval, I don’t know what is.

This swank bi-level restaurant outfitted with mahogany, a long curving bar, multiple fireplaces, an outdoor patio, and more than 40 wines by the glass (plus 200 bottles) is Ambler’s most sophisticated dining destination.

But most importantly, this veteran of the Vargas restaurant group knows how to give his food a generosity of Creole flavors with subtle hints of seasonal creativity, from the spice-dusted shrimp over cheesy grits, to zesty okra stew, crispy vegan fritters of black-eyed peas over sautéed eggplant, tender ribs and a meaty crab cake with corn maque choux.