Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
79° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.
JDS hosts speakers from Israeli Embassy
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • May 22, 2024

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and...

Joe Vogel speaking out to the community. Photo from
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Adam Salomon, Reporter • May 22, 2024

While, door-to-door campaigning, Junior Rafi Seigel knocks on the door of a family household in Maryland’s sixth district, asking them to vote...

Sophomore Oliver Silver teaches his grandparents what hes been learning in math this year.
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Eliana Abrams and Maya GreenblumMay 20, 2024

Lions hold up banner after defeating Sandy Spring in the championship.
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Tyler Portnoy, Reporter • May 19, 2024

Crack. The bat hits the ball and sophomore Carrine Shemesh sprints towards first base as sophomore Eliana Wolf crosses the plate, scoring the...

The baseball team has two managers who can be found at the majority of the baseball teams games, Jordan Levy (‘24) and junior Josh Berl.
All bases covered: managers support the baseball team
Vivi Ducker, Features Editor • May 17, 2024

When in attendance at any of the CESJDS varsity baseball team’s games this year, next to the players on the bench, the baseball team managers....

Meet some hidden-gem restaurants near the JDS campus

Jonah Mitre
The area around the JDS Upper School Campus offers many food for students to explore.

Whether it be spicy Indian, innovative Mediterranean, traditional Japanese or other types of cuisine, the mile-long radius surrounding the CESJDS Upper School Campus offers a plethora of diverse restaurants. Many of these restaurants are buildings students likely drive by for months or years, unaware of the unique flavors and experience these establishments have to offer.


Biryani City

Biryani City is an Indian restaurant that is located right across from the school, directly next to other student favorites such as Moti’s Market and Goldberg’s Bagels. The environment is very open, with a large waiting area in the center. The restaurant is equipped with both tables and comfortable booths for seating options, and ordering is at the counter only. 

The large menu focuses on both north and south Indian cuisine and is accessible to all dietary preferences, including many vegetarian options. For the main dishes, I ordered a masala dosa along with a chicken biryani.

The masala dosa costs $11.00, while other dosas range from $10.00-12.00, and is a large crepe dish involving several spices. The dish came with a tomato, onion and coconut sauce with a side of spicy potato and vegetable filling for the enormous dosa. Although the dish was messy, it was fun to eat, and all the sauces were very flavorful, with the onion being the best. I would definitely recommend ordering some form of dosa dish if you are coming with a group of three people or more. 

The chicken biryani ($15.00, other biryanis range from $12.00-17.00), is a mixed rice dish, which came with a peanut and yogurt sauce and was topped with an avocado, a hard-boiled egg and grilled onions. Although the sauces were underwhelming, the chicken itself had a smoky taste that I enjoyed and complemented the various flavors of the other toppings very well.  

Other standout dishes include the pureed and extremely creamy saag paneer ($14.00), a cheese and mixed-greens dish, and the utterly phenomenal chana masala ($12.00), a chickpea curry dish, which is honestly some of the best I have ever had. Overall, this place impressed with its speed and decently priced menu in contrast to its amazing quality and the proportions of the food. I would highly recommend coming here sometime with a group of friends during school lunch if you are able since it is so close to campus with good service.



Mezehub is a hybrid of a Balkan and Mediterranean fusion restaurant and market that is also  close to campus, behind the strip that contains Moti’s Market and Biryani City. The atmosphere is simply gorgeous, almost festive and whimsical. There are beautiful, hanging and warm lights, wooden tables and chairs, a couch area, natural-looking decorations and wall-mounted tapestries, all giving the environment a very comforting aura. Ordering is also done exclusively at the counter.

Mezehub primarily serves three kinds of main dishes, each with several meat and vegetarian variants. Pides, which have a base of rounded and flattened wheat-based dough, lahmacuns, a flatbread dish and sandwiches. The staff were very friendly and gave great recommendations regarding ordering vegetarian options. 

In terms of pides, I ordered the Burrata pide ($14.99) and the Bianca pide ($13.99), which were both thin and crispy.  The burrata pide almost tasted more like an Italian dish, supplementing the traditional soft burrata cheese with tomatoes, red pepper, and basil. On the other hand, the unconventional pesto and mozzarella supplemented the artichoke and arugula for the Bianca pide. 

The Lahmajun Babajun ($13.99) was the most unique-tasting and crispest item of the things I ordered by far. One Israeli chef steered the dish to include tahina, resulting in a very tangy flavor with its original blend of onion, baba ganoush, and tahina. I also ordered a walnut baklava ($6.99), a spinach and cheese burek, and a plain cheese burek ($7.99 for any burek). The baklava was sweet, syrupy and had a nice mix of crunchy and smooth layers, and both bureks were mouthwateringly soft and delicious.

Although this place is a bit on the pricier side, each dish is crafted with such an eccentric yet incredible blend of flavors where I still would recommend trying the standout foods here at least once, it truly is a unique experience. I could also see myself coming here simply to purchase something from the market or to pick up a burek for later.


Sushi Toro

Sushi Toro is a Japanese restaurant located a bit farther away from campus, located in White Flint Plaza (~½ a mile away from school). Its environment is casual and peaceful, with various pieces of artwork along with seating offered at tables and along the counter. Ordering is done through waiters, giving the restaurant a more formal atmosphere. 

The menu is expansive, offering traditional sushi rolls, creative special rolls and many options for appetizers, ramen and poke bowls. The items are also notably inexpensive given their high quality and freshness and in contrast to other Japanese restaurants. 

As for appetizers, I ordered both the miso soup ($2.49) and the sweet potato tempura ($5.99). The miso soup was delectable, and super creamy with a pretty large proportion for its price. The tempura was also fantastic, it had a great crispy and greasy outer texture. For the traditional maki, I ordered both the salmon-avocado ($6.49 for 6pcs), and the dynamite maki ($9.99 for 6pcs), which were both portioned well and were extremely fresh. There really isn’t anything more I could ask for, as the rolls were very refined and well-prepared. 

I also ordered the Salmon Lover ($15.99 for 8pcs), a special maki, which was my favorite item by far. It involved a soft outer layer made out of avocado and salmon and transitioned into a crunchy inner layer of spicy salmon with tempura flakes. Not only did this result in an incredibly unique experience, but the dish was also prepared very artistically, whether it be the diagonal split between the avocado and salmon on the top of the roll or the perfect gradient smear of the side of spicy mayonnaise.

Sushi Toro is just an all-around excellent Japanese cuisine that truly checks all the boxes. It is fast, has most types of standard Japanese delicacies you could imagine, and is just absurdly inexpensive given how fresh the ingredients are and how well the food is prepared. I’m certain that this establishment is going to become my go-to Japanese restaurant, aside from school lunch or after school. 


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Jonah Mitre
Jonah Mitre, Reporter

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