Had written my last post in haste and thought of a few other things to report:
After many drinks one of the nights, we decided to do a walking tour from the U Street area back to the hotel. We happened upon Ben's Chili Bowl purely by chance and I was reluctantly convinced to have a spicy chili dog. I figured it would make a fun story to have been somewhere that has gotten so much national attention - I correctly assumed that would be the best part of the experience. Nothing memorable about the food whatsoever (though the memory is a bit hazy), I'm sure any chowhounder would agree. I don't even like hot dogs, in general!
Also remembered some of the beers that I enjoyed: DC Brau's Corruption which was a very solid IPA, and their Public ale, which while a decent example of an American Pale Ale, was unfortunately marketed to me by an uninformed bartender at the Passenger as an IPA. This was mildly irritating but I suppose they don't claim to be any authority on beer, so I let it pass and we still had some great cocktails. 21st Amendment Back in Black was a nice black IPA, though not as good as my standard - Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous, I do have to give kudos to the bartender girl at Hank's who was much more passionate about beer and erroneously assumed 21st Amendment was another local brewery when it's actually from SF. Their Brew Free or Die! IPA was quite good as well and in retrospect I should have realized the West Coast flair from the grassiness and citrus in the nose. I love that all these were canned beers!
Some good drinks were had including Old Rasputin on nitrogen tap at Bar Pilar as well, which had a nice quiet vibe on the weekday evening I was there.
Also had remarkably good catered hor d'oeuvres at La Tasca, judging from the fried calamar which were outstanding and the empanadas among other finger food, I'd be more than willing to try a normal dinner there next time I'm in town. Estrella Damm on tap is always a plus for nostalgic reasons (once spent a summer in Barcelona), though certainly not a beer on par with other mentioned above.
Anyway, hope this helps someone visiting the city one day and look forward to more culinary adventure next time I'm in town. Thanks again for all your excellent recommendations.
Thank you all for the great recs. As it was primarily a working trip, I didn't get to hit all the spots I had planned:
-drinks at the Passenger were good, nice vibe although we couldn't get into the Columbia Room (of course). had some delicious regional craft beers whose names currently escape me at American Ice to round out the night - nice neighborhood place, sure wish it had existed when I used to go to the 9:30 club for shows back in the day.
-had a mediocre Korean dinner at Mandu but it was the most convenient Korean fix that we could find, had dolsot bibimbbap (mixed rice in hot stone bowl with beef, fried egg, red pepper paste) which was decent but a bit bland, bulgogi which was terrible (terrible cut of meat, oversweet marinade, stringy and startingly low quality for the price), soondooboo jigae which was decent but again nothing to write home about.
-had a very enjoyable dinner at Hank's Oyster Bar with excellent soft-shell crabs and many delicious oysters (actually returned to the bar after dinner for more happy-hour $1 oysters), service was excellent, food was quite good, and drinks were pretty good too (had a very well-made old fashioned in between several craft beers including a nice regional black IPA). I would return again, though I'm sure there are oysters just as good at the other restaurants mentioned as well
-had some great eats at Ohh's and Ahh's, by dumb luck arrived right at 12:00 as she opened the restaurant, but was too slow (and still incapacitated from late night escapades) to grab a seat at the kitchen bar, the greens were excellent, mac and cheese were very rich and quite good, blackened whitefish were well-cooked and had a nice spicy/blackened burn without being overpowering. house-made hot sauce was fantastic, i see why she doesn't fill those bottles up - they would probably all be stolen with each dinner service! also had lemon pepper wings which unfortunately were soaked in grease by the time they were sent up, fried catfish was excellent, and beef short ribs were very tasty too. the only criticism was of the service - but i think it was due to a single employee's oversight. after taking a very long time to add up our tabs with multiple egregious mistakes (e.g. asking for $52 when the check was really 18), we were never given our food while several patrons arriving after us had already begun eating. when we went back downstairs to see what was going on, they quickly assembled our plates and sent them up (as most of the food is premade or constantly being made anyway). however, after tasting the food we quickly forgave and left full and happy.
-had a baguette and onion soup at Paul which was quite forgettable
regrets: not making it to Zaytinya or Fast Gourmet as planned, would have also liked to go to Againn and one of the Moroccan places. Taylor Gourmet looked great and I probably would have enjoyed my meal there more than at Mandu. One of my friends did go to Thai X-ing on this trip (had been there before) and I wish I could have joined.
All said and done, I had a blast given my tight schedule and have you all to thank so keep it up and I will definitely be back for more soon!
Thank you all for your informative recs and I will be sure to give a post-trip report next week!
Greetings from a fellow Dallas- and Chicago-based hound!
I will be flying to DC next week for a conference and staying at the Renaissance Downtown right beside Mount Vernon Square. Looking for advice on chow-worthy spots that are within walking distance/Metro. I love all cuisines, all meats, offal, but for this trip I'm probably looking for more moderately priced restaurants (<30 an entree) and less destination restaurants due to the company I'll be with. Also excellent/innovative cocktails are a big plus, and I'm a huge craft beer fan with a palate leaning towards the hoppy (IPA's e.g. Ballast Point Sculpin, Stone Maharajah, etc) and imperial stouts (Deschutes Abyss, Old Rasputin, Great Divide Yeti, etc etc) though any place with a nice beer selection will do. Having gone to undergrad in Baltimore, I used to enjoy running down to DC for a nice meal and drink (Kaz Sushi Bistro comes to mind), but that was so long ago that I've since forgotten all the other places I used to love.
Some examples but all suggestions welcome, from the most casual to the most delicious, I'm game for anything!
-SUSHI - really would love one dinner to be some amazing sushi, for these the price limit is less applicable as I know sometimes I can spend 3x as much as a more reasonable dining companion if the uni or other specialties are just that good/interesting
Anyway, I know that's an expansive list, but I'm really game for anything and the more authentic, delicious, or unique, the better. For the most part, I think I'll only have time to venture out for dinner, doubt I'll have time for any hound-worthy lunch. Thanks all for your help and happy chowing!
I really love the fried chicken (and salad, table veggies, and bread basket) at Celebration, but feel like it never gets enough cred here on CH. anyone agree?
Happy Holidays everyone -
A good friend of mine is visiting town for New Year's and her preferences in proteins are limited to mostly chicken, turkey, or otherwise vegetarian (i.e. no red meat, no seafood). Just wanted to consult all you chowhounders on your favorite chicken or vegetarian dishes in Dallas? The entire restaurant doesn't have to be vegetarian as long as it has one or two remarkable dishes that she'll really enjoy. Since I have never had any such restrictions, I was having trouble coming up with a cohesive list. We love all kinds of places, from hole in the wall, to fine dining, and cost is no object. Interesting restaurants and interesting dishes not easily found elsewhere would be ideal. Welcome any input - help me out here, friends!
chicken & waffles at Victor Tango's