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V-Day Dinner

As noted in another thread today, although I don't think Casa Luca is bad, I don't think it's great, either. I'd certainly go to Bibiana first, which is roughly the same price point.

Jan 31, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

If you were forced to spend a big zero birthday working....

As to Casa Luca, since opening, I feel like their prices have crept up significantly. So while it was designed as a more budget option, I don't think it is at this point. I was there a month ago, and our bill exceeded 150 or 175 a couple (and no bottles of wine were ordered, either). I'd put this on par with Proof, Cedar, etc., with respect to cost. Casa Luca in my view is good, but not great. I'd not do this as a big bday celebration dinner.

Bibiana, by contrast, I think is delightful. So to further that suggestion, if you do go the Italian route, I think Bibiana is the strongest choice among Casa Luca, Fiola (too expensive for you), and Bibiana.

Jan 31, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

If you were forced to spend a big zero birthday working....

Central will be noisy -- the room I was thinking of is in the back, and I'm sure is what they meant by "private dining." So if you can't get that, you don't want to be in the main part of the restaurant. I also think it's fair to say it isn't particularly vegetarian friendly. So, for those twin reasons, I'd probably scratch Central.

I do want to emphasize -- particularly given your interest in cheese, wine, & vegetarian options -- I'd very strongly recommend Proof, if there is any way you can work it into the budget. This is a fantastic place for a big bday celebration, wine and cheese are great, and it is an atmosphere that will appeal across the ages. It's been one of my favorite restaurants for years (I'm now 31), and it is one of my parents' favorite spots when they come visit (in their 70s). And I don't think there is much of a material difference in price between Cedar and Proof, either.

Jan 31, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

If you were forced to spend a big zero birthday working....

I'd strongly second Proof and Central -- both are excellent spots, but will require some planning for a table of 10. These spots, in my view, have some of the most consistent, excellent food in the city. They're interesting, nice spaces. And metro accessible. (Proof was my, "I'm turning 30 meal," significant other edition).

If you can push the budget, I'd also toss Corduroy on the list. If enough advance time, you could get a great table upstairs. Food is excellent, and good wine selection. It may be slightly easier for a table of 10. But if Bistro Bis is out, so too may be Corduroy. (Corduroy was my, "I'm turning 30 meal," sister edition).

Finally, if you are of the view that Central and Proof are too pricey for the group, I'd suggest reserving an upstairs table at Bistro du Coin in Dupont. Although I'd certainly recommend Central or Proof first, if you need somewhere "budget," but still has excellent food and a good atmosphere and that will accommodate a large party, Bistro du Coin is terrific. A friend recently had a birthday here and it was great. That said, it isn't turning X0 great.

I don't quite see Zaytinya for what you describe, as it is a bit loud. Also, unlike Central, Proof, or Corduroy, the conceit at Zaytinya is small plates to be shared with the table. Although this is great if you are with family and friends, I steer away from this concept when with work associates. And Cedar has never struck me as amazing, though I haven't been in some time, so others here may have a more relevant sense.

Also I recommend 14th St for something more casual. Proof's two sister restaurants -- Estadio and Doi Moi are both great, though neither take reservations. And there are a huge number of other good spots up and down the street that will be enjoyable for a variety of ages.

Jan 31, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Chef for a wine lover's in-home dinner - 5 people

I'm not positive he'd do it, but if price isn't much of an issue, Dan O'Brien from Seasonal Pantry comes to mind. I'd suggest getting in touch with him to see if he'd be game. His food is fantastic, and he seems to travel with his supper club on occasion.

Jan 11, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

What are some "shouldn't miss" dishes at Proof?

third the tuna tartare. it's amazing, and what I consider a signature dish.

They almost always have a duck breast dish that is fantastic. That is often my go-to.

Proof truly is one of my favorite restaurants in DC. For years they have had consistently excellent food with wonderful ambiance. Without going to the price point of Komi, etc., there is no better place to get consistently excellent food in my view.

Jan 11, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Table (Frederik de Pue) and Eat the Rich

I live a few blocks away and very badly want to love this place. Friends of mine in the area think quite highly of it.

I've been for dinner 3 times and brunch once. I've walked away entirely unimpressed by the food every time. I've generally found the service fine, and I love the ambiance of the place. But the food, in my view, has been consistently subpar.

In fact, we did brunch just recently, and not one dish was memorable. Both entrees served that day (we ordered one of each) were incredibly unappetizing.

It's so disappointing, because it strikes me as having such wonderful possibility. If others have had a good experience here, I'd appreciate hearing about it, because I can't for the life of me understand why friends of mine from the neighborhood keep going back.

Jan 08, 2014
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Parents Night Out Processional

This is a very personal preference, but if it were me and I were in your shoes (at least as I imagine it), I'd go to Proof and park there for the night. Wine, beer, and food are all amazing. Desserts are solid. I think the food is of the highest consistent quality. And there are plenty of other places to go in the area after if you wanted variety, but having an evening at Proof would be the respite I'd want.

Other options:
1. Start at the bar at Rogue 24 (with an advance reservation). Have a few bites and drinks as you desire. When you want to do something lower key--but equally as aesthetically pleasing--walk a few blocks over to Baby Wale (should be able to walk in, but an advance ressie can't hurt). If you are still hungry, get a pizza. Otherwise, have a drink and their cookie dim sum.

2. Do a restaurant crawl through Cleveland Park. My suggestion would be start at Palena Cafe for a bite and a drink. Then I'd move to the bar at Ardeo Bardeo. Maybe a dessert there. You could add in Ripple (or Dino's before it closes!) if you want to hit 3 spots.

3. Alternatively, you could do a Barracks row crawl, though it would be a bit difficult on a Saturday given recent wait times (and no advance reservations). I'd start at the bar at Belga Cafe with some outstanding Belgian triple beer. Have some drinks until your table at Rose's Luxury opens (put your name in there before getting Belga). Have some bites and drinks at Roses. And then head for a night cap -- perhaps Sonoma or Beuchert's Saloon.

Anyway, these are the ideas that would top my list given your query.

Dec 04, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

What's New and Delicious!?

Among those, I'd definitely do Doi Moi first. It is a bit spicy, but work with your waiter to make sure you find your comfort zone. (That said, it was on the spicy end for my girlfriend; I found it great.)

Thally is very good, and I need to go back, but it was a bit on the less interesting end when it opened. I really do need to give it another go soon, though.

Have you been to Baby Wale? Not *amazing* food, but a wonderful spot, and very well priced food. Get whatever soups they have + a pizza.

Dec 04, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

recommendations for a weekend trip outside DC?

I just wanted to deeply thank everyone for the great recommendations on this thread. We've marked several wonderful ideas, and we will spend the next year or so checking them out. I'll make sure to update this post as we do so. Thanks again.

Nov 22, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dino closing/moving

To say that I'm excited about the move to Shaw is an understatement.

Nov 20, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

recommendations for a weekend trip outside DC?

Now that you remind me of AVAM, the perfect time for us to visit Baltimore would be next May for the kinetic sculpture race weekend. That was a wild event.

Nov 18, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

recommendations for a weekend trip outside DC?

Thanks to everyone for suggestions so far. Lots of good ones for us to explore. And please send any more. We try to do a weekend away every 3 to 4 months, so having a list of places for the future is quite welcome.

Re Bmore, I actually lived there for a year (right in the Sotta Sopra building), so I hadn't put that on the list. But you are right, the city is quite fascinating, and my gf has spent little time there. That is certainly something we should do soon.

Nov 18, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

recommendations for a weekend trip outside DC?

My apologies if this has been covered recently, but I didn't see a thread on it.

My girlfriend and I are looking to take a weekend away -- likely two nights -- within a 2 hour (maybe, at most, 3?) drive of DC. We like good, interesting food. And small towns to explore by day. Similar prior weekend trips have included Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Leonardtown, and Mercersburg. We're looking to do something different this time.

Any genre of food is of interest to us, we just like stuff that is good. Price is totally open, so we don't mind spending $35 or $350 for dinner. (Though, probably not Inn at Little Washington prices, as we'll save that for some time more special.)

Where would you recommend we go, and what restaurants would you suggest along the way? I would love B&B or hotel recs too, but any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance!

Nov 17, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Delivery options in Woodley Park?

For Thai, I highly recommend ordering from Beau Thai Mount Pleasant. It's very close, and I'm sure they'll deliver. Outstanding Thai food.

Nov 17, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Upscale Mexican in Baltimore or DC???

Steve's suggestions are both good ones.

Depending on your interest in being somewhere that is a bit more of a younger scene, I've always quite enjoyed El Centro DF. It's on the 14th St strip of restaurants, so median age is probably 33-ish. If you get a reservation in the main dining room, I think it's really quite enjoyable. Good food, and nice ambiance.

I'd also potentially add to the list Rosa Mexicana. It likely get less than favorable press around here as it is a chain, so certainly less interesting. But I've always found the food reasonably solid and it is a bit more towards the "formal" end. If your husband would like a high-end chain spot, I'd consider this too. Plus, there are lots of other nice places in the area if you want to add drinks on to the night (barmini, perhaps??). Given that I like more interesting local restaurants as a personal preference, though, I'd choose Oyamel over here for myself.

(Not at all responsive, but for cheap taqueria, you can't beat Mama Chuy. I love that place.)

Nov 17, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Rose's Luxury

Absent the ice cream and the crunch on the dish, it certainly would have felt more like an appetizer. (Note, I seem to recall that Belga Cafe across the street often does a foie + waffle starter. Not too dissimilar.) But I think the ice cream sweetened it to dessert territory.

That said, this was certainly on the savory end of dessert dishes (which I like). Likewise, as noted above, the strawberry pasta was certainly on the sweet end of non-dessert dishes. It seems Rose's has little problem with flexibility in their interpretation of what goes where. (In fact, if you asked for it, I'm sure they'd be happy to serve you the foie as an appetizer rather than a dessert, if you so desire.)

Nov 16, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Green tomatoes?

Not actually responsive -- as I haven't seen green tomatoes on shelves recently -- but I've had really good fried green tomatillos. The tomatillos, in my view, add a fantastic flavor. And those are probably far easier to find right now.

Nov 13, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore
1

Rose's Luxury

It was a slice of entier, lightly seared. Although average to thickly sliced, it was either a half slice of a small lobe, or more likely a quarter slice of an average size lobe. Again, the foie gras was modest, but delightful. As full as we were, a larger portion would have been just too much.

It was in accord with what I take to be the clear theme of the menu -- exceptional decadence.

Nov 13, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Rose's Luxury

I just got back from a dinner at Rose's Luxury, and I found the hype to be quite well deserved. It was rather crowded for a Monday evening, but we were luckily able to get two seats at the bar by the kitchen.

To begin with, the build out is really quite nice. I love the ambiance. It reminds me in certain respects of Baby Wale -- these spots have got to be two of the most interesting new dining rooms in town. They make much of the dinner party concept; there is absolutely no show of pretension here.

We started with the Vietnamese Pate. It was a very generous portion, great bread, and interesting house pickles. I'll definitely do that again.

A loaf of exceptionally fresh potato bread came next. It was wonderful -- so airy and delicate. And some luscious butter to accompany.

Next arrived the popcorn soup. It was really quite something. Unlike any dish I can recall. (The kitchen is kind to plate it in separate dishes). Absolutely delicious. This strikes me as a must order here.

At our waiter's recommendation, we ordered the fried chicken. Very good, though a slight step down in my mind from the prior two dishes. Certainly worth trying for those who love fried chicken, but I'll be ordering the pork sausage and crispy octopus first before a repeat here. (Both were being enjoyed next to me and look incredible.)

We next had the black pepper strawberry pasta. It was a unique dish; that said, it's not something I necessarily loved. Although the pepper did some to cut through the sweetness, it still felt more like a dessert than a main.

Given we weren't particularly hungry and we wanted to try a variety of small plates, we skipped the larger family style meals. But they looked great going out the kitchen, so I'll plan to try the brisket next time I'm back.

Although we planned to call it at that, the dessert menu had a foie gras dish we decided to try. Foie gras french toast with a cinnamon ice cream. The piece of foie gras was modest, but given how full we were from the dishes prior, that was certainly for the best. The dish was delightful, and a particularly unique pairing with the addition of the ice cream. I'd certainly repeat this.

All in all, this was an incredibly enjoyable casual dining experience. Rose's Luxury is certainly a fitting name, as the menu is nothing but rich, decadent dishes from top to bottom. The food is excellent, and the restaurant is inviting. If it were in Logan or Shaw, I'd go weekly.

Nov 11, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Pate, Mousse, and Foie Gras

Although (as folks around here seem to suggest) it is a bit over-hyped, the foie gras parfait at Diplomate is pretty awesome. Couple that with their duck terrine, and you are definitely in business.

Not directly responsive, but the chicken liver mousse at Seasonal Pantry is crack-like addictive. I highly recommend grabbing a jar (or two). And he usually has an interesting terrine available.

Oct 30, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Very specific Baltimore request--see inside

Although an usual suggestion for dairy/gluten free, Iggie's Pizza is close, casual, and great. I'm 95% sure that they do gluten free pizzas. You can either eat in or take it to go.

Oct 30, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ideas for dinner near the DC Improv

what did you wind up doing? how'd it go?!

Oct 25, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ideas for dinner near the DC Improv

I totally agree re Bistro du Coin. Good food and great atmosphere. You may wind up with a very small table though at the front of the restaurant. I think that would be fun for a first date, though I can see how some might find it less comfortable.

As for Pizzeria Paradisio, my only hesitation would be they don't take reservations. If you are going anywhere near peak time, the wait could be unpredictable, making timing for the club after more difficult.

Oct 23, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ideas for dinner near the DC Improv

For a first date, which I'd tend to keep slightly more to the casual end, I'd suggest St. Arnold's. You will have the option as doing either drinks and a shared pot of mussels, or a full dinner, depending on the vibe you feel. It's right around the corner from the club. And it's got great, Belgian beer, so you can have a couple strong ones to break the ice.

Alternatively, Malaysia Kopitiam is close and good if you want casual cheap eats.

Oct 22, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Decent food, not stiff white table cloths

I'd definitely second both Toki and Little Serow. Both are awesome.

Oct 16, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Decent food, not stiff white table cloths

I'd suggest checking out Estadio. I think that may fit the bill for you well. The food is excellent, an atmosphere that sounds similar to what you are requesting, some communal tables, some bar seating around an open kitchen. Perfect to get small plates for sharing. (If you go, I highly recommend the mixto charcuterie plate -- a great value.)

For a real communal table, if you want a much different experience, check out Seasonal Pantry. It is in Shaw, which (in my biased view) is a great upcoming food scene in DC, and it is very close to your hotel. They do a single communal table for 12 folks, seating at 8, with a set menu for the night. Sort of expensive--around 100 to 130 depending on the night--but it is all inclusive, at least. Very good food, and an atmosphere I think you'd love. Weekend seats can fill up very quickly, so you'll want to check out the website soon to see if there is anything available, and then check back.

As for sherry, a local bartender who has gained some acclaim recently opened Mockingbird Hill, a bar that focuses on sherry. Not too far from your hotel, it is also in Shaw. I'd highly recommend you try that.

Oct 16, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Birthday dinner

A few comments for whatever it is worth.

Founding Farmers is fine, but I find it to be the TGI Fridays of downtown DC dining. It's a hit with tourists, but it isn't anything at all exciting to me.

As to Oyamel, this is potentially a fair choice, though it focuses on tacos and small plates. It may not be the easiest or best for a group of 21 year olds. I find the food a bit spotty, but some seem to love it.

As for other ideas, Hill Country (across the street from Oyamel) is quality food. It is something of a stand-in-line order-at-the-counter sort of spot, but that could work well for a bday party--giving everyone flexibility to get what they want. There is often music downstairs, and it can be a fun atmosphere. A friend of mine recently had a 30th bday party there, and it worked well. I think 21-22 year olds would enjoy it.

If you want to take them to something new and hip, head to Baby Wale. And then out for drinks at the Passenger after.

Oct 14, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

Dinner in Dupont?

For "casual" in immediate Dupont area, I really like both Pesce and Bistrot du Coin.

Oct 14, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore

will you pay $70 pp for 7 courses of Burmese in Shaw?

Confirmed that it is $70 pp for 7 courses. Their website is now live and taking reservations via CityEats. I'm very curious as to how they do.

Oct 13, 2013
shawington in Washington DC & Baltimore