Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Washington DC Trip


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 lukestar

lukestar
  • participating member
  • 40 posts
  • Location:Shreveport, LA

Posted 10 July 2011 - 04:28 PM

My wife and I have a trip to Washington DC the end of July. We will be there for 5 days and nights...Any suggestions on where to eat. We need suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We will be staying close to Union Station but are willing to travel if it's special. Thanks in advance.

#2 kayb

kayb
  • society donor
  • 899 posts

Posted 10 July 2011 - 05:49 PM

Not so much for the food, but the atmosphere -- the Old Ebbet Grill, and the bar at the Willard. Both marvelous.
Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

#3 Alex

Alex
  • participating member
  • 2,223 posts
  • Location:Grand Rapids, MI

Posted 10 July 2011 - 06:35 PM

Lukestar, your request is a rather tall order. As you probably know, DC has become quite a good restaurant city. Please be much more specific about your preferred price range, preferred type(s) of cuisine, what you like to drink with your dinner (and how much you want to spend), willingness to walk or take public transportation vs. taking a cab, etc., etc. Is this your first trip to DC? If not, where have you eaten and how much did you like it?
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#4 Busboy

Busboy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,426 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 10 July 2011 - 07:37 PM

I think you should just plan on traveling for decent food. I work literally next door to Union Station and it's not exactly restaurant paradise. There are three good, if expensive, restaurants in the Greater Union Station Metropolitan Area: Johnny's Half Shell, which is a fine fish joint that I recommend highly, and which has a pretty fun taqueria attached if you are around for breakfast or lunch; Bistro Bis, which is way more expensive than a real bistro but has better food than a real bistro; and Charlie Palmer's Steak House, which is a steak house. Do not eat any place actually in Union Station unless forced to.

If you are young and adventurous, or just adventurous, the H Street corridor (Google "Atlas District")offers good drinking on the other side of Union Station -- walking distance if you like to walk and don't find frightening urban streetscapes frightening. The Atlas Room is quickly earning a fine reputation, though my plans to get there have been foiled several times. Granville Moore's offers quality moules-frites in a setting that looks like a recently-shelled Belgian farmhouse from a black-and-white World War II movie. At prime times every place on H street is crowded with earnest hipster wannabes who actually work for the Senate or a left-leaning nonprofit.

The extremely hip -- expensive shoes hip, not nose ring hip -- Penn Quarter neighborhood is maybe a six block walk the other direction from H Street. Rasika has brilliant Indian, but it is hard to get a table at (call now); Poste can be impressive and offers lovely courtyard dining, and Jaleo is something of a no-brainer -- high quality tapas at all times. If you're there on a weekend, the brunch at Cafe Atlantico can be fun, especially if you like cocktails early or want to be walking distance from the National Gallery. And, yet a third Jose Andres restaurant -- Oyamel -- has killer chiliquiles and related Mexican-type stuff, plus more premium tequila than you should probably drink. And, they have a Thursday Farmer's market in Penn Quarter, if you just want to bring some peaches back to the room.

With respect to Kayb, I would drink in the Old Ebbitt in a heartbeat, but wouldn't eat there unless it was 11PM and I wanted a burger and a decent martini. Or, if I was in the mood for their half-priced raw bar happy hour, 3-6 and 11-1 M-F. I mean, that's where we had brunch after my kids' confirmations, but it's not a dining destination.

Also, you should go to at least one Ethiopian restaurant. The well-regarded Ethiopic is on the aforementioned H Street Corridor, but I hate it. The well-regarded Etete, in Little Ethiopia (9th St, NW, Metro accessible, U Street)is the safe bet, but it's boring. I recommend Zenebech Injera, which is not nearly as grungy-looking as it used to be, and now sells beer openly, rather than making you drink out of a Styrofoam cup. If you like raw meat, the gored-gored will rock your world.

Beyond that, all Alex's question's apply.

PS: The bar at CityZen has a $50 3-course menu that can be pretty killer. The Restaurant at CityZen has a $125 menu that can be pretty killer, too.
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government.

#5 lukestar

lukestar
  • participating member
  • 40 posts
  • Location:Shreveport, LA

Posted 10 July 2011 - 07:45 PM

Lukestar, your request is a rather tall order. As you probably know, DC has become quite a good restaurant city. Please be much more specific about your preferred price range, preferred type(s) of cuisine, what you like to drink with your dinner (and how much you want to spend), willingness to walk or take public transportation vs. taking a cab, etc., etc. Is this your first trip to DC? If not, where have you eaten and how much did you like it?


This is our 4th or 5th trip to DC. In the past we have dined at Old Ebbitt's Grill - OK food but enjoyed the atmosphere, Legal's Seafood - good food decent price, McCormick & Schmidt's - thought it was over priced with so so food, Rosa Mexicano - Over priced poor food, Capitol City Brewery - Great burgers good price. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Good Steak but overpriced. These are are restruants we have visited in the past. We will probably go back to Legal's, Old Ebbitt's Grill but would like a couple of other suggestions for dinner and lunch. Pretty much like any type food but prefer seafood, steak, and other ideas. We can travel by cab but prefer to stay in the DC area. Also good places to grab a lunch without breaking the budget. Help is appreciated.

#6 LindaK

LindaK
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,916 posts
  • Location:Boston, MA

Posted 10 July 2011 - 08:34 PM

It's been a while since I lived in DC, so I can't offer any current suggestions. But I would strongly second Busboy's suggestion to try one of the many Ethiopian restaurants in town.

If you're staying near Union Station, you're only a few metro stops from Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, both good areas for food.


 


#7 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,543 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:43 AM

I defer to Busboy's knowledge about the DC scene, except don't go to Cafe Atlantico for drinks; it's closed and is now America Eats, Jose Andreas' new American tavern. Go there, if you can get in and can stand the throngs. I haven't tried yet, but will very soon, I hope. I do indeed like Johnny's Half Shell, and they host a terrific happy hour in the bar...lots of great, inexpensive snacks.

As far as other Jose restaurants, Jaleo is still good and still fun and still a zoo, as is Zaytinya, but former Zaytinya chef and Top Chef Master loser Mike Isabella's Graffiato is up and running and looks like it could be a winner. Avoid either of Top Chef loser Spike's joints, unless you like insipid pizza or lousy burgers.

Personally, we find Birch & Barley to be one of our favorite places; best bread basket in the city and the rest of the food is great too. If you're a beer lover, just upstairs is Church Key, with perhaps the best beer selection and beer service in town and food from the B & B kitchen; it's first come, first served and often a scrum for the tables with literally nary a wait list in sight, but all that beer is available downstairs in the restaurant as well.

Palena in Cleveland Park, especially the front room Palena Cafe, is casual and tasty and might be a good stop after a late visit to the zoo. People seem to love the concept of Medium Rare, right across the street. Steak, salad and fries (and pretty much nothing else on the menu) for $20, with seconds too! But, we were there recently and don't see a real reason to return. For a fine steak, there's Ray's the Classics, but that will involve more than walking, though quite Metro accessible.

Estadio has some pretty fine tapas and nice cocktails; Proof, their higher-end place downtown, also offers great cocktails, a fine wine list and excellent food.

DC has no shortage of excellent cocktail joints; The Gibson, Columbia Room, PS7s, Passenger, Bourbon are all as good as it gets; for cocktails in a different setting, though, the Tabard Inn on N Street is a step back in time. Food can be pretty decent too.

Don't understand the rush to Legal Seafoods, especially if you've been before. I guess if someone is jonesing for chain seafood restaurant sameness though, you could do worse.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#8 Alex

Alex
  • participating member
  • 2,223 posts
  • Location:Grand Rapids, MI

Posted 11 July 2011 - 08:57 AM

So, as you know, traveling via Metro is easy. I second what Busboy and weinoo have said. I'll be going to America Eats and Graffiato the first week in August, but of course that's after your trip.

Near Union Station, as Busboy said, you can go to Bistro Bis and maybe see Paul Ryan order another $350 bottle of wine. (At least he tips decently.)

Here are a few more ideas: I'm a huge fan of the three-course pre-theater menu at Tosca. Bibiana is excellent, too. La Chaumiere, in Georgetown, is a good classic French restaurant for lunch or dinner. The $12 bar menu lunch at Proof is a terrific deal. On the Mall, you ought to check out Mitsitam, although it can get pretty crowded at peak lunch time. The $19.90 three-course lunch at Vidalia is excellent and a great deal. Dinner ain't bad there, either. If you're needing seafood, skip Legal and go to BlackSalt (bus or cab needed).

Edited by Alex, 11 July 2011 - 09:02 AM.

Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#9 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,543 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 11 July 2011 - 09:52 AM

Good call on Mitsitam, which I had no idea was the name of the cafe in that museum. Great place for a group, as there are so many different stations to order from.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#10 Busboy

Busboy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,426 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:36 PM


Lukestar, your request is a rather tall order. As you probably know, DC has become quite a good restaurant city. Please be much more specific about your preferred price range, preferred type(s) of cuisine, what you like to drink with your dinner (and how much you want to spend), willingness to walk or take public transportation vs. taking a cab, etc., etc. Is this your first trip to DC? If not, where have you eaten and how much did you like it?


This is our 4th or 5th trip to DC. In the past we have dined at Old Ebbitt's Grill - OK food but enjoyed the atmosphere, Legal's Seafood - good food decent price, McCormick & Schmidt's - thought it was over priced with so so food, Rosa Mexicano - Over priced poor food, Capitol City Brewery - Great burgers good price. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Good Steak but overpriced. These are are restruants we have visited in the past. We will probably go back to Legal's, Old Ebbitt's Grill but would like a couple of other suggestions for dinner and lunch. Pretty much like any type food but prefer seafood, steak, and other ideas. We can travel by cab but prefer to stay in the DC area. Also good places to grab a lunch without breaking the budget. Help is appreciated.

Dude, what were you thinking? You come to a decent food city and you eat at loathsome chains. Good thing you found eGullet because you were living your life wrong. :wink: We'll help you start living in a space not dominated by lowest-common-denominator stuff.

You seem to like seafood (where are you coming from? This is non-trivial information, and not just regarding seafood. No point recommending Japanese if you're from LA). I join with Alex in nominating BlackSalt as the best seafood in town, though not as convenient to you as Johnny's. Please do not report back that you've been to Legal's or McCormick's or I will have you excelled to the suburbs.

Bibiana is great. And, if you like Italian and want to lunch large with lobbyists, Fiola is getting mixed reviews (including from me), but it, too, has a lunch special -- $28, I think -- and well worth it if you want a proper European lunch (followed by a light Ethiopian dinner later on). Get the Zuppa Anglais for dessert.

If you're in Dupont (Phillips Collection, Embassy Row, Textile Museum, etc) Bistro Du Coin is a classic neighborhood bar except that it's a French Bistro. Not memorable in the least except that almost everyone who goes there has a very good time. Chefs hang out their after service Saturday night. Get the onglet/frites or the mussels.

And, the real reason I got on is to agree with Alex (though, props to Weinoo, a brief journey to Estadio the other night was quite rewarding. Go early or late), this time about La Chaumiere. Truly a vanishing breed of gracious, traditional French dining, with aging Georgetown Gentry in attendance but no pretense at all. How many places in the world can you get pike quenelles these days? If you're inclined, it could anchor a wonderful date night, combined with a stroll through Georgetown mansions or the illuminated waterfront. Or a lunch after a jaunt up to Dumbarton Oaksfor a little pre-Columbian art or to tour what should have been Gatsby's garden. Dress nice and order a decent wine. Just far enough from the Foggy Bottom Metro to walk off your buzz. Go on a week day/night to avoid Georgetown crowds.

And, speaking of Foggy Bottom, Marcel's. Full, blow-out meal in the dining room or pick and choose at the bar (with the jazz pianist). Another date night candidate, a little more upscale but the bar is blue-jean friendly. Top 10 food, top three service.

Edited by Busboy, 12 July 2011 - 06:55 PM.

I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government.

#11 lukestar

lukestar
  • participating member
  • 40 posts
  • Location:Shreveport, LA

Posted 12 July 2011 - 07:50 PM



Lukestar, your request is a rather tall order. As you probably know, DC has become quite a good restaurant city. Please be much more specific about your preferred price range, preferred type(s) of cuisine, what you like to drink with your dinner (and how much you want to spend), willingness to walk or take public transportation vs. taking a cab, etc., etc. Is this your first trip to DC? If not, where have you eaten and how much did you like it?


This is our 4th or 5th trip to DC. In the past we have dined at Old Ebbitt's Grill - OK food but enjoyed the atmosphere, Legal's Seafood - good food decent price, McCormick & Schmidt's - thought it was over priced with so so food, Rosa Mexicano - Over priced poor food, Capitol City Brewery - Great burgers good price. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Good Steak but overpriced. These are are restruants we have visited in the past. We will probably go back to Legal's, Old Ebbitt's Grill but would like a couple of other suggestions for dinner and lunch. Pretty much like any type food but prefer seafood, steak, and other ideas. We can travel by cab but prefer to stay in the DC area. Also good places to grab a lunch without breaking the budget. Help is appreciated.

Dude, what were you thinking? You come to a decent food city and you eat at loathsome chains. Good thing you found eGullet because you were living your life wrong. :wink: We'll help you start living in a space not dominated by lowest-common-denominator stuff.

You seem to like seafood (where are you coming from? This is non-trivial information, and not just regarding seafood. No point recommending Japanese if you're from LA). I join with Alex in nominating BlackSalt as the best seafood in town, though not as convenient to you as Johnny's. Please do not report back that you've been to Legal's or McCormick's or I will have you excelled to the suburbs.

Bibiana is great. And, if you like Italian and want to lunch large with lobbyists, Fiola is getting mixed reviews (including from me), but it, too, has a lunch special -- $28, I think -- and well worth it if you want a proper European lunch (followed by a light Ethiopian dinner later on). Get the Zuppa Anglais for dessert.

If you're in Dupont (Phillips Collection, Embassy Row, Textile Museum, etc) Bistro Du Coin is a classic neighborhood bar except that it's a French Bistro. Not memorable in the least except that almost everyone who goes there has a very good time. Chefs hang out their after service Saturday night. Get the onglet/frites or the mussels.

And, the real reason I got on is to agree with Alex (though, props to Weinoo, a brief journey to Estadio the other night was quite rewarding. Go early or late), this time about La Chaumiere. Truly a vanishing breed of gracious, traditional French dining, with aging Georgetown Gentry in attendance but no pretense at all. How many places in the world can you get pike quenelles these days? If you're inclined, it could anchor a wonderful date night, combined with a stroll through Georgetown mansions or the illuminated waterfront. Or a lunch after a jaunt up to Dumbarton Oaksfor a little pre-Columbian art or to tour what should have been Gatsby's garden. Dress nice and order a decent wine. Just far enough from the Foggy Bottom Metro to walk off your buzz. Go on a week day/night to avoid Georgetown crowds.

And, speaking of Foggy Bottom, Marcel's. Full, blow-out meal in the dining room or pick and choose at the bar (with the jazz pianist). Another date night candidate, a little more upscale but the bar is blue-jean friendly. Top 10 food, top three service.


Busboy...Understand I am from Louisiana so yes I do love seafood...Oysters specifically but we do love a great steak. As for as Legal's and McCormick's, my past trips to DC have been with groups. This time it's only my wife and myself so we will be able to a little more latitude. We are open to all suggestions. I would love to have some great sushi but it will probably be for lunch when I am alone, my wife won't go there...I am also open to different ethnic restraunts. There has been some great suggestions so keep them coming. I will let you know where we go and what we think. Thanks again for your suggestions!

#12 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,543 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 12 July 2011 - 08:11 PM

You see, even a semi-local can like me can learn something from Busboy. (Birch & Barley is still our fave.)
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#13 Busboy

Busboy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,426 posts
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:15 AM

I defer to Busboy's knowledge about the DC scene, except don't go to Cafe Atlantico for drinks; it's closed and is now America Eats, Jose Andreas' new American tavern. Go there, if you can get in and can stand the throngs. I haven't tried yet, but will very soon, I hope.

And even a local can learn something from a semi-local like Weinoo. I think per night spent in the city limits Mitch definitely gets out more than I do, so I often look to him.

Speaking of which....in today's Post.

Sushi Taro in Dupont supposedly sets the standard but I haven't been since they upgraded and don't know if you can still pop in for a little eel or if you have to get the omokase. Worth looking into. Kaz Sushi Bistro is beloved. I like Sushi Ko in North Georgetowm/Glover Park. Bit of a hike to get to without a cab but not really far out of the way and worth it. Vies with Taro for "best" honors and serves impeccable fish. Also, oddly, has an excellent Burgundy list.

And just out of the blue, if you feel like getting way off the beaten track and just knocking around an interesting neighborhood -- this would be good if you and your wife want to do a little bar-hopping at places only locals go -- catch the Green Line up to the Petworth stop and grab a bite at possibly the finest wood-fired pizza/El Salvadoran place in the world, Moroni and Brothers.

Then wander back down 11th or 14th street catching Domku (aquavit) Meridian Pint or Room 11 or Wonderland and then maybe over to the hipster-dive Red Derby for a can of beer on their excellent roof. A lot of people who don't live here would feel more comfortable setting out on such a journey before sunset, but it's been ages since anyone I know has been mugged.

Edited by Busboy, 13 July 2011 - 04:26 AM.

I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government.

#14 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,543 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:22 PM

You see, even a semi-local can like me can learn something from Busboy. (Birch & Barley is still our fave.)

Not only is Birch & Barley our fave, it just won Eater's 2011 Restaurant of the Year Award...click.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#15 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:54 AM

Birch and Barley may be OK, but I find their upstairs bar Churchkey noisy, overcrowded, expensive, and snotty. My pick for beer is still any of the Paradiso locations. Similar complaints about Gibson, at least from the snotty front. Passenger on the way! The drinks are as good, if not better, and they're all custom made on the spot - no cocktail menu. (It's also cheaper)

#16 weinoo

weinoo
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,543 posts
  • Location:NYC

Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:59 AM

Trust me, I don't go upstairs either.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
mweinstein@eGstaff.org
Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#17 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,135 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 16 November 2011 - 10:26 AM

Also, if you want to piss off the Churchkey people, audibly compare it to Brickskiller in front of one of the staff....