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Looking for HIP dinner place in DC


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#1 Kim Shook

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:27 AM

I'll be meeting friends in DC for a birthday celebration. We were all raised in the area, but mostly live away now. The birthday boy lives in LA now and requests a very hip birthday dinner. Here's his request: " whenever we hit NYC my #1 priority is to always dine at the hottest spots in town for energy/atmosphere/scene. Food needs to be good but scene is my goal when I'm an out of towner. I can rattle off the top NYC spots today; but again have zero clue on DC...so if you guys can help get rez's on the 18th somewhere cool like that I would love it!"


So that's his request. If food was the most important thing, I'd have lots of ideas. But hip? We are all in our 50's - I didn't think that I had to worry about hip anymore :biggrin: . So my dear, food-loving, and - I hope - hipper than me friends, what places would you suggest? I'm guessing that by 18th he means Dupont and Adams Morgan. Thank you so much!!

#2 weinoo

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:06 AM

Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan, perhaps?

Little Serow is as hip as possible, but you'll have to stand on line for an hour or more as they (sadly) don't take ressies.

Isabella's Graffiato draws them in.
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#3 Hassouni

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:51 AM

Toki Underground is certainly hip and quite delicious, but it's not in Adams (it's on H St NE)
The Brixton would also be hip, and allegedly has good food. You could add any Hilton Bros establishment to that list (Marvin, American Ice, and this new place Blackbyrd come to mind)
Estadio is another possibility, as are Pearl Dive and Agora

If "The 18th" means 18th Street, I'd say forget it, Adams Morgan is just a shitshow and there's not much good in Dupont besides Paradiso and Moby Dick, neither of which really fit the bill from the sound of it

#4 Busboy

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:06 PM

Avoid Adams-Morgan. I'd head towards the 14th St. Corridor, as it seems to have the best hip/food quotient (H Street and Columbia Heights are probably hipper, but the food is not as good). if you want reservations, Estadio and Pearl Dive are probably out, though both offer pretty good eating. Masa 14 might be a good bet, as might Cork -- especially if you're interested in wine as well as hippitude.
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#5 Alex

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:34 PM

Are you sure by "the 18th" he didn't mean the day?

And yes, you do still have to worry about "hip" -- the one you might break if you're not careful.

Mintwood is good (and is one of the current "in" spots), but I don't know if I'd call it hip.

As Busboy mentioned, Masa 14 and Cork are good choices, as is Birch & Barley/Churchkey, especially if your friend is into beer.
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#6 Hassouni

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:56 PM

Oh, forgot about Birch & Barley/Churchkey

so hip it hurts

But yes, 14th St is my rec, many of the places I mentioned plus those of Busboy are all there

Edited by Hassouni, 01 October 2012 - 12:56 PM.


#7 Busboy

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:17 PM

And, while we're on 14th Street, if you're in the mood for a hip cocktail joint, you might want to try The Gibson, a neo-(pseudo-?) speakeasy where tattoed bartenders whip up excellent, original cocktails. Prime time entrance generally demands a reservation, but getting their early or late often works as well.

Also, being polite and patient to the guy at the door seems to help.

Mitch probably has a more nuanced view of the place, if he cares to weigh in, but I think it's an excellent place to kick off a 14th Street crawl.
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#8 Hassouni

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:50 PM

Passenger! Passenger! Passenger!













Sorry, I really dislike Gibson.

#9 weinoo

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:03 PM

Are you sure by "the 18th" he didn't mean the day?


That's what I think he meant.

Mintwood is good (and is one of the current "in" spots), but I don't know if I'd call it hip.

This issue, as I see it, is that nothing is really that hip. That will also work for a bunch of people of, ummm, a certain age.

As Busboy mentioned, Masa 14 and Cork are good choices, as is Birch & Barley/Churchkey, especially if your friend is into beer

Birch & Barley is my favorite restaurant in the district, and the chefs have lots of tattoos. Churchkey is awesome, but also annoying enough just to get a seat.

And, while we're on 14th Street, if you're in the mood for a hip cocktail joint, you might want to try The Gibson, a neo-(pseudo-?) speakeasy where tattoed bartenders whip up excellent, original cocktails. Prime time entrance generally demands a reservation, but getting their early or late often works as well.
Mitch probably has a more nuanced view of the place, if he cares to weigh in, but I think it's an excellent place to kick off a 14th Street crawl.

Evidently, the bar manager from the Gibson is now at the newly reopened and renovated Firefly. I look forward to giving it a try next week.

Firefly regulars can also look forward to a new cocktail program led by former Gibson general manager Jon Harris and a new menu at the bar.


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#10 Busboy

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:28 PM

Passenger! Passenger! Passenger!


Sorry, I really dislike Gibson.

Depends on my mood, though four times out of five I'd join you at The Passenger. Alas, though, it's a hike from there to 14th Street, hence my reccomendation.
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#11 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:27 PM

Per Todd Kliman, in The Washingtonian:

Izakaya Seki, DC
Arguably the most exciting restaurant to debut this year. Hiroshi Seki and his daughter, Cizuka Seki, have fashioned a spare, intimate izakaya from a former barber shop on V St. It's a no-frills setting that suggests a gallery and serves as an ideal backdrop for beautifully simple dishes that all but command you to slow down and focus. Hop a seat at the wraparound counter that consumes the entirety of downstairs to watch Seki, a sushi master with 50 years experience, work with grace, speed, economy and calm as he executes his repertoire with a small team of cooks: thick slices of veal-tender beef tongue with a painting of mustard-miso sauce; succulent filets of grilled mero, the Japanese term for Chilean sea bass; springy soba noodles with flakes of nori and tempura; and some of the most exquisite cuts of aji (horse mackerel) and yellowtail you'll find.


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#12 Hassouni

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:16 PM

Yeah, it just seems expensive for what they're offering...izakaya are meant to be humble affairs...

#13 mkayahara

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:32 PM

Yeah, it just seems expensive for what they're offering...izakaya are meant to be humble affairs...

Yes, but so are bistros. :wink:
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#14 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:19 PM


Yeah, it just seems expensive for what they're offering...izakaya are meant to be humble affairs...

Yes, but so are bistros. :wink:

And so are burgers... :wink: .
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#15 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:21 PM

Yeah, it just seems expensive for what they're offering...izakaya are meant to be humble affairs...


I think this is just looking for an excuse. We have members here who go to cocktail bars where the drinks are $14, and we hear no such thing.
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#16 Hassouni

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:42 PM

Yeah but usually my total bill at those bars is a lot less than what I could expect to spend at Seki. Their stuff is small plates, right?

I don't know, I may go yet, I was just hoping for a DC version of some of those St Mark's joints in NY, where you can get $1.50 draft Japanese beer and tasty snacks for a pittance.

PS, I don't jive with burgers over about $10 or $12 max :smile:

#17 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:02 PM

I'm hoping that the food at Seki is quite a step up from the food on St. Mark's. But I haven't been yet, so I can't say.
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#18 Kim Shook

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:31 AM

I'm an idiot! Of course he meant the 18th of the MONTH :rolleyes: ! Thanks for noticing that. And for all the good information. I'm sorry to take so long to respond, but I've been in an out of town a lot visiting my grandmother in NC who is in a nursing home. I'm going to research everything and ask my friends for input and will pick a place. I really appreciate everything and will report back!

LATER

Ok, here’s the short list:

Mintwood Place

Graffiato

Marvin

Agora

Birch & Barley


This is one of my oldest friends and I know what he wants – he wants to recreate nights out when we were in high school and college and used to wander around Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, popping into different places for a snack and a drink and finally settling down to eat somewhere ‘cool’. Since we are now older, I do want to make a reservation (which I can do at any of these places), but I know he’ll still want to do a bit of wandering. Are any of these restaurants in neighborhoods that would facilitate that? Thanks so much!

Edited by Kim Shook, 08 October 2012 - 09:25 AM.


#19 Hassouni

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:30 AM

I'm an idiot! Of course he meant the 18th of the MONTH :rolleyes: ! Thanks for noticing that. And for all the good information. I'm sorry to take so long to respond, but I've been in an out of town a lot visiting my grandmother in NC who is in a nursing home. I'm going to research everything and ask my friends for input and will pick a place. I really appreciate everything and will report back!

LATER

Ok, here’s the short list:

Mintwood Place

Graffiato

Marvin

Agora

Birch & Barley


This is one of my oldest friends and I know what he wants – he wants to recreate nights out when we were in high school and college and used to wander around Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, popping into different places for a snack and a drink and finally settling down to eat somewhere ‘cool’. Since we are now older, I do want to make a reservation (which I can do at any of these places), but I know he’ll still want to do a bit of wandering. Are any of these restaurants in neighborhoods that would facilitate that? Thanks so much!


Not sure where the other two are, but Agora, Marvin, and Birch and Barley are definitely within walking distance (17th & Q, 14th & U, 14th & P? respectively). If you want tasty wandering snacks and good drinks I may also recommend El Centro DF (14th btw S&T, next to Black Cat)

#20 Kim Shook

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:47 PM

Well, we ended up at NONE of the places on my short list :rolleyes: ! He picked Cashion's from some online list of 'must see DC restaurants'! That was fine with me - I love Cashion's and we had a lovely meal and a nice wander around the neighborhood afterwards. Thanks so much - I'm keeping my list so that we'll have some ready ideas for the next time we go up. Thank you again!

#21 Hassouni

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:08 PM

Well, Mitch, I went to Seki. Had to wait forever, and paid quite a bit, but the food was very good and eclectic - I went with a Japanese friend and she ordered her favorite weird stuff on the menu, like chopped raw octopus with wasabi.....(that was my least favorite). The sake and shochu list were really impressive, I'd go back just for that.

#22 weinoo

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:07 AM

Sounds good!

There's another brand new ramen place (ramen becoming the new burger maybe) on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan that we tried last night - which looks like it may turn into a zoo at some point, since upstairs is a lounge area. It's called Taan, and it was all high tops and uncomfortable stools downstairs. The ramen was okay, but I prefer Sakuramen on 18th.

And the night before we were at Mintwood, where I had one of the best game dishes I've had on this side of the Atlantic - wild Scottish wood pigeon breast, wrapped in a force of its own liver, heart and dark meat, then wrapped in Savoy and bacon, cooked perfectly rare and a real slam-dunk. Place was packed, as was Cashion's.
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#23 Kim Shook

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 11:40 AM

Back again!  Same group, same request - just 1 1/2 years later.  So is this list still good:

 

Mintwood Place
Graffiato
Marvin
Agora
Birch & Barley

 

or is there an even hipper and cooler place that I can impress my LA pal with?  Thanks!



#24 radtek

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 11:47 AM

Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adam's Morgan. Great place for informal quick falafel and frites. The condiment bar is amazing. 

 

Have a beer at the Black Squirrel next door...



#25 weinoo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 12:59 PM

Yikes.

 

Anyway, our favorite became Red Hen.

 

We're not in DC at all any more, and haven't been since November,  but Red Hen it was.


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#26 Alex

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 02:49 PM

Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adam's Morgan. Great place for informal quick falafel and frites. The condiment bar is amazing. 

 

Have a beer at the Black Squirrel next door...

Amsterdam Falafelshop is indeed very good, but not what I'd choose per your original request.

 

Red Hen is very good, too, and is much closer to what you're looking for.

 

I cannot speak to Agora or Marvin. Mintwood Place and Birch & Barley are casual/hip and are still "in places" to go. For more of "the scene" + good food, I suggest these:

Le Diplomate

Rose's Luxury (no reservations; get in line early)

The Partisan

Rasika

Ripple

Iron Gate

 

Also, Eater says these are the hottest restaurants in the DC area this month.


Edited by Alex, 13 April 2015 - 02:51 PM.

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#27 weinoo

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 05:03 AM

Yeah, we ended up liking Le Diplomate more than we thought we would. It's a great version of Balthazar. 


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#28 Hassouni

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 09:52 AM

Amsterdam Falafelshop is indeed very good, but not what I'd choose per your original request.

 

Red Hen is very good, too, and is much closer to what you're looking for.

 

I cannot speak to Agora or Marvin. Mintwood Place and Birch & Barley are casual/hip and are still "in places" to go. For more of "the scene" + good food, I suggest these:

Le Diplomate

Rose's Luxury (no reservations; get in line early)

The Partisan

Rasika

Ripple

Iron Gate

 

Also, Eater says these are the hottest restaurants in the DC area this month.

 

I have no idea about Ripple but my takes on the places above:

 

Diplomate is the Frenchiest place on earth, including France. Their bread is the best in the city, their service is exemplary. The food is excellent but not particularly original.

 

Rose's, I haven't been mostly because of the queues, but it's allegedly "the best restaurant in the country" now, according to some magazine

 

Partisan - if you're into meat esp of the cured variety, this is the place

 

Rasika - haute indienne, if you're into that kind of thing. 

 

Iron Gate - chef's tasting menu inside, a la carte menu of very tasty food in the gorgeous courtyard (recommended)

 

I'd also throw these into the mix:

 

Daikaya (upstairs) - Another izakaya-type place. HUGE Japanese whisky, shochu, and sake collection

China Chilcano (really new from Jose Andres, quite good) - Asian-Peruvian

Jaleo (still kickin' ass) 

Barcelona (Jaleo is better but Barcelona is on 14th st and is quite a fun place)

 

ETA: THIP KHAO - GO HERE!!!!! No-holds-barred Lao food. Amazing.


Edited by Hassouni, 14 April 2015 - 09:54 AM.


#29 Kim Shook

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 10:07 AM

Well, crap.  They did it to me again.  Reservation made by someone else at Founding Farmers.  But that's for Thursday night.  There will be one other person and I around on Friday and I'm going to offer her your suggestions and let her choose.  She's a great person to go restauranting with, so I have high hopes.  Thanks so much for the help!



#30 Alex

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 10:44 AM

Well, crap.  They did it to me again.  Reservation made by someone else at Founding Farmers.  But that's for Thursday night.  There will be one other person and I around on Friday and I'm going to offer her your suggestions and let her choose.  She's a great person to go restauranting with, so I have high hopes.  Thanks so much for the help!

 

That's very kind of you to let her choose. Given that it's just the two of you, if money is no (or very minimal) object, I'd recommend Marcel's. It's not hip in the way most of the others mentioned in this thread are, but it's clearly one of the best restaurants in DC. Similarly, if you don't mind a quick jaunt to Alexandria, I'd recommend Restaurant Eve.

 

What I meant by "money": A five-course tasting menu at Eve is $85; at Marcel's, $110. Seven-course tasting menus are also available: $150 at Marcel's, not sure about Eve. Wine is additional.


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