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Lunch in downtown DC recs, please


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Lori in PA

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 05:05 PM

I'll be spending the day alone in the mall area of DC in a few days while dh is at work. Where could I eat lunch that is:
--inexpensive-ish?
--focuses more on protein than starch?
--will let me take my time?
~ Lori in PA
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#2 Busboy

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 07:25 PM

Hardly creative but Jaleo is close to the mall, mid-priced and has dozens of small plates, some of which will surely work for you. Capital 'Cue is nearby, as well, and gets reasonable notices from the barbecue crew.
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#3 Lori in PA

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:06 AM

Jaleo may be "hardly creative" to you but I've never had tapas before, so I'd like to go there. How does one order in such a place? Is it ok to order one thing at a time? (I have weird digestion, must eat slowly, and don't always know how much I can "hold" at a given meal.) Is this the sort of place where no one will mind if I bring a book and take my time?

Edited by Lori in PA, 22 March 2006 - 09:07 AM.

~ Lori in PA
My blog: http://inmykitchenin...e.blogspot.com/
My egullet blog: http://forums.egulle...topic=89647&hl=


"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."
- Julia Child

#4 Busboy

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:54 AM

didn't mean to imply that Jaleo was uncreative, more that I was wracking my brains to think of something more obscure to recommend, but couldn't. It's a great choice.

Generally speaking, you order off the menue the same way you order in a regular restaurant, except you can hold onto the menu and order more, at will. I've always found the service fine, so, if you explain, you shouldn't have any problems If can normally trust yourself with a regular-sized app -- much less entree -- you can probably go more than one at a time.

If I wanted to eat slow and be left alone, I'd try to avoid "rush hour" and maybe linger over the Cezanne/Dada exhibitions, roll in a little after 1 and get one of the tables near the bar.

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#5 takomabaker

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:09 AM

Hi, I work in Penn Quarter and my favorite "expense account" lunches are:

Jaleo (as mentioned)
Poste (had a business lunch there on Friday -- wild mushroom consomme to die for)
Zaytinya (probably my VERY favorite lunch spot)
Zola
Andale
Cafe Atlantico
Clyde's (newly opened a few months ago)


My favorite "I'm Paying" spots are:

Teaism
Ella's Brick Oven Pizza
Ginger Cove
Matchbox (highly recommended)
either café in the National Gallery (if I am taking a longer lunch)
the cafe in Olson's books

edited to add that Matchbox is REALLY busy at lunch and usually has a crowd waiting outside for a table, so they do rush you a bit. So, that might not work for you.



I'll be spending the day alone in the mall area of DC in a few days while dh is at work.  Where could I eat lunch that is:
--inexpensive-ish?
--focuses more on protein than starch?
--will let me take my time?

View Post


Edited by takomabaker, 22 March 2006 - 10:12 AM.


#6 Busboy

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:14 AM

Lori should note that Zatinya specializes in mezze -- aka Greek tapas -- and might also be a good place to linger, though a little more expensive than Jaleo.
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#7 Mark Sommelier

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:20 AM

Lori should note that Zatinya specializes in mezze -- aka Greek tapas -- and might also be a good place to linger, though a little more expensive than Jaleo.

View Post

Both restaurants are open all afternoon and are pretty quiet after 2. Very relaxing. Don't miss the croquettas at Jaleo!
Mark

#8 Pontormo

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:27 AM

On a weekday, Jaleo is not always packed at lunchtime and there are small tables next to the windows where I am sure you would be graciously accommodated, especially if you're reading about food or Spain. It's close to the Metro Stop (Gallery Place on Red Line) and close to the Mall.

Museum-going friends have always enjoyed the place. (Well, sample of three, but..) As a solitary diner, you wouldn't get to sample as many of the small plates of tapas as you would with companions, but 2-4 would be perfect, depending on your appetite. If you've never had tapas before, you're in for a treat.
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#9 jm chen

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:57 AM

For extra-long lingering I'd head to Teaism and sit downstairs. Order a handroll bento box, some edamame, and a big ol' cup of whatever tea sounds good. Protein-y, tasty, leisurely. $10-15, and you order at the counter, so, low-price.

I bet you could also find something tasty and not too starchy at Mitsitam, the cafe in the American Indian Museum on the Mall. Salmon, or buffalo chili, they have lots to choose from.
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#10 Lori in PA

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 11:47 AM

Thank you everyone. Busboy, I realized I probably sounded snippy with my "hardly creative" comment and didn't mean it that way at all. I really appreciate everyone taking time to respond so specifically. I'm sure you get a lot of these requests and it is kind of you to use your time to help. There are so many possibilities here I think I'll just have to come back several times to try them. I'll report back on what happens this time.
~ Lori in PA
My blog: http://inmykitchenin...e.blogspot.com/
My egullet blog: http://forums.egulle...topic=89647&hl=


"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."
- Julia Child

#11 Pontormo

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 01:11 PM

Jm Chen's suggestions are excellent as well.

I really think Teaism might be your best bet as a low key place where you would feel comfortable reading. Bento lunches include lightly seared tuna with sides of sweet potato with peanut sauce. Great range of teas. It's modest, superior in atmosphere to most franchises (there are a number of locations in D.C.), yet designed so that patrons may choose to grab something during a quick lunch break or linger.

Edited by Pontormo, 22 March 2006 - 01:12 PM.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#12 Indy67

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:37 PM

"I'll be spending the day alone in the mall area of DC in a few days while dh is at work. Where could I eat lunch that is:
--inexpensive-ish?
--focuses more on protein than starch?
--will let me take my time?"

Monday, I ate lunch at Charlie Palmer Steak after seeing the Cezanne exhibit at the National Gallery. The prix fixe lunch isn't inexpensive on an absolute basis, but a fantastic three course meal in elegant surroundings for $20.06 meets my standards for such excellent value that I'm comfortable declaring my lunch to have been "inexpensive" on a relative basis. The service was leisurely.

The three options for the appetizer were:
-- spinach salad
-- halibut
-- curried cauliflower soup

(I had the spinach salad. While it was filled with interesting things, I wished I had ordered the soup and I normally HATE cauliflower.)

The three options for the entree were:
-- roast chicken
-- grilled hangar steak
-- sauteed salmon

We each ordered one of the options and everyone was happy.

The three options for dessert were:
-- chocolate caramel mousse
-- trio of creme caramel
-- ???

Mixed votes on the chcolate mousse. One person loved it and one hated it, saying it was too sweet. My trio was amazing.

Indy 67

#13 arbuclo

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 05:26 PM

I too recommend Teasim.

Edited by arbuclo, 23 March 2006 - 05:26 PM.

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#14 Lori in PA

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 06:23 AM

My Day and How I Spent It (and What I Ate):

I was in DC from 7 am until 3:30 pm while dh worked. I met the co-workers, then headed to Teaism. I had the tea-smoked salmon with raita and naan -- very good and a pleasant place to read -- they weren't busy so I lingered. I looked in on Olson's Books. I headed to the National Gallery of Art to see the Cezanne en Provence exhibit. I'd planned to wait for dh to eat a late lunch/early supper, but got peckish so I had a bow of tomato soup at the cafe in the museum, a good decision because dh was stuck in a late meeting. We went to Jaleo together and had a great time. We had the apple and manchego cheese salad, chicken and ham fritters, calamari with alioli, and the quail with honey alioli and rosemary sauce. I enjoyed all. We shared the basque cake for dessert -- yum!

Thanks to all for patient recommendations -- you helped make my day a treat!
~ Lori in PA
My blog: http://inmykitchenin...e.blogspot.com/
My egullet blog: http://forums.egulle...topic=89647&hl=


"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."
- Julia Child

#15 ewindels

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:36 AM

Folks, of the places listed here, which would you recommend for a pre-National Gallery lunch this Saturday for a single person who won't be dressed up, so a bar lunch would be fine. I'd like to sample the best and brightest, but e.g. Citronelle seems way too formal.

Thanks!
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