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Future In-Laws Coming - Need Help


BigWyoming
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The future in-laws are coming in from Wyoming in a couple weeks and I need to impress. The father-in-law-to-be, an avid amateur chef of no mean talent, once said that one of his lifelong dreams is a dinner at the French Laundry, so I'm leaning toward Cityzen for obvious reasons.

But with some of the recent talk about Cityzen still settling in, and the nothing but raves I hear about Palena, I'm torn. Can't do both as I can only afford two "nice" dinners during their stay and one of them is already reserved for a trip to Minibar.

Assuming that money (up to but not including Inn type money) is no object, but that the need to impress and have fun is an object of not a little significance, what's my best bet for a grand finale?

They'll be more into the food than the decor. Wine very important as much of it will likely be enjoyed.

Stick with Cityzen? Citronelle? Palena? I'd like to stay in town so I'm passing on Maestro.

Any place I'm forgetting?

Thanks for any help. Pray for me.

<img src= "http://forums.egullet.com/uploads/photo-14279.gif"><p>You haven't had foie gras until you've had it in Big Piney, Wyoming...

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In my opinion neither Palena nor CityZen are on the level of either Citronelle or Maestro. If they are coming in "a couple of weeks" you will have difficulty getting into either. The Inn is $168 prix fixe on Saturday night, by the way. Citronelle and Maestro are about two thirds of this, even less depending on the number of courses.

Quite honestly Citronelle and Maestro are national class restaurants representing the respective best of what can be found anywhere in America. If this were San Francisco or New York they would still be among the absolute best. CityZen has not realized this yet and Palena does not have the presentation nor the sense of presence that the first two have. It is an excellent restaurant for D. C. but not extraordinary as the first two. I would also note that it does not have the national ambition of the first two either. I honestly believe that both Maestro and Citronelle are the current equal of the French Laundry which I have been to twice. To take this a step further I believe that Maestro is the equal of the three Michelin star Le Calandre outside of Padua. Twice I have been to Calandre and Maestro several weeks apart.

If you are able to get into either Citronelle or Maestro ask for one of the tables in the front of each room. Both have four tops near the front of their exhibition kitchens.

Totally different from either of these two is Roberto Donna's Laboratorio which is as good in its own way as the other two. What is remarkable about this restaurant-beyond the food-is that Roberto stands five or six feet from you (table #7) and oversees/prepares 12 courses. Laboratorio is about the same price as Citronelle and Maestro. A different experience. But equally as impressive.

These are the three best restaurants Washington has. We are fortunate to have them. You should focus on whichever of the three you can get into. Unfortunately, all have long reservtion lead times for Friday and Saturday often six weeks and longer.

Good luck.

Edited by Joe H (log)
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you should definitely try Citronelle , and Mark will take care of your wine needs.

I`d suggest you try the lobster burger , but I dont think they`ll serve that in the dining room so better stick with the tasting menu

Edited by fero style (log)

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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i'd have to say citronelle or maestro if you can manage reservations.

I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

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I would agree with the previous sentiments on Citronelle. It's definitely on a different level than Palena or CityZen.

That said, if you can't get a reservation, your future in-laws would probably greatly enjoy both CityZen and Palena. If you end up at CityZen, ask for a table near the kitchen or in the nook with all the wines (for lack of a better description). It's a little warmer feeling than the rest of the dining room.

Good luck!

Amanda

Metrocurean, a D.C. restaurant and food blog

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I think Galelio belongs on your short list.

Are you talking about the Laboritorio? If so, then I would have to agree that it is an experience. There has not been too many positive comments on dining at Galileo in the regular dining room.

Has anyone been recently that can comment?

Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.
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I think Galelio belongs on your short list.

Are you talking about the Laboritorio? If so, then I would have to agree that it is an experience. There has not been too many positive comments on dining at Galileo in the regular dining room.

Has anyone been recently that can comment?

Im sure Joe H has something to say :laugh:

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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Citronelle is defintely on a different level than Palena in terms of style and preparation. Palena is very good in its own right, but aiming for something different.

Based on my meal this weekend I would put Cityzen in the same league as Citronelle but there is something not quite as special and I can't quite put my finger on it. Aside from one OK entree, the food at Cityzen was outstanding - nearly flawless actually. The service was also excellent - friendly but polished exactly the way I prefer it. They pull out all the stops - two amuses, a pre-dessert, a small cookie plate after the dessert - maybe even more than Citronelle. Cityzen's presentation is more like Per Se (French Laundry has a much different feel because of its setting) in style than any restaurant that I've been to in the city. They claim to only turn the tables once and that appeared to be the case.

But if you asked me which is the better restaurant I'd say Citronelle. Maybe it is the confidence soming out of the kitchen or the sense of whimsy on the plate while still turning out serious food.

These are things that can and I think will come with time at Cityzen, though.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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