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DC Restaurant Week Summer 2005


Malawry
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This summer's list of Restaurant Week restaurants can be seen here. For those who haven't been to a DC Restaurant Week before, lunches at the restaurants on that list are $20.05, and dinners are $30.05--both meals are three courses.

There are some places I don't remember seeing before on the list: B. Smith's, Cafe 15 (which is Quite A Steal), Cafe Mozu (at the Mandarin Oriental), Fahrenheit, Fourth Estate at the National Press Club. There are also a number of NoVa selections this time around, including the Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City and JR's Stockyards, and The Rockfish in Annapolis.

What do you all make out of this expansion? Where are you going this time around? So many of us take Restaurant Week as an opportunity to take a chance on places normally beyond the dining budget--others hit restaurants not on the list that week to avoid the crush. What's your approach?

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Restaurant Week is great, as long as you know how to navigate the offerings. Last year I had a great dinner at DC coast, while my meal at 701 wasn't so memorable. It really depends on the restaurant and how much of their menu they are actually willing to put up. Most places offer a selection of two to four dishes per course (appetizer, entree, and dessert) and sometimes what's on that list does not compare to what's on their actual menu- which, of course, costs full price.

With that in mind, i'd like to know what restaurants people have gone to for Restaurant Week that have lived up to their year-round reputations/standards. I just made a reservation at 1789....

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It's good to call the restaurant to find out if they are serving all or most of the menu. Some restaurants have very few options for RW. Coudoroy for one, is serving the full menu. I've already reserved it on www.opentable.com.

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Very good point about offerings. I went to Charlie Palmer Steak last year for Restaurant Week and they didn't have any STEAK on the RW menu. Ended up ordering from the regular menu and spending an arm and a leg. Grrrr.

TenPenh is great during RW. As far as I can remember, the entire menu is fair game.

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Very good point about offerings.  I went to Charlie Palmer Steak last year for Restaurant Week and they didn't have any STEAK on the RW menu.  Ended up ordering from the regular menu and spending an arm and a leg.  Grrrr.

TenPenh is great during RW.  As far as I can remember, the entire menu is fair game.

TenPehn, DC Coast and Ceiba usually make all the entrees available but only a handful of so-so apps and desserts.

Stick with places like Corduroy, Vidalia, Tosca and others that really do make the whole menu available...

Jennifer

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Very good point about offerings.  I went to Charlie Palmer Steak last year for Restaurant Week and they didn't have any STEAK on the RW menu.  Ended up ordering from the regular menu and spending an arm and a leg.  Grrrr.

TenPenh is great during RW.  As far as I can remember, the entire menu is fair game.

TenPehn, DC Coast and Ceiba usually make all the entrees available but only a handful of so-so apps and desserts.

Stick with places like Corduroy, Vidalia, Tosca and others that really do make the whole menu available...

Jennifer

When I went to Tosca last summer, the whole menu wasn't part of the RW promotion. I ordered off the RW menu, but my wife ordered entirely from teh regular menu. But Tosca is still a good choice either way.

DC Coast during winter 2005 RW was not very good - poor choices and poor execution.

Corduroy takes it seriously. I've had good meals from the limited menus at Equinox and Colvin Run. Equinox only had two or three choices per course but for each course the RW options would have been my first choice, so it worked out well.

Bill Russell

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Since I'm young and poor, I like restaurant week because it lets me multicourse meals eat at places I otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.

I had good experiences in years past at Colvin Run, Kinkead's, Vidalia (when we went, the whole menu was not offered, although you could order up for an additional charge) and believe it or not, the Melting Pot.

I don't remember why we wanted to go there, but we went to the Occidental during restaurant week two years ago- boo. Stuffy, boring, and a very small menu.

My SO booked us for Galileo this time around (ever since Roberto Donna's humiliating defeat on Iron Chef, he's been curious :raz: )- do they do a good job with the menu/service? I recall hearing mixed reviews.

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When I went to Tosca last summer, the whole menu wasn't part of the RW promotion. I ordered off the RW menu, but my wife ordered entirely from teh regular menu. But Tosca is still a good choice either way.

Are you sure you're thinking of Tosca, or was it the lunch you went to? When I was there last summer for RW, the whole menu was available, but some items had a slight surcharge. You could even choose smaller portions of their pastas as an appetizer, or have a larger portion for the main course. I'll be going back again this time.

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When I went to Tosca last summer, the whole menu wasn't part of the RW promotion. I ordered off the RW menu, but my wife ordered entirely from teh regular menu. But Tosca is still a good choice either way.

Are you sure you're thinking of Tosca, or was it the lunch you went to? When I was there last summer for RW, the whole menu was available, but some items had a slight surcharge. You could even choose smaller portions of their pastas as an appetizer, or have a larger portion for the main course. I'll be going back again this time.

I remember the entire menu being part of Restaurant week. There were one or two items that had a suppliment (foie gras was one of them).

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When I went to Tosca last summer, the whole menu wasn't part of the RW promotion. I ordered off the RW menu, but my wife ordered entirely from teh regular menu. But Tosca is still a good choice either way.

Are you sure you're thinking of Tosca, or was it the lunch you went to? When I was there last summer for RW, the whole menu was available, but some items had a slight surcharge. You could even choose smaller portions of their pastas as an appetizer, or have a larger portion for the main course. I'll be going back again this time.

I looked back and it was two summers ago (how time files) since I went to Tosca for RW. It was definietly a split menu then. I also read my post from that week and my initial reaction was that I didn't like it that much. But my rememberences are that I did. Memory is a funny thing.

Bill Russell

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In the past, I've been most pleased with my RW meals at DC Coast (choice of 3 salads/soups, almost every main entreee, choice of 3 desserts - summer 2004), Corduroy (entire menu with a couple upcharges - winter 2005), and Palette (small menu - choice of 3 salads/soups, 3 entrees, 3 desserts; but very tasty - summer 2004). RW did the job too, because I've gone back to both DC Coast and Corduroy and paid the regular prices, and not been disappointed either time.

Smith and Wollensky was good for RW (winter 2004). I ended up ordering off the RW menu (I couldn't resist chateaubriand), but the RW menu was decent, if small - choice of salad, filet or chicken or fish, and dessert. My dining companions were pleased with their choice and thought it was definitely good value.

Oceanaire I remember being very disappointed with the choices and ended up ordering off the regular menu (winter 2001?). Butterfield 9 was satisfactory(winter 2005) - I was glad I went to try it, but was glad I paid RW prices. They also had a special menu (3 selections for each dish, except for dessert which had 2 choices).

I've researched Sam and Harry's and Caucus Room before for steak, and they were just serving medallions (or chicken or fish) - I'm disappointed to hear that CP steak does the same thing.

Anyone ever been to Taberna del Albardero for RW (i've never been there ever and have been meaning to try it). How about the trio of Italian places (I Ricchi, Teatro Goldoni, and Tuscana West)?

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I've not been to Tuscana West during RW, but after dinner there a couple of weeks ago I'm not inclined to recommend it to others. I thought the Italian food was fairly lackluster and uninspired. It's sort of a "safe" restaurant for picky eaters, but I can't think of why else I'd send somebody there. Avoid the tiramisu if you try it anyway.

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How about the trio of Italian places (I Ricchi, Teatro Goldoni, and Tuscana West)?

I've enjoyed I Ricchi during RW. Only three or four options for each course, but they were all very tasty and our service was excellent. Pasta choices seem to always be better than meat choices there in general. I had some kind of dessert that was a cross between cheesecake and panna cotta with a supertart lime/raspberry sauce and it was one of the tastiest restaurant desserts I've ever had.

As for Tuscana West, my experience is the same as Malawry's. Haven't tried it during RW, but haven't been impressed the rest of the year.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Has anyone been to Cafe Atlantico for restaurant week?

I was there over during the winter Restaurant Week. I thought it was a good introduction to the restaurant. There was a choice of three for each course, and I doubt that would change for the summer Restaurant Week.

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Has anyone been to Cafe Atlantico for restaurant week?

I was there over during the winter Restaurant Week. I thought it was a good introduction to the restaurant. There was a choice of three for each course, and I doubt that would change for the summer Restaurant Week.

Were they good choices, or did it seem like they pulled their under-performers out from the regular menu?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just returned from 1789 with JPW--probably my only RW meal this time around. The entire menu is offered as part of the special deal, with only three items carrying supplements: the infamous rack of lamb, the filet mignon and the cheese plate.

The "rack of pork" (pork chops) is one of the most transcendent pieces of meat you can put in your mouth, like, ever. It's lightly glazed, rich, flavorful stuff. Too bad the Swiss chard alongside is overly smoky and the baked beans taste weird. I ordered the filet specifically because it was a setup I hadn't seen before: a sort of Basque interpretation, topped with a fried egg and served with frites and power-fresh peppers and onions. The peppers were unbelievable--how come I can't make simple sauteed peppers taste like that? The frites actually come from a real potato, like they should, and the steak itself is tender and juicy.

I wasn't as impressed with the starters we selected--fried popcorn shrimp (I believe shrimp shouldn't be, er, shrimpy-sized) mixed with a spicy slaw, and a fried soft-shell crab with a nondescript stuffing. The blueberry tart needed its creme fraiche topping to cut its sweetness, but I enjoyed the lime-spiked blueberry sauce and whole blueberries on the plate quite a lot. JPW had the cheese plate, which came with steroidal raspberries and nut bread--I didn't taste the cheeses, but I'm impressed that the bread was toasted.

Service is smooth and professional, everything you'd hope for if you're trying for a perfect night. I wasn't as enthralled with sitting in the bar room for dinner as I was with sitting in the bar room for a cocktail--next time, best to request a table in the larger dining room on the ground floor. And ladies, the climb to the bathrooms is rewarded with one of the most nicely-appointed lavatories in recent memory--including chairs by the mirror for primping and feminine, er, supplies for emergencies. It's the details that count.

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Not much to add to what Malawry wrote.

That pork chop (I guess they need to call it a "rack" to make it look fancier) was truly spectacular. Along with the confit of pork belly I had in the past at Restaurant Eve, the best piece of pig that I think I have ever had. It's just unfortunate that the sides were disappointing. The smokiness of the swiss chard didn't bother me as much as it did her. The beans especially were just not good. But at Restaurant Week prices, I more than willing to overlook those details for that heavenly piece of meat. The filet was very nice and I liked the thought that went into the construction of the dish.

The crab tempura and the shrimp dish were OK.

The wine was somewhat pricey ($10 for a Guigal CdRhone 2003), but no more than is to be expected at a restaurant at that price point.

Service was very nice. Special appreciation for the barman (whose name I believe was "Sheik") who went to the hostess stand for us to notify them that we were ready to be seated. As Rochelle said, the details matter.

I'm left with same reaction that I had to a recent meal at Galileo under the half-price early week deal -- I enjoyed it a lot, but don't think that it would be a top choice at the regular price.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Yesterday I had the most serene RW experience sitting at the bar at Colvin Run Tavern. I wish lunch could be like this every day.

I was the only person at the bar at noon and had a pleasant (although quite wintry) meal of seared scallops with corn sauce, chanterelles and some sort of pork, a grilled short rib with rasted potatoes, snap peas and a garlic sauce and a strawberry crisp with stawberry ice cream. Two glasses of wine plus a few sample pours from the bartender and it took all my willpower to make it back to my desk.

They were offering about six or seven options for each course and four or five desserts - many more summery than what I ordered, with the entrees heavily leaning towards seafood.

This is a perfect example of what I personally like about Restaurant Week. I don't typically consider myself a cheapskate when it coes to dining out. But today I spent a little more than I normally would have for a weekday lunch, albeit a lot less than it would have cost normally, and I was able to have a meal where I didn't have to order at a counter or wait for my name to be called to have some medicore, chain food. I only wish more places within driving distance of Reston were taking part.

On second thought, knowing the places around here, maybe not.

Bill Russell

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I'm excited to have snagged a table this Saturday at Corduroy! (See my ISO, above). I've heard nothing but praise and am wondering what three courses people would string together there. Also, what wines? Thanks!

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Hi, everyone. I had a fantastic RW lunch at Galileo on Monday. The entire menu was up for grabs, with only a few items fetching an additional fee.

I had a small plate of exquisite gli agnolotti (little ravioli with asparagus, mascarpone and prosciutto), followed by a delicate filet of orange zest-crusted branzino served with asparagus and spring onions. For dessert -- poached apricots with apricot ice cream and a wonderful little almond cake.

Considering the pasta dish alone costs $27 on the regular menu, I'd say this meal was truly a steal!

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