Mei Wah, a new Chinese place
The fellow who owned City Lights sold it earlier this year, took the chef, and opened Mei Wah, a bigger place at New Hampshire and, uh oh, maybe 20th? It's pretty good, comparable to City Lights.
Disclosure: I have a faint connection with the owner: he is the brother of the husband of the sister of a friend of mine.
Leaving aside the fact that City Lights was grotesquely overrated, we have Mei Wah: overrated, though not grotesquely so. The "City Paper," DC's alternative weekly has raved, which alone should give everyone pause. (Its critic fancies himself a chowhound, but publicity hound is more accurate.) The food at Mei Wah is perfectly tolerable: standard Cantonese/Szechuan (that's right, the usual smorgasbord of Chinese for those discerning DC diners who don't know different), the usual billion page menu, but relatively fresh veggies and the kitchen is responsive to requests for spiciness. The space is spooked, though. Restaurants come, and restaurants go, and still the corner of 21st and M and New Hampshire can't draw anyone but the desperado tourist crowd at the next-door hotels. I work 3 blocks away, and no one in my office is willing to walk to Mei Wah. Better The Greek Place on 19th, and if Chinese you must, then City Lights can still do sauteed green beans with garlic. But for real Chinese of any stripe, head to Flushing or Fran Sancisco. As for City Lights, avoid, and steer your taste towards Seven Corners.