Good restaurant for a fun business dinner
Hi, I'm making my annual trip from San Francisco to D.C. this September for TCT - a huge medical conference held every year - and I know I should make reservations soon if I don't want to find it impossible.
We use this conference each year to throw our big company dinner for the 10 or so doc's we work closely with. It's a very wealthy group - but not stuffy, and we like to go somewhere that everyone will have a really good time (and lots of great food and wine). The reservation will probably be for 15 or 20.
Last year we did Galileo. Any recommendations for this year? A private room is most desirable - somewhere close to the Grand Hyatt/D.C. Convention center area.
Thanks for the help!
Equinox, at Connecticut and I Street, has a private room that seats 12-18ish. Todd Gray, the Chef and Owner was Sous(?) Chef at Galileo. Equinox is more american-contemporary, focusing on quality ingredients prepared with traditional methods. Every meal I've had there has been excellent, including wine, ambiance and service. Not to mention, the prices are quite a bit more moderate than Citronelle for example, and the location far more convenient (assuming you want to avoid Georgetown, not enjoy Georgetown).
Arguably Citronelle and Michel Richard are today's best in the city. Kinkead's is a former James Beard award winner but the negative on it is not the food. Rather it's the style. They insist that their 150 seat restaurant have two seatings and are inflexible for larger groups in giving reasonable hours such as 7:30 or 8:00. The Prime Rib is upscale and where a 60 year old Congressman would take his 25 year old mistress or where you would take a client to close a deal. Either way it's a ritzy art deco tradition. Vidalia is another James Beard finalist. DC Coast at its best is equal to any of these, Citroneele excepted. But since they opened Ten Penh and the chef and his two partners have left to spend omost of their time there it has become inconsistent. Yes, it has a private dining room and may be perfect. But order carefully.
As for your experience with Galileo I personally believe this is one of the most overrated restaurants in this city. Not Laboratorio which can be extraordinary but the regular Galileo. It absolutely pales in comparison to the 32 seat Obelisk which is one of America's best.
Go to Citronelle with the others as a fall back. It is as good or better than Boulevard. Some of his dishes will be equal to the French Laundry-the portions will just be much larger!