I'm new to the board, and am going to DC Coast for the first time for dinner. Any thoughts and/or recommendations? Thanks for your candor.
Both are very different restaurants. DC Coast has a pretty large space with a very metropolitan feel. The food has always been very good and there are some standout dishes like the the signature Chinese Smoked Lobster that is to die for. Obelisk occupies a single floor of a rowhouse. Although the food is excellent, I can't stand being literally 16 inches the tables on each side of you. I've also always left Obelisk a little underwhelmed. However, if you do try Obelisk, DO NOT miss the roasted squab if it is on the menu. Probably one of my favorite all time dishes. I also don't agree with Goumets assesment that it is the best in DC nor as another poster alluded to "best in the country." You will probably drop about an extra $20pp at Obelisk as well.
If I had only one meal in DC, I would dine at either Citronelle, Vidallia, or at Chez Francois (about 35 mins from the city)
The verdict on DC Coast - fantastic! I've never been to Obelisk. I've heard that it's a small,traditional Italian place that has its very personal touches, but DC Coast has variety and creative panache in a nice setting. Its menu is mostly seafood but there are meat options like osso buco, pork chops and steak. We tried the ribeye steak (huge, with macaroni and cheese and crispy onions), the pepper-seared tuna with wild mushrooms, spinach in a veal broth, and the best lobster dish i've ever had: chinese smoked lobster with crispy spinach - mmm! There's a daily souffle dessert special, and i've heard that their beignets with coffee creme brulee is amazing. Very impressive menu and preparation, and a fine bar. I'd go back again and again. Just ignore the snooty hostess.
Went as a party of four midweek to take advantage of Restaurant Week. Overall we were very pleased with the selection and quality of the meals, though the service was slow.
Unlike many participants in Restaurant Week, DC Coast allows diners to select from any entree on the menu, as well as the evening's special (this night it was char). The only caveat is that the lobster comes with a $7 surcharge. First course choices were one of two soups -butternut squash or lobster bisque, or one of two salads - an off-menu mixed greens or ceasar. The bisque was well balanced, though the beggar's purse accompanying it was much more purse than wild mushroom filling. The salads were generous, and well done for what they were - no surprises or disappointments there. We all selected seafood entrees: char special, sea scallops, sea bass and deep-fried striped bass (rockfish to us locals). All were declared perfectly prepared, delicious, fresh, and a visual delight. The rockfish could have used more dipping sauce, as it was quite bland otherwise.
Dessert choices were a rich warm and gooey chocolate mousse cake concoction that came with a small scoop of caramel ice cream, or a small pannecotta with fruit compote. Both great.
Service was slow. Though we got drinks and a basket of good sourdough right after seating - it was another 45 minutes before refills came. The place was full, but trying to flag the waiter proved fruitless. (One first course plate was whisked out from under the raised fork of the diner who was two bites short of finishing the salad.) After that it was another 15 minutes before the main courses arrived. Fortunately we were in no rush and the evening was very successful - and a great bargain!