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What are the most overrated DC restaurants?

  • a

For instance, I'd heard amazing things about I Ricchi and decided I had to go. I found the atmosphere stuffier than my grandmother's coat closet and the food was bland, lukewarm, and pricy. Please contribute your thoughts!

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  1. You're in luck. This hot topic was recently raised and I think everyone in DC chimed in. See link below...

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Meg

      Inn at Little Washington. Hands down. It is beyond me that anyone likes that place. I see nothing, NOTHING at all redeeming. Being foodies it was given to us as a wedding present. I wanted to like it so much and left feeling so disappointed. Thinking about having paid the entire $500 bill by choice just sent me over the edge. I hope anyone who is saving it for special occassion will consider the opinions here. Much better experience including food, decor and service elsewhere for 1/2 the price.

      1. re: bustersmama

        I haven't been in a couple of years, but I've eaten here many times over the years. Unless things have suddenly changed, I can't believe that The Inn isn't worth every penny. I've never had a bad meal here.

        1. re: pikawicca

          Respectfully, but I disagree. I wrote this over five years ago on our fourth "try" and have not been back: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/168062 Patrick O'Connell has a fantastic amount of talent. Several years ago there was a dinner at the former Maestro which featured six James Beard Award winning chefs, each preparing a dish. O'Connell's was the best of all. My problem is that I haven't found this level of excellence at The Inn. Sumptuous luxury, yes (unless you're seated in the corridor that is so narrow the "Cow" cheese cart can't roll down it without asking customers to move their chairs forward) but food that was horribly overpriced and not on the same level.

    2. This topic reminded me of a meal I have at I Ricchi a few years ago... but Im sure its no better now... there's no possible way after you read this you'll see why it may be the worst restaurant in the USA... and certainly the most overrated. Terrible in every way.

      Prepare to be amazed. Have you ever heard of a restaurant that had a special of pasta with white truffles. I even asked if I could order EXTRA white truffles at an additional charge. The waitress said she couldnt do that... ok fine. So, when it was served since I didn't taste any white truffles. When I inquired, they said they ran out... not of white truffles (come to find out they NEVER have those, even though they implied they did)... no, they ran out of TRUFFLE OIL! The dish was billed as Pasta with white truffles. Never a mention of running out of anything... no appology, no price reduction. WHAT!!! And after I brought it to their attention... they STILL offered it to new tables as the pasta special. WHAT!!! That shows you how totally screwed up they are. And believe it or not, that wasn't even the worst part of the meal. Next course was a totally overcooked (I mean a dog wouldn't eat it... or should I say, couldn't chew it) rack of veal (another special). Cooked so long you couldnt even cut it.. and it looked horrible. I wouldnt eat it if I could cut it. If these are the SPECIALS I'd like to see the nonspecial items. They admitted that they left it in too long. So, how about NOT SERVING IT...hello. They offered to get me something else. Then they charged me for the VEAL and gave me the next dish (it was cheaper) for no charge. ARE THESE GUYS FOR REAL???? They are such losers I can't even begin to get into it.

      The manager at the time (im sure gone by now) was a complete jerk. So was the owner. Its the only meal I ever had in my life that I told them I didn't want to pay the bill... out of principle. They said they'd call the police. I thought about it but paid and just wanted to get out of that place. Yikes!!!!

      This place should be condemned. So sad, as 25 years ago it was a gem. As Don Amice once said, Things Change.

      2 Replies
      1. re: WineTravel

        I Ricchi has NEVER been any good

      2. A dinner I had at I Ricchi about 7-8 years ago was the worst dining experience I've ever had in Washington. Overpriced, rude service and inedible food - I swear to this day that the pasta I had was Chef Boyardee from a can. The only good thing I could take from the experience is that I learned the Washingtonian Top 100 Restaurant list is a crock (at least until Kliman showed up).

        1. I'll join the chorus of nay-sayers. I went to iRicchi for the first time this year (in the spirit of trying everything once). Ambiance: incredibly crowded and very noisy. Food: mediocre at best and served luke-warm and dry. Price: waaaay overpriced for the quality and ambiance. Service: friendly, helpful , and attentive. Now I can say I have been there. I won't be going back; there is far better Italian food and far lower prices with better ambiance, e.g., Al Tiramisu, Tosca, ...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Dakota Guy

            i ricchi is not overrated at all, because everyone at all knowledgeable about D.C. food always rates it very poorly, and as a very bad value. It had its day in the sun, back when Francesco was there . . .

            1. re: MartyL

              It was a gem in the days before there were cell phones. Hard to believe a place could be as bad as it is and still be in business. Go figure.

              1. re: WineTravel

                Several lunches there over the past several years where comical in how bad they were. I recall a vegetable topped bruchetta that was unedible. I took one bite and pushed it away. Remarkably, the waiter never said a word as he cleared the plate.

                Like Marty L though, I recognize what an important role they played in bringing quality tuscan food to the DC area 16 years ago?

                1. re: Pappy

                  "Several lunches there over the past several years where comical in how bad they were"

                  Right,,, better to laugh rather than cry about it. The only mystery is how I Ricchi stays in business???

          2. Clyde's in Georgetown is overrated. I've had to accompany friends and business associates too many times for lunch, brunch, and dinner there, and have never had any meal that I thought justified its popularity or longevity.

            24 Replies
            1. re: gina

              Again, although Clyde's is *popular,* I don't think it's highly (or over-) rated.

              Candidates for being overrated (by, e.g., mainstream critics, folks on this board and Rockwell, people surveyed by Washingtonian) include, e.g., Cafe Deluxe, Citronelle, Firefly, Bethesda's Raku, TenPenh, IALW, L'Auberge, Four Sisters, Kinkeads, Bangkok 54 (?), Del Merei, Jackie's, Matchbox, Cheff Geoff's (if anyone still rates that highly), most if not all dim sum places.

              You mileage may vary, of course -- that's the whole idea! [Caveat: I actually like some of these places to a certain extent. Others I haven't eaten at very frequently of late because, uh, I concluded they were overrated . . . but of course I might have just hit them on bad days, or too long ago, etc.] (I haven't even mentioned Zaytinya, Cafe Atlantico and Moby Dick, which are generally great but suffer from inconsistency. On the other hand, how many places *don't* suffer from inconsistency?)

              1. re: MartyL

                Problem is, I've seen Clyde's recommended on Chowhound several times, which leads me to believe that too many rate it highly--since that is our job here, to suggest places we think have good eatin'. :)

                  1. re: gina

                    I think often the issue is the context in which it was recommended. Did somebody say it was a reasonable place to go when you were looking for reasonable food and almost everybody could find something on the menu they liked? I would give it that in a heartbeat. Is it chow-ish food? No, not for a nanosecond.

                    There are certainly places that get recommended here (by me included) that aren't chow-ish, because the OP asked for suggestions that meet certain criteria which are, by definition, not chow-ish.

                    Maybe there are folks here who rate clyde's highly on an absolute level, but I would be surprised.

                    1. re: gina

                      I agree with you 100%.

                      That said, the Clyde's at Tower Oaks is really a spectacular setting, albeit in a Disney-esq kind of way.

                      My son and I go for lunch often at the enormous and grand bar. A few plates of raw oysters and cup of chili with a cold draft beer can make for a very satisfying fall lunch.

                      The remaining menu and the service in the dining rooms leaves a lot to be desired.

                    2. re: MartyL

                      I second the vote for Del Merei as way overrated. It's right up the block from me, so after I was really excited to go after reading such good things. Not impressed at all and our waiter was pretty dismissive. Waiter aside, my main complaint is that the sauces are served on the side, instead of as part of the dish. That seemed really cheap. My salmon was overseasoned and the mac and cheese was underseasoned. It was not horrible food, but we could have had better if we had stayed at home, and we both got bad gas! We're not going back.

                      1. re: aya

                        I third Del Merei being overrated. It was very pricey for average fair. The calamari was below average, fish was so so, and tab was 100+ for two with one glass of wine. My fiance and I both agreed it was one of the places we felt we wasted our money on this year.

                      2. re: MartyL

                        I respectfully and strongly disagree with Matchbox and Moby Dick being overrated. I find both places consistently delicious!

                        1. re: chicken kabob

                          I think Moby Dick's is fine, but to me it belongs on the over-rated list because of the number of people who list it among the top (or the top casual) restaurants in DC. I like what I've gotten there, but I wouldn't describe those meals as all that special.

                          Other over-rated restaurants for me are 1789 (bad service, so-so food-- went back and was still unimpressed), and L'Auberge Chez Francois (didn't even go back a second time -- I do not get the love for that place at all).

                          1. re: Doh

                            Totally agree with you about 1789, Doh. The space there is so strange, and the food entirely forgettable. We did have good service last time we went, on the positive side.

                            1. re: Doh

                              I totally agree with this about Moby Dick. It gets so much praise but it is just blah and expensive casual mediterranean food. You can get everything they have at Moby Dick at Levantes (in the Dupont/Bethesda locations of MB) and it is way, way better. Better hummos, better babaganoush, and much, much better pita bread (which is free at Levantes). For about the same price even though Levantes is a sit down restaurant.

                              1. re: masonuc

                                I still stand by Moby Dick. I think it is INCREDIBLE and consistently good.

                              2. re: Doh

                                Definitely agree with you there- nothing to write home about at Moby Dick's.

                                1. re: thoma3am

                                  I've tried on and off for several years (and at several locations) to understand the praises Moby Dick's earns here because I've picked up so many great tips from this board. But at best it's been decent. Usually the overcooked meet and tasteless sides are completely underwhelming.

                                  1. re: repete

                                    Something can be good to most people but not thrill your particular taste buds. That is what makes the world go round. It would be pretty boring if everyone agreed 100% on everything. As for me, I am most likely heading to Moby Dick tonight!

                                    1. re: chicken kabob

                                      It depends which Moby Dick's you go to.

                                      1. re: Jacey

                                        The Kentlands and Bethesda ones are excellent

                                        1. re: chicken kabob

                                          The Fairfax one not so much. Georgetown is still good though; so's Dupont. Have yet to try the one in Kingstown.

                            2. re: MartyL

                              I would agree with you about Jackie's and Firefly. However, I took my girlfriend to Citronelle this past Friday and the whole experience was delightful, if rather expensive. The chef, Michel Richard even walked around the entire dining area, taking a moment to chat at every table.

                            3. re: gina

                              Just Clyde's in Georgetown? Try Clyde's ANYWHERE and you'll find an identical experience. Even at Old Ebbitt, apart from the oyster bar, I've had bad luck.

                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                How sad. I went to Clyde's in Tysons once and thought it was pretty good, but that was 15 years ago!

                                Agreed on Old Ebbitt--their food is dull at best.

                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                  Clydes, Old Ebbitt, etc are what they are...local chain casual dining restaurants. In my experience they have been fine albeit many items overpriced. They at least attempt to give the places a decent atmosphere/theme though typically not to my tastes. And as my many posts on the topic would suggest, love the oyster service at Old Ebbitt. I really think Clyde's is fine for what it is...if I was (or was trying to pass myself as) a fine dining type I probably would scoff at the place. Not sure about everyone else but my life often requires "safe" casual american dining places that don't come at you with that gourmet attitude when I have people visiting. Since I live in NoVA, I have the Great American Restaurants readily available to serve this purpose, but if I didn't Clyde's would probably be on the list.

                                  I actually was stuck in Reston town center the other evening...it was getting late and I didn't feel like cooking so I went in and grabbed a buffalo burger. Pretty solid, cooked to order, decent fries, and I was stuffed for 10 bucks. I don't really get the heavy metal "FILTERED WATER" pitchers they have introduced at every table.

                                  1. re: Lowbar

                                    Old Ebbitt is very consistent and I think that the take-out side (inside the building) is a bargain. As those in the business know, consistency is king-- it makes or breaks your business even more than triumphant food produced sporadically. I worked near there for a number of years and at lunch at its price point Old Ebbitt is fine. I don't see the moon and stars when I go there, but I don't feel like I've been ripped off either.

                              2. Citronelle. Snore. Only the dessert shined. The place is way over-hyped.

                                1. Kinkeads. Living on former success. Mediocre touristy place now. However, Bob Kinkead's Colvin Run Tavern is excellent.

                                  1. Chef Geoff's is crap, as is Raku. Ugh, Raku. Probably my least favorite place in DC - I don't understand how they stay in business.

                                    I agree that Kinkead's has jumped the shark, TenPenh is looking thin around the edges, Cafe Atlantico is just not that good and definitely not worth the cost (except for the MiniBar - which is great and worth every penny)...


                                    I would say Matchbox continues to shine. And although everyone pooh poohs it, I still like my Chinatown Jaleo very much (especially when you compare it to La Tasca up the road).

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: EricDC

                                      Cafe Atlantico still certainly gets a lot of ink... will beware. But it's I Ricchi that still takes the cake.

                                      1. re: EricDC

                                        Fyi--Raku in Dupont is awful, but the one in Bethesda (different owners) is quite good.

                                      2. Another vote for Citronelle

                                        1. Regardless of getting clobbered for saying that Zaytinya is overrated. To me it's the Lauriol Plaza of tapas/Mediterranean food. I just don't get how this place can be so popular with its hit and miss food (i.e. zuchinni patties, better known as greasy hockey pucks) and crappy service.

                                          16 Replies
                                            1. re: botnot

                                              I am SOOOOOOO with you on this one. I do not get the thrill of Zaytinya. I thought it was overly trendy and the food was just so-so. Our service was so-so as well.

                                              I would try it again if a group of people were going but its far from my first choice...especially in that area with so many other awesome restaurants.

                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                raku in bethesda is consisntently great, and matchbox is as well. both of these places consistently have lines out the door, so clearly most people dont think they are too overrated.

                                                1. re: elegantelliot

                                                  Don't know if elegantelliot was intending it that way, but that's actually kinda funny. That's the *definition* of being overrated -- that a lot of people rave about it; but it's not in fact very good. Raku and Matchbox fit the definition to a "t," if you ask me.

                                                  1. re: MartyL

                                                    my point is that i think they are both very good, and if people continue to go there than its clearly NOT overrated. both places have been around a long time and continue to be packed. if you dont like it dont go, different strokes for different folks i guess.

                                                  2. re: elegantelliot

                                                    Cheesecake Factory has lines out the door.

                                                    1. re: chickenlover

                                                      and cheescake factory isnt bad for a chain restarunt in a shopping mall, i mean what do you expect when you go there? fine dining??

                                                      1. re: elegantelliot

                                                        I expect 45-minute waits for ginormous portions of mediocre food from a ginormous menu with which you could club a harp seal to death. In no way is CF overrrated: they deliver EXACTLY what people want. In spades.

                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                          my point exactly, i think this thread is more about peoples expectations then anything else. When i go to matchbox i expect a ridiculously long wait, moderately price, and pretty tasty pizza and hamburgers and decent service. Thats what i get just about everytime. Same with Raku, if you go in expecting the meal of a lifetime of course you will think its overrated!

                                                  3. re: Elyssa

                                                    I think the problem with all of Jose Andres' restaurants, especially in the last year or two, is inconsistency. I've had great meals at all of them (one of my favorite meals of the last few months was at the Bethesda Jaleo), and horrible ones (I'm still annoyed by the meal I had at Cafe Atlantico last year when I inadvertantly ended up there during Restaurant Week, and my last two Oyamel experiences have been consistently underwhelming even though I've had really great meals there before, too). I've been to Zaytinya 3 times; once, it was very good, and twice it was mediocre (although the service was spotty all three times, which is another issue at many of the Andres restaurants).

                                                    (For those who don't know, by the way, if you link to the restaurants that you mention in your posts using the new "Link to a place" feature, then these threads can all be easily found by someone looking for info on those specific places. Especially for a thread discussing contrarian views of restaurants, that would seem to be a good thing.)

                                                    Cafe Atlantico
                                                    405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                                    Oyamel DC
                                                    401 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                                    7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                                    701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                    1. re: sweth

                                                      I've been to Jaleo many times over the years and in the past couple years, most of the meals I've had have been mediocre at best.

                                                      1. re: foodiejourno

                                                        I love Zaytinya! Their Shrimp with Shallots is excellent!!! But I have noticed that there is a bit of a downward slide since I first went there. Jaleo has been a big dissappointment to me lately. I have tried branching out more and giving it the benefit of the doubt but its not my favorite anymore. I havent eaten at the others but did have the opportunity to go the Mini-Bar!!! that was out of this world!

                                                        I agree with others regarding Clydes---i avoid it as much as possible but do have friends who swear by it. I like Cafe Deluxe (Bethesda) it is always a fall back if I need somewhere to get some comfort food and have an enjoyable meal.

                                                        The place I find overrated is Rock Creek...I know people love it but I can not justify spending that kind of money to leave hungry! and im not a big eatter...although what ive had is decent it does not live up to the hype.

                                                        1. re: Goldielocks1225

                                                          Which Jaleo, Goldielocks? I don't think all locations are equal. I usually enjoy the Jaleo downtown DC (at MCI Center). But was recently at their location in Bethesda and found it disappointing. In DC, the chorizo was an authentic imported variety. But in Bethesda, it was the cooked sausage type that I can get at any bodega here in Adams Morgan. Other things were made differently, and the menu seemed smaller.

                                                    2. re: Elyssa

                                                      I have never eaten there, but a friend of mine told me the other day that it is her favorite restaurant in DC. The fact is next door to the Spy Museum would lead me away. Too many tourists and amateurs. The restaurant doesn't have to be good because they have a captive audience.

                                                      1. re: radioman18

                                                        Actually, Zatinya is a block+ away from the Spy Museum. And I've had some great things there, sitting at the bar.

                                                        Zola is adjacent to the Spy Museum, but unaffiliated. And, in fact, I've had some great meals at Zola too!

                                                        1. re: DanielK

                                                          I just had a great meal at Zola. The standout items were the pork belly appetizer and the roasted veal loin with blue cheese pearl pasta and roasted butternut squash soup. It was my first time dining there and I will definitely be back.

                                                  4. I'm going to cheat -- the most overrated restaurant ON THIS PLANET is the Williamsburg Inn, about 2 hours south of Washington. Applebee's is an overall better meal and experience at a fraction of the cost. In fact, Applebee's probably pays more attention to the vegetable side dish that accompanies the entree -- at Williamsburg Inn, it's the same flaccid mixed vegetables that comes in a frozen bag from Costco, and it's served with every inedible entree. I especially enjoyed the wine stewardess at Williamsburg Inn who broke the cork trying to open the bottle -- I took it over from her and showed her how to go in at an angle to retrieve the rest of the cork. She had never seen that trick before....

                                                    I understand the Clyde's comments, but John Laytham is laughing all the way to the bank. Old Ebbitt is the number one gross revenue restaurant in the DC area.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: BigEats

                                                      Not only is Ebbitt the highest grossing restaurant in DC...it's the number 5 in all of the country...Pretty unbelievable when you stack it up to some places on this list.


                                                      1. re: BigEats

                                                        I couldn't agree more, did you know at one time the Williamsburg Inn was a Mobil 5 star. I interviewed for a position there during which time I had to dine in the restaurant as part of the process, and even though the meal was free it still wasn't worth it!

                                                      2. Indebleu. It was so bad that when the waiter (who was okay, it was the FOOD that was the issue) asked at the end of the meal how it was, I said it was atrocious. I had some dried out fish and a dessert that was described as like an Almond Joy bar but was just a melted soup. The manager materialized about 10 minutes later and to his credit, wiped off the whole bill, even the overpriced small glasses of wine. (When a place serves wine in a glass big enough for a bottle of beer you know they're hoping you don't know how scanty the pour). This was neither Indian food nor European and reminds me that fusion food often brings out the worst of both. And when you see who is in the kitchen, you wonder if they can handle an attempt to be so precious and ambitious.

                                                        The couple from Detroit who were sitting down next to us heard all this and decided to just have a drink and leave.

                                                        1. i agree...the service at I Ricchi is the pits. Our waiter told us the boss was watching him when we first got there...then we got yelled at when we refilled our own wine glasses, out of desperation, because "the boss just saw you do that..." The food is good but not stellar and although the atmosphere is nice, Tuscany it ain't.
                                                          I also have found Citronelle to be very overrated.

                                                          1. I completely agree about Raku (at least the one in Dupont). I always want to like it, especially with that nice ourdoor seating, but for the price (and it's not even that expensive) it's a dissapointment.

                                                            I would also say Central. I have only had so so meals there (and ate off many pple's plates to get a broad taste of the menu) bad service and it's too loud and too warm.

                                                            1. I have to say that the most overrated DC restaurant is Good Stuff Eatry. Really disgusting. I had one of its burgers. YUCK! I had it better elsewhere, like Urban Burger in Rockville or even my home. Not worth my time waiting in the line. One of their fries was too thin and greasy for me. Mickey D fries are much better. Most people go there just because they could call their folks back home that they did eat at that place and perhaps met that chef. That's a bad way to enjoy ur food. You shoud judge ur food based solely on the products. I just hope that they have no plans for our precious Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Please do stay away. We are fine on our own. Thanks. Just sick of celebrity chefs and their really lousy products. What a waste of my time and money! NEVER AGAIN!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Guten Appetit

                                                                Awful burgers at Good Stuff. So wanted to like the place but it was terrible. Makes Elevation hamburgs look good.

                                                                And it is overpriced.

                                                                Want a good hamburger at a great price, get a hellburger.

                                                              2. GREAT TOPIC. (Many, MANY of these high rated places make it on hype, not on food. )

                                                                Ok, many fellow Hounds will disagree but I must pick Moby Dick amongst many others. I see many oooohs and aaahs about their kabobs, and after two visits to 2 different branches, I don't see it.

                                                                The Kabobs aren't too juicy, and the bread isn't fresh, it's already cooked and waiting.

                                                                For proof, visit Ravi Kabob. The meat is so hot, juicy and fresh. The 'chole', or chile, whatever you want to call it is authentic, hot, and fresh.

                                                                The bread? You can't touch it without feeling a slight burn on your fingers.

                                                                Moby Dick to me, gets way too much praise.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: JEDIKNIGHT

                                                                  mmmmm. I second the vote for Ravi Kabob. Fantastic.

                                                                2. Haven't eaten at I Ricchi in years. After reading these negative posts, I am glad I avoided the place. I'll chime in on overrated places. This is going to ruffle a lot of feathers but at the top of my "never again" list is Restaurant Eve in Old Town. Decor is beautiful; service is only mediocre and the food is at best pedestrian.

                                                                  Dei Merei also makes the list as does Johnny's on Capitol Hill

                                                                  27 Replies
                                                                  1. re: DollarBill

                                                                    Actually, we had quite a good meal at I Ricchi about 6 weeks ago. I think they have cleaned up their act after the negative press & reviews. The food, service, wine were all quite good and the atmosphere has always been great. You might want to try it again to see for yourself. I know i posted on this thread originally that i didn't like I Ricchi but agreed to try it again for hubby's sake and was pleasantly surprised.

                                                                    Most overrated? I am changing my answer from Citronelle (although it is overrated) to Central....(extremely overrated...)

                                                                    1. re: DCDOLL

                                                                      I'm so glad I read these comments as I was planning on going to I Ricchi to celebrate an anniversary! Thank you. And I must agree...Indeblue, Jaleo(s), Zaytinya and (was this mentioned?) DC Coast are over-rated and won't return. There are too many great restaurants in the city and 'burbs to explore and revisit!

                                                                      1. re: wldmshrm77

                                                                        Okay I'll really ruffle some feathers. I think the Inn at LIttle Washington is overrated for the price. I have no complaints with the food or service but for $500(two people) I expected it to WOW me. It doesn't make my top 5 dining experience list and it is twice as much as any on the list. (Cyprus, Healdsburg CA; Pennisula Grill, Charleston SC; Criollas, Grayton Beach FL; Mustard's St Helena CA, and Citronelle). Yes I had a very memorable meal at Citronelle a few months ago. The lobster pasta that looked like caviar was amazing. The sommelier was very helpful and we loved the pairing he suggested. I have a reservation at Cafe Atlantico for next week and now am approaching it with trepidation. I've realy been dyingto do Mini bar but the reservation situation is too complicated. If anyone has some tips on that I'd love to know. Haven't been able to get into City zen and have been dying to try it.

                                                                        1. re: kldrohan

                                                                          I'm sure there will be disagreement, but I ate recently at Atlantico (during RW by chance, no less) and had a great meal, as did all my companions. And I've eaten at minibar, too. I mean, the two restaurants are really apples and oranges except for a few additions on the Atlantico tasting/appetizer menu that are minibar-born. If you're worried about the risk, maybe try the pre-theater menu? Also have heard good things about the Latino Dim Sum. But I was very pleasantly surprised with how great my meal was there - really thoughtful balance of flavors and textures in each dish.

                                                                          1. re: bylinemjf

                                                                            No disagreement here. I've had some very nice meals at Cafe Atlantico, especially pre-theater dinners.

                                                                          2. re: kldrohan

                                                                            You call Cafe Atlantico at 10 a.m. exactuly 1 month before you want to eat at the Minibar. If you're lucky, you will get through in the first two minutes and get placed on hold. If you don't get through in 3 minutes, I think you're SOL. Once you get thru, they place you on hold and take reservations for all the people who called in ahead of you. You may be on hold for ten or so minutes.

                                                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                              KLDROHAN - If you can be flexible... ask to be put on MiniBar's waitlist for the day you would like to go. If they have a cancellation and can fit you in they will call you. That was how we went on my birthday - so worth it. FYI- they have many cancellations because the concierges at the top hotels pay their friends to make reservations for them. Also, I agree that the I@LW is overrated and Citronelle (last week for Mom's birthday) is still incredible.

                                                                            2. re: kldrohan

                                                                              My, I could not agree more. The minute we left I looked at my husband-who in all fairness had better luck than me-but still I looked at him and asked if he would even rate it as Top 10. It was certainly the most we had ever paid for dinner and it came no where close. And the decor....at $500 a couple you'd think they could spruce the place up a bit. I get country charm but it was beyond dated. We live in Charlottesville and have lived in Boston and NY, maybe we are spoiled but DC restaurants just don't do it for me and this was hte biggest let down of them all.

                                                                              1. re: bustersmama

                                                                                interesting...we love the IALW. Is any dinner really worth $500 or more? No, but this places comes alot closer than some other local options. The decor is supposed to be that way...it is supposed to have sort of rakish charm. you know what i think i like most about it? The ingredients are the absolute top of the line that money can buy in the entire world. There is no skimping on ANYTHING. The best part the last time we went was walking (rolling) out of there at 11:45 at night and strolling 2 blocks to our B&B...instead of driving an hour and a half home. And paying 1/7 as much as we would have to walk upstairs...

                                                                              2. re: kldrohan

                                                                                Inn at LW is in my opinion as well, over-rated. But really, how could they possibly meet expectations? First there's the 2 hour drive hassle and expense. Then the price of the meal . . . they just can't win. When you add tables too close together, rickety chairs, and HUGE greasy thumb prints on the wine list. And the waiters saying "Are we still enjoying?" when they're trying to figure out if they can take away your plate.

                                                                                I so agree with you about Mustard's in St. Helena. Also Tra Vigne! And Lisa Hemenways in Santa Rosa, although that's long gone.

                                                                                Haven't been to Cyprus in Healdsburg, but I still miss The Diner there!

                                                                                1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                  "And the waiters saying "Are we still enjoying?" when they're trying to figure out if they can take away your plate."

                                                                                  oh goodness gracious! are they really that smarmy?! "we" are not amused. enjoy this, though, ttex: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/r...

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    Well, at least they didn't refer to the guests as "guys," as in, "Are you still enjoying yourselves, GUYS?"

                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                      Or my other waiter favorite, "Are you still working on that?" as if eating their food were a burdensome chore!

                                                                                      Inn at Little Washington is really slick, though. But next year for the big 20th anniversary, I imagine we'll be at L'Auberge Chez Francois.

                                                                                      1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                        Have you eaten at L'Auberge? Based on my one visit, I didn't like it as a restaurant, much less as a special occasion place.

                                                                                        1. re: Doh

                                                                                          Several times. Once when one of their power grids had gone out (no a/c and no running water in the bathrooms -- it was a wonderful meal among very gracious people), once with 8 friends to celebrate a birthday, and twice since then for other special occasions.

                                                                                          The folks at L'Auberge never forget that that your meal there isn't about them, it's about their clients. IMO, that's Inn at Little Washington's biggest issue. Besides tables too close together, rickety chairs, and HUGE greasy thumbprints on the wine list!

                                                                                          Give 'em another try -- hope you're happier with the experience next time!

                                                                                          1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                            People love to rag on L'Auberge but Mrs W and I have had several wonderful meals there. Yes, the food is far from cutting edge but for a special occasion it's always been good enough.

                                                                                            1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                              I find L'Auerge charming but for younger folks, they complain it's too stuffy. The food is excellent, if not innovative. It's certainly not a scene. I rarely recommend it because it's not for everyone. On the other hand, I don't take its detractors seriously.

                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                Oops, guess I'm old then! ;-) Gracious dining is hard to find and I revel in it when I do find it.

                                                                                                "Too stuffy" probably means no flashing lights, no TV, no wait staff with piercings, and no loud music. I can SO live with that!

                                                                              3. re: DCDOLL

                                                                                Second that on Central. I think this meets the definition of being overrated, in that it just got this year's James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. What?
                                                                                When I was there, I will grant you the green salad was one of the best I've ever had, but the gougeres were dry and not fresh, my companion's lobster hamburger totally bland, my own dish absolutely forgettable (literally-- I don't remember what I had), the service inattentive, and it was so loud that even when you yell you can hardly hear the person across the table. I just don't understand the hype.

                                                                                1. re: marzapane

                                                                                  I think part of it is the Michel Richard connection (actually I think Citronelle is overrated too...) so maybe over time people will realize that you can get really good food in a less frenetic atmosphere at a good value. And i don' t mean cheap...some of my fave places are spendy but represent a good value for the price paid in terms of food, service, atmosphere. I guess maybe if you are young you don't mind having to yell across the table at your dining companion. But after a hectic week of work i enjoy a more refined atmosphere!!

                                                                                  1. re: marzapane

                                                                                    Agree with Central, the "roasted brussel sprouts" I was so excited to try tasted like the steam bag green giant soggy marble size sprouts placed in the cast iron dish for effect. So sad

                                                                                    1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                                                                                      you are calling a restaurant overrated because of your expectations for brussel sprouts????

                                                                                      1. re: elegantelliot

                                                                                        haha no I've aired my greivances on other threads about Central...that's the part that really stuck with me. All the hype about comfort food done simply and perfectly and just all of it underwhelming...for all of us. Service, food...everything!

                                                                                        1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                                                                                          although i strongly disagree, that is a much better reason:)

                                                                                          1. re: elegantelliot

                                                                                            I wanted to feel about the place the same way the majority of the hounds on the boards do, I really did. It was a special occassion and it just went flat on all levels.

                                                                                            1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                                                                                              I think Central is great, but i wouldnt reccomend it for a special occasion either.

                                                                                2. re: DollarBill

                                                                                  I agree on Restaurant Eve - completely overrated. I wouldn't even say that the decor was all that special. Wrote about my experience here:

                                                                                3. Brasserie Beck and CityZen are way overrated. The food and service are fine at CityZen, but nowhere near worth the price. And Brasserie Beck is simply a bad restaurant on all fronts. And because they both serve food, I'll throw in the Brickskeller and its sister restaurant RFD. Great beer selection, but indifferent/surly staffs and terrible food.

                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: FlaHopper

                                                                                    But would you really consider Brickskeller or RFD overrated as far as food is concerned? I don't think expectations for food at either one is very high, and therefore "overrated" doesn't accurately reflect the evaluation. I've always encountered really pleasant staff at RFD, but I've never been there when it's been crowded. I'm curious why you say BB if "bad on all fronts." It's got a fabulous beer selection, and some of the food I've had has been excellent (not all). I've found service to be competent, if not always friendly. Could you offer more details on your experience?

                                                                                    1. re: dcandohio

                                                                                      Beck, it's beer selection is fine, but now that Belgian beer is the trendy beer in D.C., there are many, many bars across the city to get it. As for the rest of my feelings about the place, I'll direct you to my previous rant http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/505780. Still, I can't say enough about the bad service I've experienced. From the reservationist to the executive chef, it's been awful.

                                                                                      As for calling RFD and Brickskeller overrated, I admit that it's a bit of a stretch to include them in this list, but it needs to be said. In my many experiences at both places, I've found that the staff can but curt to indifferent. Now, I have had great service from time to time, but increasingly that's not the norm, especially for Brickskeller. Both places also get a lot of credit for the beer selection, which is quite good, but that doesn't mean the food and service have to suck so bad. And now that so many other bars and restaurants are beefing up their beer selections, RFD and Brickskeller can no longer rest on the size of their coolers.

                                                                                    2. re: FlaHopper

                                                                                      Everyone I know knows that the food sucks at the Brickskeller.

                                                                                      1. re: reiflame

                                                                                        After a half dozen beers or so those cheese fries don't taste that bad :)

                                                                                        1. re: reiflame

                                                                                          i haven't been to brickskeller in two decades. the food sucked then, too!

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            Their saving grace was the beer, but now, they rarely have your first choice. More like third or fourth.

                                                                                        2. re: FlaHopper

                                                                                          Since when did Brickskellar have a great beer selection? They're always out of the first, second, or third beer I choose. I've never had a problem with their burgers.

                                                                                          Rustico, on the other had, ALWAYS has what I'm looking for on tap or in the cooler. But apart from the pizza and fries, the food can be anthing from odd to downright awful (pineapple vanilla cod? WTF?) If I wanted pina colada fish, I'd throw a trout in the Margaritaville blender with some tequila and ice.

                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                            Agreed, agreed. But compared to most bars and restaurants in DC, Brickeller and RFD have a good (large) selection of beers. Now, I'd always rather go to Rustico instead. But until the new location opens in Logan Circle, I'm forced to drive out to Alexandria, which I'm loath to do. Instead, I head over to Pizzaria Paradiso in Georgetown, which has a fantastic selection on draft and in the bottle, as well as a great menu.

                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                              The Brick was never about the food. The sole reason I ever went there was for the Augustinebrau Maximator, which I haven't found anywhere else except a really great German restaurant in Cleveland. On the whole, I'd rather drive to Cleveland.

                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                Uhhhh seriously? Pineapple Vanilla Cod? That sounds God-awful.

                                                                                            2. Jaleo (mediocre and overpriced), Kincaid (snotty service and overpriced) and 2 Amys ( an overrated pizza joint).
                                                                                              Also, anything that people who call themselves foodies like is likely to be overrated. They seem to love heartburn palaces like Ben's.
                                                                                              PS: Beware of people who call themselves foodies and say they don't like Inn at Little Wash - it's great, though it costs too much - you should do it once. 1789 is also a very good restaurant that everyone except precious "foodies" will like.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: foodcheck

                                                                                                Jaleo is the single restaurant in the DC area I've found that really tastes like rustic Europe. Sorry, but Jaleo gets the flavors right and is a favorite of mine. The margherita at 2 Amys is my favorite pizza anywhere, though I can understand how some might not like such a minimalist pizza.

                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                  I don't mind the minimalism. I mind the deafening nursery-style atmosphere. Which is why I only go early, before the family crowds show.

                                                                                                  While I appreciate how Jose keeps Jaleo evolving so it doesn't go stale, I'm not a fan of its current iteration. It's one of those places I try every few months to see where it's going, but I'm not in a hurry to go back.

                                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                                    I completely agree with you about Jaleo, Steve. I lived in Spain and am glad to have a place to go in DC where I can get some of the same basic tapas dishes that are tasty and consistently good.

                                                                                                2. Something that shocked me due to all of the fantastic things I have heard about this chain from people I know that have visited all over the country... The Capital Grille in DC. I went into dinner excited for what was suppossed to be one of the best steaks of my life with my boyfriend and our families... not sure if we had a bad experience because we were a party of 10 or if it had to do with it being 8:30pm on a Saturday night, but half of us couldn't even eat our dinner, my mother's steak was butterflied without them even asking her if she wanted it done that way (apparently they do this if you order your steak well done)... it was just a terrible dining experience from a food standpoint for the amount of money spent on the meal. On a positive note though, the service was wondeful. Our server was one of the nicest I've experienced anywhere and we definitely let him know that he was outstanding despite the food being less than spectacular. I'm hoping this was just one bad night and that this isn't the case.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: alyt

                                                                                                    It's a chain, so I'm not sure why your expectations were so sky-high - there are far, FAR better places for a steak in DC. And it was inexcusable for your server to not tell you that a well-done steak was going to be butterflied, but that's standard treatment for well-done steaks in top-end steakhouses, as they're cut so thick that's pretty much the only way to make them well done without turning the steak into charcoal.

                                                                                                  2. In my opinion, 2 very much hyped restaurants--Zaytinya and to some extent, Matchbox are over rated. My reasons:
                                                                                                    - Zaytinya, despite its beautiful decor, is very noisy and has very small portions (bad price-quality ratio). I've actually gone home after eating there and had a 2nd dinner. Service is also often very bad.
                                                                                                    - Matchbox. Granted it's cozy and reasonably priced. But in my opinion, the pizzas aren't good - I had one served with big chunks of garlic on top and I really disliked it. 2 Amy's (or PIzzeria Paradiso) is the place to go for pizza in DC. The mini-burgers were good, but seriously were nothing special. Just not impressed.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                      I submit that Zatinya is popular BECAUSE of the noise (it's hip and vibrant!) and small portions. I've known people who don't go to restaurants for food at all, but to be seen in a popular place and to look at other people. The food is secondary. And depending on when you go, I've found 2 Amys can be just as, if not more, noisy as Zatinya. Zatinya doesn't cater to the restaurant-as-nursery set.

                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                        To each his own. I cited two reasons for my opinion about Zaytinya being over-rated. Sure if you like noise and think it's hip, good for you, but not everyone sees it that way. And to me the food is defnitely not secondary. I too find 2 Amy's noisy, but at the same time regularly go there because the food is excellent. Again, my opinion.

                                                                                                      2. re: Gigi007

                                                                                                        Zaytinya is based on small plates. Yeah, if you order one plate for yourself, you're gonna still be hungry but as far as portions compared to other places that focus on small plates (even Jaleo) the portions are fairly generous.

                                                                                                      3. What about Bebo Trattoria? It was so overrated. That place has bad service with mediocre food. I went there a couple of year's ago and will never return.

                                                                                                        Also, Founding Farmers is a bit overrated.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Smiles2008

                                                                                                          Bebo's fine if you eat at the bar and aren't in a hurry. As soon as you sit down at a table, you're in trouble. Long, snooty trouble.

                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                            Check the other Bebo thread -- sounds like Bebo is closed for good. I guess Chef Donna will now "concentrate" on his new restaurant in downtown DC.

                                                                                                            1. re: bordeauxfan

                                                                                                              Yow! He must be in trouble. He didn't even bother to renew his domain name.


                                                                                                              Anybody want it? And is his new restaurant the one in the old Butterfield 9 spot?


                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                That's what I've been hearing. Hopefully he puts more of a focus on service with his new place.

                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                  But the Bebo Web site is still up...

                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                    someone must've tipped donna off, 'cause the site is up.

                                                                                                                    i laughed, though, reading his last "blog" entry from april 2008:
                                                                                                                    "I am writing the blog my self, finally!

                                                                                                                    Yes I did learn how to run it ! So from now on I will do it my self, so get use to read my English , and please I know I do write pretty bad so I do not need any comment on it.

                                                                                                                    I would like to keep this blog on food and cooking and revues on revue of restaurants in town by news papers. ( if you are one of the few that need to complain about my restaurants just e-mail me personaly Pirla2007 @AOL.com or write to the news paper not here ! ).

                                                                                                                    I THINK IT WILL BE NICE TO HAVE A SOURCE TO DISCUSS REVUES AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND THEM."
                                                                                                                    >>>>if you are one of the few that need to complain about my restaurants<<<
                                                                                                                    what to say? ;-). i wonder if he responds to emails....i'd sure love to read those! LOL!

                                                                                                              2. re: Smiles2008

                                                                                                                ITA that Founding Farmers is overrated. My out-of-town friend made reservations there, and I found it loud, the service rushed, the attitude a bit pompous, and the food completely average. Wouldn't ever go back, despite its "greenness" and "locally sourced-ness."

                                                                                                              3. Jaleo and Zatinya are two of my favorite places. I like the small portions and I find the food to be very fresh and inventive. I like the way Jaleo is constantly changing and offering new dishes. I would agree that Central is overrated. I ate there once after reading all the hype and had a mediocre meal in a fairly unpleasant surrounding staring at a big portrait of the chef.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Suemelk

                                                                                                                  I actually think Jaleo and Zatinya are to of the most overrated restaurants in DC. They're both good, but don't deserve all the praise they get. I think sometimes people are more hooked on the ideas of tapas and the scene than the food.

                                                                                                                2. Founding Fathers is another very overrated restaurant on this board.

                                                                                                                  27 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                                      Considering that the positive reviews of FF are few and far between, I think it's hard to consider them overrated...

                                                                                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                                                                                        Are you kidding me? There are a lot of fans of FF on here who praise it. On Yelp it received a lot less praise.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                          obviously it was a typo, chicken kabob. regardless, the place is still overrated and very mediocre.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                            chicken kabob--I love Founding Farmers too...and know MANY foodies who also love it!

                                                                                                                            1. re: joann.hill12

                                                                                                                              Joann.hill12 - What have you ordered at FF?
                                                                                                                              My faves are the grilled cheese sandwich/tomato soup and (HUGE) slice of
                                                                                                                              carrot cake; awesome!

                                                                                                                              1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                                Love the baby cheeseburgers, chicken pot pie, and flatbreads (fig, prosciutto, mascarpone & brie, onion, apple). All were fantastic!! A friend of mine had the ravioli and loved it.
                                                                                                                                I'll have to try the grilled cheese/soup....thanks for the rec!

                                                                                                                                1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                                  Expensive, but the lobster mac and cheese is very good, also the pot roast is great, the vegetables in it are vegetables to be proud of in a pot roast.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                    Sorry to interrupt the FF love-fest, but this is a post about most overrated restaurants. I'd include FF to that list without hesitation. Had the worst brunch there that I have ever had. Atrocious service (past incompetent and borderline rude/unprofessional), coupled with rubbery, overcooked eggs, mealy potatoes, and not-fresh seafood. Seriously, after eating there I lost a little bit of my faith in this board because it's always so highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                      If you lose faith in a board after 1 bad meal at 1 restaurant good luck. You will learn what hounds on this board have similar taste to yours, that a few meals does not make a restaurant, and that there are always stellar and not so good dishes. Welcome to chowhound. You will also learn we jack threads often.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                        How anyone justify anything about FF is beyond me. Grill cheese? chicken pot pie? It's like an organic Cheesecake Factory.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                          Organic Cheesecake Factory sounds good to me. Don't knock the grilled cheese until you have had it. It was sublime.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                            Organic Cheesecake factory? Fantastic!! Why is comfort food automatically being associated with chains? Comfort food, when done right, can be extremely satisfying and should not be dismissed.
                                                                                                                                            The whole point of Chowhound is to discuss food, offer suggestions, and share our OPINIONS, not to be insulting and/or condescending if someone's opinion happens to differ from your own.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: joann.hill12

                                                                                                                                              joann.hill12 and ktmoomau- You both echo my thoughts perfectly regarding the restaurant and CH. We should meet at FF for dinner sometime!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                                                Would love to do a chow meetup. We have to invite Elyssa too because we have been supposed to get together for dinner now for a long long time and haven't, if you have facebook using my last name you can find me. I think I am also on DC foodies and DC chowhound groups there.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                    Hi, folks, we'd ask that if you want to plan a group dinner, you follow the guidelines here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36760... rather than exchanging details within an active thread. Thanks, and have fun at your dinner.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                                                    I would love to!! You can facebook me too...big surprise...JoAnn Hill!!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                  There are whole restaurants devoted to grilled cheese. We don't have one here, but after the cupcake craze, who knows, it can battle it out with rice pudding.

                                                                                                                                                  I appreciate fresh, well prepared vegetables that aren't just color on a plate, I appreciate value, and as a Southern girl, I appreciate comfort food, which is often what I don't have time to cook. Have you ever made pot pie from scratch making the pie crusts and all, I have, it takes a long time to roll out the crusts, make the roux, and get everything to taste just right, so I appreciate a good pot pie. I have had a million and 1 awful pot roasts were the veggies are just smush and it is just like beef and potato, so I appreciate this, and the lobster mac and cheese was creamy, rich and full of lobster cooked perfectly, and even warmed up well the next day, so say what you want, but for someone who likes comfort food and has a billable hour work week which prohibits major cooking, I will take it. And I appreciate homemade cornbread not from a mix.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                    I agree completely with your take on FF, save one point:

                                                                                                                                                    Their well-dressed, organic, homestyle comfort food, is quite simply overpriced by at least 30%. That's what makes it overrated - you walk out thinking it was a nice meal, but that your pocket is far lighter than it should be.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DanielK

                                                                                                                                                      While I have never eaten at FF, I agree with you about overpricing. I don't mind paying for dinner, but when a restaurant charges quite a bit more for the same item that can be found anywhere else in town, then it becomes a bit ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: radioman18

                                                                                                                                                        My problem with FF is not the cost, but that the food (vegetables in particular) were just awful. And I obviously was expecting much better from a restaurant that so clearly markets itself as sourced/local/fresh/etc. Frankly, I don't care if you have the farmer on speed dial, you can't just rest on your marketing. Please back it up with ACTUAL fresh, good food.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: radioman18

                                                                                                                                                          Radioman18- But what if it is that much better than elsewhere w/ the best quality ingredients and preparation? You said "based on your experience" but then in your next post you said you had "never been there." I am confused.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                                                                                                            The experience I was talking about was at the District Chophouse. I was responding to a couple of different posts. There are a lot of factors that go in to pricing an entree; location, ingredients, and what the public will pay as well as other factors. However, in the restaurant business, there are baseline prices. For instance, when someone charges more than $30 for a pork chop, I believe that price is outrageous.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: radioman18

                                                                                                                                                              I'm surprised nobody's tried to put a porkchop on a brioche roll, call it a "Seared Pork Tenderloin Slider," and charge $40 for it. They manage to "burgerfy" everything from ahi tuna to chicken breast.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                  Much of the success of CH is your familiarity with the person who posts and how their taste-and experience-matches your own.

                                                                                                                                      2. I will throw District Chophouse on this list. Overpriced, boring food, terrible onion soup and mediocre service all make this place not worth the trip.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: radioman18

                                                                                                                                          Ya but is it overrated? I hardly ever hear this place mentioned on the boards.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                                            I had received recommendations from many people about it. Based on those recommendations and then my experience, I feel it is overrated.

                                                                                                                                        2. For the naysayers of Old Ebbitt Grill.
                                                                                                                                          Was there the other night, had the crab cakes and au gratin sweet potatoes. Both were perfect. And if you want quiet, sit in the Atrium.

                                                                                                                                          1. Was in DC this weekend. Found two places to add to the "overrated" board: Founding Farmers and Burma Restaurant.

                                                                                                                                            Founding Farmers. Such a disappointment. I ordered the burger because I thought it would be simple, tasty and a no-brainer. Medium rare came out thoroughly grey and rubbery. I sent it back and got another one identically grey and overcooked. The meat tasted like cardboard. And they had no mustard except French's. Come on.

                                                                                                                                            Burma restaurant: everyone loves it because it's an exotic cuisine. True. But the food is actually terrible--those people in the kitchen don't care and are just riding on their reputuation and laughing at you. Trust me. I've lived in Burma. Note that all the rave reviews posted on the wall are from the 90's. Don't waste your money.

                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowbeth

                                                                                                                                              Agree completely Chowbeth on Burma. We went many years ago for a work lunch and I thought the food was inedible. I couldn't believe when I saw good reviews. I wondered if I ate the same food!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: isabellaflynn

                                                                                                                                                I agree as well. My meal there for the most part was pretty tasteless. Even the famous ginger salad was only so-so.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowbeth

                                                                                                                                                I've never been to Burma but I think Founding Farmers is one of the most overrated restaurants on this board. Funny thing is, everyone else I speak to has negative opinions about it, too.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                                                                  Absolutely agree about Founding Farmers. I like the concept and the design of the restaurant...the food I find to be nothing special at all.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lauman

                                                                                                                                                    I think Founding Farmers is a really hit or miss in regards to their food. If you happen to find yourself there again, get the brie, apple and onion flatbread for an appetizer and the pot roast as an entree - I thought both were very good and the best I've tried there. They also have a nice selection of cocktails.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dcfoodie13

                                                                                                                                                      That's funny because I had the brie, apple and onion jam 'flatbread' this past Friday at lunch and I was quite disappointed with it. For one thing, it was not a flatbread, it was a slice of an ordinary 'French' bread with some sliced stuff on it, not at all what I think of as flatbread. And while the stuff on top was not bad, it only covered about half of each bread slice. At the same meal our table also ordered the deviled eggs which were almost tasteless. I could make a far better version of both of these dishes in my own kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                      I do want to give kudos to the hostess who was working Friday afternoon. She was really on top of her game. The place was slammed and she ran it like a finely honed military operation.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lauman

                                                                                                                                                        Well, it was flat. And it was made out of bread. Ergo: flatbread.

                                                                                                                                                        This is what happens when you let people get away putting a grilled chicken breast or a piece of seared ahi tuna on a bun and calling it "a burger."

                                                                                                                                                        I fully expect to walk into a molecular gastronomy restaurant one day and have them serve me a plate that consists of a pile of flour, some salt, some yeast, and a cup of water, and they'll call it "deconstructed bread, a whimsical take on the classic baked good" and I'll have to punch someone in the junk. You'll probably read about it in the paper: Local Foodie Maniac Goes Berzerk, Demands "Real" Bread.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                                                          This was the best post I've read on Chowhound in a long time-- I'll be happy to post bail for you.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: chowbeth

                                                                                                                                                  I can't remember the last time anyone on Chowhound recommended Burma.

                                                                                                                                                  Founding Farmers is a nice place to know about but should not be generally recommended on Chowhound. Unfortunately, hang around on Chowhound long enough, and every place will get a prop.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                    For a while, there was a Burma-vs-Mandalay debate, but that was years ago. Sorry to hear Burma fell off the map. I was in the neighborhood last weekend and was going to try it for lunch, but it was closed. Fortunately, there are plenty of other choices in the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                3. I would have to add Equinox and Founding Farmers

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jacey

                                                                                                                                                    Jacey, can you elaborate? Particularly about Equinox.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: crackers

                                                                                                                                                      Saddly enough, I'd like to add Sushi Taro to the list. They were once amazing and now completely banal. While the quality is still somewhat there, the only thing that really knocked my socks off was the green tea ice cream at the end... maybe it was because the ice cream was good or because I knew I could leave the cold sterile decor or because of the two bottles of sake I consumed to mask the mediocre menu...

                                                                                                                                                  2. Buck's Fishing & - utterly offensive with their faux family-style dining and their completely-mistaken conception of real food. We ordered the lobster about a year ago and it was served without the claws. When I inquired, I was told that the chef felt that it was too difficult for people to get to the claw meat. I really think they were saving the claws for some future bisque.

                                                                                                                                                    Comet Ping Pong, imho is another weak attempt at faux retro culture. Let's make mediocre pizza, and charge a lot for it because we're serving it on pingpong tables. Please!