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Sequoia in Georgetown ... is it really THAT bad?

LJord Apr 18, 2006 04:06 PM

I'm bracing myself for the answers to this one, but I would like the expert opinions of this board. I have a few family members (parents + relatives) coming into town in a few weeks. I live in Georgetown, and they'll obviously be staying with me.

I was strongly considering making reservations at Sequoia, based on its location on the river. However, I've been investigating the reviews online and was floored! by what seemed to be the uniformly negative consensus: great view (someone wrote "if you could eat a view, this would be the best place in DC"), horrible service, mediocore food.

Has anyone gone to Sequoia and had a GOOD dining experience? Should I bother making reservations here, or try to find another place?

I'm obviously interested in somewhere that could showcase a part of DC that I love. But I don't know if it's worth going if the service is going to be condescending and the food only palatable.


  1. n
    N Apr 18, 2006 04:32 PM

    Sequoia's not horrible, but don't go on prom night. Once we had reservations at Sequoia, and it was clearly prom night when we got there. They said it would be an hour wait, even though we had reservations! We went somewhere else. We've been to Sequoia a couple of other times regardless, and the food and service were fine, not spectacular, but good enough that it didn't ruin our evening.

    1 Reply
    1. re: N
      Soup Apr 18, 2006 07:58 PM

      Never really had a bad meal but never a good meal. Mostly marginal for the cost however, the view is nice. You can find better places.

    2. r
      round hound Apr 18, 2006 08:01 PM

      Service isn't bad unless it's a very busy night (college graduations, and any Friday in the summer, when its overrun with summer law associate happy hours), but the food ranges from servicable to poor. It is aimed at tourists. Bring the relatives, order burgers and don't expect too much. Or go to Mendocino, Bistro Francais, BlackSalt or any number of other places in or near Georgetown that have decent food. You can always start or end at Sequoia for drinks and the view.

      1. w
        wg Apr 19, 2006 09:05 AM

        You go there for the view, not the food. Avoid it on Friday and Saturday nights. Unless you're a frottage enthusiast. Ridiculously crowded.

        It can be entertaining on warm evenings, to have a cocktail and watch the mating rituals of the "boat hos" along the waterfront. But avoid the food: mediocre at best and overpriced. That view's expensive.

        1. z
          zelda Apr 19, 2006 11:24 AM

          i went in the fall on a near-empty night. service was great, but then again, restaurant was empty. the waiter was very friendly and made some recommendations. my food was good. not spectacular, but better than average.

          1. m
            Marci Apr 19, 2006 11:41 AM

            It's just ok, but it's good enough if you just want to enjoy the outdoors and friends. Just stick with basics and I recommend salads. I've had bad luck getting hot food served hot.

            1. j
              jkdc Apr 20, 2006 10:52 AM

              My recommendation is to go for lunch. Prices are better, entrees are decent, and you tend to get in and out okay - and if the day is nice you can't beat the riverfront views.

              1. j
                JH7 May 20, 2006 05:21 PM

                I went once and the server was extremely rude. I wouldn't go back with so many other great places in the city.

                1. x
                  xtina Jun 26, 2007 07:40 AM

                  I wouldn't recommend it either. Went fairly early on a Sunday night and sat outside. The service was mediocre but the food was lacking. The calamari appetizer had clearly been reheated and tasted as such. The sandwiches (we stuck with burgers and crab cakes) were actually decent, but not enough to convince me to go back. Sure, the view is good, but I don't think it's ultimately worth it. Plenty of other places to hit up in DC.

                  1. c
                    curious4food Jun 26, 2007 07:51 AM

                    let's just say chef boyardee.....

                    1. k
                      katecm Jun 26, 2007 08:06 AM

                      The food really is terrible, but I agree that it's nice to bring out-of-towners to that area. It's best at night, so I'd recommend eating elsewhere and then strolling around the waterfront after eating.

                      1. l
                        LibraGirlDC Jun 26, 2007 08:40 AM

                        I once was given an expensive gift certificate for Sequoia that I let expire rather than go there. I have heard it is tolerable for brunch if the view is what you are after.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LibraGirlDC
                          KWynn Jun 26, 2007 12:53 PM

                          Took my family there for brunch (a few years ago) and we all enjoyed it. Got a nice window seat with a perfect view of the water. It was pretty quiet, and we had decent service.

                        2. h
                          hercules q. einstein Jun 26, 2007 01:21 PM

                          I agree with everyone that it's mediocre at best. I used to work across the street and would dread it when we had a business lunch there - mainly because the service was so slow and indifferent. When my best friend got married, she had her rehearsal dinner in a private room there. I was shocked: the service was great and the food was really good, much better than usual. I guess we just lucked out and got a good chef that night.

                          1. ktmoomau Jun 27, 2007 07:45 AM

                            It's edible, but not good, especially for the money. To people watch it is fun. Eat somewhere good and go down to Tony and Joe's or somewhere down there for drinks. The above have some better food options. Plus Agraria is right there it is really good, too. If you do go order something simple.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ktmoomau
                              LoudounDave Jun 28, 2007 01:42 PM

                              Nice view. Eat somewhere else before you go. Have a drink outside.

                            2. k
                              klyeoh Dec 26, 2007 10:53 PM

                              My first meal at Sequoia was on Dec 24 1992. It was cold & windy in Georgetown that day. But it was warm in the restaurant & I still remembered the great view outside. And the taste of their Jamaican jerk wings (which they had on their menu then) & grilled swordfish still stayed in my mind as if it was yesterday. Heck, if a restaurant can last that long, it can't be that bad, can it?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: klyeoh
                                Elyssa Dec 27, 2007 06:26 AM

                                Sure it can. It's coasting on it's great view and bar scene in the summer.

                                1. re: klyeoh
                                  ktmoomau Dec 27, 2007 07:36 AM

                                  It is horrible and overpriced. I would go to Agraria next door it isn't bad or even Tony and Joes over it, but I try to avoid them too except for drinks in summer. It is soo overpriced for quality of food and the food is blah! It is definitely a tourist trap that makes its money in the summer when people will get drinks.

                                  1. re: ktmoomau
                                    klyeoh Dec 27, 2007 04:23 PM

                                    Sigh, I guess some restaurants probably started off very well, but failed to maintain its standards over the years. Will take your advice & try Agraria the next time. Thanks for the tip!

                                  2. re: klyeoh
                                    AMFM Dec 30, 2007 06:04 PM

                                    I was at Georgetown then (92-96) and we used to go. It wasn't the best food even then - although not at all bad. But for drinks and the view... it's hard to beat. I can't believe it's still there!

                                  3. b
                                    baconfats Dec 28, 2007 07:32 PM

                                    Drab food, dumpy service and drunk college kids! The three D's of most Georgetown haunts.

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