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Best and Worst for DC Restaurant Week - Master LIst

Forgive me for posting again on a topic which has discussed many times over, but rather than focusing on a particular restaurant or two, I wanted to try to get one post out there which consolidates the majority opinions on best/worst for RW in DC. This is for Restaurant Week only, not for the restaurant in general...many good restaurants either don't succeed in shining or choose not to during restaurant week (extremely limited menus, upcharges, etc). Those who really come through seem to use RW as an opportunity to proudly showcase their establishments.

Recent and prior year posts suggest the following:

Very Good:
DC Coast
Ristorante Tosca
Charlie Palmer's
Colvin Run
Zengo (lunch)

Good but Limited Menu or Limited Value:
Smith & Wollensky
Georgia Brown's
Vidalia (upcharges)

Mie N Yu
Taberna del Alabardero
Cafe 15
i Ricchi
Rosa Mexicano
Butterfield 9 (service)
Galileo (service)
Occidental (service)
Bobby Van's

Looking forward to your additions/modifications/experiences/debates.

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  1. I agree that Zola is very good for RW offerring their full menu.

    I'd also add to the very good list, Filomena in Georgetown.

    For the avoid list, I'd add Rosa Mexicano and their very limited menu (heck, they don't even include guacomole as an app option on their RW menu). I too have heard very poor reviews for Butterfield 9 during RW. I've had friends say they were treated as second class citizens just because they were there for RW.

    This year, we're trying Corduroy (due largely to all the great reviews on these boards) and Red Sage (planning to at least, but waiting to see what their menu will be. Anyone know what they've done in the past?)

    4 Replies
    1. re: DC Gal

      Thanks for the tips. I will add things to the list periodically as people suggest them.

      1. re: DC Gal

        Red Sage--for the past three RWs--has offered their entire (and unchanged) menu. I don't think there were any upcharges. The atmosphere, service, and food were great. I've been there for two RWs but won't go back again until the menu changes!

        1. re: nicoleberry83

          I hate to break it to you, but Red Sage (as far as I know) has closed. Their website doesn't have anything about it, but the 14th street location is all closed up.

      2. whats wrong with la taberna del alabardero?

        1 Reply
        1. re: cleveland park

          The combination of a very limited menu and totally condescending attitude!!

          We adore Taberna, so it was a rude shock to have had such an unpleasant experience during summer RW. When we were seated, we were given the regular menu only. Had the RW menu been tucked inside, I wouldn't have thought to criticize the restaurant's action. Nope. We had to ask for the RW menu, and, when we did, the waiter gave us a most disdainful look. He softened somewhat when we all (party of five) proceeded to order pre-dinner sherries, but even a decent bottle of wine with our dinner order didn't make him reach Taberna's usual level of graciousness.

          The food was competently prepared and entirely forgettable.

          For a lesson in how restaurants should handle the menus, here's what happened at our visit to Seasons that same RW: The maitre d' handed each person the menu in the open position so the RW insert was clearly visible. When everyone had received his/her menu, the maitre d' announced that he had given us the regular menu so that we might look it over, and, if we liked our RW experience, we might be inclined to return. Now, that's gracious behavior!

        2. Tosca is generally considered to be one of the best. I've tried it several times during RW and always been happy. Oceanaire is also good, but I think they usually only do dinner.

          1. My own personal additions:

            Occidental- service was terrible, food not worth it
            Galileo- snotty service- but then again, isn't that the norm?

            On the good list- offering either full menu,or a good representation thereof, along with good service:
            colvin run
            Zengo (lunch)

            1 Reply
            1. re: redglass

              Oh i have to tell you I agree with you on Occidental. I tried their new food recently....UGH! There was this beet juice creame fraiche on a crab cake which looked like PEPTO!

            2. I can vouch for Zola, Ceiba, Colvin Run, and Corduroy....all wonderful experiences. I had a business dinner at Red Sage a few months ago and probably would make a different choice. I wasn't impressed, but I also wasn't footing the bill.

              Add 701 to the avoid list. Not only was the food unimpressive but the service was SO bad that we only tipped 10% based on the special pricing and gave the extra(during RW, we tip based on what the meal would have cost)to the piano player. At least he was doing his job.

              We have reservations at Acadiana. I have to admit I am partial to the restaurants that allow you to choose from the whole menu.

              Thinking about Willow for lunch as I work nearby. I went when it first opened and thought that while the food was good, it was a little overpriced. Not sure if that has changed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rHairing

                I just went to Willow this week for their RW menu and enjoyed it very much. I've been several times before and adore the flatbread! The service has always been very good.

              2. Would like comments for Dino: very good? avoid?

                Also, why is Taberna del Alabarderoin the avoid column?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Rosco1

                  Refer to this thread from last year re: Taberna del Alabardero

                  There was only one opinion I found on Dino but it was positive:

                  sure is nice having a search feature now

                2. Went to Dino for their anniversary last week (they're offering a tasting menu that my friend got) and the food was great. Service was average. I would put it in the recommend category.

                  Butterfield 9 during RW is defintelty one of my worst dining experiences at a restaruant, service-wise. The only worse place I can think of was an incident at Denny's when I was a kid and it took an hour to get our food. The food was just ok. Don't waste your time there. I had MUCH better service at Galileo with a group of 8 twenty-something females for a lunch during RW. I plan to go there with another group for dinner this year and also to try out Acadiana.

                  I liked Georgia Brown's and have been there twice for RW. It's not my top choice, but I'm comfortable recommending it; the food was good and I haven't had a problem with the service. DC Coast, Oceanaire, and Ardeo have great RWs. Ardeo normally extends theirs, so you can save it for the week after.

                  I only remember there being one or two dishes at Vidalia with an upcharge and we had great service. Indebleu had more upcharges, but the food was great and so was the service, in my experience. I liked the Caucus Room, but I remember being a little underwhelmed by the food - good, not great. There was some sort of snafu with our meal and they sent us lots of wine, so I forget what it was exactly. Free wine does wonders to your memory. :)

                  My experience at TenPenh was not the best - the food and service were just good enough where I can see why people like it, but I can't imagine spending the regular price for it based on my experience, if that's how they normally run. Also, there were quite a few upcharges for certain items.

                  1. Can anyone explain why I Ricchi was bad during RW. I had planned to go there, but if it isn't worth it...why bother?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: LizG

                      Service issues. In general, consensus opinion seems to be they've lost a step or two since Francesco Ricchi's departure.

                      1. re: Lowbar

                        More than a step or two, and not only on service issues. It's a pity as in its prime I Ricchi was one of the greatest.

                      2. re: LizG

                        I had an interesting RW experience there a year or 2 ago. The waitstaff was totally snooty. There was 3 of us--all in our 20s and she acted like we were not worth her time of day. We were planning on tipping well and drinking wine but that didn't help matters.

                        On top of the bad service the food was good--nothing spectacular. AND there was some bizare thing going on with the brick ovens that are in the kitchen but open up to the main dinning room where smoke was filling the entire restaurant...a backdraft or something. They had a few fans out but it wasn't helping matters. Over all it was only memorable for the bad points and I plan to not return during regular service. Not worth the money! There are FAR better Italian restaurants in town.

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          Agreed. Though our particular waiter was pleasant you could tell we were on the baaaaack burner and the food wasnt even that good. For italian go to Tosca. I adore them!

                        2. re: LizG

                          I had the worst meal of my life at i Ricchi a few years ago. It was great 20 years ago. Now it should be closed. I guess the location and a supply of uninformed tourists keep it open. But its just a matter of time. AVOID at all costs.

                        3. Add Bobby Van's Steakhouse to the Avoid list. Attitude from them was really bad and the food wasn't great.

                          1. May I ask what the term "upcharge" means in context with Restaurant Week? I have always understood the prices were $20.06 for lunch and $30.06 for dinner.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: BarbHelm

                              Additional charge for ordering some items. DC Coast did this last year, for example, if you ordered the hong kong style lobster...which is understandable as this dish is significantly more expensive than their others. But some restaurants apply the upcharges fairly liberally which kind of takes the fun (and bargain) out of it.

                            2. Has anyone been to Nora for RW? Is the full menu available usually? Thanks!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: AndreaD

                                This is the first time that Nora and Asia Nora are participating. I have a reservation for RW and asked about the menu -- sounds like they haven't decided yet.

                              2. Majestic Cafe offered their entire menu last RW. I don't remember if there were any upcharges, but we had a great experience and thought dinner was a good deal.

                                1. I've got late-night reservations at Rasika. I've been wanting to try Rasika for a while, but was wondering if their more adventurous items were on their RW menu? I'm not interested in run-of-the-mill Indian as that kind of defeats the purpose of going to Rasika...

                                  Also on Taberna: BAD, BAD, BAD. My husband and I went for lunch last year. They had only 2 choices for each course, their gazpacho was tasteless, my husband's roasted chicken was dry and nearly offensive, and the fruit desert looked and tasted like a packaged fruitcup. Thank goodness I ordered off the menu for my entree and purchased a lovely fish!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: naschaka

                                    I had a great meal at Rasika during RW in January; they offer the vast majority of their menu, including the palak chaat (crispy spinach) and the heavenly black cod. The service and wine assistance was great, even on a busy week.

                                  2. Personally, I'd say Dino is great, but I'd save it for a non-RW trip. Get on the mailing list and go for one of the specials. Last year, heard quite a few grumblings about the so-so food at Zengo for dinner. I had a great dinner at Indeblue, but SO and I looked at the menu beforehand and knew we wanted to try what was on the limited selection. Ceiba was great last year, good food and *almost* the whole menu available.

                                    No matter what, I always try and find out the menu. If you know you'll enjoy what's being offered, it may be worth going even if there are only 3 choices. But if you show up unaware and don't enjoy the selections, you'll have a terrible experience.

                                    1. I would add David Greggory to the very good list. As I remember from last summer, the entire menu is available - including their imaginative desserts - with very few upcharges.

                                      1. Hello everyone!

                                        I'm an LA chowhound, lucky enough to be in DC during restaurant week. So far, I have reservations at Kinkead's and The Grill at the Ritz Carlton. Any comments on either place -- like definitely don't go there?

                                        I've heard pretty good reviews about Kinkead's, but havent been able to find much about The Grill. Overall, I'd expect a restaurant in the Ritz to be pretty good service, and good food, but any particulars? The menu is limited: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/was...

                                        Thanks in advance and good luck with your restaurant experiences!

                                        1. When do you think you will update this list for RW?


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: BarbHelm

                                            Hmm, maybe I'll give Ceiba another try. But it was so disappointing, the most disappointing RW and overall dining experience I've had in years. I highly recommend Hank's Oyster Bar for RW.

                                            1. re: Ell Gee

                                              I have never been impressed with Ceiba. And I've given it several 'tries'. I think I had a decent special (pork tacos?) there once, and everything else has been nothing but disappointing.

                                          2. I'm a bit surprised to see Colvin Run on the list, since it's a NoVa restaurant. Is it because it's a sister to Kinkead's that they're following the DC RW dates?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: weezycom

                                              There are typically 20 or so NoVA restaurants, as well as a few MD ones, that participate in DC Restaurant Week.

                                            2. My girlfriend and I both enjoyed the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora (organically certified, no less...) though both places had limited menus for RW. We are trying Acadiana this time and are excited especially after reading the good reviews here!

                                              1. Went to Charlie Palmer's last RW and it was excellent. Service was friendly and got a very tasty amuse bouche..

                                                1. Add Circle Bistro to the very good list.

                                                  The portions are generous, food is wonderful, and they have an extensive selection of choices.

                                                  1. Personally, I would scoot Butterfield 9 off the avoid list - I had a wonderful meal there the other night, and the service was first rate. It's not the full menu, but there were plenty of choices, and the portions were not reduced.

                                                    1. I went to Zola yesterday. While I was impressed that they offered the full menu, it was a TON of food! My friend got the most bizarre dessert I have ever seen - a tasting sampler of butterscotch puddings with three different kinds of scotch mixed in them. I would give high marks to the soup special which was a sweet potato bisque. My entree, however, was lacking (an ahi tuna "gyro") and the others at our table weren't anything special. Still, we thought the service was pretty good - they even offered us a black napkin instead of white since we were all wearing dark colors!

                                                      1. Café MoZU
                                                        Mandarin Oriental Hotel ... portions and selection disappointing last night ... Nice atmosphere ... good service ... food tasted great ... but didn't make me want to go back anytime soon.

                                                        1. Just wanted to add since I didn't update my post *after* going during RW last year and can't edit it now...there are a few upcharges at Vidalia but really its not like I was expecting after some of the RW upcharge complaints. I highly recommend Vidalia at any time and even though the place was packed I didn't feel treated like the "RW crowd."

                                                          1. I actually had a really good lunch experience at Butterfield 9 during RW week this past winter. So good I've returned at least twice to eat during regular service.

                                                            1789 I had a wonderful experience at. And have also enjoyed TenPehn.

                                                            Also a great lunch/brunch at Bistro Bis for RW. We have returned a number of times now and it is my go to brunch spot. (They always have a 30-course brunch special similar to RW in value but a great full menu).

                                                            The Prime Rib was wonderful for lunch during RW---and last time the expanded their dates for their lunch special.

                                                            Cafe 15 had an incredibly limited menu and we made the mistake of not finding out what was on the menu prior to making the reservation because out of the (ONLY!) 2 entrees that were offered I didn't eat either. I ended up ordering off of the main menu and luckily I had a boyfriend who wanted to treat me to a really nice experience...otherwise it would have been quite a bummer.

                                                            We also had a terrible...and I mean terrible...experience at Notti Bianche. I had heard such great things about the restaurant and heard it was good during RW so we made a reservation right away. The waiter was fine. But the food was horrendous. I had some fish dish (can't remember which) and it was terrible. I should have sent it back because it smelled and tasted far too fishy. I just couldn't believe a chef would ever put a dish out like that and be proud of it. Most of our dishes felt like they had just given up!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                              I think Red Sage is closed. See the announcement on their website: http://www.redsage.com/

                                                              Does anyone know if Brasserie Beck is participating? I think it's my new favorite restaurant (1101 K St.).

                                                              1. re: pxlkitty4

                                                                Brasserie Beck is not participating.

                                                                Here is the entire list:


                                                            2. Any opinions on KAZ Sushi for RW? Is it worth going and the value? (Not sure how much a single meal at Kaz usually would cost).

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                KAZ is really good! Prices are good, but it's not so "traditional" japanese- but good nontheless. One of the best sushi joints in the city tho. Try either Arike in Herndon, or Hooked in Sterling. Both outstanding.

                                                              2. Shocked that you didn't like Indeblue. One of my favorites. Have to add that new place Hook to the list. I give them 3 months. What a waste.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Seafood Lovin Guy

                                                                  I've gone to RW for the last 2 years and here's are my opinions on what is worth and what you can skip.

                                                                  Worth it:
                                                                  1789 - always have the entire menu available with upcharge of $10 for their steak and lamb entrees and their bread pudding was too die for. Unfortunately, it is no longer being offered this year, however, if you don't get a chance to make reservations for RW, check out their website and sign up for their Sizzling Summer coupon until end of August.
                                                                  Acadiana -- good food with great portions and service was good
                                                                  Indique - they offered the entire menu and their courses portions are more than I can eat. My bf and I went and were stuff till the end. Definitely worth it for $30 when we went there for dinner.
                                                                  Ceiba - went there a few years ago and it was good food as well. We were planning to head there again this summer, but no reservations for large parties.
                                                                  Farrah Olivia -- if you want a restaurant that will WOW you with presentation ~ this is the place to be. They do good choices for options and a few upcharges including for dessert, but the rest of the items on the menu was awesome. We had amuse bouche prior to the appetizer and each plate that comes on our table was just simply beautiful. I had the organic chicken dish and it just melted in my mouth. Service was great as well.

                                                                  Not worth it
                                                                  Mie N Yu - the food choices and taste was forgettable and service was pretty slow
                                                                  Bobby Van's - our food came out looking like it was prepared from a banquet dinner with no presentation whatsoever. Our server was pretty good, but food just left us not wanting to go back at all.

                                                                  Hope everyone enjoy's this summer's RW!

                                                                2. How about EQUINOX? Apparently after some confusion on the reservation line, they are participating this year. Is it a nice place for a leisurely Saturday night dinner for two? I've never been...

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: inbox_blues

                                                                    I haven't been to Equinox for RW before. But for a special occassion its my absolute favorite spot in DC (maybe tied with Palena). I don't know what their offering is like or is the service changes at all---but something tells me that you will have a great experience. It doesn't seem like the type of place that allows service or food to suffer just because a patron is paying $30/meal instead of $80.

                                                                    It depends what you mean by leisurely. I think the restaurant is certainly upscale and you should dress accordingly when you go there. (A suit is not necassary but a nice shirt and slacks are fine for a man. And a pretty dress or classy shirt and skirt/black pants for a woman is good). The tables are far apart so you feel like you can have a real conservation and I personally find the place quite romantic.

                                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                                      Thanks Elyssa! Based on your review, I think Equinox will be a hit. It's just me and an out-of-town girlfriend of mine, having a nice Sat. dinner. Sorry, what I meant by leisurely was not dress-casual; but a relaxed, quiet atmosphere, intimate to the point we can talk and hear each other, and a place we can sit and enjoy our meal for a few hours. Thank you again!

                                                                      1. re: inbox_blues

                                                                        This is perfect then! I actually went with my bf prior to him moving to another city and we had an excellent meal. Have fun! (And make sure to report back on how your meal was.)

                                                                  2. I've been to several of these choices for RW in the past and wanted to offer my opinions as well:

                                                                    I Ricchi - the RW menu was pretty boring almost an afterthought. We ended up ordering off the regular menu and what we had was just okay. Ended up being an expensive lunch after all of that.

                                                                    Zola - Impressive that they offered the whole menu, however, my friend and I agreed afterwards that it was just large amounts of food and not necessarily great tasting. High marks for service though. It's the only restaurant in town that has ever worried about whether someone wearing white should have a black napkin, since they fretted that I might get lint on my pants. Everyone was very friendly, so I would definitely return no attitude at all, gracious.

                                                                    Corduroy - food was good, but service was terrible. It took forever to get our food and then at least another half hour for the check. Atmosphere in hotel setting is bland, but I hear that will change when it moves.

                                                                    Galileo - offered what had to be the smallest rabbit ever found on the RW menu. We had to eat again after lunch since it wasn't enough food.

                                                                    Tosca - excellent selection and good service - a winner.

                                                                    Bobby Vans - Ugh. I think I ordered shepherd's pie off the RW menu. I felt like I was in a cafeteria with people slopping food and yelling next. Not pleasant at all. Food was tasteless.

                                                                    Rasika - Wonderful selection - good service, and the pacing was perfect. I always feel pushed out the door during RW, but not here.

                                                                    Can't wait to see what they do this year!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: isabellaflynn

                                                                      I've seen napkin matching done at Charlie Palmer's. Took me a while to figure out why some people were brought different napkins.

                                                                    2. I'm thinking of doing Rasika and/or Equinox.
                                                                      Does Rasika offer the full menu?

                                                                      I'm slightly worried Equinox won't be as veggie friendly as necessary, but it've always wanted to go there...

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                                                        I would call Equinox and let them know what type of food you can and can't eat and see what they suggest. They have been exstremly helpful the few times I've been there. Just so you know, if it wasn't RW I'm sure they would whip up an all vegetarian menu for you if the options weren't already on the menu. For RW they may be unable to do this. But I would ask. Because the restaurant is wonderful and shouldn't be missed.

                                                                        1. re: Jeserf

                                                                          Rasika does not offer the full menu.

                                                                          And my two cents is that Rasika not very good. Overly dry chicken in currys, greasy vegetables, and not even close to enough spice. (the other option for Indian in Penn Quarter of IndeBlue is even worse).

                                                                          1. re: Hoosierland

                                                                            I have to disagree with you here. I really like Rasika. Their Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani is consistently good, and the Crispy Spinach (can't think of the name of it) is excellent as well. So is their Black Cod.
                                                                            I went there for RW lunch last summer and was quite pleased, but can't remember the menu.

                                                                            1. re: KWynn

                                                                              I know I am in the minority here, but I have never liked the food much at Rasika. The Butter Chicken (at least during RW) is made with breast pieces that get dried out and pithy in the sauce, which is not flavorful enought for my tastes. The crispy spinach was even worse, the first bit was nice, but after that I felt like I was spooning oil into my mouth.

                                                                              For my money I would go to Mehak for a thali (but avoid the buffet) or Murghal for the bone-in chicken tikka with three sides.

                                                                              1. re: Hoosierland

                                                                                I'm not concerned with dry chicken, seeing as how i'm looking for veggies! heh

                                                                          2. re: Jeserf

                                                                            Both Rasika and Equinox have their RW menus listed now, as do many other restaurants. Look under events or news on thier websites. I had the same debate, but I think I'll just go to both. :)

                                                                            Agraria and Restaurant Kolumbia should be veggie friendly.

                                                                            1. re: Jeserf

                                                                              I went to Rasika in Jan for RW. In the end, the selections were not as good and I ended up ordering off the regular menu. Would recommend Bombay Club for Indian food during RW. Am returning there a second time during RW.

                                                                            2. Has anyone eaten at Sonoma or Belga Cafe for RW? My friend and I work in Eastern Market and want to try one of these places for lunch but are looking for opinions on menu size etc. Thanks

                                                                              1. What do people think of BLT Steak for RW? I see it is participating for Lunch only.. I have heard good things about it (as a carnivore, I know it is horrible for veggies), has anyone tried it for RW?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: aletnes

                                                                                  BLT Steak just opened up recently so I don't believe they have participated in the last RW (in Jan). But I may be wrong.

                                                                                2. I went to a couple of restaurants. Poste was ok. Corduroy was predictably good, but not as good as the wine dinner event where I first experienced Corduroy's magic. PS7 was really nice. The food was creative but solid. Service was great, and it wasn't crowded. The 3 oz. and 6 oz. wine option is perfect who like to have a couple of different glasses with the meal.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: DCDJJ

                                                                                    I'm going to Poste, tonight. Has anyone else been? Does anyone have recomendations on what to order. They don't have their RW menu posted online.

                                                                                  2. The only place I went in Jan. was the Fourth Estate in the National Press Club, and it was fabulous! I can not begin to tell you how great the atmosphere, service and food was. I will defiantly be going back next week. They offer their full menu and they are extending it an extra week.

                                                                                    This year I'm also going to Filomena, hopefully it will be as good as ya'll say it is. :)

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sophia2716

                                                                                      Sooo, Ive read most of this thread and also some other older ones on places to hit/avoid for RW.

                                                                                      So far Ive booked:

                                                                                      -La Tasca

                                                                                      Just wondering what people thought-I know Corduroy and Tosca seem to be most everyone's favorities--but how are hook and la tasca for RW?

                                                                                      Any other places people would say are a must try?

                                                                                      I was also considering:

                                                                                      -Tabard Inn

                                                                                      Any suggestions would be awesome, thanks!!

                                                                                      Also--if theres a place that does great RW and has nice cheese plates, that would be a plus--bf loves cheese plates. (Already tried Dino and Circle Bistro too)


                                                                                      1. re: coweepooh

                                                                                        From what I've heard, La Tasca lets you order unlimited from the entire menu for RW.
                                                                                        That said, have you ever eaten there? I think there are many more impressive tapas joints in the immediate vicinity. In fact, this place was definitely kind of bleh IMO. I only imagine that the service and quality go down during RW.

                                                                                        Hook is new and haven't been at all yet so no comments on that.

                                                                                        We're checking out Zola for RW this year too (lunch). Been for regular meals but never for RW.

                                                                                        We had a so-so experience at The Oceanaire for RW but others on this board have commended it. I would try it again, I guess, but we aren't planning on it this time around.

                                                                                        No comments on the others as I've never been.

                                                                                        1. re: KWynn

                                                                                          I agree with La Tasca. Never been during RW but have been at least twice and though the tapas were very blah.

                                                                                          Jaleo is particpating in RW...maybe you should try that instead. And if you like Spanish food there is always Taberna.

                                                                                          1. re: coweepooh

                                                                                            I did lunch/brunch at Bistro Bis for RW and really liked it. Actually their RW brunch menu is the same as their brunch menu during the rest of the year...but like $5 cheaper or something.

                                                                                            Seems like a solid choice.

                                                                                            I've never been to Palette...and barely know anything about it actually.

                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                              I have never been to RW at Bistro Bis, but if it is the same as their brunch mmmm their brunch is great!

                                                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                I want to go to BB for brunch this weekend, unfortunately my s.o. just don't see a progression of onion soup, brioche french toast, and a heavy dessert (RW deal) as a tasty progression even though she loves all 3 individually.

                                                                                                1. re: Lowbar

                                                                                                  Did you look at the brunch menu? They have other first courses that are more brunchy.

                                                                                                  I usually get the smoked salmon with mustard sauce and greens...if it's on the menu its very good. The quiche is excellent as well as some of the egg dishes. I have yet to try the french toast but I might go this weekend and try it. Sounds yummy!!

                                                                                        2. I agree with most of your recommendations. However, I had a GREAT experience last year at both Mie N Yu and Indebleu. My most favorite restaurant week experience EVER was at Fahrenheit. The service was impeccable, and we were seated in the private room at the bottom of the chimney. The food was amazing.

                                                                                          1. To the "worst" list, I would add Lavandou. Went there last RW and was beyond disappointed. Service was terrible and snooty, my companion's meal was slopped together (side dish and garnishes forgotten), and my fish was burned. Will never return!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: simonDC

                                                                                              I went to Lavandou last summer for RW. My friend and I greatly enjoyed the meal and have recommended it to others. Our food was well prepared and very comforting. I hope that your experience was just a fluke.

                                                                                            2. Went to Vidalia last night. It was good. I had the Fried Green Tomatoes to start which were excellent, and the shrimp and grits for dinner. I was a little disappointed there was a $10 upcharge for shrimp and grits. I know it is a signature dish of theirs, but I wouldn't think shrimp and grits would be that costly to make over other dishes with no upcharge. Maybe I am wrong. It was good the grits were very good, but I definitely think Blue Duck Tavern's goat cheese grits were better. There was just nothing especially exciting about the dish, kind of normal shrimp and grits, but a good example of it. I had the vanilla bean cake with peaches which was so so. If I was going again I would get the Muscovy Duck entree my bf had it was incredible and no up charge. He won on that. The catfish etouffe a friend had was ok, but pretty bland. I also would get the lemon chest tart for dessert. I make chess pie a lot so I didn't but it certainly was the best dessert, well if you don't eat a lot of pecan pie it was pretty good too, I just prefer my own on that one.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                Thanks so much ktmoomau. We're headed to Vidalia tonight for RW and I was having a hard time trying to decide what to order. Will definitely go with the fried green tomatoes and lemon chess tart. Maybe bf will have the duck - not my fave. Was tempted to uporder the shrimp & grits, but now will pass.
                                                                                                As a side note, bf and I really enjoyed indebleu and did not enjoy Cafe Atlantico in January RW

                                                                                              2. Just had lunch at Curdoroy. Was pretty good. The goat cheese potato crisp was wonderful for an app. Very good textures and flavor. The soft shell crab was kind of odd. Not what I was expecting, but not bad. A little less crunchy then a MD soft shell normally is. The hazelnut bars for dessert were very good. Kind of reminiscent of the Adult Kit Kat Bar at Central. But very nice for lunch. I contemplated the chilled soup it looked very good. I think over all my RW week experiences the past two years TenPenh has been my favorite. Vacation, birthday and RW week right before going to the beach, this is killing me, but it tastes oh so good.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: cleveland park

                                                                                                    I went to BLT for lunch yesterday. There are only 2 choices for each course. They serve cheese puffs instead of bread that are really as big as your head! They were okay but I found them a bit eggy-tasting (although I am pregnant and sensitive to smells and tastes right now so you have to factor that in there). Had the gazpacho with goat cheese 'gnocchi' as an app and it was just fine. (The other app option was summer veg panzanella which my two friends both got - I didn't hear them exclaim over it but it was okay). Hanger steak (we all got this) was tasty. The other entree choice was Chatham Cod with corn succotash and bacon jus. The winner of the meal for me was the apricot tart with frozen almond milk. It was a great dessert and it takes a lot for me to say that about a dessert that has no chocolate in it! (The other dessert option was passionfruit creme brulee).

                                                                                                    1. re: jblum

                                                                                                      Do any sides come with the hangar steak or is that extra?

                                                                                                      1. re: cleveland park

                                                                                                        just a couple of caramelized shallots... nothing to speak of.

                                                                                                  2. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                    David Greggory is closed... will reopen as Hudson

                                                                                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                      We had dinner at Courduroy last night.
                                                                                                      I started with the tomato salad--perfect for this time of year as they were very flavorful and the dish included a variety of colors and shapes of tomatoes. My husband had the corn soup (yes, hot soup on a hot day) which I tasted and found surprisingly good (I'm not typically a fan of creamy soups).
                                                                                                      We each got the scallop entree. It was definitely worth the $5 upcharge--I think it was my favorite preparation of scallops ever. They were served as shown on the website--each scallop on its own dollop of mashed potatoes and with a slightly creamy white wine sauce and chantarelle mushrooms. The potatoes were pureed to a satiny consistency and well-flavored with butter, cream, and s&p.
                                                                                                      My only disappointment was that they ran out of the chocolate sabayon dessert. Instead my husband opted for the pistachio bread pudding and I had the blueberry tart. I tasted the bread pudding and didn't love it, but then again I really don't like pistachios. The tart was sweet and a refreshing way to end the meal.
                                                                                                      Overall, it was a great first experience at Corduroy. Service was spot on and food was excellent. I only hope that next time I return they're offering the mozerella porcupine which friends have raved about (not offered on the summer RW menu) and that they have enough chocolate sabayon to go around!

                                                                                                    2. I have a reservation for Ardeo in cleveland park. I think they're offereing their full menu (plus some upcharges) for RW. Anyone been to their RW / have any recomendations?

                                                                                                      1. I went to Il Mulino last night for dinner. It was one of the best restaurant week experiences I have had in DC. The bruschetta was amazing as was the garlic bread. My friend and I tried the mozzarella caprese which was good and my other friend had the eggplant rollatine which she greatly enjoyed! All of the entrees were very well made. The desserts were hard not to clear the plate. There was so much food that we all left full and with a bag to take home. The service was impeccable. I would highly recommend trying it!

                                                                                                        1. Someone had asked when I was going to update the list in the original post. I'm not because I can't edit it at this point, over a year later. So, if some of the recommendations are dated, I apologize, and there are certianly many worthy spots omitted.

                                                                                                          1. My experiences:

                                                                                                            Ceiba: Very good, though I haven't been for years and have heard it's gone downhill. Gazpacho appetizer was a particular highlight.

                                                                                                            Cafe Atlantico: A great choice, though I wish I had done dinner rather than lunch. It's hard to get out of there for cheap, though, as you want to order drinks, the guac, etc. In hindsight, I wouldn't choose this one just because I was unaware of their awesome pre-theater menu, which is like RW all year round, but you should have a good experience if you do.

                                                                                                            Mendocino Grille: My food was very good but there were too many upcharges. I had a great goat cheese cheesecake dessert. Friends were underwhelmed by the limited and bland vegetarian options.

                                                                                                            DC Coast: Uniformly excellent selection, food and service. I believe the whole menu was available, and everything was beautifully plated and delicious. A particularly good deal for lunch.

                                                                                                            1. I have a general restaurant week question - so I hope this is the right place to ask it.

                                                                                                              I am allergic to tree nuts - which means basically any nuts that grow in trees and not on the ground. For the most part I can narrow it down to: "I'm allergic to everything, EXCEPT peanuts." Which is unusual - as far as I know.

                                                                                                              I've NEVER had a hard time explaining my allergy to a waiter. Typically he or she is more than happy to ask the chef to leave the nuts off. If my dish comes out with the nuts they profusely apologize, make me a new dish and often times take it off my bill (I've never asked them, too - bc its my problem - but they are kind enough to do so).

                                                                                                              So - my question...Is it just restaurant week that they refuse to make special arrangements for people with food allergies or are the chefs at this restaurants just really particular about keeping their food in their original state?

                                                                                                              It may be something in the preperation and the waiter just didn't tell me. At TenPenh I couldn't get the calamari salad without cashews and at Ceiba I couldn't get the flan without almonds - which was OK, bc the pannacotta was great. I was pretty dissapointed about TenPenh, though.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: LaceyB522

                                                                                                                Lacey, during RW I think people are less likely to be more flexible...but I also don't think that's every restaurant. It's really a shame that you had a problem at TenPenh and Ceiba. (Both of which have the same owners btw) because I have always found those restaurants do RW quite well.

                                                                                                                One suggestion would be to do a little extra homework prior to making a RW reservation but you might find it helpful to a) check out the menus either online or through calling the restaurant beforehand to make sure there are courses you can eat. Also you might want to try calling prior to arriving at the restaurant and let them know about your allergy. That way you can gage whether or not they will be helpful during the course of your meal.

                                                                                                                1. re: LaceyB522

                                                                                                                  I think it just depends on the restaurant. I went to Indebleu in January with a someone who has an allergy to dairy products. All the dessert items on the RW menu contained dairy (ice cream and the like), but the chef made her a "special" dessert with cotton candy that looked really cool and we all loved it.

                                                                                                                2. whew...........lots to share on 5 restaurants: Cafe Mozu FABULOUS. My previous experience at Mandarin Oriental has been snooty and shoddy service. Our lunch service was impecable and the food was devine..........all four of us enjoyed out delicious food. DC Coast FABULOUS! great service and as expected delicious food. Indebleau: Not so good. All appetizers were scrumptious. Ahi Tuna was superberb. The rest was either overseasoned or just plain boring. All desserts, not so good. Filomena...not as expected. Significantly delayed service..........even for water. I expect to have my food fresh cooked. Our appetizers came out 3 minutes after ordering. Not physically possible if it was fresh made. Although, the brushetta was delicious, unfortunately, I ordered the mushroom caps. Tuna was undercooked and flavorless and the strawberry mousse cake was still frozen. I will give this restaurant another chance when they are not so focused on mass production as the smell was devine when we walked up to the restaurant. Would have loved to get reservations at Citronelle and Kinkaids, but they were all booked two weeks in advance.

                                                                                                                  1. Haven't read all the post so sorry if i'm repeating but I would add Oya...went there twice this week (lunch and dinner). They've extended their restaurant week for the entire month, which is listed on the website (oyadc.com).

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: utopia13

                                                                                                                      real quick review. went to tenpenh last night. it was pretty good. biggest disappointment was the fact that i ordered the lamb chops and then the waiter came back to inform me that they were out of them. i got the sea bass and it was very tasty, i also started with the salmon tartare which was good, but not great. My wife started with the spring rolls, i had one and they tasted like a spring roll. She got the lobster for a $12 surcharge and we were both pretty let down. The flavor was not that great and some of the meat was cold. I got the blueberry cake for dessert which was fantastic and she got the dark choclate moouse which neither of us liked at all. Overall it was a pretty typical RW experience, not great, not terrible, but not that expensive either.

                                                                                                                    2. Huh? What's wrong with Mie -n- Yu? We've been there twice and had fabulous food and service both times. Even my extreme royal pain-in-the-ass sister (she is a snob beyond compare, nothing is ever good enough for her) liked it... which floored me and my husband. We went in April&May 2007. We're heading back for a 3 month assignment and looking forward to going here again. Also going to try some of the others on the list.

                                                                                                                      Filomena, however, grossed us out. The waiters stunk of italian cologne - a little bit, please, don't bathe in it. We got a breadbasket, as is the norm in this type of restaurant, and when I pulled out a piece of bread, it was smeared with tomato sauce. That flipped me out. If they can't put out a fresh basket, what else are they reusing? ICK!!! No way. I am not ever stepping back in that place.

                                                                                                                      1. How about Prime Rib and Ruth Cris's. At lunch and dinner was treated as if I came there all of time and got great service and an exceptional value at Ruth Cris. The Prime Rib is even making $25 prix fix standard lunch fare after RW

                                                                                                                        1. Went to the following this year:
                                                                                                                          Equinox - they had three different selections for each course and the service was a little leisurely, but good. They included an tiny amuse bouche and dessert extra that you wouldn't necessarily expect during RW, but I'm glad they did because it's annoying when restaurants change their practices during RW.

                                                                                                                          Circle Bistro - food was good but they had way too many upcharges. Would rather go somewhere else for RW.

                                                                                                                          Restaurant Kolumbia - Everything was delicious! I hestitated in ordering the steak tartare because it came with pretzels, but they did complement the flavor well and it was my favorite dish. They also gave us a certificate for a free "butcher board" for the next visit, which was surprising and beyond expectation because nothing went wrong with our dinner at all. In fact, it was a wonderful experience and I'll definitely keep them on my list of places to go more often - I'd like to try more things on the menu.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: jlc

                                                                                                                            Wow! Now that's a great idea on behalf of Restaurant Kolumbia. The free butcher board certificate is a great idea because if they did well during RW and will help convince patrons to return during regular service.

                                                                                                                          2. Went to two this year: The Oval Room and Vidalia. Some thoughts...

                                                                                                                            The Oval Room was its usual phenomenal self. The entire menu was geared to RW with only one lone dish -- black bass -- requiring an upcharge. Although everyone in our group of four loved everything, stand-out dishes included cherry tomato-watermelon soup, seared scallop appetizer, and flat iron steak.

                                                                                                                            The restaurant wasn't filled and I simply don't understand why. I think The Oval Room is one of the best restaurants in the city; however it seems largely ignored in the buzz about other places. Since last summer, the place has had a new chef who used to work at Jean Georges in NYC. We've eaten once at Jean Georges. We spent astronomical amounts of money and considered the experience well worth the cost. With the new chef at The Oval Room, we can get that same fabulous food at a fraction of the NYC price. The service at The Oval Room shows the same friendly-yet-professional pedigree that characterizes Jean George.

                                                                                                                            Vidalia was a decidedly mixed experience. The food was good (with one notable exception), but the service was too rushed. Within 10 seconds to 30 seconds of clearing one course, waiters would put the next course on the table. Some intellectually curious part of my brain was awed at the precision of the operation. Mostly, I was appalled at the obvious rush job. Upon tasting my dried-out shrimp, I wondered how long our food had sat under steam lamps. Ultimately, I was bewildered why the restaurant was rushing us since there were plenty of empty tables.

                                                                                                                            Our waitress said the menu was the complete, regular menu with some upcharges so people could experience the signature dishes if they so chose. Crab cakes as an appetizer had an $8 upcharge -- as an entree the upcharge was $16. Shrimp and grits carried a $10 upcharge. The cheese platter required an upcharge of approximately $6.

                                                                                                                            I ordered shrimp and grits, haven fallen in love with them during a trip to Charleston, SC recently. Vidalia's preparation was not appealing. The cheesy grits were fine, but the shrimp were tiny and somewhat dried out. The main problem was the tasso ham-onion sauce. As if tasso isn't strong enough, the roux in the sauce had been cooked to an amazingly dark color. I thought the result was much too dominant for the shrimp. The dish was plated so that half the shrimp were covered by the sauce. If I ate the shrimp alone, the shrimp was somewhat overcooked and dry. (Since we were dining with another couple, I didn't want to send my dish back to the kitchen.)

                                                                                                                            Other members of the group had more success with their entrees; the trout and the duck were both declared to be delicious.

                                                                                                                            Appetizers and desserts were uniformly successful. However, the rush job made the experience so mechanical and unpleasant that the successful food was lost on us. We will not return.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                              I'm sorry you didn't read my review of Vidalia above and headed my advice on the grits. I went early in the week and I too was disappointed with the shrimp and grits, especially since they are supposed to be the restaurant's signature dish. Perhaps it was just RW, but I am a bit puzzled about how much people rave about it. I will go again, and I hope I have a better experience. I just didn't think it was very creative or extraordinarily flavorful.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                My boyfriend went there for lunch in January for RW and said the same thing about the shrimp and grits---it just wasn't very flavorful or good. He said the shrimp and grits at Georgia Browns and Zola (surpringly enough his favorite spot for this dish) are MUCH better.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                                  Yes I prefer Southside, or Chef Geoff's to theirs even. The best of course are down South, but I don't get to go down there every time I have a craving. And I have heard Acadiana's are really good. It was just shocking since it is considered their signature and the restaurant has gotten such great awards. I am hoping I just hit an off night or their signature dish has perhaps changed.

                                                                                                                            2. Short post on RW this year as I always consult the board first. Went to Viridian and Zola. Both exceptional. Zola whole menu including weygu beef and lobster app. Viridina, certain things on the menu but wide selection. Excellent service too!

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: wagnerag

                                                                                                                                Went to 3 Restaurants for RW last week and all of them were 1st try. All 3 of them definitely succeeded with food, service, and just overall experience. 1st night was at TOSCA ~ simply delicious from their appetizers to the dessert. Went there with party for 7 people, but eventhough 2 of them never made it ~ the restaurant was very accommodating and never made us feel rush. 2nd night was at GEORGIA BROWN's ~ Bf was craving Southern Style food --again better than I expected for service and food. The porkchop and fried chicken entree was so tender and surprisingly, the fig appetizer with cheese & bacon was good as well! Never really thought of mixing up that combination, but it did help with the sweetness of the fig. 3rd was lunch at Charlie Palmer ~ This was the highlight of my RW. Everything from drinks, services, and all 3 courses was simply heaven. My friend and I got their hanger steak entrees and splurged with the hens of mushroom order on the side. I couldn't get enough of those mushrooms....SO TASTY!!!

                                                                                                                                I'm looking forward to Winter RW -- definitely going back to Charlie Palmer, plus I didn't get a chance to go to Acadiana, so it will definitely be on my list.

                                                                                                                              2. Been looking over this to prep for the restaurant week starting today. Just wanted to put in my two cents that Zaytinya was a really good spot for the previous restaurant week. Their lunch (and dinner) menu was actually FOUR courses instead of the usual three, and their selections were great. The rubbed sirloin of beef was delicious.

                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: beema

                                                                                                                                  I was looking over the large list of restaurants in today's Washington Post. Maybe I'm just out of touch with menu prices, but it seemed to me that, while there may indeed be some bargains, there were a lot of restaurants where I would expect that a $20 lunch or $30 dinner (minus drinks, tax, and tip) is no big deal. Legal Seafoods? Americana? Liberty Tavern? Are those places really that expensive now that a Restaurant Menu is a good deal? I suppose that a $7 salad and $7 dessert on top of an $18 main course is a bit of a deal, but seems to me that in the past the "extra courses" aren't always the full menu sized portion (which, in the case of desserts and some salads, is a good thing).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                                                    The answer is no. :) The list isn't that impressive this year. That's why trying to get a reservation at Tosca, Prime Rib, Charlie Palmers, TenPehn etc is key, because then you get a real bargain and hopefully a top-notch meal.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                                                      If you go to Americana for Restaurant Week, or any other time for that matter, you deserve the meal you get.

                                                                                                                                      A few years ago I had a great lunch at Tosca at great value. They allow most of their menu. On the way back to the office, encountered 3 other coworkers and told them of my lunch. They said that they had gone to Gordon Bierch for Restaurant Week. They're not listed on the official list, but I guess they offer the promotion too. I just smiled and looked at the menu when I got back. If you ordered the most expensive items for each course, it came out to $19 and change.

                                                                                                                                      Sometimes at better restaurants, it ends up being the equivalent of getting a free dessert.

                                                                                                                                      Had a great lunch at TenPenh today, certainly great value. At dinner they have upcharges for the lobster and crispy whole fish. No upcharges on the lunch menu. My crispy catfish was great, and $17 list price. So it's like paying $1.54 for my lobster bisque and $1.54 for my yuzu and citrus tart. Great value!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                                                        Well that's why I recommended Zaytinya. A four-course meal there for $20 is a great deal.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                                                          We're going to Liberty Tavern tonight with full awareness that we'd be hard pressed to spend $30.08 on a regular night there. In fact, since we don't normally order a dessert mid-week, we probably wouldn't make the $30 threshold under normal circumstances.

                                                                                                                                          Tonight, we will probably order the Arctic Char, one of their most expensive items. However, since Mr. Indy and I love Arctic Char, we'd probably order that any time we were to dine at Liberty Tavern. Still, if you read my review of Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, you know that we're dining out anyway since we're in the midst of major remodeling. We've been without a kitchen so long that we're running out places we haven't already patronized. Liberty Tavern will be new for us. So cost effective or not, we're happy to try some new places.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: beema

                                                                                                                                          My personal experiences with RW:
                                                                                                                                          - Butterfield 9: went there with my roommates for dinner last Thursday (they started their RW menu early) - and it was a really great time. My roommates got the squash soup, which they all raved about. I had the scallop and it was quite delicious in a cream sauce. My pork was slightly overcooked however the sauce that it was with made up for how dry it was. The lamb and tuna both received good reviews from my roommates. I would avoid the brownie dessert, as it was rather dry. The sorbet was very good. Oh - and the service was great!

                                                                                                                                          Filomena: My b/f and I went there over the summer, and we really did not enjoy ourselves. Our appetizers (stuffed mushrooms and a salad) were really good, but our entrees were not. He got the gnocch and I ordered the tuna, both were subpar. We were very disappointed after hearing such great things about it.

                                                                                                                                          Zengo: Must go - although the menu was limited, everything was really very good.

                                                                                                                                          I am going to the Melting Pot on Wednesday - has anyone been there for RW? Would love to hear an opinion!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ALLex16

                                                                                                                                            I went 2 years back. You basically get the deal you can get for the "date night" or whatever they call it. You get cheese fondue to start (if you want a specialty you pay extra). A meat/seafood/pasta sampler for dinner, and a chocolate fondue for dessert. You can pretty much get anything on the menu for an upcharge.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ALLex16

                                                                                                                                              Melting Pot is lame... don't go there. It's really not worth it. Their food is so-so. It's just a trendy package deal for people who don't really know about good food.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: beema

                                                                                                                                              My RW dinners this week:
                                                                                                                                              Tues: Il Mulino - went w/my g/f & 12 friends - was excellent. They went from 3 entrees last RW to 7 entrees for this RW. Major improvement. Luv their 'openers' i.e. what's already on the table when you sit. They included house-made grappa for all of us post-dessert. Was amazing - raisiny goodness pulled straight from an ice block. It's a great deal for RW, as this place is quite pricey.
                                                                                                                                              Wed: Ristorante Tosca - 4 of us last eve. I cannot emphasize to everyone enough - this is THE BEST place for RW. a. it's usually expensive b. they offer their whole menu (2 entrees have $$ surcharges) c. the food is simply tremendous. I go every RW for dinner. The carrot parpardelle w/rabbit ragu was amazing, as was my parmesan, lemon, pesto risotto. My g/f's monkfish was absolutely perfect. Anyone who doesn't put this on their must-do list for RW is just simply passing on the best Italian restaurant in DC.
                                                                                                                                              Thurs - Corduroy
                                                                                                                                              Fri - Prime Rib

                                                                                                                                            3. The Washington City Paper gives Hook a great review for RW lunch. Great selection, no upcharges. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bl...

                                                                                                                                              1. Wish I had seen this list before we went to Taberna del Alabardero last night. Our experience confirms your judgement in recommending that it's a place to avoid during Restaurant Week. Or more bluntly put - a waste of money. I was taken there for lunch - not during RW - and it was very good. But the RW menu only has two main courses - marinated chicken and seafood brochette. Both turned out to be so bland that they were almost tasteless. My wife commented that we do better ourselves at home. And certainly our neighborhood restaurants are routinely better than what we got last night. And the portion size for the seafood was what most restaurants serve as an appetizer. (The chicken was at least a decent-sized portion.) The service was so efficient that we felt rushed - in and out in an hour. A big let-down.

                                                                                                                                                1. I went to Zola for lunch yesterday and had a pleasant meal overall. Nothing stupendous though. I had the flat bread as an appetizer, the tuna mignon for my entree and the creme brulee for dessert. Everything was pretty tasty except for dessert. It didn't taste or feel like creme brulee at all. A little dissapointing but regardless, it was still a great deal.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I went to Zaytinya last night. It was my and my boyfriend's first time there. Overall, it was pretty good for RW. Honestly though, I don't think we'd order so much food if we had the regular menu because it was just too much. (8 mezze's for the two of us). But I am happy we got to try out so many different plates. My fav was the fried zucchini and the chicken with garlic. My boyfriend did not enjoy his sirloin (it was pretty rare but I like mine rare). Otherwise service was great, bill was around $100 after a pitcher of their sangria.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Just got back from Smith & Wollensky. It was indeed good, if standard, fare. Soup du jour, filet mignon, strudel. The service was pleasant, and interestingly, they gave us oatmeal cookies when the valet brought my car back.

                                                                                                                                                      Had Farrah Olivia last night, and it was also an enjoyable experience. They were late in seating us, but my friends all seemed to enjoy their meals as much as I. They offer their entire menu, but many items had surcharges. I didn't care because it was worth it. Round up? Great soup, quail, duck, venison (with particularly tasty sweet potato truffles), salmon, chocolate (with excellent raspberry-beet sorbet), and brulee.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Wow, I went to Ceiba last night and I was blown away. The food was outstanding. The service was good.

                                                                                                                                                        I had: conch chowder, red snapper, and guava nectar cake.

                                                                                                                                                        The Hemingway Mojito was amazing.
                                                                                                                                                        (HEMINGWAY MOJITO
                                                                                                                                                        Ceiba's version of this classic cocktail is Mount Gay Extra Old, fresh muddled lime, mint & guarapo, with a splash of Gruet sparkling)

                                                                                                                                                        1. I went to the Oval Room on Monday, which was excellent. It was my first time there and I was very impressed with the food. I had the pork entree and it was delicious. I tried everyone else's entrees and everything was very well-presented and tasty. The chestnut ravioli was divine, although the portion is very small.

                                                                                                                                                          On Tuesday, 2 friends and I went to Tuscana West. Their menu looked like there were a lot of options, and they said the pasta was homemade, so I figured we would try it out. It was totally mediocre. Mediocre service...I had to dump salt on my bland, thin fettuccini...cannoli shell was hard instead of slightly soft and cuttable like it should be. Don't go there.

                                                                                                                                                          I'm looking forward to trying Mio on Monday, since they are doing Restaurant Month. Yay!

                                                                                                                                                          1. I would definitely suggest adding Bistrot Lepic to the "Avoid" column. I had a truly abominable meal there this evening. If you search you will find my review. But it is not worth a visit at any price. I am amazed it is still in business with the quality of food that it serves.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bibiche

                                                                                                                                                              I avoid all restaurants participating in RW. The experience that you had at Lepic is the reason. I dine there fairly often and it is unquestionably my favorite bistro in DC (yes, I have been to all of them). I have never had a bad dish there. And that's the reason I avoid RW. I suggest giving it another shot at another time.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I wrote this in another post the 2008 RW post, but I think if Oceanaire doesn't expand their menu that they should be moved to avoid.

                                                                                                                                                              We went last night were seated at a terrrible little table in the back "run over" room that couldn't even fit our food and wine we ordered. The menu had only 3 options for each choice starters were regular salad, ceaser salad or clam chowder. Entrees were mahi mahi with no unique preperation, small scallops (not diver forget from where) with red wine reduction (no sides) and another which was not crabcakes. Then three desserts. We ended up ordering from what they had fresh that day not RW menu we were so disappointed with the bland boring options many which weren't listed as fresh. Especially after so many had said it was good. We would have had to order sides anyway if we had eaten off the RW menu so it wouldn't have been that great of a bargain. We ordered a side of potatoes au gratin which were quartered potatoes loaded with cheese not potatoes au gratin. It was overall really disapointing. I hope Spezie is better or BF might not want to participate in RW week again, except a few limited places which have been great consistantly (Tenpenh, Corduroy, Ceiba), or just go to those places when it isn't so crowded.

                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                                I've come to trust your opinion on restaurants and I'm disappointed to hear that you had a horrible experience at Oceanaire. I have reservations for tonight and I think I'm going to cancel them and try somewhere else. If that's all they have to offer for their entrees, then why even bother going. Too bad they are not offering the same menu Baltimore is (listed in RW Menus post).

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: botnot

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, that is such a nice compliment. Yeah we were so disappointed with the menu, had it just been service issues that is one thing, but they have so much on their regular menu to be that uncreative for their RW menu was just such a blow. Maybe with the snow there will be lots of cancellations at some good places. Corduroy seems to be the place really shining so far on reviews here for this time.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                                    You are very welcome. I wanted to do Acadania, but they are booked for the time we wanted. So, my group is going to Brasseire Beck instead. It's not participating in Restaurant Week, but I wanted to try something new.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: botnot

                                                                                                                                                                      You'll love it, especially with this weather. When we ate there I commented that it is the type of place I would like to eat on a cold dreary evening because it is warm, comfort type food. And their appetizers and entrees we ordered were so large it was necessary to share some.

                                                                                                                                                              2. i have lunch reservations at Oyamel this Sunday... has anyone been to Oyamel (for lunch or dinner) for RW this year?

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MarcDC

                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't been for RW - but I was underwhelmed with Oyamel's food in general. I hope you have a better experience!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MarcDC

                                                                                                                                                                    Oyamel is one of my favorites. The salad with beets, heart of palm, and sour orange, (along with some other stuff, I forget) is really good. I enjoy that there are tacos on the menu. My favorite is the pork one with crispy pork rinds. The seafood soup is really good with avocado. I always get horchata and the juice bar always has top quality drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. i had a very delicious lunch today at bombay club. my companion enjoyed her dishes as well. i recommend highly.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: polly parker

                                                                                                                                                                      Bombay Club's lunches are usually good which is why I was surprised to have a less than average experience there this week for dinner. Before we could finish one course they were serving the next course. My guest had not finished their entree course when they were taking away the plates and then asked if we were done while their hand was on the plate. We were in and out in under an hour including getting tea that was not given the full amount of time to brew. The portion sizes were very small--the fish portion was large enough for four forks--maybe eight if you took extra small bites. For a meal that cost $100 for two people I would have assumed it would be a little less rushed and enough food so one does not walk out hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                      I would give two thumbs down for Bombay Club's dinner RW.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. colvin run is closed =(

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Has anyone tried Ardeo yet for RW? I have never been before and plan on going this weekend with a few friends because frankly, it's impossible to make reservations anywhere. We are going to choose between Ardeo and Cafe Atlantico. Any thoughts on which one and what to get?

                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: xena1441

                                                                                                                                                                          cafe atlantico is always good... havent been in a while but if they have scallops on the menu get them... as well as the guac

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: xena1441

                                                                                                                                                                            I went to Ardeo on Weds night and really enjoyed my meal there. I was plesently surprised by how good the meal was and how big the servings were. If you like mussels I highly recommend their mussel appetizer. My only small complaint was I felt a tad bit rushed (ie. entree was served right after the appetizer plates were cleared. There was a little more time before the dessert was served though. But it had to be ordered with the rest of the meal).

                                                                                                                                                                            I've always enjoyed Cafe Atlantico but haven't tried it for RW.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks Alyssa and Marc. I think we may just give Ardeo a shot (I think they offer their full menu- correct me if I am wrong). Will def report back.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: xena1441

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes they offer the full menu. I think the current menu is posted online...possibly with a few changes.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Just got home from dinner at Spezie and the BF still has work to do so I thought I would play on chow for a bit. Spezie had a huge selection on their menu. I am assuming this was to show off the new changes. It was a really tough choice there were so many good options. I started with the scallop appetizer which was very good. You have to mix the sauces and stuff up a little bit to get all the flavors together. BF had the salted cod which was very good for salted cod. I am kind of wishing I had got the fried mixed platter, but after how rich my entree and dessert were, maybe not. I ordered the pasta with gruyere, peas and smoked pork shoulder. I actually make a simillar dish to this at home and theirs was way better. I think the smokey pork shoulder which gave the essence of smoked bacon really made the dish it was rich but excellent. Had they not taken the dish away I might have used bread to get the sauce. BF had the veal ravioli, which was ok, but not as good as my dish. I was happy when I tasted it that the ravioli wasn't so thick as to override the taste of the veal which happens in some of those type of stuffed pastas. For dessert the tiramisu was excellent and bf enjoyed the panna cotta with berries. We thought the meal was a great value during RW. I don't know if due to their circumstances they will offer a menu like this again for RW, but it was excellent this time around. The dishes were not a huge portion, but after three courses I was definitely satisfied.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                                                                                              How was the service? I have been hearing mixed reviews about the service. Hopefully its just pissy waiters during RW and not a permanent staff issue.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                                                                                It's a little late now I put this on my Spezie thread the service was good, a tiny bit slow, but I think that is because they were swamped. Our waitress and the hostess was very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I have to disagree with Rosa Mexicano being on the 'avoid' list. Although the RW menu has fewer choices than others, the dishes I got were delicious. The best course was the dessert, which was a flan with coconut cake at the bottom. It was soooo good, the coconut twist added great flavors. The fish I ate had a great latin-y tasting spice rub on it. The filet was thick and wasn't overcooked and the fried plantains were a bonus. No, the tableside made guacamole was on the RW menu, but 2 people had to order one guac. dish to not inccur up-charges. Yes, that's kinda lame, but the guac. dish tastes lame anyways. I ordered some and there wasn't enough avocado, and too much onion, and i prefer my guac a little more blended, i guess. OTHERWISE, I was able to walk in on a Wed. of restaurant week and be seated immediately when i walked in at 8:30pm. That ain't bad.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jelyna

                                                                                                                                                                                As much as I like a comprehensive list, Jelyna, the remember the first post on this list is from July 2006, so you have to keep that in perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                For example, I thought Indebleu was a nice option this year, although I was only there for lunch. The tuna I had was perfect and all of the desserts were solid.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jelyna

                                                                                                                                                                                  My friends and I tried several restaurants for RW. Monday night was La Bergerie in Old Town. The food was great and they had great choices including the souffle for dessert. Everything was delicious but the presentation was not that impressive. Most of our main courses came with potatoes or polenta & string beans. The service felt rushed as well which is surprising since it is Old Town and they seem to have lots of time/table available.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Next is Il Mulino for Wednesday and we LOVE this place! From the moment we walked in the door ~ the service was superb and the "openers ranged from fried zucchini, sopreseta, different range of breads, chunks of parmesan cheese, plus a bruschetta! Geez, those alone is a great deal, but to top it off, the food was delicious from appetizers to the tiramisu dessert. They top it off with the grapa drink to end the night. Certainly one of the best RW experience I've had. The only thing is the hard decision of whether which one I like better ~ Il Mulino or Tosca for Italian? hmmm....
                                                                                                                                                                                  Tonight~ I finally took my bf to Acadiana and again, this place is a must for RW. The service was superb! The food from appetizers such the turtle soup (bf ordered and raved about it) and gumbo, to main dishes of Rockfish & Red Snapper was cooked to perfection and the dessert of bread pudding was simply sinful. I left there so satisfied and full that it is truly a must now for us to dine at Acadiana every RW.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, hope everyone had fun this winter RW! See you all again in summer!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Does anyone know which restaurants are extending RW into this week as well? I know Willow is...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beema

                                                                                                                                                                                    There is a list on another recent compilation RW thread if you search this page or maybe the next.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I wentr to Farrah Olivia last night for RW (extended until Jan 31). We had the painted soup (great), grits, the curry banana chicken, and salmon. Desserts were forgettable (the beet sorbet was awful inmho), the fav was the citrus cheesecake.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Satisfied with the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The service however, a WHOLE other story. Snooty server who clearly thought he was better than anyone he was serving. I caved in and gave him a 20% tip and now am kicking myself in the head for it. May even write the restaurant to complain- that's how much he irritated me.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder if they actually read letters.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Would I recommend? Yes. But I will not go back because of the awful server.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This year, I limited my RW reservations to one lunch and one dinner. In both cases, the food was good but the service was extremely poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                      At TenPenh for lunch, we had to wait long stretches of time between appetizers and the entrees and then between the entrees and the desserts. In all, our work-week lunch took TWO hours. I really enjoy TenPenh usually, and was not disappointed by either my appetizer (spring rolls) or my entree (red curry shrimp). Unfortunately, none of the desserts stood out. They should add the donuts to the RW menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                      For dinner, my boyfriend and I went to Zentan. Again, the service was poor. My boyfriend ordered a flight of sake to go with the three courses, but he didn't get the entree glass until he was already done with his skirt steak (which was a tiny portion, but delicious). We then got our dessert (peach tarte tatin) before our entree plates had been cleared.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I know that RW fills many restaurants more than they are used to, but these top-tier restaurants should be used to lots of diners. All in all, I was pleased but not blown away by my RW choices. But for $20/35, I'd do it again :)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1001 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20004

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Just had a very disappointing RW experience at Al Tiramasu, a restaurant I've always enjoyed. Two entree options -- gnocchi and veal cheeks. Gnocchi were pasty, in a generic tomato sauce. Veal was a a few scraps of meat that was mostly fat -- I don't think I got four edible bites from it. The kind of meal that gives RW a bad name.