I am interested if anyone has tried Urbana at the new Hotel Palomar? Good hang out spot? Or just another hotel restaurant?
I wish someone would answer you! I want to know, too. I am headed to DC next week and want to check it out.
We had our wedding reception at the hotel and Urbana catered it. Our guests thought the food was great as did we when we had our tasting at the resturant. I know that the Post's critic didn't give it many props. Good wine list.
I've eaten there twice in the last month or so. First time we got appetizers and drinks in the bar and it was great -- fantastic waitress, really good drinks, creative appetizers. Second time we actually got reservations and ate in the restaurant, and have to say we were really disappointed. Appetizers were still the most interesting part of the meal, but not as good as they'd been the week previous. The main courses were, on the whole, bland and overpriced.
I'd stick to the appetizers and drinks in the bar if you're going to go (and I'd even recommend doing that), but can't recommend it for dinner.
Zaf reviewed it over at dcfud a couple of weeks ago, too:
Great fun in the bar, but that's all I can judge. Have not tried dinner. During happy hour, pizzas are $7 (again, at the bar), I think, for a fairly large pie, and those were quite good. Some of the wines are on special too, but even not during happy hour, the quartinos are a great deal.
Great hangout spot, just don't eat dinner there. The food was most disappointing. It is supposed to be modeled after a tuscan wine cellar or something like that. I haven't seen a cellar like that yet, and I live in Tuscany. But on to the food. Bad. Just really bad. I might be spoiled by living in Italy for two years, but this place cannot call itself Italian. HOWEVER, the place is a blast to hang out at with friends, or solo, as some nice looking people swing by there. One of the bartenders did give me a weird look when I ordered a Negroni, and I had to tell him what it was. Other than that, the place is nice, clean, and swanky. Plus, it's hidden and kind of loungy, and if you drink too much, you can always crash upstairs.
thanks to everyone for responding. I suppose drinks there then head out to Montsouris for a bite to eat...
Seems like this is wrapping up but I wanted to add a slightly different view point. I went last night with a large group (9) and hit chowhound prior to get a feel. Maybe it was the low expectations garnered from reading chowhound but I was pleasantly surprised by the meal. I fully see the viewpoint of it being an exceptional place to get drinks as we hit the bar before sitting down, however, maybe it was because I restricted myself to the starters and pastas, the food was quite good.
Pros - I think the winner of the night was the Short Rib Ravioli which came on a bed of pumpkin "risotto" (aka pumpkin ala can with spices - but surprisingly good), although I may be biased as this was my order - everyone else that tried it liked it as well. My fiance ordered the mixed greens and a pumpkin pesto pasta dish that she was still talking about on the ride home though I thought the pesto was too heavy for the pumpkin. A friend ordered a lobster pasta dish that gave off a nice smokey taste that made it quite interesting. Dessert - they push the creme brulee which is good but the cobbler is also outstanding!
In the middle - I started with the crispy sardines due to the advice of the waiter and though I wasn't blown away they were interesting.
Below par - I sampled some of my friend's duck fat fries which have been panned elsewhere (of which I warned him), and have to agree that they are nothing special.
Of note - the service was exceptional. The waiter was helpful and knowledgeable as a friend stumbled through a wine choice. The chef sent over a small first course and though it only consisted of an individual fried green bean for each of us, it was a nice gesture. Finally, one of our guests ordered a pizza but substituted the cheese. Unfortunately, the kitchen made a mistake and kept the original cheese. Upon notifying the waiter, the order was quickly replaced, the pizza was removed from the bill and the manager came over to apologize. Although these all should be standard at good restaurants, often the service is sub-par and goes unnoticed.
I just realized I haven't reported back yet. I went to Urbana after I posted and was very let down. The food was all pretty boring and the place was dead. Bad server and uninspired food.