new in town - help w/ bday dinner; entrees <$20
New in town and hoping to find an interesting place for a bday dinner for this Friday. Only two people. Something that feels hopping though not too trendy, all cuisines excluding burger places, but need in DC proper. Interesting drinks a plus, but not necessary. I have browsed the board, but nothing jumps out at me.
I've had fun two-people dinners at Rice (can get pricey - 14th Street area) or Regent Thai (Bottom of Adams Morgan). Two people actually works best as both can get a little noisy. Otherwise, Bistro Tabaq (U Street) may work for you if you do small plates and don't drink a lot, or maybe Matchbox in Chinatown. Rasika (downtown) does great drinks, but you would probably have to do appetizers to stay within your budget - walking distance to Matchbox or Jaleo if want to have a cocktail and then move on for dinner. Or Jaleo may work for you for the whole evening - great sangria.
I agree with dottdc about Matchbox and Jaleo. small plates with great flavor at a small price. I would add Cafe Asia in the city. They offer a wide selection of asian dishes at a low price for a lot of food. (I recommend their entree soups) Also a plus is the proximity to the White House and the Interesting atmosphere (it's kind of like stepping into a Austin Powers movie set). Finally, they have a great sushi special during happy hour, that includes drinks.
Wandered into Jaleo last weekend, so maybe I will check out one of the other's mentioned.
For the record, I thought Jaleo was okay. Agree about the sangria. Enjoyablle andaluz gazpacho, though the beet drowned out the tomato in that version. Pork rib was a bit too fatty. Marinated fried shark was just kind of lackluster. Dates with bacon a bit too sweet for me. Good enough to give it another try at some point.
Firefly might be a good option. It isnt much above your $20 limit and the drinks are pretty good