HELP!! Visiting Hound Needs Recs in Washington NW Near My Hotel .
I happen to like Bistro Bis, but to each his/her own.
True the area is not the best for Chowhounding, but there are some good choices to try. As others have said, Chinatown is close by. Take the METRO if you wish though walking is easy. In the Chinatown/MCI Center area are lots of restaurants that would fit your bill. Cabs are also easy to get and DC isn't that big.
Sonoma (223 Pennsylvania Ave., SE) with a tasting-friendly wine list (and about 50 wines by the glass) and small plates (skip the pizzas) makes for a very good meal.
Burma Restaurant (740 Sixth St., NW, Chinatown) for, duh, Burmese food.
Jaleo (480 7th St. NW) Tapas
Matchbox (713 H St. NW) NY style pizza, fun food
Montmarte (327 7th St. SE) Food French food reasonably priced
Zaytinya (781 7th St. NW) Middleeastern small plates.
Note, if you have not been to DC before, you need to pay attention to the quadrents (NW, NE, SW, SE) as there is a 7th street in each.
But to be honest, this is a great town for dining and the METRO will get you to many good restaurants and cabs while confusing (zone system, not meters) are easy to get.
Agree with the Recs above. The walk to Chinatown is not far from your hotel. By the time you wait for the train at Union Station, you could be in Chinatown already. I do recommend you walk to Chinatown by crossing the street and walking through the Georgetown Law Campus and then down H St.
In the neighborhood, a few other options are Rasika for Indian, Zaytinya for Mediterranean Tapas, and Clydes.
Unfortunately, that's not a happenin' foodie part of town. You are close to Union Station, which has an extensive food court and several restaurants, including B. Smith's, which has been the subject of a few debates on this board. I recommend taking the Metro from Union Station or hopping a cab for the quick ride to Chinatown. There's pizza/mini-burgers at Matchbox (fun atmosphere, decent wood-fired pizza, delish mini-burgers) or tapas at Jaleo (not the best tapas I've ever had, but definitly the best tapas in DC). There's also Chinatown Express and Full Kee for decent enough Chinese (don't get me started about the state of Chinese food in the District though). For micro-brews, I'd go for a flight of the beers at District Chophouse.
There are plenty of other places too, but I'm just trying to think of something relatively close by.
I can tell you where NOT to go: Bistro Bis at the George Hotel near union station was horrible! Believe it or not, we ate there twice last year (staying at Hotel George) both times food and service indescribably bad. We read good reviews on Fodors so thought we'd give it a second chance. Bad move. FYI, the location of the Hotel George was not good. Walking at night 2 blocks from Union Station to the hotel was scary even though my husband is 6'2 250 lbs. I'm not sure the name of the restaurant in Chinatown where we ate but it's about 2 blocks from the subway stop and has a guy making noodles in the window. There were lots of newspaper and magazine accolades pasted in the window. The food was cheap, really fresh and really really good.
I think that neighborhood is safe, but I would look sharp. It's totally an 'office' neighborhood, there is almost no residential/night time traffic there, and there are a fair number of shelters/homeless people in the neighborhood. I've gone to a couple of conferences in either the hotel the OP is staying at or a nearby hotel, and I've been struck by how desolate the neighborhood is at night and on weekends.
As for food, I would stay away from B. Smith's, I think it's totally average (beautiful location, however). There really isn't much food worth eating in Union station IMHO (at least, none of the food I've had did I find worth returning to). If you have a long lunch break, the Teaism in Penn Quarter is walkable and is a fave of mine (but I don't live near one of them, so it's a treat that I would seek out). I've never been to Bistro Bis, but I've generally heard good things about it.