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Old Ebbitt Grill or M&S Grill??

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  • hans Oct 25, 2006 10:53 PM
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I have a friend coming into town who is not a real adventuresome diner. We also need someplace centrally located. I was thinking of these two grills (I've never actually been to Old Ebbitt Grill) and wondered what the concensus was between these two (or someplace else similar and in the same area). Which would be the best for my quiet friend on a Tuesday night?

Much thanks

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  1. Old Ebbitt Grill is a real tourist zoo, and one of the noisiest restaurants I have ever been to.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      During the week, this time of year, you should find Old Ebbitt must less of a tourist zoo than on a spring or summer weekend...and it is still the best place in DC to get oysters. Aside from the oysters, I have generally been happy though not blown away with the food there. The menu has all sorts of options to appeal to any taste. The din does get to be a little much when its packed. However, it is pretty much an unpretentious "come as you are" place which can be a good thing in this situation. With your friend coming in from out of town, I would definitely suggest Old Ebbitt as the place does have a bit of DC history to it...no need to mention the fact that it is now part of the local Clyde's restaurant group.

      I vote going with the local place...there are M&S Grills in 6 cities (not to mention the fairly similar McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants all over the place), but only one Old Ebbitt.

    2. Old Ebbitt isn't the same since they moved it into the new digs in a modern office tower and made it part of the Clyde's group but it is the local place. They kept the historic old bar, not sure they even dusted it off. M&S has sort of a chain feeling. Lots of locals at Old Ebbitt, not many tourists this time of year.
      Late afternoon half-price oyster specials that we always sneaked out of work for. Better than a coffee break any day!
      The atrium is really noisy. The noise inside is not bad at all, just like a good bar. At the tables, it's perfectly easy to carry on a conversation.
      I've gotten luke-warm food when it was really busy - just sent it back to be heated. Good burgers, specials.

      1. Apart from the oysters, Old Ebbitt sucks: noisy, crowded, and if you're in the atrium, deafening. Thank you, Clyde's chain! M&S Grill used to have a few decent dishes, and their happy hour deals are pretty good but it can get noisy and crowded as well.

        If your primary concern is non-adventurous, QUIET dining downtown, you're better off with Prime Rib or Tabard Inn.

        1. Apart from the oysters, Old Ebbitt sucks: noisy, crowded, and if you're in the atrium, deafening. Thank you, Clyde's chain! M&S Grill used to have a few decent dishes, and their happy hour deals are pretty good but it can get noisy and crowded as well.

          If your primary concern is non-adventurous, QUIET dining downtown, you're better off with Prime Rib or Tabard Inn.

          1 Reply
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Old Ebbitt is what it is, I don't think its that bad at all for what it is, but I wouldn't describe myself as a qualified foodie. There is definitely some background noise, but in the restaurant (not atrium) I have never had much of a problem carrying on a conversation with a tablemate, even when its at its most crowded.

            Tabard Inn would be an excellent choice, actually, look into that. http://www.tabardinn.com/rest.htm

            I got the sense from your initial interest in one of the "Grills" that Prime Rib might be more formal and expensive than you're looking for. Outstanding place though.

          2. Neither. You are spending a lot of money for food that just really isn't up to par. If you want something quiet and solid in that general area that is a steakhouse what about Capitol Grille? Yah, it's a chain, too, but outside of the bar that place is a wonderfully quiet place to entertain. The wine list is better than either of the other places you mentioned as well.

            1. I consider myself a food snob, and I have no problem recommending Old Ebbitt Grill (OEG) to you and your friend. Based on your description of your friend and what you seem to be looking for, I think OEG will satisfy. I've eaten there a number of times, and I've also enjoyed a beer or glass of wine at both of their bars. It's a DC institution with a lot of character and history. The food isn't great, and it's a little pricey, but it is good food, and you won't leave hungry. Visit www.ebbitt.com for a look at the menu to see what they offer. One poster above talks about them changing locations as if this happened recently. They moved to the current location in 1983, so they've been established and successful in the current location for quite some time. I don't think you'll have problems with the noise level this time of year. To be safe, just ask when you put your name in to be seated in a more quiet section. They are always very accomodating there. Good luck, and report back if you go...