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Jul 29, 2007 09:33 PM

Pre-Kennedy Center Dinner

Does anyone have a good suggestion for a place nearby for dinner before or after a show? I am going for the first time- I do not know if any of the restaurants near it are decent or hyped up. A place business casual would be great as we will be dressed up for the show. Appreciate all suggestions on where to go and what to get! We are open to pretty much all cuisines. Thanks!

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  1. "Business casual" and "dressed up for the show" seem incongrous. However, I would sugest Marcel's. Make an early reservation, use thier valet parking, and they will take you to the Kennedy Center and pick you up in their limo.

    If you do a search on Chowlhound's you will find nearby restaurants discussed many other times.

    1. Marcel's is the ticket, IMO. Plus, they have a town car 'shuttle' to take you from the restaurant to the Kennedy Center. Plus, they will pick you back up to bring you back to the restaurant afterwards so you can pick up your car that they have valet parked for you before dinner. Plus, the food there is quite good.

      1. Besides Marcel's (which I've never been to but have wanted to try) I would suggest Dish or Kinkead's.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          I wouldn't recommend DIsh or Kinkeads. The chef for Dish left months ago (same chef as Notti Bianche) and Kinkead's is living on its reputation from long ago. If Marcel's is not to your taste, I suggest Aquarelle, in the Watergate Hotel. Less than two blocks to walk (park at the Kennedy Center) and quite good.

          1. re: Dakota Guy

            Do not park at the KenCen if you plan on eating at Aquarelle. The restaurant will stamp your parking ticket for free parking at the Watergate Hotel/Swiss Hotel (or whatever the place is named now) if you eat at Aquarelle. This makes a meal at Aquarelle a super bargain and helps compensate for the fact that the food isn't as stellar as Marcel's.

            The only downside for parking at Aquarelle is the fact that the parking lot closes at 11:00 p.m. You will need to know the running time of your show at the KenCen. The only time we were anxious about picking up our car time was after a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet, and, even then, we made the deadline with some brisk walking. The running time of all shows is supplied on the KenCen web site.

            1. re: Indy 67

              You can also park at 600 New Hampshire Ave. NW (that's one of the Watergate buildings that is directly across from the Saudi embassy and the Kennedy Center) and walk through the underground lot (or above ground) to get to the restaurant. 600 Restaurant in that building is also good.

              1. re: thatfarmgirl

                Is the 600 Restaurant different then Aquarelle? I always thought Aquarelle was the only restaurant in the Watergate but then I saw during RW 600 Restaurant was offering a RW menu and I got confused. Are both there or does Aquarelle no longer exist?

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Open Table doesn't list Aquarelle any more, so I don't think it's still open. In any case, Brasserie 600 is an entirely different place from Aquarelle. They were/are in different buildings in the WG complex.

                  I used to work in the WG and 600 was one of the only sit-down options and I still hardly ever went. The food is nothing to write home about and the service is very brusque. They know they'll get foot traffic from the KC and workers trapped in the WG so they have no incentive to provide a nice experience. I haven't been there in over a year, so perhaps they've spruced things up but proceed with caution.

                  I was always much happier at the hole-in-the-wall Chinese place in the weird plaza at the center of the complex. The food was pretty standard Americanized Chinese, but I loved their hot-and-sour soup, and it was clearly a family owned place and I'd rather give my money to them. From the photos on the wall it appears that the Sens. Dole enjoy it, too.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Brasserie 600 is in the Watergate complex, at the KenCenter end. Aquarelle is/was in the Watergate complex within the hotel at the river end. The disappearance of Aquarelle from Open Table can be explained by the fact that the entire Watergate Hotel is closed for renovations. It is scheduled to re-open in late 2009.

                    Ditto to Pomme de terre's description of the food and service at Breasserie 600. We gave this place two chances when it first opened since we had KenCen tickets. That was a long time ago. Enough said.

          2. I've been to Notti Bianche - meh. I've heard what these posters have said...Marcels is the way to go.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Gosh

              I had a disaster of a meal at Notti Bianche. I've posted on this a number of times.

              Not sure what Dish is like now but I went about 2 years ago and it was very good. I had a special picnic basket-inspired meal which was a lot of fun. But haven't been back since.

              I would have recommended Aquarelle but I've only been once for Restaurant Week. I remember it being good but all that stands out is some really delicious chocolate smore-like dessert I had.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Notti Bianche and Dish had the same chef but he left about six months ago to go to Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria. We always liked Notti Bianche and ate there many times until he left. The restaurant hasn't hired a new chef of note yet and it shows. The pastry chef also left. I always liked Notti Bianchi far better than Dish but neither are worth visiting at the moment.

                1. re: Dakota Guy

                  Brendan Cox (fron Circle Bistro) is the Executive Chef at Notti Bianche and Dish. He took over from Tony Chittum about a month (or two?) after Tony Chittum left. He has been there at least since March.

                  I was there recenty enough to have a seafood with linguine that was beautiful to look at and equally delicious.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Perhaps with a new chef I'll give it a try. It was a bad fish type of situation so the memories are strong (as was the smell of the fish!) but its worth another try for sure.

                    I also hear great things about Circle Bistro (although people don't often recommend it). That's close enough to Kennedy Center.

            2. Add another vote for Marcel's - superior food and service. And if you're running late for the show, save dessert for after.