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Saturday Dinner - Tiebreaker needed pls.!

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ayama Aug 3, 2007 11:50 AM

Hi Chowhound community -

I am currently in DC looking for a great (fun) restaurant to take my NYC friends to - or rather I'm trying to coordinate a reservation for a restaurant that will accomodate my friends' rather opinionated tastes. AND, to make matter more pressing, reservations are filled to 10pm for most restaurants (so says opentable).

Here are the potentials that we've discussed, argued, pulled reviews to argue, gayot rated, ny mag rated, ny times rated, and chow hound searched...

Gotham Bar and Grill
Esca
Danube
A Voce
WD-50
Les Halles
Degustation

We've nixed a bunch based on availability and frequency of visit (we're looking for something new). (These include - babbos, lupa, asia de cuba, momofuku saam)

If you have any tiebreaking opinions, well, that would be amazing.

Cheers

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  1. c
    Captain RE: ayama Aug 3, 2007 12:08 PM

    I think that if Gotham was in the cards, I would want to go there long before Les Halles. And with a bunch of friends, I'd prefer Gotham to Danube.

    1. erin07nyc RE: ayama Aug 3, 2007 12:29 PM

      I went to a birthday dinner at Les Halles and they didn't use enough tables to give us enough room to be comfortable... 10 of us were squashed into a long table that should have been set for 6 or 8. Haven't tried any of your other picks, but I've heard very good things about them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: erin07nyc
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        elizabeththinks RE: erin07nyc Aug 3, 2007 12:42 PM

        I have only eaten at Les Halles & Esca of the list, but I would recommend anything but Les Halles, while we enjoyed ourselves, we had to wait 45min in a very! packed bar despite our reservations - and then we were sat in a corner under a vent, and there were only 3 of us. I do not think this was abnormal service & am hesitant about returning/

      2. LeahBaila RE: ayama Aug 3, 2007 12:59 PM

        What kind of food are you looking for? What type of scene do you want?

        4 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila
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          timmy RE: LeahBaila Aug 3, 2007 01:00 PM

          esca

          1. re: LeahBaila
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            elizabeththinks RE: LeahBaila Aug 3, 2007 01:01 PM

            I think ayama is just looking for an opinion on the choices, and isn't looking to add anymore....

            1. re: elizabeththinks
              LeahBaila RE: elizabeththinks Aug 3, 2007 01:02 PM

              Right, and I'm trying to figure out an angle through ayama's response (scene, cuisine, etc.)

            2. re: LeahBaila
              j
              jdream RE: LeahBaila Aug 3, 2007 01:02 PM

              I agree that LeahBaila's questions should be answered, as there is a quite a bit of variety in terms of atmosphere and cuisine of the places that you listed. That having been said, after scanning the list my first thought was DEFINITELY Degustation. The food is both interesting AND delicious (as opposed to WD-50 which is at times only interesting), the room is beautiful and more than any of that it truly is a unique dining experience. You sit in the front of the chef as he cooks, you watch them plate gorgeous food, sitting at a counter, and it's small and initimate, all without being pretentious (also, they have a great and underrated cheese plate for dessert).

            3. r
              RGR RE: ayama Aug 3, 2007 01:59 PM

              No question in my mind that you should immediately eliminate Les Halles -- unless you like mediocre food, lousy service, seating so tight that a sardine would be yelling for help, and an insanely high noise level that makes normal conversation impossible.

              And speaking of high noisel levels, that's a real problem at A Voce though, unlike Les Halles, it has the advantage of Chef Andew Carmellini's delicious food.

              1. steve h. RE: ayama Aug 3, 2007 02:07 PM

                esca works for me. outstanding fish/seafood. wine list is everyting you expect from a batali/bastianich restaurant. pasternack's crudo is wonderful this time of year and the pastas (spaghetti neri) memorable. save the other places for the fall.

                1 Reply
                1. re: steve h.
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                  ayama RE: steve h. Aug 6, 2007 07:47 AM

                  This is all super helpful - I really really appreciate all the good advice. I've definitely knocked Les Halles off the list.

                  Thanks so much!

                2. k
                  kobetobiko RE: ayama Aug 6, 2007 08:02 AM

                  Hi ayama,

                  I agree with the assessments of fellow hounds on your choices. In particular, A Voce, WD 50, Degustation are the ones that I consider not to be missed. While I don't want to make things more complicated, I do hope that you are get the best experience possible, and hence here are some of my humble suggestions:

                  Gotham Bar and Grill - Can be replaced by Eleven Madison Park (much better IMO)
                  Esca - so so. Can be omitted. Not the best among your choices
                  Danube - can be omitted. Not the best among your choices

                  Hope this help!

                  1. daveena RE: ayama Aug 6, 2007 08:25 AM

                    How many people are there in your party? Degustation is wonderful, but the bar-style seating precludes conversation between more than 3 (maybe 4, if you're clustered around a corner) people.

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