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Best restaurant for celebratory weekend lunch?

Coming to DC from NYC the first weekend in January (husband is getting an award for a book he wrote) - want to celebrate privately at lunch before or after the awards dinner.
Staying nr White House, willing to travel on the Metro, any cuisine except Japanese...cost no (real) object.
Noticed that the "big names" tend to be closed for weekend lunch, any hidden gems to recommend?
Thanks very much in advance.

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  1. Hi Buttertart. Congrats on the award.

    Even though a lot of "big name" restaurants are closed for lunch (Cintronelle, Restaurant Eve, CityZen etc) there are still some great spots where you can celebrate.

    Bistro Bis up on Captiol Hill is open for lunch, and I have been many times on Saturdays. The menu is delicious, French influenced, and very consistant. The restaurant isn't overly showy but perfect for a relaxing, celebratory (they servce champage!) lunch.

    Another recommendation would be Hook. This hot new restaurant is in Georgetown but worth the trip. The seafood is fresh and prepared simply but packs in the flavor. The crudo appetizers are a lot of fun as well, and something a little different.

    Finally Blue Duck Tavern (a controversial restaurant) is open for lunch on the weekends. I haven't been for lunch, but really enjoyed my dinner there about a year ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      Thanks for the inside info...will check these out!

    2. Does La Paradou have it's prix fixe lunch on Saturday, anyone? Could be a possibility.

      1. one eyed mikes in fells point has never let me down. i had a really nice escargot special for lunch there this week. even the ordinary sounding menu items are a step above. it's a nice little neighborhood spot.

        1. Sometimes it's tough recommending places when the OP has little or no Chowhound history. You have contributed a lot to this community and it makes it easier to make this recommendation:

          Cafe Atlantico, on 8th Street between D & E Street, is in Penn Quarter and a good walk from the WH [walk down Pennsylvania Avenue]. Metro-wise it's one block from the Archives/Naval Memorial station on the Green and Yellow lines and two blocks from the Gallery Place stop on the Red line.

          This restaurant is part of the Jose Andres owned group and helmed by Chef Katsuya. On the weekends they have a small plates menu (available 11:30 - 2:30) called Latino Dim Sum Brunch - but because this is a celebratory meal, I'd spring for the Chef's Tasting Menu (11:30 - 1:30 at $35pp). It's not as over the top as the Minibar, but it's also a quarter of the price. Reservations are important - they're on Open Table.

          http://www.cafeatlantico.com/location...
          A la carte dim sum menu: http://www.cafeatlantico.com/latinoDi...
          Chef Katsuya profile: http://www.starchefs.com/chefs/rising...

          Thanks for the Molly Stevens/Fran McCullough cookbook recommendation. It will fill several of my holiday gift needs.

          [You may already know, but "Fells Point" in Kelarry's post is a Baltimore neighborhood]

          3 Replies
          1. re: Lydia R

            Thank you very much for the considered response.
            This will do the trick - I've just read Paul Richardson's excellent book A Late Dinner, on food in Spain.
            It has a lot on new Spanish cooking, Adria et al - making me want to get over there.
            Will report.
            And thanks to all for all the other suggestions, after all we do have 2 free meal slots that weekend!

            1. re: buttertart

              I can't believe I forgot Cafe Atlantico. It's a solid choice. I did the full pre-fixed menu (not sure if they still offer it) with my boyfriend a couple months ago and while it was an outrageous amount of food (like 30+ dishes) it was so much fun! Just don't make any major plans for dinner. :)

            2. re: Lydia R

              Thanks v much Lydia R, Cafe Atlantico tasting menu did the trick nicely - several outstanding dishes - the potato foam with vanilla oil and caviar was especially divine. Next trip: Minibar!

            3. You can never go wrong w/ Old Ebbitt Grille...15th Street, right around the corner from the White house and some of the best oysters in the WORLD! Check out their site for all the details. www.ebbott.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: MacOyster

                Also went here - enjoyed it very much, especially the oysters. A type of place that's thin on the ground in NY (old-fashioned American restaurant, rather reminded me of the late and lamented Berghoff in Chicago). Thanks for the recommendation.