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Need a place to impress.

h
hfwu Dec 13, 2007 04:15 PM

Hi Chowhounds,

I have an uncle who is coming from China on an important business trip with colleagues(6-7). this is their first tour here and I want to find something that really shows off the restaurants we have in America. I would liked to find a place that's really dazzling and classy. Somewhere with really impressive decor, atmosphere, or anything really special. Like the top floor of a fancy hotel, or some unusual location. Also, I would like to introduce them to a new cuisine instead of Chinese food. Something with good portions, and really tasty. Probably not sushi (or anything raw), or tapas. Maybe middle eastern, or European. Cost maybe 25-35ish, depending on the dazzle factor. Please help!

Fran

  1. s
    Scott in Shaw Dec 18, 2007 06:37 AM

    Tell them to go to The Source, Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant in the Newseum. The food is American with an Asian influence, so it won't seem too far out there to them. Plus, the space is beautiful and Puck is a "name" so it would probably be impressive to outsiders.

    1. d
      DCDOLL Dec 17, 2007 04:39 PM

      I would suggest a local institution...1789. The food/service/decor is quite special. All the little rooms are very charming; the menu is definitely modern american and the service would make all of you feel very pampered. Plus, if you order before 6:45 they have an early bird menu that is about $38 or so (3 courses). Even without doing that it's no more expensive than other nice DC dining establishments. One word of warning though: jackets are required. I think if you show without one they may have some to loan but it's best to just dress accordingly. That's really part of the fun there anyway. You could take a little driving tour through Georgetown Univ afterward if they wanted to. Or drive down Embassy Row so they can see that. 1789 is usually our special occasion go-to. Citronelle's food is NOT great and the portions are really small. The high end steak places are pretty uneven. I havent' been to City Zen yet but i have heard great things about it, too.
      And the other poster was right: good views and good food do NOT go together in this town unfortunately.

      1. c
        chriscatva Dec 17, 2007 02:49 PM

        I think 2941 in Falls Church is a really stunning restaurant -- see photos here: http://www.2941.com/photos-ambiance.php. But it's better in the daylight so you can see the beautiful grounds and koi pond. Also, it's quite pricey. Perhaps you'd like to consider a lunch or brunch there -- more affordable and it's light out.

        By the way, the food is really good too!

        1. ktmoomau Dec 17, 2007 06:59 AM

          With the price guidelines you included in the original post not applicable I would second Charlie Palmer, Citronelle and would perhaps add 2941 in Falls Church if they can drive there the decor is modern and very neat and the food very good. Also Le Paradou is excellent French. Vidalia for new age Southern might fit the bill. Blue Duck for some excellent american food and great meats. Other places that have very good food tend to have more warm, traditional decor like Restaurant Eve or Marcel's.

          Zaytinya would be a good choice, but it is tapas...

          I like Mie N Yu now and then, but I don't think the food is impressive enough for this type of group.

          1. m
            Minger Dec 15, 2007 01:37 PM

            Mie N Yu in Georgetown.

            http://www.mienyu.com/

            Let us know how they like American food or if they ask for Chinese food the next day.

            -Ming

            1 Reply
            1. re: Minger
              k
              katecm Dec 17, 2007 10:43 AM

              I second Mie N Yu. The food can be fairly lackluster, but the decor is amazing. See if they can reserve the hanging basket table.

            2. chowser Dec 15, 2007 10:51 AM

              I haven't been in years, but if he's anything like my relatives from Taiwan, they were impressed with the Hotel Washington. The view alone had them talking and since they don't know American food well, they were very happy with it. I don't know it the decor has gone downhill since then but they loved it. They were more impressed with new than with older and antiques, like L'Auberge Chez Francois.

              http://www.hotelwashington.com/dining...

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowser
                Gonzocook Dec 15, 2007 12:09 PM

                FWIW, if you're talking about the rooftop restaurant, it's closed this time of year.

              2. e
                Elyssa Dec 15, 2007 06:53 AM

                I think Zola would be a great place for you. You are certainly going to have to up the price per person. Zola has a very cool spy/James Bond theme. It's not a buddha in the middle of a pool, but it's still a place with great food and a cool atmosphere.

                As everyone else has said, the absolute best food in the city doesn't necassarily have the most exciting design...at least in the sense that you are talking about.

                1. d
                  dining with doc Dec 15, 2007 06:50 AM

                  razzle/dazzle
                  expensive and dressy: Citronelle, The Prime Rib, Morton's, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Le Auberge Chez Francois, Cafe Milano,Kincaid's, Vidalia, Oceanaire, BLT Steak, Zola, Vidalia
                  expensive and dressy casual: The Palm, DC Coast, Tenh Penh, Ceiba,
                  less ecpensive and more casual: Jaleo, Clydes, Old Ebbitt's grill, Mendicino grill, Central by Michelle Richard, Zatinya

                  1. s
                    Skittle Dec 15, 2007 06:31 AM

                    Sorry hfwu, but for the dazzle you seem to be talking about, you're going to pay upwards of $100/ per person, if not more in DC. Classy makes me think Bombay Club and Butterfield 9, also Charlie Palmer or Bistro Bis on the hill. All restaurants downtown so if you're driving you'll likely see the Capitol, White House, etc.

                    1. monavano Dec 13, 2007 05:11 PM

                      Does your uncle realize that the budget of 25-35 is barely half of what it costs to be dazzled in a classy place? I don't mean to be rude, I just thought he may be unaware of how expensive it is to eat out in DC. Assuming he adjusts his budget accordingly..

                      I would suggest American cuisine and steak houses to give them an authentic American experience.
                      Charlie Palmer's in Capital Hill is an ideal location. Yes, it's a chain but it gets good reviews, as does Capitol Grill.
                      For Southern I'd recommend Vidalia. Incredible food and a nice setting.
                      Kinkead's is classy, very DC and seafod
                      Of course the top places are Citronelle, CityZen, Komi etc.

                      As for the view, generally quality of food is inversly proportional to the view, sad to say.Hotel roof tops...no. Go for atmospher inside , I say.

                      Now, if they are game to go casual and really roll up their sleeves and delve into the ethnic cuisines in this area, they will be in for a treat within their budget. DC has fantastic Ethiopian and pretty darn good Indian.

                      www.houndstoothgourmet.com

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: monavano
                        h
                        hfwu Dec 14, 2007 08:54 PM

                        Hey,

                        ur right, $25-$35 is a lot. I am a student so to me that's a lot but I spoke him, and double is fine. It's not about just the expense, i just want a dazzling enviroment. I remember going to a thai place in NYC where there was a large pool in the middle of a restaurant w a buddha statue, and these clear, suspended spheres that serve as chairs to wait in.

                        Something like that. Any ideas?

                        1. re: hfwu
                          i
                          Indy 67 Dec 15, 2007 04:22 AM

                          Now that you've given us an example of a dazzling environment, I can confidently say that not a single restaurant anyone has listed will meet your expectations. DC restaurants tend to dazzle on the plate rather than dazzle the eye.

                          If it's truly decor you're seeking independent of food quality, noise level, or service, I have two suggestions: Zaytinya and Indebleu. Zaytinya's decor includes a wall of candles that's distinctive. Indeblue also has distinctive decor. However, neither of these reaches the level you've described at the NYC Thai place.

                          For what it's worth, I recommend you stick to a restaurant serving American cuisine. That will be foreign enough to Chinese who have never been to the US. I'd definitely recommend Charlie Palmer. A quick drive past the lit monuments and government buildings in DC ending with a stop at Charlie Palmer's could provide the dazzle factor the interior lacks.

                          Above all, Charlie Palmer is used to entertaining the sort of important businessmen your uncle will be bringing to dinner so you can count on an excellent experience. However, I'm still nervous about your uncle's proposed budget. You haven't identified whether or not people will be having drinks, wine, one course, two courses, three courses. Until you get those questions answered, I 'm not sure how you can figure out the affordability of any restaurant.

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