Lunch in DC on a Saturday
NYC Hound here. I'm taking the Chinatown bus to DC Chinatown on a Saturday next month. We are going to the National Gallery, so I would like to have lunch somewhere in the area. Not looking to spend a ton, but would like something to remember. Burgers, Indian, Seafood, French, Wings, whatever....recommendations please....any cuisine.
In Chinatown on H St. between 7th & 8th is a BBQ joint called Capital Q. Down H St. between 6th and 7th are dim-sum places and Tony Cheng's, serving Chinese seafood upstairs and authentic Mongolian BBQ downstairs. A short walk from your drop-off point down 9th St. toward the Mall is Gordon Biersch - crafted beers, sandwiches and awesome garlic fries.
As a New Yorker, you will NOT be impressed with DC's version of Chinatown, so skip all thoughts of eating Chinese food. Between your drop-off point and the National Gallery (or just a few blocks in either direction) there are many good to great choices which are open for lunch. Zaytinya has Middle Eastern Tapas, Oyamel is flavors of Latin America, Matchbox has good pizzas and great mini-burgers, Rasika is Modern Indian (my favorite in the area, but it's not cheap), Kanlaya is reliable Thai. Ella's Wood-Fired pizza is reliable and not very pricey. If you want to spend even less, there's a 5 Guys (DC based burgers) near the bus drop-off. Teasim has lovely bento boxes and other healthy Pan Asian far in a quiet setting. I'm not a fan of Gordon Biersch except for beers, and it's a chain, so there's nothing unique about it. If I had only one meal in that area, I'd opt for Rasika.
If you want something to remember I would eat lunch at Central. It isn't cheap, but they have an online menu (I found the menu off opentable quicker than a google search). I think it is one of the best restaurants in the area at it's price point and even competing with some higher price points. It is done by the same chef who has Citronelle which is considered one of the best int his area.
For Burgers I would go to Matchbox and get their mini-burgers they come in 3, 6 or 9 and have onion straws with them, but you can get fries instead.
The newseum's food court on the bottom part of the museum is supposed to be good and the Museum of the Native American Indian has a great cafeteria.
You are not too far from Rasika which has great upscale Indian cuisine, I think this would be memorable for sure.
If you wanted French Le Paradou has great french and is close by, although I don't know that they do their lunch special on a weekend so then it wouldn't be cheap, but if they do their lunch special it is a great deal.
I really dislike Capital Q, but I also don't like Texas BBQ. Tony Cheng's is pretty good, I like it. Gordon Biersch I like, but I don't consider it memorable.
For Seafood if you really wanted it you could go to Oceanaire, but I think it is overpriced for what you get. And crabs aren't in season here and that is the best thing this area has to offer, so any crabcake you get won't be fresh blue crabs so I would just skip that. If you really want seafood get the lobster burger at Central.
I second Capital Q. I love the brisket and Texas caviar. For casual eating there is California Tortilla, a local burrito chain with not your average fillings.
My choices would be either tapas at Jaleo or a nice meal at Poste (right across from the Portrait Gallery). For pizza and good mini burgers you should check out Matchbox.