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Fun place along U St for dinner?

j
jsu Mar 13, 2008 08:03 AM

What are your favourite places along U St for a crowd on Saturday night? Any cuisine OK, a fun atmosphere more important. Would like somewhere which takes reservations. Thanks!

  1. f
    food.fiend Mar 13, 2008 09:20 AM

    Try Dukem. They take reservations before 9 if you call in. Just went for the boyfriend's birthday with about 16 people, and we each paid $22 *after* tax and tip, and that was including multiple bottles of Honey Wine and many beers. Plus, it is fun to share all the plates with your friends, and who doesn't love Ethiopian and eating with your hands?

    1. d
      dcandohio Mar 13, 2008 09:28 AM

      Islander Carribbean is fun, too. Just don't expect fabulous service. The atmosphere is casual and fun, the prices are reasonable and the bar is stocked. It's just that the place runs on Island time, sometimes. They don't mind groups or noise.

      1. e
        Elyssa Mar 13, 2008 09:55 AM

        I really love the food at Creme. Just well-done homey feel with a Southern influence.

        In terms of atmosphere, I'm a fan of Busboys and Poets. The food is only ok and I don't think they take reservations. But its a cool place to hang out.

        Haven't eaten at St. Ex in awhile, but their burgers were always good.

        And I've been hearing good things about Marvin.

        1. monavano Mar 13, 2008 10:12 AM

          Has anyone been to Ulah Bistro on U St.? It got a little write up in this week's Wednesday WaPo.
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

          6 Replies
          1. re: monavano
            t
            takajin Mar 13, 2008 10:49 AM

            Not yet. I passed it the other night; was curious about it; and then read about it in WaPo. But after reading the description, it doesn't sound that compelling. Sounds like more of the same. Will be curious to see what others think of it.

            1. re: takajin
              h
              hamster Mar 13, 2008 11:02 AM

              I haven't tried it yet but after looking at the menu online, it appears to fill a gap in the neighborhood in that it offers a stylish atmosphere but dinners for under $10. A burger and fries is $7 and other sandwiches also come under $10. Pizza's $11 and up.

              1. re: hamster
                t
                takajin Mar 13, 2008 11:50 AM

                I think you're right about it filling a gap. I was considering whether or not I would make a special trip for it since I no longer live in that area. If I still lived over there, I'd probably love it.

            2. re: monavano
              e
              Elyssa Mar 13, 2008 12:54 PM

              I'm probably going next week. I'll let you know.

              1. re: Elyssa
                j
                jt1 Mar 13, 2008 04:34 PM

                We went there last Sunday for brunch. Wife had french toast, I had breakfast pizza, toddler had eggs. Very child friendly (during the daytime at least). The food seemed solid, and the selection of beers was very good. I think it is a good neighbourhood option and a nice bar - I am not sure I would travel a long way for the food, but good if you are in the area and looking for american/pizza.

                1. re: jt1
                  h
                  hamster Mar 16, 2008 09:05 PM

                  Yeah, we went today for brunch and it is certainly a solid neighborhood place. The service was really great and my coffee was refilled umpteen times, and I really appreciate the affordable options they had. Unfortunately they served my breakfast burrito cold, however my friends' eggs benedict and french toast were both great. MUCH better than the brunch at Polly's, which is at the same price point but a lot grimier, and bizarrely funny-tasting.
                  I am really excited about Ulah's arrival in the neighborhood. I can definitely see dropping by there for a $7 burger and a beer. It also has a ton of table and lounge space upstairs so I'm hoping it will be the kind of place where it's easy to get a table on a weekend. There was no problem for us at brunch Sunday at 11.

            3. t
              takajin Mar 13, 2008 10:42 AM

              Marvin takes reservations. We had a birthday dinner there for 8 or 10 on a Saturday. While a small space, they were able to accomodate our group (except the additional two were were an outrageous 1 hour late. They ate at the bar. I didn't feel sorry for them).

              I think it's a great space for a group of people, esp. with the rooftop lounge upstairs. And the food is fun in the sense that most people haven't had their specialty: chicken and waffles; appetizers are more than 2-3 bites which is nice with a group if you want to modestly try each other's food (note: appetizers are not huge, just a decent size).

              The food is good and interesting without being too expensive. I'd count on $30 -$50 per person (possibly more) depending on what you have, how much you drink. Our group came in at the $30 range with 1-2 drinks per person (many had 2); probably 1 appetizer per two or three people; and entrees all around.

              While the menu is small, most of what I've had has been excellent. And I like that peole can easily combine an appetizers, soups, salads (most of which are interesting, esp. apps) rather than have an entree and still have a filling meal. And a nice, if limited, beer selection.

              Standouts: Chicken and waffles, and the bacon,leek and ale mussels. I also like their duck confit appetizer and find ito be generous enough to share with someone without fighting too much over the duck (and I'm a confit hog).

              Afterwards, your group can move upstairs to the roof-top (with heat lamps) lounge.

              I'd also recommend Ethiopian for a more adventurous experience.

              1. d
                dckw Mar 13, 2008 11:00 AM

                Coppi's Organic is also in the area, as well as Station 9 and Vinoteca. I really like Vinoteca. A casual wine bar with a small, but interesting menu.

                And, althought I don't think it's what you're looking for, I like the "downscale", in & out places on U street just as much as places like Creme and Marvin. Chix, The Greek Spot, and Oohs and Aahs are awesome places to grab a delicious and inexpensive dinner and then head out to hear some live music or have a few beers at Solly's.

                1. a
                  amymon Mar 29, 2008 04:04 PM

                  I ate at Ulah recently, and was not impressed. The mojito chicken was dry and tasted nothing like rum or mint. My husband liked the salmon burger, and the ahi tuna dinner looked good. Also, the crowd was a bit young (I assume they were 21 since they were drinking) and loud. And, finally, after a full meal the manager came by about 3 minutes after we paid our bill to ask if everything was ok. We were clearly being asked to leave to make room for new diners. We hadn't even finished our wine!

                  Skip Ulah and go to Marvin, St Ex, or Busboys and Poets (though this one can get seriously crowded).

                  1. b
                    bylinemjf Mar 29, 2008 06:05 PM

                    Ethiopian? I love going to Etete or Dukem if I'm in the area. Not sure on the reservations front but I'd think at least Dukem would take them, and would probably be better for a crowd in terms of space

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bylinemjf
                      beauxgoris Mar 29, 2008 06:38 PM

                      We like St.Ex - especially their burger and fried green tomato blt.

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