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4 Straight Dudes in DC

I have buddies coming to town who have some high expectations for DC having not been here before. I have lived her over 4 years and am having trouble finding restaurants that fit their requests. Any suggestions? Here is what they are looking for:

Ethnic or steak
not a chain
something DC
good food, but not 50 a plate
in a neighborhood that makes it easy to go out after

While I know there are tons of places in DC that fit some of these criteria, I don't know of one that fits all. I figured I would give this site a shot...

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  1. What about Rays the Steaks in Rosslyn, you could go to Clarendon after which has better nightlife than Rosslyn (Ballroom, Liberty Taven, Whitlows, etc), very DC the steak is normally 29.95 I think and huge, sides are free.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      First place I thought of too! I love Ray's steaks. I like Etete for Ethiopian, but some of the newer places in Penn quarter aren't bad. I was at Oyamel last night and it was delish, with great service. You can't go wrong with Jaleo or Zaytinya either.

    2. Or Rasika then go out in Galleryplace after (Oya, Zaytinya, Zola, etc).

      1. Ben's Chili Bowl - right by all of the nightspots on the U St. Corridor and close to Adams Morgan for a night on the town. It doesn't get any more DC, it's cheap, filling, historic, and surrounded by bars. Also, Dukem (Ethiopian) is really good and in the same general spot. Finally, Jumbo Slice Pizza on the 18th street strip in Adams Morgan is a good DC experience for the end of the night.

        3 Replies
        1. re: corbinski

          if one likes steak tartare I recommend the Dukem Beef it's spicy, raw and stellar (comes in 2 sizes app vs. entree). also near the most live music found in DC proper.

          personally I'd save Ben's for end of night ballast. Jumbo is good, but the line when tipsy can be a little much IIRC.

          and BTW isn't the term "straight dudes" just a little redundant? not being snotty, I just can't imagine anyone referring to himself as a "gay dude" w/o some level of irony...

          I get what you're asking - and it would be silly to point you towards somewhere on 17th around P for your hunt (not that there aren't fine restaurants worth a visit).

          1. re: hill food

            sorry, after a snooze I felt a need to clarify, dude or not does not reflect in any way on anybody's masculinity. Have in fact met plenty of guys not of the het school who would qualify as 'dudes'.

            G'town is over-rated for nighrlife, Penn Qtr. for a few clubby velvet rope places (F St.) and a few sports bars near the center. U for music, A-M for a booze cruise.

            1. re: hill food

              LOL.....hill food..
              Isn't being politically correct a pain in the ass?

        2. Now, this is an interesting request. I hate to say this, but for DC novices, and for steak, Martin's in Georgetown may be good. It's quintessentially DC, has been there forever, and actually has handouts about the historic things that have happened in different booths (like JFK supposedly proposing to Jackie). And while I don't have much fondness for the food, my husband and his friends love Martin's nights for steaks and martinis. I, personally, love it for the bar (and will occasionally splurge on the welsh rarebit, which is so decadent). Your friends may not even want to leave for going out.

          For something more unusual (depending on where they are from), the now-typical recommendation of Central or Brasserie Beck could be great. Their prices are reasonable for excellent food, and you're close to nightlife (Central more so than Beck, but Beck's not bad).

          Last, Jose Andres has become, to be, a great representative of DC. So for the ethnic side, Jaleo or Zaytinya would fit the bill.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katecm

            We go back to Martin's every time we're in DC - my husband loves their oyster stew!

          2. I feel like a broken record, but Bistrot du Coin near Dupont might be perfect. Their hanger steak with shallot sauce and fries for less than $20 is almost as good as any high priced equivalent in the area. They have good beer on tap as well as a very reasonable wine list - several choices under $25/bottle. You should check it out.

            Also, a place like Matchbox in Chinatown might be a nice option. Their food is decent, and there are obviously a lot of bar options afterwards. Slightly more upscale, there's PS7 and Proof in Chinatown as well.

            I'm weary of Central and Brasserie Beck as there isn't a ton of nightlife in the area. That being said, both are very trendy and hip with top notch food at a good price.

            1. Saki for food- > Chloe or anything else on the strip for the girls.

                1. re: keithdcil

                  That's a really good suggestion. Tons of Belgium beers in a friendly, casual enviorment. Plus, you're steps away from some great bars for after dinner drinking.

                2. How about going out in the Capitol Hill area, specifically near Eastern Market. Belga Cafe is great Belgian food with a nice beer selection. There are a bunch of other places and good nightlife as well.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: rappel75

                    There isn't much good nightlife there as I remember, except some hill staff, sometimes... Galleryplace, Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Clarendon are the big night spots in my opinion at least for 20-30 somethings.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      And U St. (St. Ex, Marvin's, Local 16, Tabaq, etc)

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        KT- you may be right. Depends what "the dudes" are looking for after dinner. They won't find the preppy scenester meatmarkets on H St.

                        1. re: keithdcil

                          It's too bad they don't want seafood, every time I take my single "dude" friends to Hook they seem to be quite pleased with the view, again if that's what they are into, I guess I am assuming from the post I could be totally off.

                    2. While I believe its a chain, Charlie Palmer's is still very DC with a view of the Capitol etc. Your main problem is going to be getting out of any steak restaurant for under $50/person. You stated $50/plate---you will be fine with that. Most entrees are probably in the 30s or so. $50/person though would include appetizers, entrees, possible dessert and drinks. Most steak houses will run you around if not over that range per person.

                      After Charlie Palmers I would hop back on the metro at Union Station and take the red line a few stops over to either Gallery Place/Chinatown or Woodley Park (where you can walk to Adams Morgan). Both have lots of types of bars to grab drinks afterwards. (Personally I would prefer to go out in Gallery Place or U St though. Not as much as a college student s**t show)

                      Another option might be to go to Fogo de Chao where I hear you can basically eat yourself into a protein coma. Afterwards you can head over to the many bars in the Penn Quarter/Gallery Place/ Chinatown area.

                      1. I think Oya for the $30 3 course prix fixe dinner will be perfect for you!

                        Oya Restaurant & Lounge
                        777 9th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: KWynn

                          against my own better judgement i tried Oya again for the 4th time. It has gotten worse each time i have gone. its way more style than substance.

                          1. re: elegantelliot

                            It just doesn't seem like a "Dude" place to eat, maybe to drink, but eating there seems like a "Chick" thing to me don't know why, but there I said it... not PC, but oh well. And I am a female so I really shouldn't say that, oh well.

                            1. re: ktmoomau

                              'course though if the 'dudes' are looking to maybe, just maybe meet 'chicks' they might want to consider a 'chick' friendly place...which is partly why I recommend U St. or Penn Quarter/Franchisetown. Lively enough that if they get bored with the place they're at, plenty of options close by and all sorts of people out and about..

                              reminds me of that Mexican game show referenced by Laurie Anderson and once on SNL "┬┐Que es mas macho, Pineapple or schoolbus?"

                              1. re: hill food

                                we don't know anything about these dudes. OP has lived here four years yet he doesn't know where to take his friends. that's all we do know. are dudes 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, etc?? are they smith point dudes? goth dudes? hill dudes? hipster dudes?

                          2. re: KWynn

                            I enjoyed Oya when I went but for some reason it doesn't strike me as the place I would send 4 "straight dudes in their 20s or 30s." Maybe that's because when I went the first time it was with a girl friend during a "girl's night out." That being said the deal is great and if you are looking for something swanky and modern/chic in a great area of town, you can consider Oya.

                          3. How about Annie's Paramount Steakhouse on 17th.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Lima on K street, if you're swanky guys you can head to Park, K Street, or stay at Lima. Tabaq in the U street area.

                              1. In Adams Morgan, The Grill at Ipanema's (Columbia and Mintwood) is a good Brazilian restaurant that specializes in grilled meats, sausages, ect at reasonable prices. Good fun bar too. That would satisfy your first two requirements in one place, heh. Later you could hit the bars and nightclubs although one poster is right in that it can get a bit fratty at times.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: PakaloloDreams

                                  Also if you are looking to go the Brazillian route, you should consider Fogo de Chao. From what I hear its a meat lovers paradise, great for groups, and close to all the bars of Gallery Place/Chinatown area so if you survive the wonderful protein intake you can have a few drinks afterward at PS7, Proof, Jaleo etc.