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Apr 17, 2008 11:22 AM

Vermilion, Hanks or Eve ??? (or not?)

Parents have been down from NYC a few times to visit.
We've taken them to Grapeseed, Willow, Basura, Bistro Lepic, and even Russia House for a vodka session.
Now they want to venture to Alexandria Sunday night and I've narrowed the list to these three based on chow reviews.
FYI, If you are pushing Eve, I'd rather not plunk down a c-note each on the tasting room although it does sound scrumptious.
Any other suggestions that would allow us to experience the charm of Old Town would be welcome (ie: no chains, Clydes, etc)

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  1. Eve is definitely one of the best restaurants in this area so if you want to give them a truly memorable meal I would highly recommend it. That being said, I've eaten in both the tasting room and the bistro and the quality of the food is identical - the only difference is that you try more items in the tasting room. Thus, you don't need to eat in the tasting room to enjoy the incredible food at Eve. Also, it your parents enjoy cocktails they can also get the best in the city at Eve.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dcfoodie13

      I'll second Eve. Although the OP might want to read this recent thread. It might not be their cup of tea, depending on how squeamish they are about fish skin or sweetbreads.

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        Not squeemish at all.. although Mom eats like a bird and might not be able to handle the volume.
        Can one person elect to NOT do the tasting?

        1. re: dagmar

          I ate at the bistro and didn't think the portions were huge...more normal. Although the gnocchi appetizer we got was very small---smaller then we would have liked considering the price and that we were sharing it. It was delicious nonetheless.

          I'm pretty sure if you are in the Tasting Room everyone has to do the tasting menu, but I think you may be able to choose the number of courses. I haven't eaten in the Tasting Room though so perhaps someone else should chime in.

          1. re: Elyssa

            I agree - the portions are not huge at all - I think they are a perfect size for being able to fully enjoy appetizer, entree, and dessert.

            In the tasting room, you can choose from a 5 or 9 course menu, but even with the 5 course you receive complimentary courses - which, if I remember correctly brought the 5 course menu closer to an 8 course menu. However, the portions are smaller in the tasting room.

          2. re: dagmar

            Normally everyone must do the tasting menu. However, if you call ahead and explain that your Mom would not be able to eat that much but the rest of you will, they may allow it. I have the same issue with my mother. She just isn't up to a full tasting, no matter how small or big the portions. We ate in the bistro and loved it, however. I've eaten at Vermillion and liked it but don't think its on par with Eve.

      2. I would put Majestic on your list too, I really enjoy it, as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ktmoomau

          That was the "or not" I was implying in my title.
          Why Majestic over Eve? (which seems to be the fav so far amongst hounds)

          1. re: dagmar

            Well I would say my meal at Eve might have been better, but it was maybe a year and a half ago and a lot of things change so I am not a good judge on current Eve. I have more recently had a good meal at Majestic, just because my special occasion meals have taken me to new venues. Though Eve seems to be hotly debated on here, people either rip it to pieces or really like it. If they are more advanturous take them to Eve. Or if they like cocktails take them to Eve, I could almost go for just a liquid diet there the cocktails are sooo good. It is really a shame to go there and not get a cocktail.

            I just think Majestic is warm and a good place to take parents... there is something everybody likes, the food and service seem to be pretty consistant. Although if Mom eats like a bird and you go to Majestic you will have to tell her to save room for dessert, their portions aren't tiny and it is the type of place you almost want to eat dessert first.

            But as when my parents come into town I normally take them where I want to go more than where they might like, which I would feel bad about except my parents end up loving it, Fiance's parents are safe so I am really working on them... they might not love it as much, but isn't that what kids are for?

        2. My recommendation would be Eve (although I haven't been to Vermillion). I've only eaten in the Bistro and while it wasn't exactly cheap, it was one of the best meals I've had in DC.

          Another great place would be The Majestic. The Armstrongs took it over about a year or so ago and have really done a great job remaking the menu but still sticking to the general all-American feel of the place. This is clearly a much more affordable option compared to Eve. But the food is still great. You should know that Sunday night they have a pre-set meal which is suppose to be outstanding. It's served family-style and you can check out the full menu prior to going.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Elyssa

            OK Y'all..... Eve is closed on Sundays.
            So it's between Majestic & Vermilion (since nobody has even mentioned Hank's)

            1. re: dagmar

              I'll speak up in favor of Vermilion and Hank's, then.

              Vermilion beats Majestic hand's down, and would be my second choice for general appeal after Eve.

              Hank's is a lot more casual in style than any of the others, but if you're in the mood for seafood, it's a great place, and unlike the Dupont location, I haven't had any service issues at the Old Town Hank's. (And their short ribs, surprisingly, are good too on the days that they're offered.)

              1. re: sweth

                Much prefer Hanks in Old Town to DC's for service. Attentive without being intrusive. The lobster roll and fried clams are probably some of the best in the area.

                All are excellent choices, it just depends on what you're looking for. Eve's an upscale formal dressup experience, smaller portions, excellent cocktails. Majestic is more informal, midrange, comfort food with a bit of an edge. Hank's even more laid back, but they're all about the seafood.

              2. re: dagmar

                I love Hank's (although I've only been to the one in Dupont Circle). But for this particular dinner I think Majestic would be your best bet, especially because they have their special family-style menu on Sundays.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Hanks in old town is really good. Especially if you like oysters. Its a cozy little space and the food is super - i got a sable fish with balsamic glaze that was awesome.

                  1. re: sarahinthecity

                    Eve is closed Sundays, but I'll make a point of going there in the future. We've got Hook on Saturday.
                    Regarding the others, here's where I am currently:
                    1- Majestic. The Sunday dinner concept is great, but April's menu did not inspire me (May & June however... YUM!). Their regluar menu is a contender for Sunday.
                    2- Hanks. Been to the DC for drinks and oysters but not food. Probably not going to the OT location this Sunday but will put on the "must visit" list
                    3- Vermilion. Have a reservation to hold. Will cancel if Majestic somehow jumps to the top of the list.

                    1. re: dagmar

                      La Bergerie might be an idea if your folks like old fashioned service & atmosphere; it's french but not only snails & things. They have really good beef. I know it's a chain so please everyone don't whack me but Chart House is really good -- it's right on the water (the view is great...) and they have that rarity of today's world, a salad bar!! And the seafood is really top notch. Just a thought.

            2. Went to Vermillion.
              Thank you all for the recs.
              I'd go into how the whole night went, but I'd start crying by the time I discribed the deserts.
              Based on the Chow rec's tossup between Vermillion, Eve or Majestic, we'll have to eventually go to Eve and Majestic too. Although the Vermillion siren will be luring us over everytime we drive through Old Town.
              PS- Hook didn't suck on Saturday night either! Thank goodness I didn't offer choices between those two... can you imagine the replies. Yikes !