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Ubiquitous birthday dinner: Mendocino or Obelisk?

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My boyfriend and I just got engaged last week and now his birthday is coming up. I'd like to take the two of us out to celebrate both events and I'm torn between Mendocino and Obelisk (though Blue Duck Tavern lurks seductively in the background...). We've not been to either restaurant and have heard generally wonderful things about both. Any suggestions on how to make the call? We're not going for "wow" factor as much as we're looking for intimacy, a decent wine list, and an uber memorable meal. Thoughts?

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  1. Obelisk. Small room, intimate, great food and wine. No question i'd choose that over Mendocino for a special night.

    1. Congratulations on your engagement! I'm putting in a second vote for Obelisk. We chose Obelisk to celebrate our anniversary last year and were so glad we did -- the food and wine were fantastic, the service was topnotch, and the ambiance was intimate and laid-back. Ask for the table in the window -- you get a view and privacy too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lauman

        Obelisk is small and can easily be loud and obnoxious if you just have one jackass group in that space. Blue Duck Tavern has warmer decor, more intimate service (i.e., discreet and professional), and you can order what you want instead of not knowing what you're getting until you're there.

      2. Here's a third pitch for Obelisk. Sounds exactly like what you are describing. I've been many times and i've never experienced a problem w/ noise (the one jackass comment below). In fact, it's small size & intimacy make it seem like a dinner party. The homemade pasta course will knock your socks off, and the cheese course is the best i've had anywhere (including europe). The italian wine list is extremely well priced; the manager told us once they keep the mark down way lower than other restaurants. Congrats and enjoy; and be sure to post back!

        1. How hard is it to get a table at Obelisk? I notice they are not on opentable.

          2 Replies
          1. re: westendhoya

            I opted for Obelisk (we're going tonight!) based in large part on the comments above and in other threads here & throughout other food blogs. Westendhoya - I posted on the 13th and easily made a reservations for two weeks down the road. They do two seatings, at 6 or 6:30 and then again at 8:30 PM...I had no trouble securing a res for Thursday. Really looking forward to it...

            1. re: nycreba

              Please report back...it's my fave dining spot in DC! Check out the wine list...they have some wonderful italian vintages (Brunello is great) and their wine markup is lower than most. (i see i already said that above!)
              Enjoy!

          2. yeah, been to Mendocino and while a cool place not really an intimate kinda place.

            good food, but I think we scared the server.

            hope it went well.