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Rehearsal Dinner near Crystal City

We are having our wedding in mid-october in crystal city. All I have left to plan is the rehearsal dinner...but, there are many stipulations family members have put on us. It's like a foodie nightmare. Here is the list of criteria... if you have an idea for a restaurant please let me know..

-Must be able to serve/hold group of 30 at 6 p.m.
-Must have at least 3 vegetarian options
-Not focused on "fish" dishes or have fish sauce (like in Thai food)
-Must be within 10 minute ride of Arlington and not in DC
-Must have easy parking
-Must be handicap accessible
-Entrees around $15 (mid-level price)
-Can not be "ethnic" (no Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Mexican, Lebanese etc.) - according to grandma, Italian and Chinese are ok but she prefers "American" food she can get without spices or sauces...

Options that have been rejected already by the family: Bistro Bistro, Carlyle Grand, Bebo, PR Grill, McCormick & Schmick, Harry's Tap Room...


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  1. Wow -- the things we Chowhounds endure for family! This is a tough list of restrictions.

    I'm assuming this is for either a Friday or Saturday evening. I think that Chinese is probably your best bet. How about Peking Gourmet in Falls Church? I think it meets your criteria list, but you'd better reserve now for mid-October.

    Good luck!

    1. $15 a head is quite low for a dinner. Mid-level would be in the mid-20 dollar range. Is there any room to adjust up? Is Old Town an option?

      1. I checked the menu on Food Matters in Cameron Station in Alexandria, but it would throw you way over budget, it looks like

        1. Old Town and Peking Gourmet are both going to be tough when it comes to wheelchair accessible. LaPorta's is a possibility http://www.laportas.net/dinner/ although the prices may push your budget. It's not trendy, but I haven't heard any chowhounds bashing it, either.

          1 Reply
          1. re: weezycom

            We've eaten at Peking Gourmet on Christmas Day several times and have often seen customers in wheelchairs, so obviously the restaurant can work for a handicapped person.

            Also, we had my dad's 80th birthday there four years ago and the restaurant was great to deal with. We probably had 40-50 people there, and we all had a very nice time. The woman I worked with (I can't remember name now) was very helpful with menu suggestions. I'd recommend it for a rehearsal dinner.

          2. Most hosts downselect from the entire menu to offer banquet guests a choice among three options. The guests must make a choice prior to the event. In my scenario, you might offer a chicken entree, a meat entree, and a vegetarian entree. Is your call for three vegetarian options so you'll have choices from which to select the final offering?

            I can only repeat what you've already been told, entrees around $15 is quite low. I don't know how many options you'll have within your budget and simultaneously ruling out ethnic.

            I have no idea whether Ted's Montana Grill has a private room or any abililty to block off a section of the dining room, but, at least, they do have entrees in your price range. Their bison pot roast, bison meatloaf, and brick chicken all qualify. The 10-oz portion of prime rib is only $1 beyond your limit and would be balanced out by the vegetarian and chicken prices. One drawback is that the vegetarian offering is quite literally four of the side dishes they routinely serve with the meat entrees. I don't know how that would go over, but you have an almost-impossible set of criteria.

            I can offer a restaurant possibility that is an 18-minute ride from Crystal City. In McLean, Pulcinella restaurant has a large private room downstairs. The food is merely pleasant Italian, but the folks who run the restaurant are nice and accommodating and will work to make your evening a success.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Indy 67

              Whoops! I lost track of your handicapped accessible requirement. I doubt there's an elevator to the downstairs party room at Pulcinella.

            2. is filomena handicap accessible? (elevator?)

              it's dc but a good fit

              4 Replies
              1. re: Jeserf

                Parking is PITA for Filomena's though. This is really a tricky set of stipulations. OP -- you're probably going to have to have leeway on some of the criteria. Also, you state around $15/entree. Can you give us a feeling for what total cost per person -- with drinks, taxes and gratuities -- you can handle? Thanks.

                1. re: bordeauxfan

                  thanks everyone. yes, its a tough situation. I was given the budget and requirements from people who live in rural PA, so they are like "nothing costs more than $15..." alas - thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'm going to try to go the chinese restaurant route or just order pizza and call it a day!

                  1. re: darla1977

                    If they are from PA and they want to stick to Crystal City than I would think that the Crystal City Sports Pub on 23rd Street should suit everyone's needs. The third floor is great for large parties, it's handicap friendly, they have parking across the street and they have several vegetarian options that include salad, specials of the day and sandwiches. The place definitely fits the bill for prices. They had a 2 pork chop special that included two sides for 8.99 and I personally enjoyed it while watching the olympics one night.

                    The minuses, it can get loud but if you are going to go that early than you shouldn't have too much of a problem. The other minus is the copious amounts of TVs...but that could be a good thing if you need distractions.

                    Here is their menu page - Check out the daily specials. They typically change but not by much each day.

                    You have a tough job trying to organize something with those restrictions so I wish you luck.

                    1. re: MLP

                      The televisions could be a great addition. Just convert those old videos of the bride and groom growing up into DVDs and play them on the televisions throughout the evening.

              2. I'm guessing Jaleo is too "ethnic"? Though realistically it's going to be more than $15 a person.

                1. Wow....some of those are understandable (handicapped/group size) but the others are incredibly cheeky of people to insist on when it isn't their wedding! Sorry had to rant a minute...
                  having said that, i think either pizza or one of the "pines" restaurants might be a good fit. I think there is one in Clarendon and one south of Ballston on Glebe. Of course anyone who thinks there is 'easy parking' ANYWHERE within 5 miles or so of DC is definitely from out of the area! You might consider renting a little bus or big van to transport people and drop them off (would be esp good for the handicapped requirement) and then come back for a pick up....would increase your choices if you didn't have to worry about parking. Except you still have that 15 pp thing...and as i said the only things i can think of are pizza and the mom & pop italian places like Pines. As others have suggested Chinese might work if that isn't too "ethnic". Another thought just popped into my head: Pentagon Row...Sine's, Zen Bistro, the new PR place, Murali all might work if you gave them very specific limits on the menu for choices, etc. And there is parking all around there (of course people will have to PAY for it... :)