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Jan 13, 2009 06:16 PM

Midrange "interesting" dinner

I have a friend coming into town this month and I'd like to take her out someplace nice, but not exorbitantly expensive, like about $50 a person including drinks. She's from New York and has eaten plenty of good food so I'm looking for a place that's a maybe a little different or unique. We'll be doing all the usual sightseeing things, so downtown, Penn Quarter, or even Dupont Circle works. Any suggestions?

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  1. Brasserie Beck, which is a true Belgian bra. Potato gratin with pork belly, liver parfait, brussel sprouts, duck congolese. Or just stick with some appetizers. Food is heavy, so eat light, share. Exceptional place.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I always wondered about those Belgian bras (couldn't resist, Steve).

      This is a tough-ish request, with the DC, cost and NYC factors. As most requests for NYC folk, I'd say focus on what DC has over NYC, which is Ethiopian primarily. Unfortunately I'm not the best resource on that. If you can head to the burbs, I'd say check out the better Thai offerings, Vietnamese (especially at Eden Center which is an experience in itself), or one of the great Sichuan places.

      1. re: Steve

        I think Brasserie Beck is a good idea. You can probably get out of Central for $50/person as well.

        She might also enjoy something with a little more of a Southern bend. Creme fits your price-range. I haven't been to Vidalia in ages, so maybe someone can speak to the food there lately and the price. Acadiana is also a nice restaurant.

        1. re: Elyssa

          Along the some vein, Marvin is a hip southern bistro. I loved their foie gras and fried chicken.

        2. re: Steve

          Went to Beck for the first time last weekend and wasn't as impressed as I'd planned to be. Loved the space, the atmosphere, the well-informed and professional wait staff, the wine list and the appetizers, but the entrees were a let down. I had the rabbit (cooked different than usual that night, so I was told) which was overly salty and truly unspectacular and the accompanying roast vegetables did nothing to compensate. My brother had the lamb shank with white beans which he enjoyed but wasn't overwhelmed with. My mom's entree was the star - pork tenderloin with cabbage and mustard sauce.

          I will go back to sample their beers, raw bar and continue working through their appetizer list, which is encompassing in itself. But will likely steer clear of the entrees.

          P.S. Their pommes frites are fabulous.

        3. Cork on 14th Street is a nice neighborhood place that has great wine and good food. I had the same experience a few weekends ago. A good friend from NYC was coming to town. I love Beck and took her there for Brunch. We had a great time, but a neighborhood place like Cork would have been better. It would have given her a more homey feel as opposed to something downtown.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bood

            I don't think the drinks or food will impress a NYC girl (speaking to a former one!).

            1. re: Bood

              PROOF.....Cool place, great wines, nothing too fancy and yet.....still, one of my favorites...

            2. Im from NY too and I always bring my out of towner friends to Granville Moores. Its a nice diversion outside of downtown for me too. Not cheap but worth the trip and probably something your friends will remember when they go home. Great food, cool, kinda run down place(faux or not) with extensive Belgian beer selections. Mussels and fries to die for.

              1 Reply
              1. re: csabo

                i would definitely second this suggestion. it is probably the most unique out of those mentioned.

                also, if your friends are adventurous eaters there are also the good ethiopian restaurants around, etete and dukem. alot of the other places mentioned on here seem like places that new york has equal or better, but i don't know what the ethiopian food scene is like there.

              2. Oyamel, Zengo (They're within walking distance of each other)

                Depends on the vibe you want.

                Zengo Restaurant
                781 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

                Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
                401 7th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20004

                1. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I'll have to check out all these places in the future but since my friend will be here during Bethesda Restaurant Week (and I'm up in the burbs anyway) I decided to make a reservation at Grapeseed. Probably won't be anything new for her but we'll try some wines too. But I'll see if she wants to make the trip to Granville Moore's or U Street for a lunch though.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wrain

                    I don't think Granville's does lunch

                    1. re: scotcheroo

                      I went to Granville Moore's this past weekend and strongly agree about the unique quality of the place/atmoshpere, and also the quality of the mussles & frites. Great suggestion!!! One of my new favorite places.

                    2. re: wrain

                      Even though you might not be able to do it this trip, I found that there is a dirth of good Ethiopian food in NY. If you have a chance, you might want to try one of the excellent Ethiopian places that have been recommended on this board.