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Midrange "interesting" dinner

wrain Jan 13, 2009 06:16 PM

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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    Steve RE: wrain Jan 13, 2009 06:25 PM

    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
      Dennis S RE: Steve Jan 14, 2009 02:34 AM

      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
        Elyssa RE: Steve Jan 14, 2009 05:06 AM

        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
          Ericandblueboy RE: Elyssa Jan 14, 2009 05:40 AM

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

        2. re: Steve
          Meg RE: Steve Jan 27, 2009 05:27 PM

          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. b
          Bood RE: wrain Jan 14, 2009 06:07 AM

          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
            Jacey RE: Bood Jan 27, 2009 09:15 AM

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

            1. re: Bood
              themeatguy RE: Bood Jan 28, 2009 08:43 AM

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

            2. csabo RE: wrain Jan 16, 2009 11:34 AM

              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
                littlew1ng RE: csabo Jan 22, 2009 03:55 PM

                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. discojing RE: wrain Jan 22, 2009 02:29 PM

                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. w
                  wrain RE: wrain Jan 27, 2009 06:11 AM

                  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
                    scotcheroo RE: wrain Jan 27, 2009 07:15 AM

                    I don't think Granville's does lunch

                    1. re: scotcheroo
                      chicken kabob RE: scotcheroo Jan 27, 2009 10:57 AM

                      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
                      dinwiddie RE: wrain Jan 29, 2009 11:33 AM

                      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.

                    3. d
                      dintysue RE: wrain Jan 27, 2009 05:02 PM

                      If you like a quieter atmosphere you might be interested in Nage - just to the east of Dupont circle. Its in a hotel (marriott?) so tends to get mostly business travelers but I've taken several parties there over the last few months and it seems to satisfy. definitely in your price range. curious to hear what others think.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dintysue
                        WestIndianArchie RE: dintysue Jan 29, 2009 03:11 PM

                        Nage is very under-rated imo. It made me curious to look @ the other good Restaurants in Hotels category.

                      2. a
                        aburkavage RE: wrain Jan 29, 2009 12:13 PM

                        I think Zaytinya is usually pretty good and definitely interesting. I know I had never tried a wine from Lebanon before I ate there!

                        1. Geoff RE: wrain Jan 29, 2009 04:37 PM

                          I'd add Rasika to this list. The price point fits if you watch your alcohol consumption, and the food is fantastic.

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