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Citronelle on the cheap?

Mari Feb 16, 2009 06:32 AM

I am heading to DC for a wedding in July and would like to visit Citronelle. However, I don't want to spend more than $200 - $250 for two people with wine and tip. Is that possible? I am willing to skimp on the wine (order by the glass instead of a bottle). I prefer not to go to the newer Richard restaurant.

Also, is this the restaurant that has the kit kat dessert? There's a signature dessert that I had read about and I can't remember if it was at Citronelle.

Thanks!

  1. m
    mjhals Aug 24, 2009 11:09 AM

    Had a not-great experience at the Citronelle lounge this weekend. Not horrendous, just not good. If the previously excellent reputation of Citronelle proper is to be met, the lounge must be a very big step down. I was just pretty suprised at what I suspect (not having been to the main dining area) is a big disjunct between lounge and dinning area.

    Not sure if it was just the rain on Sat., but I found the area to be dingy and just rather scuffed looking (and it didn't help that there was a leak in the ceiling almost directly over one of my companions, which was remedied by an ice bucket but not a word or offer to seat us at another table). The upholstery in the area seems worn and dated, and the furniture just a bit scuffed all over. Like I said, not sure what the actual dinning room is like, but if the lounge is a precursor, I'm not inclined to want to discover the dining room.

    We went to the lounge for a very specific purpose- I'm getting married in October and wanted to try out a few wines that the wedding restaurant has on their list, cross-referencing w/ the Citronelle offerings. Now, sitting in the lounge I didn't expect the sommelier's undivided attention, but I expected a minimum of service. We had our waitress help as best she could, but she couldn't pick out comparable wines after we'd gone through the only exact matches on the two lists, so we asked that the sommelier just pick three he thought we'd enjoy. Even after that message was passed on, there was no effort made to determine what we were interested in, so not even sure what he based his picks on. We saw, didn't hear, the interaction w/ the waitress asking the sommelier who was clearly annoyed and didn't seem to want to bother. Still, 3 wines appeared (delivered by the waitress), but she had no idea what they were. Not sure if he didn't tell her, or she forgot, but we had three wines (one of which I loved and would've really liked to put it on my list, especially b/c I suspect it was a zinfandel) and had no idea what they were. Tried to ask her to ask him but took so long we were just ready to go by the time he re-appeared.

    The food was great- had the lobster burger and fries, and the fries truly are amazing. But I was just put off by the entire atmosphere. I had thought the lounge would be a nice intro to Citronelle itself, to give me an idea if I wanted to return to Citronell proper, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Heck, maybe it is a good intro- maybe I'm lucky I stuck a toe in before diving head first.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mjhals
      e
      elegantelliot Aug 24, 2009 01:32 PM

      the lounge is not meant to replace the dining room. the food is the same but that is about it. you are not going to get the same atmosphere or service upstairs. the dining room is jacket required and the lounge has no dress code, so you can see how differently they treat the 2 areas.

    2. littlew1ng Jul 17, 2009 07:40 AM

      you will definitely be able to swing that in the lounge. a girlfriend and i went and both had cocktails (mojito and makers rocks), fried chicken appetizer, caesar salad appetizer, escargot appetizer for her entree and lobster burger for my entree. we also shared creme brulee and two glasses of bubbly. i think our bill came in substantially under $200; in fact, if I remember correctly it was around $170.

      1. r
        r0cc00 Jul 16, 2009 06:53 PM

        What is an 3 course meal + bottle of wine average meal @ Citronelle going to run?
        I have a birthday party being held there & I want to budget accordingly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: r0cc00
          ktmoomau Jul 17, 2009 07:00 AM

          Well the three course menu is $105 and then bottles of wine are here with prices as I don't know what you normally go for: http://www.citronelledc.com/pdf/WineL...

        2. h
          hotel Feb 16, 2009 06:55 AM

          You might be able to do that at the bar seats.

          The kit-kat dessert is at Central (the newer Richard).

          8 Replies
          1. re: hotel
            e
            Elyssa Feb 16, 2009 06:56 AM

            The kit kat dessert originated at Citronelle though, so it might sometimes still be on the menu.

            I agree with hotel. You should eat in their lounge for a cheaper experience. Don't rule out Central though---it's very good.

            1. re: Elyssa
              Mari Feb 16, 2009 07:07 AM

              Thank you. How much do you factor for a dinner for 2 at the lounge?

              1. re: Mari
                d
                dcfoodie13 Feb 16, 2009 07:39 AM

                The lounge is a great idea. Price really depends on how much you order. If you get apps, entrees, and desserts I think you should still be under what you wanted to spend. The current lounge menu is online and contains the prices. If you go, you must get the tuna appetizer - it is delicious!

                1. re: Mari
                  s
                  Steve Feb 16, 2009 07:52 AM

                  All the menus and prices are online at:

                  www.citronelledc.com

                  I have eaten in the lounge about seven times, never in the formal dining room. The lounge is a very nice place to eat, service is great. I am not at all in the market for a multi-hour, multi-course, reservation only, formal dress meal. So the lounge suits me perfectly. I also find that a solo meal with two appetizers and dessert is plenty of food, or if I go with my family, we each get an appetizer and dessert and share everything.

                  Three comments:
                  There is no telling now what exactly will be on the menus for July.

                  All things being equal, I would get whatever soup is on the menu. It is very often the most wildly delicious and extravagantly presented dish on the menu. If he ever brings back the eggplant gazpacho, make sure you order that.

                  The Kit Kat bar is regularly on the menu at Central. I highly doubt you will ever find it on the menu again at Citronelle, unless it is part of a chocolate degustation.

                  1. re: Steve
                    e
                    elegantelliot Feb 16, 2009 05:39 PM

                    fyi it is no longer called the "kit kat" bar. they must have been advised to stop using the name. but it is on the Central menu unders something like "michels chocolate hazelnut bar"???

                    1. re: elegantelliot
                      Joe H Feb 16, 2009 07:06 PM

                      Respectfully to several other posts, but sitting at one of the four tops-even if you are a party of two-directly in front of the glass walled kitchen is an entirely different experience than sitting in the lounge upstairs. I also believe the menu is entirely different. If you order only two three course prix fixe dinners, with tax and 18% tip, you are looking at around $240. Wine, any beverage and lengthier dinner would of course be added to this. Still, there are experiences unique to D. C: Citronelle, Komi, MIniBar and CityZen are among them. I believe that if you need to sacrifice a dinner elsewhere to experience one of these you should. There are several restaurants here that are good as what you will find anywhere in America: Citronelle is one. But, for Citronelle, you need to sit downstairs ideally in the front of the room if one of these tables is available. The lounge is just a different experience.

                      Central has nothing in common with Citronelle. In fact if you are coming in July you should go to Pennsylvania Avenue. But not Central. To one of the tables outside directly on Pennsylvania Avenue at Cafe Du Parc. No, it is not quite as good as Central, nor Beck nor Et Voila on MacArthur which has a local following. But it is ON Pennsylvania Avenue with unbelievable sightlines, also among the most picturesque sidewalk cafes in the world. Having been born in D. C. (forgive my hometown loyalty) this is still one of the most impressive locations for a meal anywhere in the D. C. area. Just don't sit inside and only consider Cafe du Parc when the weather allows your sitting outside.

                      Citronelle, Komi, MIniBar and CityZen should be a priority; at least one of them. They are worth the investment.

                      1. re: elegantelliot
                        Mari Feb 18, 2009 08:37 AM

                        Thank you. Then maybe dessert at Central is in order.
                        I am aware of the difference between sitting in the Lounge vs. sitting in the dining room, but I am not sure that I want to drop $$$ to get the full dining experience in the dining room. I lived in DC as a student and longed to eat at Citronelle, so I'll have to find a way to make it happen in July even if it means dining in the lounge.

                        Thanks to all for your replies.

                      2. re: Steve
                        i
                        Indy 67 Jul 17, 2009 03:46 AM

                        The photograph on the web page for Citronelle's desserts shows the chocolate degustation. Citronelle's version of a Kit Kat bar is included in the assortment; it is the element on the right, behind the spoon.

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