Give CHers the Details of Your 2009 DC Winter Restaurant Week Experience
Just posted this under a different thread...
Thought I'd report back on our lunch at Charlie Palmer's. It was great!
Each course offered three choices. We tend to like the same things and this time was no different...we ordered the exact same things for all three courses...sorry for the lack of variety! For the app, we had the Rappahannock clam chowder, which was creamy and smoky. Very good. For our main entree, we chose the roasted angus sirloin, which was served with a spinach puree and braised veal ravioli. Again, delicious! We also ordered a side of fries served w/chipotle aioli (delicious) and wild mushrooms (good, not great).
And for dessert, and this trumped everything else, the chocolate peanut butter terrine. I swear, it was one of the best desserts I've ever had, and I am quite the chocolate aficionado. We raved about the dessert to our server and he surprised us by sending us home with a complimentary terrine!! Just what my waistline needs :-)
They have a great wine list and we enjoyed some great reds by the glass: a Zin, Sangiovese, and a Cab blend.
Because of the holiday, the restaurant was very busy for lunch. We never felt rushed, in fact, we enjoyed a 2 hour lunch, and the service was great.
If you can get a reservation, I would definitely recommend CP.
Joann did you happen to notice folks dining at the bar? I would love to try Charlie Palmer's sometime for lunch this week but I'm not sure when my schedule will allow it and I'll probably be dining alone. I thought I would just stop in and hope they could squeeze me in at the bar, but since I've never been there, I wasn't sure if this is done.
Also had mine under a different thread but:
Willow in Arlington (Lunch). It was great. Several choices per course, everything we tried was excellent. The artichoke bisque appetizer was yummy, and my husband loved the lamb burger, but in the end it was the cake that stole the show. Red Velvet was the cake of the day and I have never had better.
Had a nice lunch at a less than 1/2 full Asia Nine. 3 choices of Bento box - sushi, hawaiian chicken, or shrimp curry, all with cali rolls, gyoza and fresh fruit dessert. The dinner menu had more extensive choices (see website), but food was well prepared and satisfying. Interestingly, did not see Bento box on regular menu, so don't know how it compared in price to the $20.09 RW charge. Usually the theory of RW is to try some palce with an eye to going back for a full priced meal, but there were no regular menu items on the RW week menu.
Went to TenPenh for the first time for dinner last night. There was a choice of apps, you could choose any entree from the menu, and a choice of 3 desserts. I had the lobster bisque (yummy), crispy whole fish (flounder, even more yummy), and thought all of the desserts were just okay. Would definitely recommend it, especially given that there was no upcharge on the fish (the only upcharge is on the lobster).
Dinner, Vidalia, 2/17
The only menu they handed out at the table was a RW menu, which was nice -- not sure if you could get the regular menu by request. Anyhow, there was definitely no "second-class patron" treatment here.
They offer the three-course $35.09 dinner or a five-course $50.09 dinner, but the whole table has to pick one or the other. We went with three courses, which I suspect is what most people do. Five courses would be a LOT of food.
Each course offered about 10 choices, including two vegetarian. Very nice selection, I think.
The only "upcharges" (mentioned in previous posts about Vidalia) were for side dishes. $8.50 for a side of macaroni and cheese w/ ham that was enough for two people, for example.
Everybody in my party was very happy with their food. Between us, we had the suckling pig and snapper tartare appetizers; the Wagyu beef, the goat and the shrimp-and-grits entrees; and two of the vegetarian dishes, which I didn't sample, plus the macaroni and cheese. Everything I tried was terrific. I especially recommend the shrimp and grits. Portions were fairly small, but I wasn't left hungry.
Wine was pretty reasonable, too, at $6.50-$9 per glass. Service was great.
Vidalia is apparently doing gonzo business during RW -- the only table I could get on a Tuesday night (same day reservation) was at 8:45. So make your reservations in advance this summer.
Lunch, Adour, 2/17
This is a fairly new (?) restaurant in the St. Regis hotel. Though the place was fairly empty for our late lunch, they seated us at a bench table between two other couples. I really dislike this kind of seating, common in Washington -- feels like I can't avoid eavesdropping on my neighbors, and vice versa. There were other, better tables available that stayed empty throughout lunch.
Service was okay. A bit snooty. The RW menu was included with the restaurant's regular menu ... I got the idea that not many people were ordering from the regular menu.
The RW menu offered only three choices for each course. I had a Mediterranean bass tartare appetizer, which was excellent. The salmon entree was okay -- served with a giant hunk of fennel as a side, which was a little odd but better than I expected. The salmon was well cooked but pretty plain.
Wine started at $9 a glass and went up.
Anyhow, I wasn't impressed enough to return.
we did lunch at vidalia and had: roasted suckling pig, rabbit pappardelle, wagyu brisket, trout, bananas napoleon and pecan bar. the suckling pig was a little bland, but the pasta was incredible. creamy, savory, perfectly-seasoned and portioned. i wish i'd had that instead of the pig. the beef was disappointingly fatty and also underseasoned — the jus served over it just tasted flat, not deep or rich. I ate it all, but i've had better. the trout was good, but too salty.
i was pretty underwhelmed until dessert arrived. the pecan bar was amazing — like a flat, hot and gooey version of pecan pie served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. the housemade caramel was wonderful, so good it gave me cavities. dessert is never my favorite course — in fact i skip it most of the time — but it was my favorite in this scenario. the bananas napoleon were very good and nicely presented, but the crunchy dark chocolate shell was difficult to get onto a fork and into your mouth.
Based on this experience, i would not understand why Vidalia is in the Washingtonian's top 10 of the 100 very best restaurants — however, it IS restaurant week, and i'm sure standards were perhaps lowered because of it. i'll give it another try, but they'll have to really bust out all the stops.
Farrah Olivia, Lunch 2/19:
Three appetizer choices (Sourdough Beignets, very good, different, also salad and soup choices). Four entree choices (tarragon gnudi, out of this world, Roast chicken, yum, Salmon, good, Pork loin, untried) and three dessert (mango chowder, yum, chocolate espresso cheesecake, yum, and pecan sandwich, really good). The experience was wonderful, service was good, food was excellent. May make a second reservation here.
Went to Dino on Monday night. You get the run of a large menu, with one ap or half pasta, one pasta or entre, and a dessert. The desserts comes with grappa.
I was pretty happy with my appetized, and the wild bore pasta recommend on some other thread was great. Excellent desert, my dinning campinion were pretty happy too, no one was blown away but solid job. Service wise the waiter was good, but there was a lot interaction with runners. At nicer restaraunts when the runners don't interact much it's hard to ask questons about the food or ask for other stuff.
Their RW special goes for a couple more weeks. Worth a shot, but I wouldn't rush to go there again.
A friend of mine and I went to the Oval Room for dinner last night since they extended RW an extra week. Overall, we were both happy with our meals. it was a great choice, IMO, because I typically like to go to restaurants during RW that I usually wouldn't go to.
For each course, they offered 4 different choices. For my first, I had a roasted cauliflower soup, which was served with microgreens, dried apricots, and aged cheddar. All of the flavors blended very well together. My friend ordered the shrimp chorizo with black olive crumble. She said it was good, but unlike my soup, her portion was very small. We both had the slow-baked salmon for our entree. It was very good...served with black beans, avocado, and a sake dressing. It was really good and better that I had even anticipated.
For dessert, we had the peanut butter cheesecake parfait layered with concord grapes...it was like eating a pb & jelly cheesecake...yum!
We also had a dark chocolate brownie served w/coffee ice cream. It was good but it was completely blown away by the pb cheesecake parfait.
My wines by the glass were just ok.
The ambiance is fine, a bit stuffy for my taste, but still ok.
Overall, I'm glad I tried it during RW...not sure I agree with it's ridiculously high ranking in the Washingtonian's top 100 for 2009 (not that I normally agree with most of the choices/rankings anyway), but I would definitely recommend it for RW this summer.
Went to Bistro Francais, not because it was RW, but just because we ended up there and they offered a RW menu. I hadn't been to Bistro Francais in many years, but will now start going because it is pretty good. The RW menu was mussel soup or salad, both good, I had hangar steak and my friend had lamb, both yummy, and dessert was apple tart which was decent. Bread was good too.
I like the restaurant because it is casual (no snooty people here) and solid value for the money. Not gourmet cooking, but good and wholesome, nonetheless. Service was good too plus an interesting wine menu with reasonably-priced choices.